Sweat and SandFebruary 16, 2010
The first thing I did was head west, straight to the coast. It’s usually about 5 to 10 degrees cooler on the coast. It seemed a good plan since I couldn’t change my hands on the handlebars that day, they burned! It felt like riding my bike in the oven…
We just had a ‘cold spell’ up in Morewa, a nice change from the heat the last few weeks. It meant it was ‘only’ about 35 degrees. Indeed it did feel nice and cool after 46+degrees.
It was lovely to get back on the coast, the first time since Broome, 2200 km further North.
The only minor issue there is the wind, an extremely strong southerly that tried to blow me straight back where I came from. But it is a good bit cooler. And since I’m in no particular hurry I don’t mind just being able to go 8km/h. Really.
I could do better than that I thought, why not push my bike to Grey? A little settlement of beach shacks right on the coast south of Jurien Bay…
4 wheel drive-only. It said on the map. It didn’t take too long for me to realize why… Sand. Dunes.
Very pretty, don’t get me wrong, downright spectacular in places. Like at ‘the Pinnacles’ A natural phenomenon where rocks, or well ‘Pinnacles’ actually protrude straight out the dessert which gives the whole area a weird surreal but beautiful character. I loved it! Must be a hell of a camp spot…
But I moved on to Grey. Only about 10km down the road.
3 hours later I arrived.
He did drop me off at Heine & Gertuds place. A Dutch couple living in a lovely spot in the Swan-valley with the most beautiful lawn I’ve seen in Australia. So after I lazed on the lawn for a bit I made myself comfortable in the home full of funny little Dutchnesses.
From there I cruised down through Perth, an easy ride straight to town. Thanks to the great bicycle-road network a very relaxed ride with views of the city and no hassle from other traffic.
I was heading for Wellard, where Mike & Heather live. I met Mike on the Gibb-river-road when he cycled from Cairns to Broome. He’s originally from New-Zealand and when I arrived I found out it happened to be ‘Waitangi Day’ New-Zealands public holiday… Good timing as for the occasion Heather roasted a lamb and made a gorgeous Pavlova. Yum!
Now I was truly ready to get moving, had a good sleep and a wonderful feed, ready for a ride on my bicycle.
I’ve heard about this track called the ‘Munda Biddi’ it runs south from Perth. It’s different scenery again, after cycling through outback, farmland and city I now hit the hills and forest. Very different indeed.
As it turned out the Munda Biddi is a mountain bike track, but if you’re not in any major hurry and you don’t mind pushing through gravel, sand and climbing over fallen trees and rocks you’re fine on a touring-bike as well…
And on those small forest tracks with no traffic, listening to birds and watching Emu’s run around it’s really rather lovely. I even saw one big snake crossing the path right in front of me. The only thing I didn’t like too much is when spiders build their homes straight across the track and happily cycling along you’re suddenly with your face in the middle of a web. yuk
And the March-flies. They’re the most annoying buzzing-bastards I’ve come across. And they bite.
In the village of Dwellingup I sat down for a short break when I got chatting to a lady who turned out the principal of the primary school.
She asked me if I would talk to the kids and tell them a bit about my travels. So off we went, the bike straight into the classroom where I got asked many questions. And who knows, maybe in a couple of years those kids will all be cycling ’round the world. Wouldn’t that be great!
Up in the hills you find dams with beautiful lakes and rivers, always good for a refreshing swim. I rolled into a campground at Logue Brook dam one afternoon where I got talking to a bunch of guys who work at the dams. They asked if I would like to come on a boat ride when they went water ski-ing That’s brilliant fun! They showed me how to water-ski with one, two and even no skies at all! Offered me to try, but I kindda prefer my legs in one piece and was pretty sure they wouldn’t be if I tried that… I did enjoy a couple of cold beers and the BBQ they organized that evening.
So riding (pushing) further down the track I got to Collie, a small Mining-town where a man immediately invited me to come and stay at his place. Andy. Coincidence would have it that he was Michael’s cousin! He was eager to show me all of Collie’s beauty-spots, so we drove around (while the dog ran alongside the car) and in the process got eaten alive by March-flies. yay.
People kept telling me about this real nice place called ‘honeymoon-pool’ I figured it probably be the closest I get to a honeymoon so I cycled down there and found a very busy camp spot at a freezing cold little river… It was indeed a very nice spot. And a young couple with two kids invited me to camp at their spot. We even went on a Easter-egg hunt, the fact it wasn’t Easter didn’t spoil the fun. We enjoyed some wine and went fishing.
Coming down the hills out of the forest you get great views of the hills with small farms and wineries scattered across.
Just the other day I saw a bunch of people on a little side-track of the road. I was just looking for a place to pitch my tent so figured I’d go and see what was going on.
It was a meeting of the local volunteer-fire brigade. Very necessary in this part of the woods. There is so many bush fires it’s ridiculous. I had only just heard big part of the farm from my friends at Yarrie-station had gone up in flames…
After their meeting, in true Aussie style, they had a BBQ. If I would like to join
Didn’t need to think about that too long, so we all sat around, while getting eaten by mozzies, midges, bull-ants and march flies but hey, who notices silly details like that when you’re in good company under the enjoyment of a cold beer and some sausages of the barbie… ?
One couple there invited me to stay in their house that night, a beautifully converted barn right on the Munda Biddi track. He even showed me some useful self-defence-technics so now I truly kick-ass
Back on the track I found it got a little bit easier since it was now following an old railway-line.
But I didn’t follow it for long.
I turned off on an other dirt-road leading me to Margaret River.
Here I met up with Dutch girl Anja. We met in Karinjini months ago and now she’s settled down at the seaside. I might stay around for a little while …
There’s new plans brewing. Will tell you all about them…