• Start: Port Augusta
  • End: Monalena Lagoon Rest Area
  • Day distance: 100.1km
  • Total distance: 2699.91km
  • Average speed: 12.9km/hr
  • Pedalling time: 07:45
  • Total time: 09:30

I haven’t been sleeping well the last few nights and I’ve been waking up early. Not because of the places I have stayed, they have all been great, with comfy beds, warm duvets and real pillows. But because I can’t seem to get to sleep until after midnight each night, despite feeling like I could fall asleep as soon as I walk through the door. I had a cat called Cinnamon to keep me company on my bed last night, and he was 100 times nicer than his namesake!

It was an early start, so I was consistent with my 6 hours of sleep I have been getting each night. For me especially, that’s not enough, but I seem to be doing ok. We decided to leave early because of the wind. Dominik said it would be less windy in the morning and getting windier in the afternoon. Initially their plan was to do a 170km day to the next roadhouse, but thank god they changed their minds when they saw the forecast for 35kph winds! To start with I said I would try and do the 170km with them, but on those windy days to get to Port Augusta I knew there would be no chance of me making it. 

The forecast today was for more northerly wind, so another day of battling against the wind. I arranged to meet my Germans at 7:30am and we set off together for the long long road that is the Stuart Highway. It’s about 3000km long and runs right up the middle of Australia, from Port Augusta to Darwin. So this is it now. This is the only road for the next month!

The wind was pretty brutal to start off with so I don’t hold out much hope for the rest of the day. And like yesterday, despite the wind, it turned out to be a cracker of a day and I got too hot in my wind shirt so I was down to my long sleeve. It was about 22ºC today at its hottest, and to be honest that was hot enough! I’m fearing how hot it will start to get as we push north. 

I am carrying 4l of water, enough for today, I don’t need water for dinner, and enough to get me to the roadhouse tomorrow. The germans are earring 9.5l each!! I don’t think I could make my bike move if I had that much weight on it. But they are bigger than me, they drink more than me and they will cook tonight. 

The day was a struggle. The wind was relentless, even more so than yesterday which was reflected in my lowest average speed so far! There were a couple of very gradual climbs and the wind was so strong that I got no benefit from the very gradual downs. If the wind is like this the whole way it’s going to completely suck and its going to be a big mental battle to carry on. I hope they ease a bit. 

Within the first 10km the landscape started to change and it was already feeling a lot more like to outback. Big rocks, red sand, shrubs and miles and miles of nothing. 

At the first rest area there were a whole bunch of Grey Nomads. The guys were chatting to a couple when I finally rolled up. Telling our stories over and over again is going to be something we will have to get used to. 

There were plenty of road trains, loads of caravans, an average amount of road kill (a lot of variety today – kangaroo, sheep, foxes, birds and a cat) and a few freight trains. To keep my mind from losing its shit with the wind I listened to audiobooks. I needed something I could listen to without having to concentrate on, so I have downloaded all of the Harry Potter books! They will keep me going for a few days and as I know they story it doesn’t matter of my concentration lapses, which it does, frequently. 

I had to keep stopping today, I was fairly uncomfortable and just had the desire to keep getting off the bike. Stopping for a few minutes also provides a bit of relief from the wind, bit also gives you a false sense that the wind has eased up a bit because as soon as you start peddling the wind gets stronger again. Something to do with physics I guess. The further north we got and the later in the day it became we noticed an increase in flies. So while it was nice to stop to get of of the wind, it became unpleasant to stop because if the files. Which is worse? I can’t decide on that one. 

I began to dread seeing the sign ‘GRID’ because that meant cattle grid and if you go over them quickly they are ok, but slowly they are really hard and so rattly, it makes you feel like all your insides are being shaken. 

Finally, after what felt like forever, we found the rest area which was to be our home for the night. It’s really basic, as in there is nothing here, no water, no toilet, nothing but a few caravans hidden away in the bushes. We pitched our tents in the soft red sand that I’m sure will be ingrained in everything I own by the time I reach Darwin. The flies were pretty intense here so I launched all my stuff and myself into my tent and hid from them while I ate my left over lasagne that Jenny had packed me off with this morning!

The flies disappeared as the sun went down and it feels like one of the warmest nights I’ve had for a while. The stars are twinkling and I can see the Milky Way. The good thing about camping is I’ll probably be asleep well before midnight! 

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

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663 million people across the globe are living without access to clean, safe water. That’s 1 in 10 people. A child dies every 90 seconds from a water related disease. One third of the worlds population – 2.4 billion people – don’t have access to adequate sanitation.

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