Tjukayirla: The Chook-a-yir-la desert blowdrier - A treadling Hyohakusha - CycleBlaze

September 30, 2017

Tjukayirla: The Chook-a-yir-la desert blowdrier

18-09-2017 Monday
86 km
Heading for TJ

The next roadhouse is 250 km south of Warburton: Tjukayirla. The Tjuka is pronounced Chooka. So I guess it is pronounced Chook-a-yir-la. Let's call it TJ for short.

Early 0630 start again, letting myself out of the prison yard with the keypad special code. Ten km out of town there is a short 27km stretch of bitumen - too short, but welcome all the same. On that beautiful stretch of paved road I had three rear tyre flats in rapid succession. After figuring it was a faulty patch kit bought in Alice Springs, I put on the last clean tube and just prayed that I wouldn't get another one. Apart from the useless patch kit, my back wheel rim tape is falling apart and I'm getting punctures on the rim side of the tube - same place each time - near the valve hole. More on that later, folks...

I won the flatting trifecta... Three in a row in less than 2 km. The combination of a split rim (not discovered until I tore the wheel down in Perth weeks later) and a faulty patch kit. The rim you ask? A Mavic XM 719.
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I spent over 2.5 hrs in the heat messing with those flats - not good, not good... And I somehow left one of the tubes behind on the roadside, so I'm down to one spare tube with failed patches. And while I was messing about with the tyre, I noticed that my brake cable housing has pulled out of the "noodle" ferrule and is frayed and damaging my brake cable. I have had better mornings. I'll have to deal with both of those problems sometime soon. Luckily I have some electrical tape, spare brake cable (but not housing) and two other patch kits.

I saw another herd of camels, and took more photos for Ken.

The bull stood his knock kneed ground in the middle of the road, throatfully gurgling and blowing froth, clearly not willing to give up his harem without a fight. It was a great display, from a safe distance...
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I rode until just before dark and camped in an old quarry about 100 metres from the road. I did a temporary fix on the brake cable housing and repatched my last tube using an old patch kit that I know works.

Closing in on TJ


104 km

This was a great day for riding. The weather was mild and there was a gentle tailwind all day. I did 70 km before lunch (this is on a dirt road folks) and that included stopping for a roadside shower and water refill. There is a roadcrew on this stretch, rebuilding one large section of the road. And they have put down a couple of roadside bores and dams for their water trucks. These are deep bores that use diesel pumps to pull the water to the surface. They then hold the water in open dams. This one, right alongside the road was massive and poly lined. The water was pumping out of the outlet hose and into the dam. No one was around and I'm certain they wouldn't have minded if they were, so I stripped off and took a glorious long shower under that huge stream of water flowing out of the 6 inch hose. I should have done a couple of laps in the dam, too. Filled my water bottles - it was delicious. Best water ever is found water in the middle of the desert. Owen and Bobby (more on them later) were told to just turn on the pumps and help themselves if the water wasn't pumping when they came to the next one.

A grey nomad told me there was a pair of cyclists just ahead of me (Owen and Bobby), so I turned up the tempo thinking I might catch them. Then a second one told me, no, they had a good 50 km lead on me, so I immediately slowed the chase. While eating my lunch a motorcyclist stopped for a chat and as he rode away I noticed my lost tube lashed to the back of his bike.... oh well.

I camped up about 55 km short of TJ. I know tomorrow will be very hot and windy, but hope I can cover the distance before it really starts blowing.

Chook-a-yir-la blow drier

57 km

Well, so much for my plan. I cooked myself in the desert blow drier this morning. I got an early start, but so did the hot headwinds, kicking in about 30 minutes after I started. I made it to the roadhouse by 1200, totally wasted: 50 km / 35 degree headwinds will do that to me every time. Owen and Bobby were camped up only about 15 km out of TJ, so they got there without trouble early in the morning. We're both staying put until tomorrow.

Meet Owen and Bobby, only the third and fourth touring cyclists I've met on this ride (not counting the Race to the Rock competitors). They are touring with purpose, researching the architecture of the outback as part of their post graduate degrees.
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Me? I fried...

As soon as I got there I went on a mission to eat and drink everything in the roadhouse (I had two icy cold jelly custard cups), then set about cleaning up and getting ready for tomorrow's ride. I didn't bother with the tent as it would have been difficult to pitch and keep standing in the big winds that blew all night. So I slept on the campground picnic table.

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