Wandering on to Warburton and beyond: Bouncing and stumbling my way forward - A treadling Hyohakusha - CycleBlaze

September 29, 2017

Wandering on to Warburton and beyond: Bouncing and stumbling my way forward

88 km
Heading to Warburton

This is a 230 km run to Warburton, the next water & supply point on the ride. I've allowed 5 days to do it and have taken on a full 21 litres of water, but I hope to do it in 3 or 4 days and have my water cache waiting for me at the half way point. I'll do fine, in fact I'm probably carrying too much water.

I got an early start fearing the hot day to come. The first 40 km was hard work as the road was gravelly and pretty cut up. And I was carrying a lot of water - that's not a good combination. Pedal hard, stop-start-stop, get off and push, crash, get up, push, pedal hard... and repeat. I had an audience for my third and final crash of the day, a cute young white community worker driving the 4wd and three older Aboriginal ladies. They were coming up behind me very slowly and I tried to turn my head to see what they were up to. Bad move - take your eye off of the corrugations for even a nanosecond and you are going down. I slowed down to a stop, but did a face plant anyway. I got up off the ground with a laugh, dusted myself off and went up to their car and the driver told me to be careful as this was a very dangerous road. I smiled and told her my bike and I had been doing this routine every day since we started in Brisbane over three months ago and that I went down like that three or our times a day in the rough sections, sometimes more, when the road was really bad.

Crash One
Slow motion fall over and roll in the dirt
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Crash Two
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I also came across Nick, the last of the racers, limping his way forward. He was pretty shattered and was considering withdrawing when he got to Warakurna. Their determination is inspiring and heartwarming. I gave him a hug and encouragement. He said he was actually hallucinating in the middle of the night, that's how hard they are pushing themselves. I later heard he staggered on and finished the ride.

Camped up at 88 km for the day. In these conditions that was a good run. I thought I'd push it just as insurance in case the next two days are hot. I'm now only 45 km from my water cache. I pulled up at one of the drainage cut outs that the graders make and followed it to the end. It was a recent camel bedding site; looks like a group of six bedded down here last night. Built a campfire, but set up the tent instead of camping under the stars. Guess I'm still a bit wary about dingoes, and tonight maybe camels, too.

16-09-2017 Saturday
82 km
And an offer I couldn't refuse

Last night there was a massive falling star. It lasted quite a while and burnt bright yellow across the night sky, falling apart as it went. I slept well; no midnight camel visits. I had another early first light start to beat the heat: yesterday was warm, today is forecast hot.

Pedalling along around mid morning, a pair of grey nomads pulled up alongside me and made me an offer I couldn't refuse: asking if I'd be interested in a mid morning break, cool drink and mandarins? "Oh yes, please," was my reply. That's a first. They were a lovely couple and great to talk to.

I found my water cache no problems at the designated spot, sitting under a bush marked out with a rock arrow on the loop road into the rest area. There were also two mandarins. Gotta love the grey nomads, they have been good companions on this ride. I hid from the mid day sun under a tree, moving my camp chair as the sun tracked across the midday sky.

That evening I followed another road culvert to yet another great camel beddown site. Tonight I slept under the stars tentless, hanging my food bags from a tree. There were gentle tailwinds all day and the road seems to be improving. There are rumours it will continue to improve all the way to Limestone Well...we will see.

17-09-2017 Sunday
65 km
Warburton: Razor wire, sodium lights, screaming peacocks

Today's dilemma - camp short of or ride all the way into Warburton. There was an ugly headwind, it was flippin' hot, the countryside was uninspiring and there were no decent campsites. And it was my daughter's birthday... Ah, what the heck, I decided to ride into town, knowing that the town supermarket would be closed today and wouldn't open until after 0930 tomorrow. Officially, the township is closed to white tourists, but I know of several cyclists who have ridden in and re-provisioned from the supermarket without issue.

I finally got to see a herd of camels up close as they crossed the road ahead of me. More camel photos for Ken.

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It was a tough, but short day. I'm back in WA and the combination of hot headwinds and inconsiderate young WA male drivers in fancy new 4wds blowing past you at +120 kmph made for an ugly day.

The Warburton roadhouse has the only accommodation - dongas and campsites. The entire compound is fenced, topped with razor wire and they lock you in at night and the entire place is lit up bright with industrial grade yellow sodium security lighting. You can feel the love...

And, lord only knows why, there are about 40 peacocks wandering around. They wander about in packs honking their concern, sounding like old fashioned bicycle horns. Come evening, they roost everywhere and scream out in alarm throughout the night, as only peacocks can.

It is sooo depressing...

Monday and Tuesday are forecast for temperatures in the high 20s/low 30s. Then it gets ugly with high temperatures and big headwinds/crosswinds. My goal is to get as far south as I can before the desert blowdriers kick in.

I cleaned up, washed my clothes and prepared to leave early next morning, before the roadhouse or local supermarket opened. You can only take so much of a good thing...

And it's another 250 km to the next water/supply point.

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