Day 7: Lake Argyle to Kununurra - Katherine to Perth 2022 - CycleBlaze

July 27, 2022

Day 7: Lake Argyle to Kununurra

I set my alarm for 4am, with the aim being to be riding at first light. It was still intensely dark and I’m sorry to all the other campers at Lake Argyle who I woke up. It was light enough from the lights scattered around to not need a head torch so as I came back from the bathroom, I could hear a trickling sound and only realised as I was about one metre away and he turned around that’s some guy was having a piss outside his camper trailer. I guess he also thought it was light enough not to need a head torch. 

I had made myself a peanut butter wrap last night which I might start doing more often as it’s a lot quicker than porridge. I packed up and went up to the bathroom block to finalise preparations. As I was standing outside eating said wrap, a bunch of the people on an Intrepid tour bus starting turning up to shower. They must’ve had a 5am wake up. The bus looked like a shorter version of the one we went on from Victoria Falls to Cape Town, but this tour mustn’t have had an upper age limit. I saw a string of lights, with one leading in front that looked like Santa’s sleigh but a guy from the tour said it was Elon Musk’s starlink. I left at 5:10, as it was just getting light. It was cool in the valleys and much easier than the ride in on Saturday. 

Lovely dawn colours. Turns out this is an overflow, connecting back to the Ord downstream which explains why it was flowing away from the dam
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There was very little traffic on the road and I was making reasonable time. The people I’d talked to last night in the troopie, who said they were leaving at 6, didn’t pass me til nearly 7, by which time I was almost back to the highway. The hills that I remember coming down were not actually that steep, I must’ve just been tired Saturday. 

The highway back into Kununurra had nice views of mountains, made even nicer by the fact that the road didn’t go over them. Instead it cut across a long plain. I was making good time but got a bit worried when I thought I should be 10k out but there was no sign of civilisation, no 10k road sign and increasing smoke haze. Then I turned a corner and found powerlines, subdivision and a 5k to Kununurra sign, the 10k sign was just missing. 

The smoke haze made Kununurra seem very frontier town-like, but there was a good accessible cafe with tables outside. 

I called Chris from omafiets over coffee and immediately launched into my tale of woe about the rim, which wasn’t super polite given it’s the first time I’ve spoken to him in years but he took it well, and said he would call some shops he knew in Darwin. 

Turns out the only bike mechanic in Kununurra has covid this week, although the shop said I could borrow tools if I get a wheel before then. 

I checked into the backpackers and then went to try and find my food parcel, but the lady told me she couldn’t do anything without the tracking number, and I have no idea where I put that. 

I retreated in defeat to another cafe where I had both a smoothie and a coffee. It was much better coffee than the first so that was an upside. But then Chris messaged that he couldn’t find any wheels in darwin, I spoke to the bike shop in Broome that didn’t have any and the shop Chris recommended in Perth is closed on mondays. I did manage to get hold of a couple of other shops in Perth that have potentially compatible wheels, although of other brands that I don’t recognise. I spoke again to another guy at Omafiets who said he would look into what other wheels they have given my bad experience with the Hunt wheels. 

When I got back to the hostel, I put in my Optus sim and had a message that my parcel was awaiting collection in a locker in Kununurra. I think this was purely coincidence and not a great sign of how long it takes to get things here cause I sent it from Brisbane more than two weeks ago. 

I went back into town to meet Katrina and ran into a guy bikepacking on a surly ogre (my old bike). He helpfully confirmed my rim was rooted. He has been cycling around the world for five years but hates riding on roads so is catching the bus to Katherine. He’s just come off the Tanami Track and did the Gibb earlier this year. He seemed lovely but is also basically my cautionary tale of what happens when you cycle too long and can’t function in normal society, or even on main roads. 

The ice cream shop I was going to meet Katrina at was closed as there was no ice cream. Slim Dusty should write a song about that. Her three year old Georgie was very upset. Her older two daughters were at dance class. So we just had a chat in the park which was interesting to hear about their farm and life in Kununurra. I went all out with Brie, hummus, crackers and beer for dinner!

 Not a super productive or photogenic day but am at least safely in Kununurra.

Today's ride: 70 km (43 miles)
Total: 595 km (369 miles)

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