Rough Roads and one Rock

The road after Mount Dare is a little remote.

Most of Australia is a little remote for that matter.

I like that.

I set off towards Finke and the Geographical centre of Australia.

Where I collected a little bit of sand from the exact middle of the country. That is now sitting in my sisters cupboard in Holland, together with some Himalaya-snow (water now) and Sahara-desert.
(happy b’day sis!)

And parted ways with Frank, who, especialy for me, had driven all the way to Kulgera on the Stuart highway just to get me a fresh salad. I was seriously craving some fresh food after weeks on meat, alcohol, pasta & tuna.

When I noticed a big cloud of dust in my mirror I moved off the track. As usual. Being overtaken by a massive roadtrain on dirt-roads is always fun. It surprised me to see that same roadtrain standing still a km up the track. He’d thought he’d check if I was ok… I was.

The last stretch before hitting the Stuart highway got a little sandy so I was pretty glad to see that roadhouse appear from behind a hill.

To my surprise I spotted a loaded touring-bicycle as well

Choi, from Korea, has been cycling around Australia for the last 17 months. Main reason I didn’t run into him before is he hates dirt-roads with the same passion I hate cycling on highways…

So, even though we had the same destination, we were both going different ways after camping a night together.

He went towards the Lasseter Highway while I moved 19km down the road to turn off onto the Mulga Park road.

Cycling along I came across a station-owner who adviced me to turn around and take the highway because the road would turn to crap. But I’m a little stubborn sometimes…

So kept peddling along. It was a gorgeous dirt-road and I had a tail-wind. So what could go wrong…

I wondered about the melons I saw growing along the sides. They just look so lovely and tasty and fresh. If only they were edible, but I’ve been told a few times by different people I’d better not try.

Not wanting to get ill in a hurry I didn’t. Still they look yum.

After living on pretty boring food on the road for some time everything looks yum, like these steaks walking towards me…

So when I met a couple of policemen who just happened to shoot a cow (’cause it was hit by a car) I was very tempted to cut off a little bit. I didn’t because I didn’t have a chiller room to hang up the meat for it to settle. Next time I’ll pitch my tent next to it until it’s gone. Might have to fight off dingos, eagles and crows if it ever comes to that.

The policemen were great by filling up my water and not fining me for not wearing that helmet…

I had to admit the station-owner wasn’t terribly wrong when he told me the road was going to get a little rough. Usually it’s hard to take advice from people in cars because what’s rough to them (usually corrugation) can be fine on a pushbike… and what’s fine by them (sand) can be very very tough indeed.

All I can do in a situation like that is have a break and make a coffee. Lucky I still had a little cappucino sachet left that a lady had given me days before, including cacoa powder! So a fancy bush-coffee got me through.

It’s a shame I can’t take a picture of the wind. But I can tell you that at one stage it was so strong, a little mouse trying to run across the road was picked up and tumbled along for a while till it got back on it’s feet. There’s been a few mice around. I’ve been lucky enough not to have them chew through my food bags. But some clothes I’ve left outside will have some big holes from now on.

It surprised me how very quiet animals can be. As I cycled out of my campspot at a bore I noticed over my tracks from the previous evening all sort of little tracks, from lizards to dingo’s and even snakes… I had slept like a baby with the only noise waking me the beautiful song of the Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo…

Which sounds a bit like someone scraping a rusty nail on a blackboard…

Just before I got to Mulga Park Station I spotted some movement off to my right. And at about four metres two enormous huge eagles took off. They were about the size of me! (at 3 years old probably) A spectacular sight to see.

Riding onto the driveway I was greeted and invited inside. Dinner was already on the go and there was no reason for me to sleep in my tent because the caravan was perfectly fine to use 🙂

In the morning I witnessed loading up the big truck with cattle before heading back down the road.

It had recently been graded so surely it would be an easy day…

No such luck, the 68km back to the main drag took me forever.

I saw this funny looking hill in the distance and was wondering if this might be “The Rock” But after studying my map carefully I decided it couldn’t be, unless it has suddenly moved. It was just “A Rock” Getting closer I found the view of this rock rather spectacular too.

 Later I found out it was Mount Connor.

To get to the ‘Real Rock’ I still had to go another 100km down the road to ‘Yulara”, or “the Ayers Rock Resort”

That’s when I got the phonecall.

It was the morning of the 7th of September and I had just arrived in Yulara, where, for the first time in six weeks I had network on my phone.

It was a phonecall from the Netherlands.

There had been an accident.

They never saw the other car coming…

In one terrible moment both my Grandparents lives had been taken.

So I flew home for the funeral. And made this as a memory for two beautiful people.

24 thoughts on “Rough Roads and one Rock

  1. Oh, I’m so sorry dear cycling Dutch girl. My grandma has just died too and I understand how awful it feels.

    From an Aussie girl who has been enjoying following your trials and tribulations, I hope your fond memories of both your grandparents and your travels, last a lifetime. Come back soon.

  2. Toeval bestaat niet… hoor je wel eens. Ik denk dat het zo heeft moeten zijn, dat jij net weer bereik had en dan hoort over je grootouders. Het had ook zo kunnen zijn dat het gebeurd is terwijl je geen bereik hebt…. Gecondoleerd met het overlijden van je opa en je oma. Veel sterkte voor jou en je familie en fijn voor allemaal dat je bij de uitvaart kunt zijn.
    Groetjes, Gerdo en Wilma

  3. Hoi Mirjam,

    Het is dus toch gelukt…schitterend.
    Tsja, mooi verhaal, mooie foto’s en een prachtig document voor opa & oma,

    liefs,

    papa.

  4. Hoi Mirjam,
    Wat een vreselijk ongeluk is je grootouders overkomen. Gecondoleerd voor jou en de rest van de familie.
    Ondanks het verdrietige einde van dit bericht, heb ik weer genoten van je verhaal en de prachtige foto’s.
    Sterkte met het verdriet en verlies.
    Groeten van Heleen Smit (moeder van berthus)

  5. Lieve Mirjam,

    Fijn dat iedereen nu kan zien wat een fantastische opa en oma (en pap en mam) wij hebben gehad. Ze zullen trots zijn dat ze nu op het wereldwijde web staan!

    Liefs en knuffels,
    Marijke en Hans

  6. Hi Mirijam,
    Great memories the both of them always laughing. Nice that you could spend some time with them a few months ago. ( special times) The Lord was good to take them together to be with him. May he give you strenght too as you grieve.
    Love Regina

  7. Hi Mirijam,
    Sorry to hear about your Opa and Oma (also my Oom and Tante). I have fond memories of them when I was in Holland in 1975/76 and stayed with them for a while. Also when they came to visit us all in Australia over the years. I saw them again only 3 years ago when Jill and I dropped in on them for a quick visit. I was amazed at how healthy and full of life they still were. Great video. Hang on to the memories. All the best and hope to see you one day.

  8. So so sorry for the loss of your Grandparents Mirjam, we know you cared a lot for them.
    Keep strong and remember the good times.

  9. Lieve Mir,

    Dank je wel voor een enorm waardevolle herinnering aan onze lieve opa & oma.

    Het blijft onwerkelijk wanneer je die mooie beelden ziet. Filmpje is door ons al grijs gedraaid en muziek galmt dagelijks door huis.

    Super dat je erbij kon zijn! Ze fietsen nu met je mee….

    X Martine

  10. Hallo Mirjam,

    Wat een prachtig document heb je er van gemaakt! Je vader legde met net uit waar de DVD stond met commentaren; ik had alleen het overzicht geopend en hem daar bekeken. Lukt het allemaal een beetje daar? Gelukkig blijven ze bij ons!
    Liefs,
    Celia en Henk

  11. Wat een prachtig filmpje. Heel speciaal ook met die muziek erbij.
    Sterkte gewenst en … toeval bestaat niet, dat zie je maar weer.

    Groetjes, Karin Oomkes

  12. As usual I love your story telling and adventures.. but am sad to hear about your loss. Hope you are well and will be getting back on that bike in oz sometime… spectacular photograph of the Cockatoo by the way.
    Shari

  13. I have many very vivid and fond memories of the times I spent with your Grandparents ,my Uncle and Aunty both when they visited us in New Zealand and the times we spent with them in Holland so many years ago …..when your Dad was younger than you are now.
    They where always very warm ,generous and welcoming people,I’m sure very sadly missed by many friends and family.
    If there is any concolation I suppose it is that they would have liked to go together as they were a very close couple.
    Mike

  14. Hi Mirjam
    We only met for a short while. I can see the love you had for your grandparents in your tribute. May they walk beside you on your lifes travels. I wish you smooth roads and a tail wind as you cycle on.
    May I say thank you for not showing me in my casual dinning cloths.

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