Cycle Oz Day 74 – Tourist Trap

  • Start: Telegraph Memorial
  • End: Daley Waters Pub
  • Day distance: 77.5km
  • Total Distance: 4742.9km
  • Average Speed: 20.5km/hr
  • Pedalling time: 03:46
  • Total Time: 05:30

Today we had a goal to get to Daley Waters where the oldest pub on the Stuart highway is located. It was a maximum of 80km so we decide to get up super early and try to get there before midday. I slept with just my bug net again and I was able to keep my eyes open long enough to see the stars. I was restless during the night because I was worried about oversleeping, I heard some rustling from the boys tent and thought it was time to get up, but I was delighted to see it was only 12:30am. It turns out they had fallen asleep instantly and at 12:30 they had to get their sleeping bags out as it cooled off ever so slightly. 

We were aiming to leave at 6am. I’m not keen on getting up that early and I go into a bit of a machine mode so I was packed up in half an hour, ready and waiting for the boys at 5:38am. The boys are faffers and it was quite entertaining watching them pack up. As Simon moved he pannier he gave a little yelp, there was a MASSIVE spider. And I’m not exaggerating, it was huge, with thick hairy legs and a grey hairy body. Then I got paranoid about spiders in my shoes and on my bike. 

We set off just after 6am while it was still dark, we had our lights on obviously, and we could see traffic coming from miles away – the road trains are lit up like Christmas trees. We were lucky and we didn’t have a single car pass us, just a couple of oncoming ones which weren’t a problem. The temperature was heavenly. It was still only t-shirt weather but it was nice and cool, and our water was cool too. It was odd to start with because I expected my cockpit to light up like it does in a car, but of course it was all dark, and I found it unnerving to not know which gear I was in or what speed I was going. 

It didn’t take long for the sun to rise and in the dawn we saw a couple of kangaroos, alive and bouncing around across the road. We then saw a freshly killed one in the road and there were birds of prey all over it. The kangaroos are a lot smaller than we assume them to be, we have seen so many dead ones which are bloated with gasses (pre-explosion) that we thought there were a lot bigger than they are. 

We arrived at the first roadhouse at 7:15 and I had a chocolate milk and beans on toast. This time my beans on toast was reasonably priced and a reasonable portion compared to the last one. It was cool inside the roadhouse and I was starting to feel a bit chilly, going outside soon cured that feeling as the wall of heat hit me as I walked out the door. We didn’t hang around for too long because we wanted to beat the heat. 

Road sign and dead kangaroo. Typical scenery.

So we pedalled on and had a short break under a tree before arriving Daley Waters Pub at 11:30am and we were done for the day. That felt good! We had been hearing a lot about this historic pub, everyone talks about it as a must see place on the Stuart Highway, but to be honest I was a bit underwhelmed. It just felt like a tourist trap. It is just a tourist trap! I did read about it, it’s something to do with Mr Stuart, who found water here on his first exploratory trip into the outback. 

It’s one of those pubs that is covered in things, the walls are covered in pictures and currency and stickers and writing. There is stuff hanging from everywhere. One of those unique pubs that you find in a few places. We got big bottles of soda immediately upon arrival and the 1.25 litres barely touched the sides. 

We booked in to the campground but it was way too hot to pitch the tents so we dumped our stuff and headed straight over to the pool which we had been looking forward to for days. The pool was amazing, such a perfect temperature, and we were the only ones there. A little later on it got seriously busy, there were a lot of kids jumping in and out, diving and and bombing and I looked over enviously, trying to decide when you loose the will to do that. I was really hoping for an afternoon nap, but my leg tan became quite a talking point amongst the older folk. Are you one of the cyclists? they asked, and I asked them how they new. Chortle chortle. 

I dipped in and out of the pool, and as I was setting up my tent, now there was a tiny bit of shade, Max and Audrey arrived and set up theirs too. I tried to get a picture of his incredible bike but they don’t really do it justice. This man is heavily loaded. 

We headed over to the bar for happy hour and tried to talk to each other above the live music. Looking around I felt like I had crashed a Saga holiday, it was full to the rafters of Grey Nomads all tucking into their Beef and Barra (Aussie Surf and Turf) dinners. At $34 that was a little on the pricey side for us so we got burgers instead. It was an average burger and the one I had at Stuarts Well roadhouse keeps the crown for now. We couldn’t stand the second live act, he was about 90 and was singing something about bagpipes so we went back to the tents and chatted to Max and Audrey for the rest of the night. 

I didn’t even manage to have a shower, so I am now covered in a mixture of dust, sweat, salt, grime and now chlorine is in the mix too. A trip to the bathroom before bed showed me the full extent of my appearance!

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

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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