Distance today 63km at 13km/hr average
TOTALS: Distance 7888km. Donations $10,125.09. Days remaining 17. Deserts: Sturt Stony, Strzelecki, Tirari, Pedirka, Gibson, Great Victorian, Little Sandy Desert, Great Sandy Desert, Tanami Desert Tracks: Birdsville Development Road, Birdsville Track, Oodnadatta Track, Red Centre Way, Great Central Road, Goldfields Highway, Wiluna North Road, Marble Bar Road, Great Northern Highway, Tanami Road, Plenty Highway (current)
Note to new readers: I am travelling with my bike who’s name is Banjo. I often refer to ‘we’ meaning Banjo and I. ‘We’ have an amazing support team of family, friends, sponsors and folk we meet each day. But it’s still up to ‘us’ to face the challenge and tackle each day one peddle at a time.
It’s 6.15pm on Wednesday the 25 August 2021
I woke this morning to a stunning sunrise. The light across the fields of natives was exquisite. There was a whispy cloud cover which added a dimension and the moon was still white and handsome to the west.
I packed up with a cuppa and was ready to tackle the boy’s burr debacle. Poor darling. I apologised profusely for leading him astray through dried burrs on our way into camp. They looked so menacing as I got to task removing the ones I missed yesterday. A quick inflate with my beloved foot pump later, Intook the boy for a spin up the track to find a safer exit while the sealant did its thing. It took a few attempts but eventually the air in his tyres held and we were good to go.
It was super chilly with the wind so we rugged up for the morning ride. The unsealed section started a km up the road. So far the road conditions are much like the Tanami but without the deeper sandy sections. A big difference is that there are longer stretches on the shoulder to get the legs spinning without weaving as much. I was feeling quite settled knowing we only have to do 60 odd kms each day to Jervois and with all day to chip away. The countryside was showing off its colours and it was nice to just give into the conditions and spin away.
We passed a point of interest on Wiki camps that was called ‘Street Art – Oil Can Coyboy.’ Very quirky in the middle of somewhere. Back in Yuendumu, I used the phrase ‘middle of nowhere’ when I was talking with Frank and Wendy. Frank said that every spot, even the most remote, is always somewhere. Point now taken!!
By lunchtime we had managed just over 40kms which I was happy about in the conditions!!! It was time for a cuppa and a snack. I found a spot behind a road works sign out of the wind. Ironically the sign was flashing, ‘Detour in Place.’ It made me think about our rerouted stage now along the Plenty. We’re certainly on a detour to the Simpson. The impact of Covid has reared several times during our challenge. Fortunately we haven’t had to change our plans too much and can still honour our goal of crossing or traversing the 10 deserts of Australia.
I’m so thrilled to be on the last stage with our sights set on the Simpson. It’s so incredibly special to be able to cycle back into Birdsville and share the achievement with Dawn, Dylan, Mum and Dad. What an understatement!!! Our kms each day to then is between 60-70km. This is a caring way to ease the body out of the volume of work it has done over the last months. It takes a while for the body to recover from this amount of activity and lessening the kms will help tremendously. In saying this, there’s still a lot to happen between now and then and we still have our work cut out to ensure we arrive safe and smiling into the arms of my family. Oh bliss and bless!!
The ‘Detour in Place’ was a side track while road upgrade continues in sections along the Plenty Highway. The track was still in pretty good condition and we managed the 20kms over the next 2 hours. At the end of the side track there was a sign showing the turn off to the site office for ‘Exact Constructions.’ This is the mains road company I have stayed with along the Tanami in WA and NT. We had done our kms for the day so I turned off to see if I could camp at their facility overnight.
I met the site manager, Luke, who said I could camp out the back away from the traffic of workers. I found a spot in behind a tractor out of the wind. Banjo loves it. He finally gets to hang out with another fella who’s tyres are bigger than his 🤣 It’s a boy thing!!!
The cleaner, Christine and the cook, Lynn have taken me under the wing. Lynn cooked me up a huge feed of Mac cheese and veggies and Christine let me use the shower and washing amenities. So darling!! The workers are all guys and seem to keep to themselves hanging out now around the fire; having a few beers. It’s a different vibe to the other facilities I’ve stayed but it’s awesome to be here; safe and sound and clean.
It’s time now to check on the dryer and give Lynn my battery pack to charge in the kitchen overnight. All my clothes, except for my spare set of riding gear, are in the wash. I look a treat in my down jacket, bare legs, socks and sandals 🤣
Thanks Luke for letting me stay and Christine and Lynn for looking out for me. Lynn donated $50 to our cause. Bless you kind lady 🙏 Night and talk soon xx