Cycle Oz Day 56 – Water

  • Start: Marla Roadhouse
  • End: Marryat Creek North rest area
  • Day distance: 126.3km
  • Total distance: 3382.51km
  • Average speed: 20km/hr
  • Pedalling time: 06:18
  • Total time: 08:20

I was so warm list night I woke up in a hot sweat and had to dangle a leg over the edge of the mattress to cool down. I didn’t even mind getting out of bed at 2:30am to go for a wee, it was nice to cool down a bit. I was so tired but I struggled to sleep so I ended up listening to a few podcasts, I never heard the end of any of them though so I must have slept more than it felt like I had. 

We packed up and went to the shop to buy some water. It is kind of crazy that they don’t have drinking water at major stops like these (although I think they do, they just don’t give it out. I asked in the bar last night but they said even the staff have to buy their own drinking water. Surely that is against some kind of work standards law?). All of these roadhouses run on bore water, a lot of Australia uses bore water. Most of it has not been tested to see if it’s safe to drink. It comes from a big pool of water floating under Australia and they drill a hole to access it. It is suitable for showers and filling swimming pools and flushing toilets, but it contains unknown chemicals and often has a funny and sometimes salty taste. Some people say it’s ok if you boil it, but the boys used the bore water for their coffee this morning and said it tasted horrible and had floaty bits in. If we had to rely on it I would use my filter, but I don’t know if it is capable of filtering out chemicals. 

So all that to say, we bought 20 litres between us, at $10 for 10 litres and filled up our bottles. It was definitely the best decision for me, if the water tasted gross then I wouldn’t drink it and I would end up getting really dehydrated like I was yesterday. 

The day ended up being entirely opposite from yesterday. It was a lot cooler, with cloud covering the whole sky, and there was a southerly wind, a tail wind. It wasn’t blowing as strong as it was when it was coming from the north but we were going twice the speed we were when we started yesterday. It was nice to have a break from the sun, but I had my sunglasses out with the hope that it would clear up later. 

The boys were too fast for me today, they were flying along and I soon lost sight of them, but after 45km I found them sitting at a funny little rest area. We had done the 45km in 02:20 compared to )3:30 for the same distance the day before. The temperature had really cooled off significantly and I had to layer up to keep warm, which seemed crazy because yesterday I was seeking out the smallest patch of shade to escape from the heat of the sun. It had started to spit a little on the way and when we left the rest area it came down heavier and it stayed drizzling for the rest of the day. Thankfully it wasn’t heavy rain and it was manageable to cycle in, if not all that enjoyable. 

I tried to capture some of the road trains as they thundered past. A couple of them we animal transporting ones and as they passed and covered me in spray I felt like I had been covered in a fine mist of animal urine, which I probably had been, and the smell lingered for a while. 

Sometimes I could keep up with the boys and sometimes I couldn’t, mostly when we went up any sort of small incline they left me behind. I found them at the next rest area having lunch. The rest area was particularly gross with trash strewn everywhere, the bins were full and people obviously decided to just chuck on the floor what didn’t fit into the bin. Considering there area are mostly used by people with vehicles it astounds me that people feel the need to deposit their trash on the ground. Put it in a bag, put it back in your vehicle – the same way you transported it here – and dispose of it in an appropriate place, it’s really not that hard. The bin collection men came along while we were there and seemed pretty disgusted also. We thought they would just empty the bins but the made an effort to pick up some of the bigger stuff lying on the ground too. 

One of them also found a tail-less lizard and threw it on the table which made me shriek and jump up from my seat, which is ridiculous as I used to rescue lizards from the bottom of the pool and bring them back to life. Admittedly that was a very long time ago now and I seem to have grown into more of a pansy with age. 

It is nice to have a bit of moisture in the air because it means we don’t have permanent dry mouth, in fact we have drunk a lot less water than we have been doing.  

We let a couple of rain showers pass before moving on. We were in a much better position today, with 85km dome before 1pm. I was really worried the boys were going to suggest attempting the 170km to the next roadhouse but thankfully they weren’t keen on doing that either. With only 35km to go were going to be at the camp area pretty early, but that was more than ok with me, it would allow time to do things a bit more leisurely and get to sleep at a decent time. 

We cycled on as the rain continued on and off. When I made it to the destination from the day the boys were in conversation with some grey nomads, as usual. No treats today though! There were quite s few caravans there and nowhere to pitch a tent as the area was surrounded by a fence. After a little discussion we decided to go another 7km to another rest area and take our chances there. This time I made sure I kept up with them, I was quite an effort and a couple of times I just felt like giving up and letting them get away but I stuck with them. 

It wasn’t a great area but we managed to roll our bikes through some sand and find a secluded and sheltered spot. Just as I said ‘at least it’s not raining while we are putting our tents up’, it started to rain. I threw all my stuff inside and layered up as quickly as possible. It was cold, so much colder than the night before. I ate my dinner of pasta and red curry tuna which was absolutely disgusting, but I was hungry so I ate most of it, and listened to the rain fall on the tent. 

We saw our first Australian spiders this afternoon, Simon found about three on his tent as he was pitching it. I’m making sure everything is zipped up properly tonight!

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

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.

If you have enjoyed this blog, please consider donating a few…pounds / dollars / euros / yen… and together we can change lives.

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