AUSTRALIA Page 4 - Western Australia - November 2006.

Australia, the adopted homeland of both Mal and Lee. The only continent under one government and the country we both love. The picture above is the “skyline” of our city, you can click on the picture to get a larger image. Perth is one of the most isolated regional capital cities in the world. There are so many things to say about our country that I simply do not know where to begin...


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Credits to those who helped, will now appear in a separate section.

Thursday November 16th 2006 Bush camp 30k's from Esperance to “Seafront Caravan Park” Esperance .
Approx.
29.52k's Average Speed 10.65kph Cycling time 2Hr(s) 50Min. Max speed. 31kph Max temp we recorded °C
Terrain:
Hilly Road Conditions: Fair - Slight head/side wind.. Overnight Accommodation: $0.00. Standard )

As expected we did not make Esperance last night, however it was a leisurely ride into town on mainly flat roads. Esperance is a pretty town with good facilities. We called in the GPO to pick up our mail. Thanks Glen for sending the Rohloff stuff... The ride was uneventful and we landed there with 1.5 litres of water to spare. Had some luck today... After we got to the camping site, no sooner had we got the tent up the rain came... Just a light shower.... But there's more .. We did our shopping and bought some gear for the bikes.. Chain lube - a new Flag for Lee's bike.. and other bit's we needed. We did some food shopping, and as has become the custom, we get loads of fresh produce, veggies fruit and the like.. On the road our meals are lightweight, dehydrated mainly and whilst nutritious enough, the fresh is always best Anyhow, back to the weather, just as we finished shopping it started raining.. We cycled back as fast as we could.... Got a little damp but not too much... We cooked our meal of meat and salads.. Then the heavens opened - it threw everything at us, Thunder, Lightening, Hail – HUGE balls of ice and rain like I have never seen The picture displayed here does not do justice – It reminded me of a blizzard back in England in my youth... Unbelievable.. Literally turned day to night. The white spots you see on the picture is hail... and the ground is covered in what looks like a blanket of snow.



We will let you know more about Esperance tomorrow.... Goodnight.

Friday November 17th 2006 Seafront Caravan Park (17-11-2006)
REST DAY

Full service on the bikes today, Rohloff hubs had their first service at the 1,000 k (Actual K's about1300 to1400) mark. All went well and we look forward to the next service at 5000k.



We will post back some gear today that is not being used enough to warrant carrying. This should trim down our load and make it easier to pull/carry.

Saturday November 18th 2006 “Seafront Caravan Park” Esperance to Bush Camp 10 k's north of Gibson Soak.
Approx.
31.85k's Average Speed 10.41kph Cycling time 2Hr(s) 51Min. Max speed. 38kph Max temp we recorded °C
Terrain:
Hilly Road Conditions: Fair - Slight head/side wind.. Overnight Accommodation: $0.00. Standard )

Could not get away this morning. A strap broke on the “Top Pannier” which had to be fixed. Then the Solar system needed repairs. Unreal after we went right over our gear the day before – what's that about “Sod's Law”... We made the best of the extra time by washing everything we had slept in, the towels we had used that morning, etc.. Lee cooked a monster brunch whilst I effected repairs.... We had intended uploading our site this morning at 7am... It was about 1pm when we finally logged on. Help from fellow travellers with needles and “advice” :-) was helpful.



We finally began peddling at the late hour of 2pm... and covered a respectable distance before setting up camp.. Not much of interest during the ride... Fun NOT to have a headwind... Catchya tomorrow

Sunday November 19th 2006 Bush Camp 10 k's north of Gibson Soak to Salmon Gums.
Approx.
74.27k's Average Speed 10.67kph Cycling time 6Hr(s) 57Min. Max speed. 30kph Max temp we recorded 38°C
Terrain:
Flat Road Conditions: Fair - Slight head/side wind.. Overnight Accommodation: $0.00. Standard )

Not a good day for cycling, very hot. By midday the temp was 38º C and getting hotter... We stopped salmon flats for some cold lemon squash and a bite to eat... Spent about an hour there cooling down. We hit the road again and at about 2pm Lee started vomiting and feeling generally unwell.. She had the symptoms of heatstroke so I tipped a litre of water over her and she cooled in the wind. Naturally I was very concerned and wanted to turn back to the last town and book into the hotel. Lee is a tough character and refused point blank to backtrack. It was about 30k's to Salmon Gums and she wanted to go there. I reluctantly agreed and set some limits on speed to which she agreed. We took it real easy peddling to Salmon Gums. I wanted to check out the local hotel but Lee said no. So we pitched tent in the Community C/van Park.



These are not uncommon around Australia and use an “honour” system to collect payment . They are basic but have power, fresh water and hot showers. We had dinner of Tom Yam soup with fish and rice and a few fresh veggies we had left. I will certainly watch Lee closely tonight and tomorrow

Monday November 20th 2006 Salmon Gums to Bush Camp about 30 k's from Norseman.
Approx.
71.99k's Average Speed 13.08kph Cycling time 5Hr(s) 30Min. Max speed. 34kph Max temp we recorded °C
Terrain:
Flat Road Conditions: Fair - Tailwind.. Overnight Accommodation: $0.00. Standard )

Just a little on the route Esperance to Norseman. It really is a cyclists dream ride... There are virtually no hills and it is only slightly undulating.. Had we got a tailwind all the way – not uncommon – we would have made terrific time... Today was our highest “average” speed so far on the whole trip... There were times we were sitting on 25-28kph for extended periods... and of course some times when 6kph was the norm. We left the farming country about 30k's or so north of Salmon Gums... Lots of evidence of “brumby” activity (Brumby = wild horse) Some Caravan'ers we had met in Esperance stopped and offered water. They have also offered a room and “tucker” in their home. They live in Coffs Harbour NSW.



We will get to Norseman tomorrow – weather etc.. permitting. We may have mail from Gary/Pam. Lee ate her last “chilli” which our friend Glen sent us in Esperance.... “Wait”! now she tells me she has one left..... We had a nice meal of Tom Yam Neur (Neur = Beef) with brown and white rice mixed. Plus the last of our fresh stuff Carrots and Lime leaves. It's tough in the bush :-)

Tuesday November 21st 2006 Bush Camp about 30 k's from Norseman to Norseman.
Approx.
29.82k's Average Speed 11.90kph Cycling time 2Hr(s) 30Min. Max speed. 33kph Max temp we recorded °C
Terrain:
Flat Road Conditions: Fair - Tailwind.. Overnight Accommodation: $0.00. Standard )

Reached Norseman just after 09:30am.



Met up with Andrew and Joanne Hooker see http://www.where2pedalto.com These (amongst others) are the people that inspired me/us to do this... We exchanged ideas and tales and swapped knowledge. Tomorrow is our scheduled rest day. Andrew and Joanne suggested we travel together across the Nullarbor. We agreed, makes good sense to combine resources as you can never underestimate this desolate road. Had a walk around Norseman, found it had come quite a way in the last few years.. Pleasant town with many amenities. Called my daughter Pam and found out our parcel has been sent – we should get tomorrow. The next leg of our journey brings into play all our planning. We have about 35 litre water capacity on both bikes combined... Normal usage would be 21 litres for three days (Between us) Heavy usage has been up to ten litres per day. We have a three day trip between “water”. Whilst we have surplus capacity we will exercise all caution. Lee is planning the food and we will stock up tomorrow... We generally take high density food with high calories and low weight. We expend considerable energy whilst cycling and we need to cover, at least, 67 kilometres per day, regardless of weather. Strong Headwinds will simply make our days that much harder. At this point in time we do not know when we will be able to email or update our site after we commence our “Nullarbor” leg of the journey. We will however phone family when we can.

Wednesday November 22nd 2006 Norseman Rest Day.
Approx.
k's Average Speed kph Cycling time Hr(s) Min. Max speed. kph Max temp we recorded °C
Terrain:
Flat Road Conditions: F Overnight Accommodation: $0.00. Standard )

Checked the bikes and stocked up on provisions. Put fresh water in all our containers. Generally relaxed for the day.




START OF THE NULLARBOR

Not the real part, which is only about 300 k's – but the part Norseman to Ceduna, which Aussies “refer to” as the Nullarbor.


Thursday November 23rd 2006 Norseman Rest Day to Bush camp 65 k's from Norseman..
Approx.
65.03k's Average Speed 9.83kph Cycling time 6Hr(s) 36Min. Max speed. 46kph Max temp we recorded 44°C
Terrain:
Undulating Road Conditions: Fair – slight headwind Overnight Accommodation: $0.00. Standard )

Incredibly HOT weather for cycling. It reached dangerous levels and bit into our water supply heavily. Lot's of “Road Trains” on the road – most were good. Another hot day forecast for tomorrow. Lee took the heat well and learned from her earlier bout of heat exhaustion. MacMahon Constructions surveyors were on the road and gave Lee and myself some iced water, here they are getting it – Thanks Guys.



We stopped with Andrew and Joanne at about 4:30pm – probably an hour earlier than usual... The heat is just draining. Now we are stopped I am typing this, sat on my bike, with a fly mesh on my head and sweat rolling down me in rivulets. Every type of insect is biting or just annoying. I have sprayed my shoes with “Baygon” but the ants commit suicide just to bite my feet. We cannot go and lie down as the tent is like an oven.. We will need to wait until sundown to cook or the insects will eat it all. After sundown of course out come the Mossies. Fun – who said this was fun... It does however let one find ones inner self and test some limits... Despite the hardship(s) one feels more alive! Enough of the philosophical bull dust........ Catchya Tomorrow

Friday November 24th 2006 Bush camp 65 k's from Norseman to Bush Camp 58 k's from Balladonia.
Approx.
81.15k's Average Speed 11.10kph Cycling time 7Hr(s) 18Min. Max speed. 36kph Max temp we recorded 44°C
Terrain:
Undulating Road Conditions: Fair - Mixed winds, mainly tail, VERY hot. Overnight Accommodation: $0.00. Standard )

Andrew and Joanne woke us from our slumber to a (comparatively) cool morning but it was about 3:45am.. Lee and I turned over and went back to sleep... Andrew and Joanne left about 5am or thereabouts. We got up about 5:30am... We were on the road at 6:35am after breaking camp and a feed of muselli and coffee. The day soon started to heat up and it was quite We pulled over and had a bit of brunch and a bit of shade.



Carried on another 25 k's or so to the “Frazier Sheep Station” Not much there but nice lady who made us some hot home made pies and veggie rolls Plus gave us free oranges. We had a shower here $1.00 for 5 minutes. We chose cold water but it was all hot.. The water was simply hot throughout the system. Managed to top up our water supply with about 8 or 9 litres of the sweetest water we have drank so far. Plodded on to make up some k's and ended up doing our best day EVER!!! Hard to believe we did these k's as we took it real easy in the heat of the day... Andrew said he would leave a marker as to where he has camped... I guess they are much further on than us as we saw nothing... We will catch them tomorrow in Balladonia all being well. No max temp today as we did not have the benefit of Andrew's bike thermometer.

ADDENDUM: Met up with Andrew and Joanne... The temp reached 45° C They booked in the motel at Balladonia that is why we did not see them. Sensible choice for them given the variables they have endured.

Catchya Tomorrow

Saturday November 25th 2006 Bush Camp 58 k's from Balladonia to Bush camp 20 k's the other side of Balladonia .
Approx.
77.09k's Average Speed 10.02kph Cycling time 7Hr(s) 41Min. Max speed. 39kph Max temp we recorded °C
Terrain:
Undulating Road Conditions: Fair - Cool to mild weather head/tail wind(s) Overnight Accommodation: $0.00. Standard )

Awoke to light rain this morning but not too much to stop us packing up and getting away from our camping area before it turned into a quagmire. We had found an old MRD (Main Roads Dept.) metal dump that had partially returned to nature... If we had been caught in there when wet, I think we would still be trying to get out... BTW there was absolutely NO sign of rain when we pitched camp. We stopped at Balladonia for about three and one half hours.. We showered, phoned family, ate a Huge lunch, topped up our water bottles and chatted to countless people. Exchanging both names, web addresses, etc.. Normally we would rest after three days but we both felt fine and we were not happy to camp at Balladonia due to dust from the road works.. We left Balladonia at about 3:30 pm and cycled beyond all the road works. The amount of trucks on the road is staggering... They seem to behave as though it is their private road? Anarchy reigns as far as road rules are concerned.. I guess there is no political advantage in either votes or revenue to enforce them. I do think the “grey wave” may have a bit of clout if it is shown as a federal problem... After all this “private” road is highway one! One day perhaps a parallel rail line will be built and these 100 tonne killing machines will be banned from the road. Lee dropped her camera yesterday and now it does not work... We have pictures to put on our site up until the 25th November (am)... We have phoned family to ask if they can take advantage of “Perth Prices” and buy a replacement for us. We hope to have one within a week or so.... Anyhow too much drivel from me – Catchya tomorrow.

Sunday November 26th 2006 Bush camp 20 k's the other side of Balladonia to Bush Camp 100 k's from Caiguna.
Approx.
63.15k's Average Speed 9.91kph Cycling time 6Hr(s) 22Min. Max speed. 20kph Max temp we recorded °C
Terrain:
Flat Road Conditions: Fair - cool to mild moderate headwind Overnight Accommodation: $0.00. Standard )

Odd day today, some things went OK whilst others caused grief.. Got a puncture in the rear wheel on my bike (again) Lee has not had a puncture and we have completed over 2,000 Kilometres. Got the camera to work but it still has problems so I hope Pam (my daughter) can get us a new one.. Her own camera is the same as ours so she knows what we need. Commenced our journey on Australia's Longest straight road, 90 miles 



Not a lot more to say today... So much stuffing around with small problems cost us “potentially” good cycling distance... Catchya tomorrow..

Monday November 27th 2006 Bush Camp 100 k's from Caiguna to Bush camp 38 k's from Caiguna.
Approx.
63.15k's Average Speed 9.91kph Cycling time 6Hr(s) 22Min. Max speed. 20kph Max temp we recorded °C
Terrain:
Flat Road Conditions: Fair - cool to mild moderate headwind Overnight Accommodation: $0.00. Standard )

Still on the “Longest Straight Road” ploughing into a fairly strong headwind.. No hills.... Lee has developed a problem in the front end of her trike.. I think that “bulldust” has got into the “ball joints and is “squeaking”. We met Andrew and Joanne at about 4pm and I asked Andrew's opinion.. Same.... Little I can do about it here, but it is not dangerous – just annoying. Not much to report today, The usual number of trucks but none abused us today... I no longer listen to the radio chatter as it denotes small minded (and those without minds) people... It is simply sickening to listen to the thousand ways to “kill” us or hurt us.... Just because we are different. We should get to Caiguna tomorrow all being well. Here we will top up with water and food. If possible we will do a load of washing.... We are stopped at a Rain Water tank and we harvested 5.5 litres of water which we filtered with our equipment . The Katadyn removes 99.8% of all impurities and the other .02% is what kills you :-) It actually tastes quite nice and it was cool. We cooked with unfiltered water and made tea and coffee with the unfiltered also. Lee cooked a nice meal with fresh potatoes, rice, salmon with chilli plus other spices.. It really tasted great. That's about it... Catchya Tomorrow.

Tuesday November 28th 2006 Bush camp 38 k's from Caiguna to Caiguna.
Approx.
41.78k's Average Speed 8.49kph Cycling time 4Hr(s) 55Min. Max speed. 22kph Max temp we recorded °C
Terrain:
Flat Road Conditions: Fair - Howling headwind with strong gusts. Overnight Accommodation: $0.00. Standard )

Our max speed was down the driveway into Caiguna service station!!! Howling headwind with Temp's the hottest we have felt, It was still 40º C (Temperature courtesy service station manager) AFTER the cool change had been in for 40 minutes. The service station staff came out to greet us when we cycled in, they were astonished we could cycle in such heat. We consumed 7.25 litres of (hot) water in the 5 hrs. it took us to get here. We had harvested and cleaned (filtered) or boiled at least fifteen litres of water at the tank during our stay there (We camped there).



Thanks “Main Roads Dept.” About 3am I had to get up to cover our gear.. Thunderstorms were all around us and the sky was fascinating. Dingoes were howling and animals in general were distraught. We bunkered down for some heavy storms. As it turned out we did not get as much rain as we thought. It poured down about 10 k's to the north... plus rained hard at other points to the compass. Andrew and Joanne were camped about 500 metres from us and they too did not start early as is normal for them. We broke camp at about 6am and packed all our gear.. Andrew and Joanne decided to remain (It was 30º C at 0730)... We pushed on at about 0830 after breakfast and coffee. On the way is a natural phenomena called the “Caiguna Blowholes” 



There is a long explanation as to why they exist but the bottom line for us was the strong flow of super cool air that we could sit in.... Wow it was hard to leave...

We are now exhausted and have got a cheapy room at Caiguna.. The guy quoted us $58.00 but his wife said “that's for a single” - We settled on $70.00. There were too many inconsistencies for them to be a coincidence, We initially asked for the cheapest room... Told $58.00 as said before. We found out the next day that $40.00 was the cheapest... We paid for our meal the night before and “we forgot” to get our desert... When we asked the next day they knew “instantly” what we were talking about and said they had not included it in the price.. As you do not get itemised receipts here I could not challenge it... It is VERY odd that when you place an order they only take part payment. The “managers” (Two kiwis) have only had the place (as I write) for only 10 days... They are extremely pleasant to talk with but I suspect “wolves” in “sheep's” clothing... If I were the owners I would be VERY diligent in my audits... Because if one is prepared to cheat at this level... What happens to the big money???



The food here is good but we cannot buy groceries... We have a problem in that we are low on food. Lee is the boss of the “kitchen” so I will let her decide the best plan of action. We may have to call family and have them mail food to us in Eucla?? No hassles from Trucks today... As said before we no longer listen to the chatter. We did go and check on one truckie slumped over his steering wheel with engine running... He thanked us for our concern and said he was having a “power nap”...

Wednesday November 29th 2006 Caiguna to Cocklebiddy.
Approx.
67.98k's Average Speed 12.91kph Cycling time 5Hr(s) 16Min. Max speed. 29kph Max temp 44°C
Terrain:
Mostly Flat Road Conditions: Fair - Hot until 2pm Then progressively cooler Side/tail wind Swinging from twenty past to twenty two with slight headwind the last ten k's Overnight Accommodation: $0.00. Standard )

Note The difference the wind makes only 21 minutes more cycling time for an extra 25k's or so. Andrew and Joanne arrived early morning after staying a second night at the water tank. A truckie told me it reached 47º C on the road from the tanks... Andrew recorded 44º C in the shade at the tanks... They clearly made a good decision to stay...

We did enjoy the aircon room after we got to Caiguna, but these high temps give the body a beating, when one is exercising. Lee and myself would have died a month ago trying this – it just shows how far our fitness has come. Not much of interest on the ride. Cocklebiddy is a terrible place to camp but has terrific food. The camping ground is like concrete and is right next to the generator making it the noisiest we have stayed at....... But you get that, Catchya Tomorrow.

Thursday November 30th 2006 Cocklebiddy to Bush camp 20k's from Madura.
Approx.
76.39k's Average Speed 9.83kph Cycling time 7Hr(s) 46Min. Max speed. 29kph Max temp we recorded °C
Terrain:
Flat Road Conditions: Fair - Hot, calm, until PM then strong headwind. Overnight Accommodation: $0.00. Standard )

Lack of proper food kept our energy levels low.. Plus the very hot conditions and strong headwind after 2pm... We did not sleep well last night with all the noise... but made the best of what we had... Started our day with a shower and clean clothes then pedalled about 2 hrs before breakfast. Biscuits and coffee. Lunch Biscuits and tea .Dinner bread and soup.... (Made the soup from the powder out of one packet of "two minute" noodles) We had about 80gms of fish in our diet today (Between us). We have a food parcel coming from family once we get to Eucla. Rice, fish, milk, coffee, etc.. it will be most welcome. Water consumption was VERY high today about 10.5 litres... This hot weather is testing our planning and endurance... We will win of course :-) Anyhow I am knackered at the moment so will Catchya tomorrow.

So ends November 2006... We hope you have enjoyed reading – Please put suggestions and comments in our Guestbook

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