Distance 107km at 24k/hr average
TOTALS: Distance 8743km. Donations $10,245.09. Days remaining 1. 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, Donohue Highway, Diamantina Development Road.
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 1.30pm on Saturday the 4 September 2021
The choice was easy to make to push through to Birdsville. I felt a focus that was clear and determined. It was easy to accept and extra 9-10 hours of riding as opposed to an extra 4 days of hellish conditions.
I was able to relax into the ride knowing that however long it would take, I would wake up in Birdsville.
The countryside was a greener contrast to what we have seen for days and the freshness was delish!! Roadside grasses were greener and in springtime bloom.
There is evidently more rainfall in this area and the animals were making the most of it!! We had a break along a waterway that was teeming with cows and birdlife. I took this video thinking I was sharing the scenery. Very funny; I had to include it!!!
There were lots of baby cows; a clear sign that spring has sprung its wings of new life!!
I really enjoyed cycling through long shadow o’clock where all the colours pop with an extra edge
Ian the truckie passed us again and stopped to check in how we were going. He mentioned there was a rest area about 80km before Birdsville with a mains road facility opposite in case we need to stop for the night. I reassured him we were hell bent on pushing through but appreciated the heads up!!! The information was a blessing in hindsight.
It was about 6.20pm and I was thinking about getting my lights ready. Then the wind changed to a southerly gail. It was so unexpected and not forecast. Ahead was what seemed like rain coming our way so I got the wet weather gear on as well. I was not excited at all to say the least!!!
It was not rain!! It was our first dust storm!!! I remember just repeating, “What the fu&$.” It’s blinding and it’s frightening. I was already elevated with the job at hand and went into response mode!!! “Right … where was that rest area!!!” I figured out it was another 5-8kms away and we head downed and tailed it. The rest area was exposed and across the road was the entrance to the facility. If was dark by the stage. The facility was workers from the Diamantina Shire Council, sealing the last sections of road from Bedourie to Birdsville. They were gruffly gracious and my guardians in the night. Before we could blow the dust from our noses, we had a bed for the night and a hot dinner and shower. It was the most remarkable turn of events on our challenge. My head was spinning with disappointment and relief. They also had wifi so I called the family to let know what had happened. I new they would have been following our progress to Birdsville closely.
Kylie was the bosses partner and she took me under her wing with care and a cuddle. I was feeling pretty fragile when the reality set in.
It was a wild night with dust blowing at gale force. Far out!! What a long night with little sleep. I kept checking bom from about 4am onwards. But deep down I knew we weren’t cycling any more kms into Birdsville. We met the crew at 6.00am muster. Nathan, a truckie at the camp, was doing a run into Birdsville and offered Banjo and I a ride.
Kylie took a bunch of photos that she later texted me.
I couldn’t believe we were in a Road Train heading into Birdsville. Nathan is a darling with a big heart!!!
As we walked into the campgrounds, a lady from reception came out and said, “You must be Maree!!! Kylie and the crew have shouted you a deluxe luxury cabin for you and your family tonight.” All I could do was burst into tears!!!
Thank you with all my heart to..
I was shown to our cabin and my head’s been spinning since.
Dawn and Dylan arrive soon and It’s my birthday tomorrow. Happy 54th Maree.
Night and talk soon xx