I can not think of anywhere I’d rather be, or anything I rather do then being here on my bike.
How lucky is that?
I’ve been on roads where cars don’t go and where I didn’t see any motorbikes either.
Just some sturdy 4WD’s with mine workers or travellers wondering if I got lost or need any water.
A good few people have said; “I’m glad it’s you doing this, and not me.” All I can answer is; “me too!”
Wouldn’t want to be stuck in a little metal box where you can’t feel or smell the country
…well, the smell-thing isn’t always good… Men, road kill stinks!
Lucky you don’t encounter too much of that when you stay off the bitumen.
I love those roads, and I’m extremely glad I got a bicycle I trust not to break down.
Don’t think I would’ve been able to conquer those roads on the old bike.
I am fairly organized and prepared though, not to worry. I might be mad, as people keep telling me. I’m not stupid.
I contact police or cattle stations along the way so at least some one knows where to start looking may I disappear.
But let’s go back a little.
The three of us arrived in Broome after a bit of a headwind struggle.
I find the police in Broome slightly over active. One evening as I stood at the side of the road a police car stopped to tell me that I wasn’t wearing my helmet and I had no lights on my bike. I brought it to their attention that I wasn’t actually cycling…
We spent a few days looking around and getting organized.
Got invited to a private concert of 3 elderly aboriginal gentleman playing rock ‘n roll music.
Then, sadly, it was time to say Goodbye to Stu & Mike and hit the road again.
Heading South-ish I spend a night at one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen, 80-mile beach. Perfect white sand that stretches as far as I could see with a perfect Azur-blue ocean that looked inviting,
sadly it was full of sharks so no swimming there. I ran into a lovely french couple who let me pitch my tent at their spot since I wasn’t willing to pay 29$ for a campsite. Figured it be fine as long as I keep a low profile…
That plan kinda failed when the Marble Bar police rang me at the office… They’d found some phone nrs for stations for me. helpful.
That evening Marti, A German who arrived in Australia across the hippie-trail in ’74 and stayed, cooked up a feast on the BBQ, we ate shark and salmon straight out of the sea. Gorgeous! He also gave me his hat since I’d lost mine on the Gibb-river road.
The morning of departure I had my coffee on the beach while nature treated me on a stunning performance of the full moon setting above the mudplains. The reflection in the wet sand is called ‘stairway to the moon’ absolutely amazing.
But even perfect bitumen with a steady tail-wind gets a little boring after about 400km.
So when I got a change I turned inland onto the boreline road. That was everything but boring.
The first day it took me 7 hours to cover 30km. Sand.
I got a little worried by the amount of water I consumed on that stretch, it would run out quickly that way.
Imagine my surprise when I came across an unexpected water tank after 6km the next morning!
I had a wash and spend about an hour splashing around in the warm water while watching the sun come up.
Because the nights are so long I usually sleep around 6pm when I camp in the bush. That means I wake up around 3am.
And since there’s nothing else to do I usually just pack up and go. With the full moon I don’t even need a flashlight and start cycling in the dark enjoying the spectacle of sunrise as I go.
Around sunset one night an enormous snake slithered past my tent, it looked at me and stuck its tongue out…. I did the same and he moved off. Pfew. A little scary.
Another water tank held another pleasant surprise as it was there I met Anne. The lady who runs Yarrie station.
She’d just come back from a horse-riding holiday in Kyrgyzstan, so we had something to talk about. She invited me down to the homestead.
A wonderfully welcoming place where I didn’t intend to stay 4 nights… It just happened.
Because what would you say when on the eve of planned departure Leng (Anne’s husband) comes up to you with the words; “How would you like to go on a helicopter-muster tomorrow?” ….
AAAHRGH! How cool is THAT!
I spend the next day feeling like a huge bumblebee chasing cow around the property. It was some experience, priceless. He showed me ancient aboriginal art on top of hills that I’m sure not too many people have laid eyes on.
And afterwards I helped in the yards with sorting out the cattle we collected and watched young bulls having their testicles cut out… ouch.
I didn’t need to be told twice to stay out of the paddock with the big bulls, those things are massive!
Sadly I couldn’t stay around for ever… Lucky I’m sure I’ll meet these wonderful people again one day.
So with a sandwich for lunch in my bag I cycled off to Marble Bar, known as ‘the hottest town in Australia’.
Where I got a police-escort to Leng’s sisters house.
They already knew I was coming. They already knew where I’ll be staying too.
The hospitality here is truly amazing.
But I keep feeling I should try and keep moving south.
I did get stuck again for two days just 10km out of Marble Bar at Commets Gold mine.
The mine is not in use anymore and everything is left as it was. I got to have a look inside the mine and saw ghost-bats. They look white and its a grand sight to see them flying through the dark caves.
Time to move on though.
At the end of the dirt road I hit the bitumen again, and was immediately reminded why I don’t like cycling on it. Never seen so many roadtrains in one day before! And I do have to get off the road and stop every time one passes me. Or they blow me off my bike.
So I cycled 150km in a day to get back on the dirt as soon as I could.
Getting closer to Karinjini national park I kept hearing that some of the Gorges are not to be missed.
I stayed a night in Wittenoom Gorge where some previous occupants made a little veg garden so I had a beautiful fresh salad for dinner.
Only later I heard this is the deadliest place in the world. The town is taken of the map, it used to be an asbestos-mine.
8 people still live in this ghost town.
The good thing about the dirt-roads is that the 4WD’s that do pass you usually stop to check I’m ok.
So too did Chicky. A guy from the south who works up here in a mining camp and invited me to come and stay for a day.
So after I spend a night on one of the best camp spots ever. On top of a lookout near Hamersley Gorge where I met Anja, A tall Dutch girl travelling in a tiny car.
I am the first cyclist ever to come to that camp. A great place with great people and the best food I’ve had in Australia so far.
I was given a room for the night. Would have loved to stay and work there for a while, not least ’cause the amount of money you can make working there for 3 months equals the amount of money I had when I started cycling 30 months ago…
No work available though, so I just keep cycling.
Down a ‘forbidden’ road along the railway where I’ve seen the trains for the first time. They are massive! At one time I counted 223 carriages.
The 3 trains that passed me that day all beeped their horns at me. Not too sure if it was a get-off-that-road-you-shouldn’t-be-here-beep or a hello-pretty-girl-on-bicycle-nice-to-see-you-beep…
I reckon the 2nd 😉
I met up with Anja again in Tom Price, not only does she travel in a tiny car… she sleeps in a tiny little tent too. hilarious to see. We had dinner in the pub. The only pub.
It was there I decided to catch a ride with her into Karinjini to have a look at what the fuss is all about.
Leaving my tent and bicycle behind
jumping in a waterhole and getting followed around by Dingo’s who were obviously after my food.
One kept circling me and must have followed me out of the Gorge because in a moment it grabbed my bag and ran of. No way I was gonna see my crisps again 😦
That night I slept in my hammock watching the stars and listening to the dingo’s howl. It was cold. very very cold.
Didn’t sleep too well and the lack of coffee started to get to me a little the next day.
But that’s when I ran into Collin and Matt, two motorbike riders. Had the best day with them climbing up and down rock walls and jumping into freezing cold pools.
Lucky I did find one in the end and so it happened I’m back on my bike and in Paraburdoo at the moment.
The wheels just keep on turning.
Thats it for now, I’m going to leave you but not before I wish my dad a happy happy birthday!
I’m off to the pub and drink a beer on you… and probably another one for my sister Judith whose birthday it is the 24th.