Heading for the outback - A treadling Hyohakusha - CycleBlaze

June 10, 2017

Heading for the outback

Roma to Morven

To Muckadilla
50 km

I had every intention of leaving Roma early, packing up my wet tent and riding into the cold morning determined to make it a long day.... I got as far as the McDonald's restaurant on the edge of town. 1 hour, 1 long black, 2 egg and bacon McMuffins, 1 banana bread and 1 hour later I got back on the bike. And you guessed it, the time was 0900 exactly. Like I said, the 9 am start is my fate so I may as well embrace it. And yes, I recognise the hypocrcacy in doing this: I eat their food and complain about their rubbish. They do make consistently good coffee.

10 km into the ride I saw a side road that looped above the highway and rejoined it at Muckadilla. I was overdue for some off the highway dirt road riding, so down the side road I went. Not far from the turnoff, I saw another that said Bungewogorai Bindango Stock Route and thought damn, that's for me. I've read about the Australian stock routes and how droveres would follow them for many hundreds of miles. And darned if there weren't real drovers, cattle and horses. Billy and his mates had spent the last three months following stock routes with 1,400 cattle in a big loop around Roma and were now taking them back there for sale.

Okay, maybe it was only 50 km to Muckadilla, but that was enough for the day. They have a spot there where the grey nomads can camp for the night. For a $5 donation you get a place to stay, water, toilets and hot showers.

Moonset, early morning. Muckadilla $5 donation campsite.
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Did me just fine

Muckadilla to Mungallala: Strange day it was
94 km

What happened to my forecasted tailwinds? I don't know, but it was a great day's riding all the same. The heavy truck traffic, in fact all traffic is perhaps 40% the volume of the ride from Dalby to Roma. Now it is mostly grey nomads and 3 or 4 trailer road trains. And of course, the cattle trucks. And I had a good consistent metre wide shoulder for 90% of the day. The sky was full of puffy small Homer Simpson clouds, the headwinds were gentle and manageable, the traffic was respectful and the miles rolled as I rode up and down gentle grades.

The Simpsons style clouds kept me company all day.
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One thing I couldn't ignore though was the dead wildlife on the road. The entire road side, both sides of the road is strewn with dead and decomposing wildlife. Wild pigs, feral cats, echidnas, eagles, owls, raptors, and kangaroos - thousands and thousands of kangaroos must die on this road every year. Bones, bone shards, bleaching in the sun. Every square metre of the roadside is covered in bleached bone shards. I was cycling from carcass to carcass. Crows pick away at the bloated rotting kangaroo carcasses and hopfly just in time out of reach of the approaching traffic.

Riding a bike cross country is a total body/psyche experience. You don't see the scenery whizzing by at 120 kmph; you see, feel, smell and hear every bit of it. At times today it was like moving slowly through a middle ages battlefield watching the crows picking at the bloated bodies. I guess I should be glad it isn't mid summer, the flies and stench are bad enough at this time of year.

Stopped at Mungallala, slept behind the pub on their lawns for $12.50 and had a pub steak for dinner washed down with an ale.

Wife's note on the closed shop wall tells of husband's sudden and untimely death. She closed on Christmas Day, 2016, leaving only the pub and the community hall across the street. Amby too has seen better days.
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Mungallala to Morven
45 km

It was only 45 km to Morven so I thought I'd be there well before midday, even with my usual 0900 start. A slow leak in the back tyre saw paid to that idea. I couldn't source the cause of the leak, so I just slipped in a new tube... no doubt I'll be paying for that down the road when it goes flat again from another slow leak....

I was hoping to replenish supplies in Morven, but the town is having hard times. It looks like the pub burnt down last year and now the one and only shop has closed. You could speculate that the owner was missing his beer and moved to a neighbouring town with a functioning pub, but I won't. Now it looks like a long ride to Augathella (95 km) where I hope the town shop will have supplies.

$5 to camp at the local recreation reserve: hot showers, toilets, water. There are 20 grey nomads camped here with me

Today's ride: 189 km (117 miles)
Total: 730 km (453 miles)

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