Cycle Oz Day 57 – welcome to the Northern Territory 

  • Start: Marryat Creek North rest area
  • End: Erldunda Roadhouse
  • Day distance: 125km
  • Total distance: 3633.81km
  • Average speed: 18.9km/hr
  • Pedalling time: 06:34
  • Total time: 08:20

I tried to read a bit last night given that we were in our tents so early, but I managed about 3 pages and then I was asleep around 8pm I think. I have totally gotten over that weird little phobia phase where I didn’t want to camp. I actually look forward to pitching my tent and making my little nest inside it now. I much prefer it when we are camped at a random spot in the middle of nowhere with no one else around. I find some of the roadhouses a bit smelly / noisy / bright.

I slept so well! I only woke once and I saw the time was 2:30am and did a little dance inside when I realised I had so much more sleeping time left. I was a perfect temperature, so cosy in my sleeping bag, although my toes were a little cold. When morning came I realised why they were cold, my tent was covered in ice. All the rain we had yesterday evening had frozen overnight. Man it was cold! We moved our tents into a patch of sun to dry them a little, the sun wasn’t strong enough to dry them completely and we had frozen fingers as we were trying to pack up. It was nearly 9 by the time we got going for the day. I was hot stood in the sun in my layers but was soon grateful for them when I started cycling and the wind froze everything again. I had to stop and put my buff over my ears to warm them up. 

It was back to clear skies today, yesterday was so random, and with a tail wind it didn’t take long to do the 30km to the South Australia / Northern Territory border. We did the obligatory photo shoot and just after we arrived a big tour group came along. The tour leader was so annoying, he was a joke-a-minute man, to the point where even his group seemed to find him tiresome. We decided that the car hire route to Uluru was looking more appealing than getting on a tour bus and felt thankful that we had chosen to travel by bike. 

Next stop was the Kulgera Roadhouse where we stopped for lunch. We had average cheeseburgers and tried to find the motivation to carry on. The wind had started to make a turn to the east and was creeping around to the north so we weren’t that enthused about getting back out there. 

A group of people started to talk to us as we were leaving, asking us the same old questions. I get a bit tired of this sometimes, you can’t stop anywhere without people speaking to you. It’s nice that people are speaking, don’t get me wrong, I prefer it that way than stony silence, but sometimes it’s a bit much. Sometimes I would just like to arrive somewhere and not have to explain to someone what I am doing and why I am doing it. Sometimes when there are lots of people they just point and stare and talk about us amongst themselves, it feels like we are one of the tourist attractions, I am so glad I’m not famous, I think it would be horrible!

This time the guy said, “I’ll tie you to the back of the car and we can pull you along, you’ll be in Darwin in a couple of days”. Comments like this piss me off sometimes too. I don’t want to go faster, I am actually finding this enjoyable and the sense of achievement I will fell at the end will feel amazing, but it is sadly beyond some peoples comprehension. 

We eventually moved and we still had 75km to go. It was an odd ride because the wind kept changing direction. One moment I was moving along nicely at 30kph and then I was barely able to hit 12kph. There were a few idiots about today who didn’t care to move over and give any room but on the whole it was quite quiet on the road. One very nice man pulled over and gave us bottles of cold water. I guzzled it down and he took the empty bottle away with him. He said he drives this road often for work and always stops for cyclists. There are more people doing this ride than you think, and some people even attempt it in summer, now that is crazy. The surface can be quite rough a lot of the time but today I found that there was a nice smooth bit where the tyres of the trucks and cars wear it down and it was so nice to ride on. You go a lot quicker on that bit, but you have to watch the mirror more because you a further out into the road. 

We made it to the roadhouse and pitched our tents in the hope that they would dry in the wind. No-one was interested in eating their own food so we went to the restaurant and the boys had bangers and mash and I had a chicken burger and chips (yes, my second burger of the day!)

Dominik didn’t sleep well last night and we have heard there are northerly winds forecast for tomorrow so there has been a discussion about possibly taking the day off tomorrow. The last 7 days of cycling have all been over 100km, which is crazy because after my first 100+ day I thought I would never be able to do over 100 again. I feel like I’ve come a really long way from the beginning where 50km was a big day, and I’ve gone from carrying 1 litre of water to 7 litres. I must be getting stronger. 

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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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