- Start: Spud’s Roadhouse, Pimba
- End: Glendambo
- Day distance: 113km
- Total distance: 2896.61km
- Average speed: 15.7km/hr
- Pedalling time: 07:10
- Total time: 08:40
It was a noisy night! Quite a few campers gathered in the little area where we had chosen to pitch our tents. The sound of their tyres on the gravel was loud, and throughout the night as the trains came through a bell went off for about a minute before they thundered past. Ding ding ding ding ding ding. I wish I had some earplugs with me, stuffing in a earphone in the exposed ear helped a bit.
I was worried about the water situation for the next 360km. Basically there isn’t any. We thought there was water at our next stop, Glendambo, but further research told me that the options are slimy bore water or buy it from the gas station. Gas station water is very expensive. I chose to buy a 1.5l bottle today so I had more carrying capacity and it was $5 (in a supermarket its 85cents). But, I was in need of another bottle so I bought it. I also bought breakfast, beans on toast for only $5, which is a reasonable price and more than enough money for what it is (I think I paid $12 for beans on toast in New South Wales). Basically – food cheap, water expensive.
My ailments are feeling better today. I’ve decided to go commando to reduce any rubbing from my underwear and my second head growth seems to be going down a bit (still not showing externally), but whatever is in it is leaking out the corner of my eye. Gross.
I set off a little before the boys in the hope of not getting too far behind. I got the first 40k done in 2 hours. I was cruising along. We were heading west and the wind was a slight tail wind I think. It was so nice. The sun was low and not too hot, the traffic was light and the road was flat. The shoulder has disappeared now though and I have to be a lot more careful about looking in the mirror. I like it when the road trains give a little toot when they’re behind you, it’s much more helpful than when they just roar past and make you wobble. I still find it amazing how many people don’t move all the way over into the other lane when the road is clear.
The first couple of hours went so quickly and I pulled into the Lake Hart rest area but the flies were too much for me and I took a quick snap of the lake, spoke to a couple who asked me if I was doing a cycle journey (I think the bike is probably a major clue!), and got out of there as quickly as I could. Just as I was leaving the boys arrived.
After another easy 20k we stopped at a truck stop to eat some lunch. It wasn’t a relaxing experience as there were hundreds of flies around. I managed to kill a lot of them with my spoon. Maybe it’s the shape or the colour, but they can’t see the spoon coming like they can a hand so it’s a 90% success rate. Only problem now is that my spoon is covered in fly guts.
Now it was starting to get really hot and they way the road went today meant the sun was constantly beating down on my right side. I had applied loads of suncream but I still felt like I was burning my face (and I thought to myself that humans should have evolved their noses so they don’t stick out so much and get burnt all the time). So it was time to cover up. I got my bandana out and tied it around my face to cover my nose and cheeks. It was a boy hot under there so rolling it up worked well. Did I care what I looked like? Of course not.
Then the thing I have been hoping would happen, happened for the first time today a guy pulled over and asked me if I wanted any water. Yes please! He filled up my two bottles for me and explained that his friend had also cycled across Australia so he knew how important water is. Many people won’t have experienced this feeling, but let me tell you, it’s terrifying not knowing where or when you will next be able to get water. 10 minutes later another man pulled up alongside me and had a little chat with me as I rolled along, he too offered me water.
I caught up with the boys who said they had turned the water offer down and were now regretting it! We only had 25km left for the day. And they were the hardest and worst 25km ever!
Firstly the wind had really picked up. It was now a really strong headwind and times I was struggling to achieve 8kph on the flat. Then some clouds gathered and it started to spit big drops of rain, at the same time as the sun was shining right in my face and I had a hill to climb. I thought I would never make it. I thought I would start to be blown backwards and I would just have to camp on the side of the road. The wind is so demoralising. I would have rathered a torrential rain storm and no wind, and I hate cycling in the rain, that’s how horrible the wind is.
That last 20km was so draining. It’s so tough battling against the wind. Not only is it hard to pedal, just having the wind blowing into your face the whole time is exhausting. All day we passed signs telling us how far left to Glendambo. I didn’t really get that 5km feeling today because I know that 5km was going to take a while at the pace I was going.
It was such a relief to make it there and to get out of the wind and to just get off the road for a while! There were so many dead things along the road today and some of the smells were just gross and they really got to the back of the throat. I must have seen a kangaroo in every single stage of decay, a lot of dead sheep and a dead emu. The only living thing I saw was a sheep, one single sheep. Plus whatever was living in one of the road trains that passed me and absolutely stunk of urine, that smell hung around for a while. There was one really pleasant smell today and it was in that last 20km when everything else was dire, it smelt like deep heat (a cream you run into sore muscles).
The food at the roadhouse was a bit pricey and as we had just paid $9 each to camp (thank goodness I’m with the boys otherwise a tent site just for me would have been $27), we decided to eat some of our own food. I wasn’t really that enthused about anything i was carrying but reluctantly ate some coconut rice with some ginger tuna, dried shallots and pickled ginger and it was actually delicious. I packed one of those microwaveable packets of rice which work well if you heat up a tiny bit of water and stir it around a bit it finishes cooking by absorbing the water. Heavier than uncooked rice but much quicker and uses less fuel.
Thankfully I remembered to wash the fly guts off my spoon (using spit and toilet paper) before plunging it into my rice.
I feel better today. Everything is still sore but less than yesterday so that’s an improvement.
I continue to raise money for Just A Drop – they bring sustainable clean water, sanitation and hygiene projects to communities around the world.
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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