- Start: Kame’s Campground
- End: Bridge Creek
- Day distance: 126km
- Total Distance: 5228.6km
- Average Speed: 23km/hr
- Pedalling time: 05:27
- Total Time: 11:00
There was a family camped next to us and they shut up finally after a few rounds of ‘this little piggy’ and I drifted off into a fitful sleep full of dreams I didn’t want to have. They boys alarm went off at 4:50am which was way too early and meant that I was now also awake with no hope of going back to sleep. Not the greatest start to the day.
We planned our last day over 100km today so we decided to get an early start and were away just before 6:30am. We didn’t beat the heat because it was already hot. There were some hills and I just couldn’t keep up. I wasn’t going slowly, I was still managing 20kph up the hills, but the boys must have eaten rocket fuel for breakfast (they ate pancakes and chocolate spread) because they were off like, well, rockets. They slowed down to wait for me to catch up and as soon as I had they were off again. Even on the downhills I just couldn’t catch them. I wasn’t too worried as we would end up in the same place eventually, but I didn’t want them to feel like I was slowing them down. In my head I was having a complete strop. In my head I was stopping and throwing the bike down and sitting in the dirt and sulking.
The shoddy sleep wasn’t helping matters, and I was thinking a lot about how this trip is nearly over. I had huge doubts that I would make in to Darwin in those first couple of weeks on the bike but now here I am only 2 days away from Darwin. It’s one of those moments where you don’t want it to stop, but at the same time you can’t wait to get away from the heat and the bugs.
We carried on in the same fashion, me falling behind in the hills and then catching up for 50km until we reached the first stop of the day, Pine Creek. There was a little shop there where we bought cold drinks, a chocolate milk for me, and I asked the man in the shop if the Springs Rolls were vegetarian. “I don’t know” he said, staring at me with a blank expression. “Well, do you think you could find out then?” I asked, not unreasonably. For an old man he did a great impression of a sulky teenager and went to ask someone who obviously didn’t know either. I’m not a vegetarian but I wanted a vegetarian spring roll, I didn’t buy one because when the staff haven’t even tried the food they sell that’s not a good sign. There were two huge mango trees in the park but the mangos weren’t ripe. Dominik used his long arms to pick a few anyway and he said they were sour mangos that they had eaten before in Asia.
We stayed there a little while before carrying on 30km to the next stop, Emerald Springs pub, where I had a soda and an ice cream. We only stayed there about half an hour as we decided we would rather push on to the next stop and see if they had chips for sale because all the food here was a bit fancy.
Just 20km later, and after a great downhill where we got about 50kph for the first time in a long time, we were at Hayes Creek Roadhouse. 100km done by 1:30pm, an average speed of 23kph and I still couldn’t keep up with the boys! And what a great roadhouse it was. Firstly we got not just chips, but chips and gravy, and they had chicken salt on them, they were so good. A small portion cost me $4 and was larger than some large portions that we had got elsewhere. It’s just potatoes, chips should not be expensive and they should be plentiful! Secondly the man let my put my water into the ice cream freezer to cool it down so I had some nice cool water to drink. And thirdly, they let us go into the kitchen and fill our water bottles from the filtered water tap. We hung out there for three hours, snoozing and doing some boring chores like booking accommodation in Darwin.
We set of at 4:30 to do the last 26km to the camp area and this time I was just about able to keep up with the boys, there were some downhills mixed into the uphills. I refuse to pedal if I am going more than 35kph. On the downhills I seem to go faster than the boys do as I am freewheeling and they are still peddling and I am having to brake to stop myself going into the back of them. Now, I was never that interested in Physics at school, mainly because I wasn’t very good at it, but their bikes are considerably heavier than mine and I thought that would make them go faster, but it seems to be the other way round.
The road had become a lot more curvy and there a lot more blind corners and crests of hills that the road trains can’t see beyond, so they have been beeping more than usual today and we have had to move off the road a few times to let them past. But at least they honk rather than just try and squeeze by, I have been a bit spoilt lately with them moving all the way over and you forget how much air disturbance they create when they pass close.
We rolled into the camp area at 5:30, still heaps of time to eat and set up while it was still light, there were a few grey nomads already there (they like to have their camps set up before midday), and a lady came over and gave us a soda each. Yes!
The flies weren’t nearly as bad as they were yesterday and I was able to eat dinner outside my tent. We tried the sour mango and they were definitely sour! Not something I could eat a lot off. Eventually the desire to lie down was overwhelming and we retired to our tents, ready for our penultimate day tomorrow.
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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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