Cycle Days 14 & 15 Kununurra to Bow River Rest area - Far too much luggage - CycleBlaze

Cycle Days 14 & 15 Kununurra to Bow River Rest area

CYCLE DAY 14 (11/5/24) – Kununurra to Dunham rest area = 82km.  924km cycled on this tour so far.

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 Temperature = 33 degrees with a minimum of 23 degrees.  Sunny and hot ... again!

Winds are coming from the south east and moving towards an east south east and even an easterly later on.  So a mixture of tail winds and head winds and cross winds!

Camping at a rest area with good clean toilets but no water tank (only to flush the toilets!)

 Had a good break in Kununurra with restocking of food and filling up with water.  We have bought a 5 litre water container and ditched a few bottles.  The shape of the 5 litre container is better to pack into the BOB bag.  Also it means we have 5 litres extra for drinking water as Neil doesn't have to take a bladder (bladder water is tainted a bit with a plastic taste and this will disappear over time) so I still have a bladder and we use that as our washing water.

Yesterday arvo we had a dip in the pool and we had a visitor in there ...

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Bill ShaneyfeltLooks like a long nosed dragon

https://ausemade.com.au/flora-fauna/fauna/reptiles/long-nose-dragon/
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1 month ago

We weren't sure if the gecko was stuck there from being immersed in very cold water for too long so we helped it out just in case it was too cold to move!

 It has been 2 very hot nights here in Kununurra and upon going to bed the temperature outside has always been 28 degrees and when we wake in the morning the temp is about 23 degrees so very warm nights for sleeping.  Last night Kununurra township must put on a dance type rave music concert for the local youth as that went from about 9pm to midnight.  We slept through most of it!

 The alarm went at 3.30am this morning and we tried to be as quiet as possible when packing  up as it is really early!  We were on the road just after 5am and it is light enough to see shape plus being in a town we thought there might be more traffic out and about at that time of the morning so it was probably for the best that we left a little later than usual.

However in saying that if we left 1 minute later or 1 minute earlier the following would not have happened:  Riding along and just before getting to the River Ord Diversion Dam we had a double kiniption (so both Neil and I had one each!).  I was slightly in front and as we approached the dam the road narrows (as I type this I can see it so clearly in my mind!) and on the right hand side of the road the trees are thick and close to the road.  Out of the corner of my eye on the left of me I can see a bird of prey fly in and ahead of us and circle to the right side of the road all the time coming in to swoop on something on the right side of the road (now this is all happening in a matter of seconds) it swoops on something and picks it up and we are watching it swoop and then it comes out of its swoop and sees us and gets the fright of its life not realising we were there and ultimately drops what it had swooped on ... guess what it was?  When we saw what was falling (and I know the more I tell this story the more likely I am going to embellish it and  say the bird of prey chucked it at us!!!) it was a f*$%^@g snake about 40cm long.  We just watched with horror as it was dropped from about 3m above us and fall about 10m in front of me.  My instinct was to just stop in the middle of the road not worrying that Neil will rear end me but he was too my right luckily.  I think a rear end bump is better than facing a snake that has just been dropped and possibly still alive and scared or angry enough to lash out and that would of been at me since I would be there first!  It landed on its back and didn't move so we went around on the other side of the road.  We have no idea what type of snake but it had a pale belly.  Meanwhile the bird had landed on the sign to watch what we would do and to keep an eye on its meal.  It quickly retrieved its meal while we pulled over to recover from our kiniptions!

We couldn't believe what we just witnessed and weren't quite sure if we were lucky that the snake was dead or lucky that we saw something that most people would never see!

 Now that is certainly the highlight of our trip so far!  Fortunately we were at the Ord River Diversion Dam so we could take the time to compose ourselves – here are some photos 

Coming up to the bridge just after our kiniptions!
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Lily Lake to the left and this goes up to Kununurra a few km back
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Fishing isn't allowed and these people can't read!
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Powerful water - only a few gates were opened just a little bit.
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 It is pretty impressive and the resulting river is very high.

 From here we have about 40km to the intersection where we turn south to Halls Creek and the road continues on too Wyndham.  For this 40 odd kilometers the road is rolling a bit and with a full load of water and food you can really feel it on the up hills!  It is very hot by now and the wind is blocked by alot of the escarpments.  The sweat is just pouring of us ...

Here is Neil sporting his Giro d'Italia look
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Riding along here you would think that we were riding in the Grampians – it looks remarkable familiar!

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Once at the intersection at 47km we head straight into a headwind and have this for about 15km as the road goes predominantly south and wiggles alot sometimes heading in an east or east south east direction and that is the direction of the wind.

I always knew we would have this section as we will have about 250km of the road going in a southerly direction and we drop a long way south before the road swings to the west to Fitzroy Crossing.

Riding along I can hear the familiar squawking of Gang Gangs and we have seen heaps both red tail and yellow tail black cockatoos but they are so skittish and never really sit still long enough to get the camera out especially if they know you are around.  But I managed to get some photos before 2 trucks scared them off and this was the chance for me to see their tails ... at first I thought they were yellow tailed black cockatoos as I saw yellowish on the tail but there were no puffs of yellow on the cheeks so I think it is a female red tailed black cockatoo

These are beautiful birds
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Bill ShaneyfeltApparently red tailed black cockatoo

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=6827&taxon_id=71678
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1 month ago
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Since they took of and squawked away they disturbed another lot further ahead and they had red tails – not sure if they were all together.

 From here we are hot and are looking for a spot with water to dip the shirts into and we find one under a storm outlet and there are plenty of little fishes in this one.  It is easier to remove the shirt, dip into the water and then put it back on – incredibly refreshing as you are riding along!  My shirt dried within 30 minutes!

We pulled over for lunch at 60km and after lunch the road began to swing more south and we had a crosswind which made things a little easier and it was like that for the rest of the ride to Dunham River.  But Neil decided at about 72km that he would soak his shirt in another pool of water under a storm outlet but his one was not a pool but a trickle with little tiny pools of shallow water but further up was a bigger pool.  So I am thinking I am going to get my camera for this and as I get there Neil decides to go to the bigger pool – possibly with the idea to dip my shirt in it (however I thought nah as I would have to stand there on the highway in my bra with all these cars going by!) but before I could say no Neil had stepped on what looked liked firm sand and ultimately sunk down to about just below his knee - being the concerned wife I am my first thought was shit I wish I had the camera out and on!  Having a good chuckle and seeing Neil is ok and was managing to get out of his conundrum he sat down on the stone to remove both shoes and socks to rinse and put them back on!

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 Clearly they sand looked hard but in hind sight we realise the trickle over the stones was alot but there was not much water lying around in the pools and now we know  - it was filtering through the sand and on its way to the Artesian Basin below!

 We finally get to our Rest Area around midday and we are hot, sweaty and tired.  There is no obvious access to the river from the rest area that we can see.  There are quite a few vans here tonight so we can't wash until dark (so that is about 5.30pm it will be almost pitch black! This stupid WA time zone is just ridiculous!

 We have commandeered  one of the shelters and have alot of shade for most of the afternoon.   Due to the hot sweaty nights we have to pack up our thermarest and sheets a bit damp from sweat so we have managed to dry them in the hot sun or else they will stink very quickly!

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 Tomorrow we will head for Bow river rest area which is a concrete slab but access to the river is via a rough track.

 

CYCLE DAY 15 (12/5/24) Dunham River Rest Area to Bow River Rest Area = 92km.  1016km cycled on this tour so far.

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Temperature today was 31 degrees with a low of 23 degrees this morning.

Winds were easterly and south easterly.  A mixture of cross and headwinds depends on which way the road was meandering!

We set the alarm for 3am this morning to be on the road at 4.30am and we were and the only ones on the road.  It was dark for 30 mins and then the day broke and we could see more with the beautiful escarpments.  Doon Doon roadhouse was just down the road about 27km and it looked nice.

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From here we cross over to another series of escarpments and that was the start of hill climbing by Australian standards.  Fortunately NT and WA hill climbing up here is not like it is in NSW or Victoria or even QLD where they take the absolute shortest and steepest route they can do only to save $100.  Here they do looooooooooooooong gradual hills and I tell you we spent most of the day just climbing, very little free wheeling just gentle climbing where we could stay in our middle front gear and low gear at the back but what makes this tough is that you are grinding and sitting on the seat in this heat and to get up momentarily out of the saddle you have to do a lot of work just to get up enough speed to free wheel!  

From about the 40 - 60km mark we encountered recent road works where they had done (just our side of the road and they were doing the other side as we rode past) the shoulder and they had used small black stones with lots of glue so it was really smooth.  Crikey it was a great bike lane to ride in!

they need to put bike symbols on it! I did tell them that this was a great bike lane for us!
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The hill climbing gently continues and after Pillar Hill road veers east for a bit and that is when it got really tough as the wind was coming more as an easterly now.  So it was slow grinding and like always it is just to drop your gears, turn off and not fight what is happening with your legs.  The scenery is nice as you criss cross over the escarpments -each one different and lots of rocks everywhere - some in very precarious positions!

lovely dark maroon flowers on the side of the road now
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wishing we had a car!
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for a change we see a stand alone hill!
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Eventually we get close to our destination as we passed the turnoff to the now closed Argyle Mine and we can see the slag heap at the top of the drive into this rest area that we are staying at.

slag heap just below the escarpment and stands above the tree line. One of the many slag heaps I am sure this place has.
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We are very relieved to be here as we are both knackered! There are no facilities but just a bitumen area with 2 shelters in the middle of it.  The bonus is that there is an abandoned car here!  We are over the new bridge over the Bow River and there is a track down to the river to where the old bridge use to be.  The track is too rough and rocky to pitch a tent and the river banks are way to sandy or gravelly for us to camp on and drag the bike over it.  So we will pitch the tent using an abandoned car battery to anchor one end of the tent while the other end can be tied to the picnic table or bench seats

looking down towards the river
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the old bridge
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the river is shallow and flowing and has lots of little sub pools around
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here is my spot to get my bathers on and go for a dip in a little flowing pool of water.
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The water is shallow and so it is very warm to lying in (if you can) and let the water wash all the salt and sweat of you!  No crocs spotted.

We think we will be the only ones here tonight which suits us.  Tomorrow is a short day to Warmun Roadhouse which is only 30km away and we won't be getting up early for that!

Just a note to say that we think we have good internet due to the Argyle Mine as the towers would be here for when the mine was operational!

 

Today's ride: 174 km (108 miles)
Total: 1,016 km (631 miles)

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Angela NaefThat bird dropping the snake in front of you, What an amazing thing to witness!!
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1 month ago