Day 1: Katherine to Mathison Rest Area - Katherine to Perth 2022 - CycleBlaze

July 19, 2022

Day 1: Katherine to Mathison Rest Area

After more than a year of dreaming, months of planning and a week of covid isolation, I finally got on my bike and started cycling. 

I wish I could spend more time with Megan and her crew, especially my new goddaughter. I’m sure she’d stop clamouring to go to mummy every time I hold her with a bit more time which would be much easier if her parents would just move to Brisbane already. 

But I’m also conscious of my three months ticking.

Gate side farewell from Megan’s
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S  I rolled off to Katherine town to finally take the western turn! 

I stopped to have a little squiz at the hot springs but you can’t see much from the top bank and the pop up cafe was closed which was most disappointing. 

I saw the Ghan (I think) from the overpass just out of town. I stopped to watch it go under but turns out it had stopped at the Katherine railway station so I could’ve been waiting a while. 

I’m still hacking up my lungs thanks to bloody covid although otherwise feel alright. There’s not a lot of rural residential on the western road so it was quickly into grassy scrubby savannah. The shoulder was not great but there weren’t too many instances where traffic was coming both ways. Cars scream by at 130kph but traffic is mostly caravans which go slower.

I made good time to the King West Rest Area where I cracked into the Sunday creek dried mango with gusto. It was a nice area but no water in the tank. 

About 10ks later I saw another cyclist coming the other way! He was riding a surly long haul trucker, and had ridden from Adelaide via the Oodnadatta Track, Tanami Track and Buntine Highway. He was also coeliac and hadn’t seen a real supermarket since Halls Creek. He was skinny, but not as skinny as I thought he should’ve been. He was very excited to get to Katherine. So, rest assured, folks, I was not the craziest person on this stretch of the Victoria Highway today. In fact, he made me feel over equipped and very tame. 

The Limestone rest area was a delightful lunch stop. I realised I’m carrying a lot of fruit to eat before the WA border, and a lot of water so I filled up my bottles from my bladders not the tanks. I also got offered water from a caravanner. 

I kept heading west at 1pm which wasn’t the greatest decision. It was very hot and a bit of a struggle although there were some bits of redone road that had really great shoulders. The country got a few more jump ups but there was only one good vista. It’s mostly either grassy savannah with eucalypts or maleleucas although I reckon I saw some box of some description. Botanist I am not. 

Given I have so much fruit I stopped for a pear in the shade on the side of the road around 3pm.

Road side stop
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Then I pedalled into Mathison rest area which is by far the worst of the three I’ve visited today. It’s very stony and the dump point stinks. 

I’m currently avoiding the extremely talkative grey nomads who are also here, giving myself the excuse that all the coughing has made me hoarse. Mostly I just don’t care to talk about caravan parks that much. They have again offered me water though which is nice. The lesson here I think is that I should rest in the shade in the middle of the day more because it’s been a long afternoon even arriving at 4, and the shade shelters are not effective as the sun sets.

Today's ride: 110 km (68 miles)
Total: 110 km (68 miles)

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Megan HolzwartI am finally catching up... bah to moving to Brisbane. You should move to Katherine
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