- Start: Devils Marbles Campground
- End: Tennant Creek
- Day distance: 105km
- Total distance: 4342km
- Average speed: 21.2km/hr
- Pedalling time: 04:54
- Total time: 06:00
For such a busy campground it was really quiet and I got a good nights sleep finally! We didn’t see our van friends before we left, we got going at 7:30am and their usual breakfast time is about 10:30 they said.
The goal for today was to get to Tennant Creek and have a pizza. So we rolled out 50km fairly easily before finding a lone tree creating a tiny patch of shade, the only patch of shade for a long way, so we could have a break. Now the flies were horrific today, there were about 15 on you at any one time. And they were also on you while you were cycling, getting all up in your face, behind your glasses and in your ears. Beyond irritating. So when we sat to have a break it wasn’t exactly relaxing. As we cycled I could see big groups of flies sat on the boys t-shirts, attracted my the sweat and salt and smell probably. I knew I probably had the same on me too but tried not to think about it.
A little while later we saw the couple on recumbent bikes we had been hearing about. We stopped to chat to them, a really nice French couple called Bruno and ….., they try to spend 4-6 months of the year cycling about and the rest of the year in France. They didn’t seem at all bothered by the flies but they were the worst they have ever been in Australia so far. I’m not sure how I feel about the recumbent bikes. They look pretty comfy, but they also look really hard to balance and I’m not sure how it would feel being so low to the ground. I guess you just get used to it.
With only 8km to go we took another break which I was grateful for because I was starting to feel really funny. My stomach felt completely empty and I was trying to sip water to keep the hunger at bay but I could feel the water travelling down my throat and swishing around my stomach. When we found another tree to sit under I demolished half a packet of biscuits and felt a tiny bit better. Really, the only thing that was going to make me feel any better was a cold drink.
So, although we didn’t want to move, we want to sit amongst the flies even less so we dragged ourselves the last 8k to town and went straight to the supermarket to get a giant bottle of soda. We had got to town reasonably early, around 2pm, over 100km done by 2pm, I never thought that would be possible when I first started out on this journey. We sat on the street for a while, cooling down and looking up places to stay and places to eat on our phones.
We went over to the caravan park and pitched our tents. Seeing as the pizza shop didn’t open until 5pm, there was time for a shower before eating (highly unusual behaviour). After 5 days the shower was much needed and so good, it was so nice to get rid of all the dead hair and the dead skin. I examined my feet for the first time in a while and they really are disgusting. They haven’t seen the light of day for so so long, and they have been cooped up in these horrible stinky trainers (although the trainers do have excellent ventilation in the form of two very large holes in each shoe). My nails are so weak and brittle, discoloured from all the dust, and my skin is peeling off in chunks, gross. I need to spend some time on the beach and in the sea to give them a good exfoliation.
As soon as I got out of the shower I started immediately sweating again. A lady came and spoke to me about my trip and she was then joined by a man, and they were asking all the usual questions. They also asked me if I was doing it for charity – which of course I am – and he gave me a $20 donation! That was just the beginning of their kindness as they invited us over to their caravan for a beer. Wendy is Bevan’s mother-in-law and we met their partners, Jack and Tanya, and their kids as we joined them for nibbles and nice conversation. It’s easy to talk to people who are genuinely interested and admire what you’re doing, rather than people who suggest you need an engine.
We left them to their dinner as it was just getting dark and we went out in search of pizza. Now Tennant Creek is not a great place, it’s probably the worst ‘town’ we have been in so far. Everything looks closed, or even closed down, because everything has bars and shutters on, it’s definitely not a place I would feel comfortable walking around by myself in the dark. There are a lot of homeless people and a lot of locals hanging around on street corners. We went to the pizza place and it was shut!! Disaster. We had checked and google had let us down. Not only was the pizza place closed, so was everything else. I had been feeling fairly full from the nibbles and the beer, but now food was unattainable suddenly I was really hungry. We saw a Chinese restaurant and went inside to look, but it wasn’t that appealing and there seemed to be a long wait, so we walked up the road to a petrol station where there was a Red Rooster. This, it turns out, is a version of KFC, but worse – if that’s possible. The hanger was setting in and we settled the decision with a coin toss. Red Rooster won and we ate some terrible food there and left feeling a bit sick and vowing never to go to one of those ‘restaurants’ again.
Back at the camp ground our luck took a turn for the better as Bevan greeted us with freshly baked chocolate brownies, still warm from the oven! So good! We put in our tea and coffee orders for the morning and said goodnight.
Before going out in search of food we had put some laundry on, not worrying about it drying overnight because its still like 20ºC at 9pm.
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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