- Start: Mount Stuart Reserve rest area
- End: Taylor Creek rest area
- Day distance: 108km
- Total distance: 4157.91km
- Average speed: 20.2km/hr
- Pedalling time: 05:16
- Total time: 08:15
I was asleep fairly early around 9pm having struggled to keep my eyes open to read any of my book. I woke up when a bunch of road trains passed by around 4:30am I drifted off back to sleep but had some really vivid dreams. I woke myself up because I was laughing out loud, dreaming that I was being tickled. Then I rolled off the edge of my thermarest as I dreamt I was rolling off a cliff. Then I dreamt that Priscilla had lumps all over her tyres – and they are only the bits that I can remember. I woke up feeling quite exhausted.
It’s a challenge in the evenings to muster the energy to chat to the Grey Nomads and repeat our story over and over again, but it’s even more of a challenge making conversation with them at 7 in the morning. No I don’t want a lift, no I don’t need to add a motor to my bike, and yes, I know you’ll get to Darwin before we will.
It was a cool morning and I was trying to make the most of it, knowing that it would soon be too hot. We bashed out 68km to the next roadhouse pretty much in one go. We had to stop a couple of times because Priscilla was making a funny squeak. I spent a while trying to figure out where the noise was coming from but it was impossible. When I turned my head to the left I couldn’t hear it and when I stopped peddling it was still there. I rode along next to Simon to check whether he could hear it too or if I was just going mad. He could hear it, so Dominik took a look, adjusted the front breaks, moved the position of the speedo and checked the spokes. The problem was that the noise didn’t seem to relate to anything, not the motion of the wheel or going over a lump, it was just a rhythmic zzzzpp, zzzzpp, zzzzpp, about every 1-2 seconds. Mostly it was just really irritating! It stopped for a while but then came back. We readjusted the breaks again and the cycle continued. We were doing really well and travelling about 24kph until the last 10k to the roadhouse when the wind changed and stared blowing in our faces just as we had a few hills to climb.
It was a struggle but eventually we got to Barrow Creek historic roadhouse. It didn’t look like much but when I walked in I gasped, there was stuff everywhere, covering the walls. Writing, money, pictures, just so much stuff! I treated myself to a big can of Sprite, I have hardly drunk any soda on this trip so far. The air is really dry today and its impossible to get any moisture in your mouth.
We sat for a while, escaping the heat and putting off moving on. We put Priscilla on her back to take a more thorough look at her but we still couldn’t pin down where the noise was coming from as it wasn’t making any noise when wasn’t riding her. There were so many people hanging around, all feeling the need to come and talk to us, it was too hot to entertain there people and answer their stupid questions. Are you doing some bike maintenance? No, we just thought we would turn the bike upside down for fun!
There were lots of Aboriginals sat around drinking beer. I’ve heard alcoholism is a big problem amongst their community, but this is the first time I have really witnessed it. Our original plan had us camping here but I’m glad we are moving on. It had a bit of a weird feel to it.
We only had 40k to go, but it was a struggle to find the get up and go to get up and go. I felt like I could barely keep my eyes open, but once we got moving, and I had eaten half a bag of jelly babies I was ok. There was lots of honking and waving from people today, and one car even slowed down to record us on their phone. It was ridiculous, they didn’t even acknowledge us or say anything to us, it just felt a bit rude.
It was still pretty windy and at times I felt like the pace was too fast but I managed to cling on and keep up, made easier when I tucked myself in to the left of the boys and kept out of the wind! We got to the rest area at 4pm and I was so happy to stop for the day even though it was still early. In that last hour the sun felt really strong so I was pleased too get out of it and sit in the shade for a while. A tip for anyone hoping to do some cycle touring in their lives – develop some back muscles, and maybe a core, it will help a lot. My back doest necessarily hurt, but it’s a challenge to keep it straight and upright all day. Generally I have pretty bad posture, I slouch and I carry my shoulders up around my ears, but I think developing back muscles would help the situation a bit. I might look in to getting some aero bars, because I’m increasing feeling the need to be lower and more bent over.
This place is heaving with Grey Nomads, I counted 13 caravans. Thankfully no one was that interested in us so we were able to relax and eat in relative peace. I treated myself to two packets of noodles for dinner! Right next to us were a bunch of cows being herded by an incredibly noisy and extremely dusty method of helicopter. They spent around an hour flying about and it seems all they succeeded in doing was returning the cows to the same place they started in and making them very vocal. They are so loud, even now the sun has gone down.
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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