Cycle day 33 - Bushcamp 20km past Pardoo to Port Hedland - Far too much luggage - CycleBlaze

June 4, 2024

Cycle day 33 - Bushcamp 20km past Pardoo to Port Hedland

Bushcamp 20km past Pardoo to Port Hedland = 125km.  2529km cycle toured so far on this trip.

Winds - easterly at 35km per hour - hence why we did 125km!  A pure tailwind today compared to yesterday.

Blackrock caravan park = $50 for a powered site (no unpowered)

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Wow what a day we had - we still can't believe we did the 125km especially after doing a 121km day followed by a measley 40km day!  Nevertheless here we are and here is how our day panned out.

Up at 3.30am and it was a clear sky night but it was 13 degrees and we were complaining just a little bit about how cold it was and if we should drag our woollen jumpers out.  We perservered with just our long sleeve layers and were on the road by 5am.  We had a record to morning riding today we had 20 cars pass us either way before sun up so that is a real rarity that many cars considering how far we are from Port Hedland!

About after 5km we hit the road signs telling us that there was 10km of unmarked road ahead .... so this has been newly layed this year but has only just a little bit of loose gravel left that kicked up at us when vehicles passed us or were going in the opposite direction.  I had this sort of road as they have used large chunky stones and we drop about 3km per hour - we hoped it was only for the 10km ...

chunky road with no line markings
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.... but wait there is more - there was effin 60km of it!  By coffee break at 40km the wind kicked in and it was blowing strong at an easterly - this should help us we thought but instead of sitting on about 23km per hour with this sort of wind behind us on normal roads we sat on 18-19km per hour.  You can imagine it took us 3 1/2 hours to do the first 60km then on normal roads it took us about 2 1/2 hours to do the next 65km - see the difference!

Traffic wasn't heavy and was the usual sporadic and comes in clumps.  We crossed the De Gray River and it still had water in it

De Gray river looking sort of southwards
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De Gay river looking sort of northwards
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There was a celebratory photo when our 60km of chunky road ended ...

the happy couple who are relieved to have finished the 60km of chunky road with no line markings!
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We initially decided at the start of today that we would try for 80km and then look for a bushcamp and ride the next 45km the following day and have like a 1 1/2 rest days at Port Hedland ... well seeing how strong the tailwind was and looking at the landscape we weren't optimistic that we were going to find a bushcamp!

We came across the train line running westwards out of Port Hedland but this train line is no longer in use.

The west train line coming out of Port Hedland which is no longer in use
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As you can see from the photo below finding a bushcamp tonight looks a bit bare and I would be hard pressed to find any bush to hide behind for a pee!

looking for a suitable bushcamp!
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By the time we got to Marble Bar Rd we knew we were going to have to go to Port Hedland tonight.  Lucky the wind was still blowing and we were sitting comfortably on around 23km per hour and the road was the usual bit of this and a bit of that but no more newly laid chunky bits!  We also knew that once we get to Marble Bar road that the iron ore trucks will be entering on the same road we are on and traffic coming out of Port Hedland would also be heavy so we may have to get of the road alot.  Unfortunately when they did the 60km of newly laid road they didn't do the shoulder and this part most of the time had a shoulder but varying in widths.

You can see below the width of the shoulder there was quite wide but because this mining truck had a police escort that was travelling in the middle of the road we all had to get off.

a piece of mining equipment that had a traffic escort
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The mining trucks start coming and they are really good with us - they move right over to the other side of the road if they can and if not we get off for them.  These particular ones are longer than the normal roadtrains (they are 50m) these ones are 60m long!

These are the iron ore roadtrains that passed us from Marble Bar road for about 40km
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The closer we got to Port Hedland the more often we had to get of the road as the traffic coming out was alot and the trucks couldn't move over so I was relieved when we saw our turn off to South Hedland.  

We bit the bullet and decided after reading alot of negative comments about the Blackrock Caravan Park that despite the negativity it is the best located campground and closest to the supermarket (we still have to ride to it but it is only about 3.5km).  We get here at about 1.30pm and have been cycling for just under 7 hours - the legs were ok but were glad to be here.

The guy at reception said there is no unpowered so he put us in a spot surrounded by caravans - not to be nasty but he said that way we will be sheltered from the wind and he is right as the winds continue tomorrow so it is good to have a little shelter from the strong winds.

We are also right opposite the temporary camp kitchen which is somewhat quirky - one of the negative comments was this kitchen being in an ensuite that still has the shower and toilet in them but it is actually quite a good and well equiped kitchen and it is clean unlike what the comments said.

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yip the bogger is still there and they have made it difficult to use!
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and the shower and taps are still there right next to the fridge
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our powered campspot
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It has a microwave, jug, toaster, fridge, freezer, sink and a sort of hot plate so it suits us fine and we are happy with it.  Another round of negative comments on wikicamps was the showers and toilets were old and dirty - old they are like most caravan parks Oz wide but they were not dirty - yeah sure a little dust here and there but they were fine.

We are very happy we chose this caravan park and were wise to take the negative comments with a grain of salt!

Went to Coles to get some food and dinner and this is what fell into our trolley

Hey Dad look what is in our food bag now!
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We will be passing or staying at a few roadhouses now and we always like their hot chips so I thought we should get a small one for Neil as he has been eating his hot chips 'dry' as I refuse to carry food that we only one of us eats - however this did go on my burger tonight!  I must admit I prefer this ketchup to tomato sauce so it is a win win situation for both of us!

We are resting here tomorrow and off again on Thursday  - 3 days to get to Karratha. 

Today's ride: 125 km (78 miles)
Total: 2,529 km (1,571 miles)

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