Cycle days 51 & 52 - Port Denison to Carnamah - Far too much luggage - CycleBlaze

June 29, 2024 to June 30, 2024

Cycle days 51 & 52 - Port Denison to Carnamah

CYCLE DAY 51 (Saturday 29 June) – Port Denison to bushcamp 8km south east of Mingenew = 66km.  4038km cycle toured so far on this trip.

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Last nights low was about 11 degrees – we are now both sleeping in our sleeping bags (therefore we zip them up completely and then get in them rather than use them like a blanket).  We must have got out of bed at about 7am (so late) and then were on the road after 8.30am – a late start!.  It is a cloudy day but you can see breaks in the clouds that show blue sky.  However we look inland and we can see thick grey cloud – not rain clouds but it is gonna be a cold day clouds.  We have decided to go inland to the Midlands highway which runs sort of parallel with the Brand highway.  By doing this we are adding on roughly another 90km.  So today we just went eastwards and a little bit south. 

It was a tough day but at least it was a less stressful day compared to yesterday.  We begin by cycling back to Dongara and to rejoin the Brand highway for about 7km.  And the traffic hadn't changed it was still busy with traffic coming up from the south and north.  The shoulder did get wider for about 1km and then at the turnoff it just disappeared.

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The relief when we did turnoff is just unbelievable!  Our destination is to get to Mingenew and then take the southeast road down to Three Springs and onto Moora.  No sooner had we turned off that we gently start to climb, and climb and climb!  This is to be expected as we have come of the coast and are now going inland and plus this is where all the crops are growing so it will be rolling.  But to make things harder for us the wind (which blew from the south west yesterday) has swung around to the south east so we have a strong cross headwind to Mingenew (have no idea how to pronounce that word!) and then a headwind for however far we get once we turn for Three Springs.  But it doesn't matter that it is a slog and it is cold and the going is slow – we are off the ridiculous highway!

We did stop at a road side stall to pick up some oranges and we had some for lunch and they were just delicious!

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The road is quiet, it does have trucks but they are far and few in between and any local traffic finds it easy to over take us – so absolutely not stress on this road!

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There are heaps of fields here with a variety of crops grown and at various stages.  It would be lovely to ride through here in Spring. 

It is cold with todays high being 15 degrees but we have our warm gear on and I have my reflective vest on and then pass it on to Neil when he rides at the back.

 About 20km out of Mingenew the road begins to becoming very rolling and exposed to the strong winds, previously we had alot of road side growth which sheltered us a bit.  So it felt like forever to get to Mingenew. 

We had our lunch there and bought a tasteless brownie from the bakery.  We have decided that between the vanilla slice at Northampton and this brownie here at Mingenew that we are going to give up on bakeries and we are just better of getting a loaf of bread and spreading Nutella over the slices!

 The highway swings south east after Mingenew and it is an 8km gradual climb to get out of Mingenew and it still continues but we stopped as we founds a great bushcamp spot.  The problem with this sort of farm area is that it can be really hard to find a bushcamp.  The road follows the railway line (grain one) and most of the time the small thin area doesn't provide great spots.  We followed the railway line across from the coast and there were 1 or 2 spots but within that 8km there was nothing.  Then on the other side of the road there was this sort of tiny nature reserve that had a drive in and out.  So upon investigation we found it really good.  So we decided to stop.

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We are hoping no one stops as well, but there weren't many caravaners on this road today!  It was about 2.30pm when we stopped so we boiled some water for a wash (far too cold to use just cold water) then had dinner and then a cuppa and then into the tent before it gets too cold.

Being inland the nights will get below 10 – I think tonight it is expected to get to 7.  We need to get up early tomorrow as it is to be a headwind day.  I think we are up at 5am and hopefully on the road at 6.30 or 7am.  We will see how far we can get and they are forecasting a north easterly on Monday for us so that is a tailwind – we will make the most of that!

 Our outlook (if it was warm enough to sit outside) is a crop field.

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CYCLE DAY 52 (Sunday 30 June) - Bushcamp just south of Mingenew to Carnamah = 69km.  4107km cycle toured so far on this trip.

Carnamah caravan park - unpowered $20

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Alarm went off at 5am and it was about 8 degrees outside and the tent had heaps of condensation but we were warm and toastie in our bags - no thanks to wearing alot of our clothes - we really are looking forward to our winter sleeping bags in Perth!  Todays high is suppose to be 17 but they are dreaming as it is cloudy for most of the day - the sun does poke its head out for about 10 seconds every 3 hours!  The winds are a strong south easterly swinging to an afternoon lighter east south easterly so we had a head wind.  

Eating brekky we could hear the wind had also got up with us but we were behind a tree which sheltered us a bit until we got out on the road.  It was a clear night and about 6pm we heard a train go through and it was relatively quiet compared to coal trains so we got out of the tent to watch it.

We were on the road at about 7am - it takes a little longer now as we sponge down the tent due to all the condensation.  We are thinking we are in for a lovely day as the sun rises, maybe a warmer day ... OMG we are so unlucky - no sooner had the sun came up in comes a shit load of clouds and we never saw the sun again.  To make matters worse fog also came in with those clouds.  It was 45km to Three Springs - most of it gently climbing (but still a slog) and it was fog almost the entire way!  So on came the raincoats and the lights went on.  Fortunately there wasn't any traffic and if it did come they all came together - must be a sports game in the next town!

light fog here but you can see ahead of Neil that it gets thicker!
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Sometimes the fog was light and then it was very thick but we were ok and the traffic is all local people that know these roads (even though they are not expecting us).  By the time we got to Three Springs we are cold and tired as although there is fog we also have a strong headwind.

We had a cuppa at Three Springs and debating how we are going to approach the days into Perth as we are struggling with the strong winds and hills together to complete our required distances - these hills are countryside hills - rolling and out in the open so they are real energy drainers.  We are suppose to have a tailwind tomorrow but I am not holding my breath.  We probably will have to for go our rest day.

Three Springs is a lovely little town - although no one was about!

Three Springs mural of wild flowers
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Three Springs mural of industry in the area
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For you Ray ... and Russell?
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From Three Springs it is another 23km to Carnamah.  We leave Three Springs and we can't quite tell if we are going downhill slightly as we have a headwind and we have to pedal!  I do know it is slightly flatter as we are passing through the Yarra Yarra lakes so that is a blessing that there are no hills - but it is out in the open and the wind still slows us down.

By the time we get to Carnamah we are really weary and a tad cold.  We book in and it is a nice caravan park created not far from the sports grounds and everything looks newish or refurbished.  Heaps of sites for the seasonal workers when there is cropping.  The unpowered section for tents is near a somewhat less desirable spot ...

just typical - lucky we are not in the unpowered site right next to it!
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But it has lovely hot showers and a toilet block that is spotless, free laundry machines and dryer so we hand washed some gear and then spun them in the washing machine and they are currently in the dryer - bonus!

great camp kitchen
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this is the sort of caravan park we would prefer on a rest day but ho hum that is not the case this time!

Tomorrow we will do a bushcamp unless we really do manage to do the 120km to Moora - but I don't think so.

Today's ride: 135 km (84 miles)
Total: 4,107 km (2,550 miles)

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