Cycle day 31 & 32 - Sandfire Roadhouse to 20km after Pardoo Roadhouse - Far too much luggage - CycleBlaze

June 2, 2024 to June 3, 2024

Cycle day 31 & 32 - Sandfire Roadhouse to 20km after Pardoo Roadhouse

Cycle day 31 (Sunday 2 June) Sandfire Roadhouse to bushcamp 20km before Pardoo = 121km.  2364km cycle toured so far on this trip.

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We woke this morning at 3.30am and it was a warm 20 degrees with the days high around 28.  Started out sunny for most of the day but by 2pm you could see cloud building southwards and by 4pm it just bucketed down and still is.  Very heavy rain!

Winds were a tailwind to start in the morning, east north easterly and then a cross tailwind by the arvo, north north east  – hence why it is a bigger day today – tomorrow the winds are meant to swing to a south south east so that will mean possibly a headwind and so a smaller day – gotta make hay while the sun shines!

 

Had a really good rest at the roadhouse yesterday – we enjoyed a hamburger with the lot and chips for dinner on our first night and a homemade sausage roll for lunch on Saturday.

I am not sure if I have mentioned on this blog but as we were coming across from Katherine to Broome everyone coming in the opposite direction to us were telling us that there are 2 young men ahead of us by about 4 days.  We guessed they were the 2 young men raising money for a school in Timor and were taking a gap year from their studies and cycling around Australia.  We remember seeing them on the news when they set off from Melbourne – we nicknamed them “the gap year boys”  Us being old and they being young we knew we would never catch up to them unless they took a longer break at Broome than us.  Well as it was we did have a shorter break and managed to get ahead of them and they turned up at Sandfire Roadhouse as Neil was buying our sausage rolls for lunch PLUS another cyclist was there with them as well – Dylan.  The gap year boys (Cezary and Leon) had met Dylan the day before and he is cycling Broome to Perth and his Mum is sort of following him in a caravan but no right behind him more they agree to meet at a certain kilometer/place at a certain time.  What are the odds of touring cyclists all being in the same place?  However the boys inform Neil that there was another 2 cyclists which were over the headwinds and had 8 broken spokes (going in the opposite direction to all of us) had just got a ride in a car to Broome.

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Neil had a good chat and then came back with my sausage roll (which was delicious) and then we went back over so I could meet them.  They were all going to camp a further 40km on as I suspect Mum was cooking them a meal!  Since we start so early we knew we would see them again the next day unless they get up early and leave before 8am – they inform us that no they don't start early at the moment!

 So that made our day that we finally met the gap year boys!  The rest of the day was full of chatting to other caravaners – I think they just love the fact that we are cycling and it is something different for them to talk about compared to other caravaners.

The one and only benefit of the time difference between WA and Victoria is that when we want to listen to Geelong play footy the game will start at about 5.40pm and finish at a reasonable time conducive to our bed time!  We listened to the game between Geelong vs. Richmond and we persevered listening even though it didn't seem like Geelong were going to win – but by end of the third quarter we looked like we were in with a chance and fortunately we pulled ahead and won.  I fell asleep with about 20 minutes to go!

 Like I said up early and ready to go at 5am, Sunday morning and there should be no traffic apart from the odd roadtrain and it was good going, the road is flat the wind is already up early with us and was gently pushing us along.  We watched the sunrise in our rear vision mirrors and by 8am we saw where the Gap Year Boys and Dylan along with his Mum in the caravan were parked in a parking bay.  Dylan and Leon were nearly ready but Cezary was still asleep!

We continued on to have our coffee break up the road as we knew they would overtake us at some point.

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So the first to overtake us was Dylan as he cycles unloaded and can just power along, then when we had our break at 80km we can see Leon is coming ...

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Now I should mention that the gap year boys are avid bird people and their Facebook and Instagram is Two Birders Two Bikes – there are 700 odd Australian birds and they have seen 500 of them – they have seen all the Finches listed except one which is in south WA and they will see that after Perth.  From Perth they will fly to Tasmania to see some birds migrating in that region to strike them of the list and then fly back to Perth to resume their cycling – they will probably overtake us again somewhere on the way back to Melbourne!

 There is not much out here and there are a few roads towards the coast (Eighty Mile Beach) and at the top of a rise we sometimes could see the sand dunes way in the distance

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What we did see were 2 irrigation experiments/trials and we could actually see one of the fields they were trying – using underground water or borewater and we don't know what they were growing – possibly hay?

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At our 100km stop along came Cezary (the one that slept in) and he stopped for a good chat. 

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Dad - check out whats on top of one of the front panniers - a battered collection of number plates - yeah he might be a bit like you with hoarding! Although I saw no plastic bags hanging of his bike!
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Both were meeting each other at Pardoo and will bushcamp somewhere on the other side of Pardoo – hopefully they managed to set up before this rain had started.  It is now 5pm and the rain has stopped here. Fingers crossed no more will fall.  We don't get reception to check the weather radar!

 At 115km I was beginning to tire and there wasn't alot of choices for us to pitch our big tent now that we have to use the fly – remember our vestibule is just as big as the inner tent!  We found one suitable site but it is a little sandy and the push to get the bike and trailers in was hard so we got to a point and just decided to set up

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had to set up before the rain set in!
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It is still warm and in the tent, waiting out the rain, it is really warm as the sand on the ground is hot emanating up through the tent floor.

Tomorrow we are hoping for a shorter day especially if the winds are swinging but if they don't we hope to do our minimum of at least 80km – fingers crossed.

 Cycle day 32 (Monday 3 June) bushcamp 20km before Pardoo to  20km after Pardoo.  2404km cycle toured so far on this trip.

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Last nights low was about 20 degrees with todays high about 28 and sunny all day.  Although it did poour with rain last night and Pardoo just down the road only record less than 2mm but we definitely got more than that so it is a bit hit and miss with the rain bands around here.

Winds were a strong southerly - yip a headwind.  It is an unfortunate wind to have today and even more unfortunate was the road south of Pardoo swings in a southerly direction for about 50km.

We did get up early knowing we would have strong headwinds today - what we had hoped that was we would get some kilometers in before the daybreak and the wind kicks in but the effin wind got up with us and just started blowing from the south.  It was ok to Pardoo as the road goes in a more westerly direction but after Pardoo the wind really picked up and the road swung south and we just sat on 12km per hour.  

Just before Pardoo we officially cross in the Pilbara region 

Early morning and just entering the Pilbara country
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We could also see in the distance a communication tower so wedecided to head for that for our first cuppa break.  The country is open and treeless you could say and not much is growing above knee height.  After the cyclone which flattened everything I would imagine most things would struggle to grow fast around here.

Not expecting an idea from Neil he suggested that this wind today was hard blowing at 26km per hour but most of the time gusting in the 30km per hour range and it is unusual to have it blowing directly from the south (it would have an easterly aspect to it or like yesterday a north easterly) so he said lets camp here and we have enough water for 2 more days (I didn't mention that we would be cutting it fine with food and probably would rock up to Port Hedland with a cup of muesli to spare between us!) and tomorrows winds will be just as strong but blowing from the east - we just need to go the 30km south to get to that west direction road into Port Hedland, here is hoping that the wind doesn't get up with us again like it did this morning!

So here we are and it didn't take much convincing for me.  

Internet reception is fantastic!
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One thing we have noticed is the increase in fly activity - last night they were just everywhere but today I was prepared and are outside sitting with my flynet on (so is Neil).  Reports are they are going to get thicker towards Canarvon way and I assume it might be too cold for them as we get closer to Perth.

Here's hoping tomorrow we get a bit further than 40km! 

Today's ride: 161 km (100 miles)
Total: 2,404 km (1,493 miles)

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