Cycle days 22-24 Fitzroy Crossing to Willare Roadhouse - Far too much luggage - CycleBlaze

May 21, 2024 to May 23, 2024

Cycle days 22-24 Fitzroy Crossing to Willare Roadhouse

Cycle day 22 (Tuesday 21 May) - Fitzroy Crossing to Bushcamp = 102km.  1605km cycle toured so far on this trip.

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Temperature was a freezing 11 degrees this morning and all I had that was warm was a cotton long sleeve shirt – we could rename the blog “we don't have enough luggage”!  Neil was similar but at least he has shoes and socks where I cycle in sandals and crikey the toes began to thaw at the 40km mark!  But in saying that it is even a cool day by WA standards – 29 degrees is todays high.  We also have to do this all tomorrow – a freezing morning with a day high of 29 which is probably the perfect cycling weather/temperature!

Wind is blowing from the east and again usually comes up at 8am.  It was a little later this morning and probably didn't really push us along until about the 9am.

 We had a good rest day yesterday and the legs felt good today – however our day (well more Neils day) started out shite and there is no one to blame but himself! We were wanting to do a bigger distance today so we set the alarm for the usual 3.30am and off at 5am.  This would have been the case had Neil not spent a great deal of time looking for 2 things – 1. His rear light and 2.  The 2 Velcro and small ocky cord sets used to secure the 2 water bottles to our front pannier bags. 

Because we had to empty our front pannier bags to go to the supermarket while in Fitzroy Crossing we had to dismantle this system from the pannier bags and racks.  Now me being the pendantic person I am I carefully dismantled mine and put it in a place where I know I will remember where it would be – now Neil watched me do this as soon as we got to the camp at Fitzroy Crossing and I know what Neil was thinking when he watched me do this – he thought “gosh she's pedantic about stuff like that” – there is a reason to be ‘pedantic’ about stuff like this and he found out why this morning!  We packed up the tent and wheeled everything over to the camp kitchen to have brekky, meanwhile Neil is thinking about where the stuff might be.  And while I cleared up our brekky stuff – he still couldn't find the velcros or light but found the small ocky cord.  So he attached the water bottles to the front panniers with the 2 straps he had (he did this previously weeks ago but it didn't work) and we set off somewhat later than anticipated.  It was not a good start for him on his 65th birthday.

Now I know why Neil has this problem he is not methodical in his approach to cycle touring and will just chuck things here there and everywhere and looses track of where things are especially things that are not moved very often. 

Needless to say I had more than my 2 cents worth over this episode with him and I don't need to say anymore – poor Neil and I can guarantee that he has not learnt his lesson and before we get home I will be telling you another story about how he has misplaced something important.  And just on a side note – the velcro is really important to have as the straps tend to slip alot and so the end result is the 2 bottles had to go in a bag that had a nice loaf of bread that now looks like this!

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When we finally do get on the road we still need the lights on as it is still just before the break of day and the road is busy with workers on the bridge coming to work.

Not far into the ride we come across a wedge tail eagle sitting on top of a termite mound and surrounding it are other smaller birds of prey – they are eating a small road kill kangaroo and when we come along they all scamper but not too far!

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 Neil actually stops and moves the road kill of the road since there was so much traffic on that side of the road and the chances are 1 if not more of the birds will also become road kill!

 The road is flat but climbing if that makes sense!  You could feel a little resistance in the pedals coming out of the floodways and also because you are coming out of a river crossing. 

 Our morning cuppa is at 40km and we have our usual muesli bar and we managed to get a madeira cake from the IGA – this is a lovely cake to eat and Neils favourite.

65 years old/young!
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Angela NaefHappy Birthday!
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3 weeks ago
Heather CookA bit late but Happy Birthday!!
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2 weeks ago

 That will have to do as his birthday cake until we get to Broome!  From here we have some roadworks to get through and that is fortunately a very long down hill so we got thru very quickly.

 Today must have been our lucky day with wedge tails as we saw another one (again feasting on road kill) but it flew off as we approached.

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 Really the day was uneventful and we had strong winds behind us so we comfortably rode the 100km.  I didn't want to stay at the Ellendale Rest Area at 87km or the lagoon a few kms further on – I much prefer the bushcamp.  All along here now are regular water runoff areas that have been mown as they mow the sides of the roads.  Some are great and some not so.  But we are camped in one tonight but it does offer shade for us in the afternoon.  We are close to the road as you can see, but we don't worry about that sort of stuff now!

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You can see the road in the background
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 So we get out the stove and boil up tea for a cuppa with some cheese and crackers, nutella on squashed bread (second lot for today) and a bicky or 2!  Dinner tonight is mince left over from last nights nachos which we froze overnight and we will add some brown rice – that is Neils birthday meal! Plus with more squashed bread.

Pre dinner snacks - Processed cheese and water crackers
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Birthday dinner - delicious!
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Cycle day 23 (Wednesday 22 May) – bushcamp to another bushcamp (just past the Willare Roadhouse 55m sign k= 83km.  1688km cycle toured so far on this trip.

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Temperature today got to 30 degrees but this morning when we woke at just before 6am! It was 10 degrees!!!  This was part of the reason for not bothering to get up in the dark as it would have been a bit to cold and thee was no need to so no alarm set meant that I had my best nights sleep since being on this trip – 10 hours sleep (unheard of for me and occurs about 2 times a year!)  So I must have been tired to sleep that long.

Winds were light today and still coming from the east but by the end of the day there was no real wind to speak off.

 Last nights campspot was a good one and we had a visitor across the road from us that sat perched on a distance marker.  It was a kite.

Looks beautiful sunning itself
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Found a mite!
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Everybody you can stop looking for the velcro Neil lost as he found it last night at the bottom of the bag he chucked them in ... however we still can't find the flashing rear light and we are assuming that it has fallen out of his rear bag when he has pulled out his hat or map or something .  We will look for another one when in Broome, pending if we are going to be doing any early morning starts once we leave Broome.

 Although we got up later this morning it was great to have brekky in the daylight without having to shine a torch on everything.  And because we could see it didn't take us long to pack  up and we were on the road at about just after 7am.

Not alot of traffic around and we guessimated that if we were to get caravan traffic it would be about the 60km as that would be the mark of 300km from Broome and 300km from Mary Pool RA - and we were right there was a flurry of caravans both ways all at once just before we got to the Boab Tree rest area. 

We did have a close call just before here and it has been a while since a caravan has completely misjudged the entire situation and I am not sure what this person was thinking – riding along and we are in a very long straight road – you can see kms in front of us and kms behind us.  We can see that 2 caravans – one coming in the opposite direction to us and one behind us.  We can also judge that they are equal distance from us so we are in this middle of the 2.  The onus is on the person going in the same direction as us as they are going to be overtaking us.  So in that situation they need to speed up  or ease off on the gas to make the gap unequal. So what does the nuff nuff do (and just reminding everyone that this is a long straight road with plenty of time to create the unequal gap) they do nothing and continue merrily on their way and left it too late to create an unequal gap.  Meanwhile the caravan on the other side of the road has decided that he needs to slow down as we are all going to meet.  We can see this happening and unfortunately there is no shoulder to duck into just a drop off and when we realise that the nuff nuff behind us has completely misjudged the situation we have no choice but to stay the course.  The nuff nuff quickly accelerates to overtake us just in time to safely get back in their lane before the oncoming caravan passes by us.  We guesstimate that it cost them $10 in fuel for that sudden acceleration to occur when it would have been 1 cents worth if he had done it way way back to create the unequal gap!

 Anyway this won't be the last time we have to deal with caravaners misjudging the situation.  We anticipate we will encounter alot more caravans between here and Broome as the ones that have come across the Gibb River road (north of here) will also come down from Derby and join us on the main highway.  We are hoping south of Broome there will be few coming with us but maybe alot more still coming up from the south.

So the Boab Tree rest area is a nice spot, nowhere to bang a peg in to pitch your tent and no facilities apart from shelter.  It is an impressive and gnarly Boab Tree

Me and the gnarly boab tree
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Neil and the gnarly boab tree
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From here the road continues west and at the 80km it swings to a north west and we find our campsite for tonight.  Like last nights one it is one of those water run off runs which are really regular.  This one has tall trees and gives of plenty of shade.

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 The problem we had this arvo was that native Australian Bees (they don't sting you) came swarming around all our gear looking for water/moisture.  Neil had to put all our empty water bottles away and anything that had water previously in it is either packed up or dried out completely.  It was annoying for about 1 hour and we did consider packing up and moving on.  But they seem to have disappeared for the time being.  Not sure if they will return once we start cooking and washing!

 Tomorrow is a short day to Willare Roadhuse – about 55km.

CYCLE DAY 24 - Bushcamp to Willare Roadhouse = 52km.  1740km cycle toured so far on this trip.

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It was another cool morning again - 10.5 degrees at 5.15am.  But it soon warmed up to 31 degrees.  Winds were light and blowing from the east in the morning and then swinging to the west late this arvo.  This wind combo of swinging will be with us for the next 2 days while we go to Broome.  A very light easterly in the morning at 9am and by 3pm it is swinging around to a westerly at 15km per hour.  Hopefully we would have done our day kilometer quota before the westerly arrives!

Willare Roadhouse unpowered campsite is $38.  Nice spot, lots of shade and quite busy in thhe unpowered section as it is a short drive to Broome from here.

So last night I left you and our native Australia bees were harrassed us alot, they were really hell bent on getting any water out of anything that we had.  Finally we removed any evidence of water and then debated what we are going to do about eating and washing.  We thought they might be like flies and disappear as soon as it gets cold - no.  We then thought that they have gone no so maybe they have moved on to watery pastures - no they came back after our wash - so we had to cover all the wet dirt with dry dirt and put anything used with water away from the campsite.  I was thinking that eating would be a problem especially with washing and I couldn't come up with any food whatsoever in my food bag.  Couldn't have muesli as we only had enough to cover brekkies to Broome.  Didn't have anything to put on wraps unless it was nutella or honey and even then that is not a great refuelling meal.  So we chanced it and cooked our soup and noodle meal and  made sure we walked around the corner to dump the water.  This seem to work and we did this just before dark!  Bloody nature - I hate camping!!!

Not much happened today and we go on the road at around 6.30am and we continued on with the gentle climb that we started on yesterday.  Traffic was not too bad but we are close to Derby so we expected traffic this time of the morning going towards Derby or Broome.

We had a couple in a car pull over and chat to us.  They are on a tandem touring bike riding towards Sydney and they are on their way back to Broome after dropping of water about every 75km to Katherine for them to pick up along the way as they cycle.  Being on a single bike (albeit tandem) there is not many places on that bike to put 40L of water and if you can it becomes a very heavy object to cycle especially going east as they are with the impending headwinds.

peak hour!
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About 10km before the Derby turnoff we come across this sign on our left

Curtain Springs Airbase
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It is not exactly secured for an airbase and expected a fenceline a bit like what is at Puckapunyal.  But what made me chuckle when I saw this sign was the other yellow sign about warning there is cattle.  I immediately thought of those British Comedies (I think 'Allo 'Allo) where the resistance disguised themselves in pairs as cattle with one person being the head and front hooves while the other being the arse and rear hooves and they are wearing wellingtons - now that would be a great way to go undercover in this place!!!

At the Derby turnoff we have our cuppa and the traffic is really heavy now and so we ride in the shoulder which is not too bad.

From the turnoff it is another 15km to the roadhouse and it is basically up then down as we are not far from the Fitzroy River where it goes out to the ocean/estuary.  Not sure if we will see a crocodile as we could cross the bridge when it is dark

We met a lady that said she was at Mary Pool RA 3 days ago and took a photo of a crocodile - not sure if it was a freshie or saltie but we washed in that river - I think it was in the main part while we were among the rockpools!

It was nice to get here early and have a shower and catch up on the handwashing.

we are camped near this massive water tower!
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old roadhouse on top which is not used but recently renovated inside on the lower level with lovely showers and a cafe. it is a busy place!
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and here is our campspot.   There are 5 other unpowered people around us - all in vehicles or camper trailers

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Tomorrow we hope to do at least 100km pending the wind if it swings around to the west but we should be ok.  That will make a shorter day into Broome on  Saturday.  We have to get to the camp store to get Neil a new mattress as his has developed a massive air bubble.

We might not get internet reception between here and Roebuck roadhouse - but you never know!

Today's ride: 237 km (147 miles)
Total: 1,740 km (1,081 miles)

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Mitchel BulthuisThis is Mitch & Lesa the Tandem people. Met you on the road last week. This is the 25 May if you are still in Broome we are available for dinner if you are in town.
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3 weeks ago
Neil JonesHello Mitch and Lisa. Sorry to disappoint you but we have polished off a roast chicken and shortly to tackle a chocolate Bavarian. We could meet tomorrow for a cuppa if you are free or Monday. We are here until Tuesday. My number is 0490475390.
Thanks Neil and Janet.
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3 weeks ago