Cycle Oz Day 76 – Cycle a bit, float a bit

  • Start: Gorrie WWII airfield
  • End: Bitter Springs, Mataranka
  • Day distance: 68.6km
  • Total Distance: 4914.2km
  • Average Speed: 23.3km/hr
  • Pedalling time: 02:56
  • Total Time: 05:00

It wasn’t difficult to get up early this morning because the stabbing pains in my stomach got me up and out of my tent. I was hoping things would be better this morning, but it wasn’t so. The ground was still super hot, and my water wasn’t much better. I was worried about getting dehydrated, especially with my stomach issues, but I just hoped for the best. We set off at 7am to beat some of the heat, but not so early we were cycling in the dark. 

Dominik set an impressive pace, and at times I thought I wasn’t going to be able to keep up, but I stuck with them. We took a super quick break at a rest stop and carried on to Mataranka, arriving nice and early at around 10:30am. I saw a little Kangaroo hopping about on the road this morning, but unfortunately there were many more dead ones. Not as many as yesterday though, there must have been at least one for every kilometre yesterday, and they stink real bad. 

Mataranka is one of the biggest ‘towns’ we have come across since Alice Springs, there was a roadhouse and a shop! I chatted to some people outside who told me they had seen an Italian guy a couple of hundred kilometres back and he has been trying to catch up to us. Word spreads down the road just like it does on a trail.

We bought some food from the shop, it was all very expensive so I bought 2 litres of orange and mango drink, reduced to $2 and a bag of crisps. We sat in the shade of The Mound (a giant termite mound) and rested there for a bit before moving on to cycle the last 3km of the day down to Bitter Springs campground. 

There are 2 options in Mataranka, the thermal pool, which we heard is a concrete pool full to bursting with Grey Nomads, or Bitter Springs, which is a natural lazy river, not quite so full of Grey Nomads. So we chose the second option. 

It is a touristy spot so you pay for the privilege, and this is one of the benefits of travelling with other people. As a single person I would have had to pay $20 to camp, but as there are 3 of us it cost $13 each. We found a camping spot, hired a noodle and walked down to the river. 

It was perfect! Yeah there were quite a few people there, but the river is about 200m long, with a fairly strong current, and then you get out and walk about 100m, get back in and float down again. We must have gone round about 10 times. The water was about 32ºC and really clear. The noodles are essential for a relaxing float with zero physical effort. 

We saw a few birds, a little turtle, a giant spider and Dominik saw a snake in a palm tree. Eventually my hands became so wrinkly they were painful, and my stomach was staring to make some stabbing pains so we went back to the campground to relax. 

I caught up on the last 4 days of blog posts in the shade, while we fielded questions from several sets of Grey Nomads. One guy said ‘haven’t you heard of a car?’. This statement that is uttered often by people who think they are being hilariously funny is the statement that pisses me off more than any other. I find it really rude. 

I went to have a shower and my stomach was still really unsettled, I was also a bit sunburnt on my shoulders from the float down the river, and it was still just really hot, so I wasn’t sure which thing was making me sweat the most. Not a great combination of things to have.

I couldn’t face noodles tonight so I made some pasta that I had been carrying since Port Augusta, it was passable as fuel but it certainly wasn’t delicious. There were a bunch of people there cooking their dinners, barbecuing meat, chopping salad and vegetables, talking loudly about making sandwiches and the food that I don’t have. It wasn’t our lucky night as we didn’t get offered anything, but we got asked a lot about what we eat and how we must look forward to eating a good meal! Torture. 

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

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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