Friday, 31 March 2023

IndiPac Day 12 and 13

After a restless sleep due to the constant noise of road trains roaring through the night, this site, and although I'm as far from the road as possible, is on a fairly straight piece of roadway. 

Sunrise certainly makes up for it. The camera doesn't do the view any justice. I can't just sit and watch the sunrise, there's gear to be packed and a fair distance to cycle ahead. I'm hoping to make Mundrabilla roadhouse for tonight's stopover. 

I reached Madura Pass around 8am.....looking at the crows on the sign, they might have been sizing me up for their breakfast 😀 
The lookout is always worth stopping at, even if it's just an opportunity to get out of the Jaffa and stretch the legs. 

There'll be quite a few km's to cycle down there on the flats,  about 114km to Mundrabilla....but first Coffee at Madura roadhouse 😋 

😯😯😯 shock! horror! The coffee machine is not serviceable! What the?!!
How is a cyclist to function without coffee! 😕 

Oh well, the "next best thing", coffee flavoured milk, and a chicken and cheese toastie... which was actually pretty good.....when beggars can't be choosers....make do and carry on. 

Why do people always want to chat, just as I'm preparing to cycle away? 
Must be a Rotovelo thing 🤔....

25min later, and I finally got mobile again..

50km on from Madura, Moodini Bluff rest area, after a reasonably comfortable climb is a call for a "comfort stop" and a chance to do a small cleat adjustment on the left pedalling action is changing and my left heel is tapping the edge of the foothole. Fixed it, and on we go. 

A further 40km and it's time for a lunch break... I'm still in the thick of the famed "March Fly Zone", where any stopping immediately makes you a meal for the prevailing march flies! The blasted things will try and bite any exposed skin... not to mention the small black ants that'll race to climb your legs.... gotta love Australia!  It's eat AND be eaten 😵‍💫   a quick bite to eat, and get moving in a hurry 🙃 

I've had a prevailing South-West/East wind for most of today's ride. Constantly blowing into my right side as I'm pedalling East. It's nice air-conditioning, it's a coolish day, about 26°C, and the crosswind off the Southern Ocean makes it feel like 20°C in the Jaffa. 👍👍

Average speed was around 23.6kph all day, any time I had a direct headwind I wasn't slowed at all...the only thing lowering my speed is all the small 0.02% gradients ...supposedly the whole day was 0% gradient...I beg to differ 

Absolutely any sort of gradient is felt immediately in the quads and knees as more pressure is added to the pedals in order to maintain the current speed.  ......

Enough whining...

after 141km, Mundrabilla roadhouse was a welcome sight. 

Which way to the Bar?


Day 13..

The plan today is just to do the 65km to Eucla and spend the day getting things clean and giving the legs a bit of a rest. 

I managed to be packed up just as the Mundrabilla roadhouse was opening for trade at 6am. 
1st breakfast of chicken toastie, hot Milo...and 3 litres of water to top up my supply... and a leisurely start on the road by 7.15am. 

35km and 2nd breakfast again. Coffee and Scotch Finger biscuits with Nutella...a couple of handfuls of trail mix for good measure. 

Overcast skies and a mild south east headwind kept the temperature to a comfortable 19°C in the Jaffa, whilst it's 24°C out in the open. 

The telstra repeater tower could be seen in the distance..... soon enough it's time to put the nose to the grindstone and start the 3km climb up Eucla Pass.... at a 7% gradient, it certainly gave me a workout after having been cruising along the Roe Plain for the last couple of days. 

Lowest gear, spin the pedals....breathe a bit harder and it's just slow going....around 5kph (my walking pace is 6kph....but it's more comfortable to ride, than try and push the loaded Jaffa uphill) 

By 11.30am, the tent is set and washing is on. 

Not a bad view either...


Time for some R and R. 

Thursday, 30 March 2023

IndiPac Day 10 and 11

Day 10 started like usual after a bush camp... pull everything out...sort....and repack. I must be getting better at this, or I'm losing stuff on the way...stuff fits better. 
Nah, it's all the Pasta meals, coffee and Nutella covered Scotch Finger biscuits I'm stuffing in my gob each day. 😊

7.05am and off we roadhouse. 118km away. Good going this morning, comfortably cycling at 30km/h, easy work as the road IS actually flat. 
Any small rise in the road surface is felt immediately in the knees, as the work load of climbing such a rise tells me to switch to a lower gear to try and maintain the same speed. The prevailing wind of the day was blowing rather stiffly, in over my right shoulder...a SW wind of about 18/20kph. 
Fortunately, cycling along at 28-35kph, this wind was great air-conditioning...not slowing me at all. 

"a vision splendid,  of sunlit plains extended..."

Marvellous riding....

50km from Caiguna and I'm getting hungry 

Nothing for it but to stop for lunch...and dry out the tent and tent fly cover...

The usual lunch fare...rehydrated pasta (family size) , coffee and Nutella covered Scotch Finger biscuits ('cause the real choc ones melt in the heat 🔥) 👍 touring sustenance 😋 along with fruit 'n nut mix and Jellybeans 🍽 🍛  

Pity about the water tank....damned vandals! .... busted tap!  Heaven help anyone that is relying on these water sources 😡

Just another leisurely 40km to the other end of the Ninety Mile Straight and Caiguna roadhouse. 

We'll call it a day here, I've crossed a time zone into Central Western time... I've picked up 2hrs 15min behind Sydney. 

It's 2.45pm local time,  118km done. I need a tent site...a shower... and a feed, not necessarily in that order 😉

Tomorrow brings another day 

Just made it into the tent in time, as the patter of raindrops serenaded me to sleep...

1am and it's still raining, only lightly, but enough seepage to wet the end of my sleeping bag. 

Which leads us on to Day 11...and a couple of ravens scoping out the caravan park.

The big and the small of it..... 
Both have a roof, a mattress and weighs in at 3.5kg, with a total of 144kg fully loaded...the other at 4 tonnes 😃 & that's just the caravan 🤣

A glorious morning for it, although breathing out steam while pedalling looked impressive,  the temperature was 15°C, there was light fog during to the overnight rain. It cleared quickly to a fine day. 

65km and Cocklebiddy roadhouse come into view... 2nd breakfast again.. Coffee, sandwich, chocolate milk....and an orange. 

A guy leaving the roadhouse offered me a banana, apple and and two home grown passionfruit...he was heading to the South Australian border and would have had to dispose of all fruit at the border quarantine station. 
Thank you very much 👍

The roads today consisted of mostly new "chip-seal" pavement. It is very rough to ride on...especially with three wheel tracks. The road vibration is tiring on the knees and makes for pretty slow going compared to the older road surface that has worn smoother over time. 

It felt like ages before I racked up today's 100km. By about 3.30pm I'd had enough of the "rough stuff" and soon managed to find an off road campsite for tonight. 135km certainly felt like it today. 

Snuggled away in camp....

Where else would I rather be...

Dinner time. 4.30pm...about an hours daylight left...

Fed and watered 

Goodnight all...

Tuesday, 28 March 2023

IndiPac Day 8 and 9

After a pretty wet rest day in Norseman, it's time to get out there and tackle some hills..7am had me packed up and out the door, all be it with a touch of anxiety about the next 190km to Balladonia .... I know I won't make it in one day... my main concern is water. Hopefully it's not going to be too hot a day...I'm carrying 14 litres which has to last 2 days riding, and an overnight bush camp....I  should be good, I made it In 2014, I should be right to make it to Balladonia. 
My Sydney training had me consuming 6L per 100km in Sydney's pretty humid out here this morning after the rains, I'll do my best to save some water for camping....

Fortunately the temperature is only 21°C which is helping, and there's a slight headwind that's keeping me cool...this'll help water consumption. 😎 
It can be pretty hard yakka getting the Rotovelo up to speed when the humidity is high. 30km in and the crosswind is working well at keeping me's having no effect on my speed...only the gradients do that. As I've mentioned before,  these 1,2,3 AND 4% climbs certainly get the biological motor running hard and hot.... the secret is "cadence" keeping it at around 80-90 rpm regardless of the incline ..

Soon there's some good km's done, and it's time to get the "nose bag" on and stop for a lunch break. 

🎶... and he sat,  as he watched, and waited till the billy boiled ...... you'll come do IndiPac twenty three ...with me...🎶

Clean roadside rest areas are pretty good in W.A., bins are provided and occasionally with a "long drop" far the ones I've used haven't been too badly vandalised considering they're out in the middle of nowhere. 

One hundred km done...and it's a pity that Fraser Range Station is still closed due to Covid 19... 
Last time I rode through, it was nice to duck in there and score an icecream, Coke and chocolate milk for 2nd keep the legs rolling over for a few more km's in theafternoon...alas, not to be this time. 

A further 30km on and with an eye on the weather radar,  I was being chased down by menacing skies... some heavy rain looked like it was going to catch me....

...time for an executive decision...🤔 130km done,  not a bad effort, rain is closing in,.....

Time to camp up...early dinner, and hit the hay 😴 

Good decision...just finished dinner and the rain 🌧 starts...👍

A pretty rough night's sleep due to the wind and rain, BUT, I did stay dry. 

Day 9...

6am..rain gone, sunshine trying to get through, and packing up a wet tent..yik, not a nice experience. Breakfast of porridge, and a sports gel, because, hey...why not try something different 🤔  
Packed and out on the road by 7.15am. 

It didn't take long for 50km to pass under the wheels and Balladonia to be signposted as 5km away....

It must be closing time for the Pub...but more likely check out time for the accommodation...just as I was about to pull into the place, 5 road trains and 13 caravans all headed out in my direction...all West bound. Looks like peak hour 😯

Time for second breakfast and lunch combined...

But first...Coffee!

I had a bit of a look through their Museum, it's free, so why not.... everything else is pretty expensive 💰💰

Lunch consisted of hamburger and chips.... "sorry, we've only got wedges"...yeah that'll do....

$$ later and I ended up with a pretty decent sized meal... but, with my best efforts I wasn't able to down all of it..

Some minor cleat adjustments, lubricate the chain, top up all my water, from the bathroom hand basin tap, (because, by law, people must have clean water to wash their hands/ faces)
so, it's free...👍 none of this bottled water stuff...WAY to expensive. 

readjust the load so I can squeeze in amongst the full water bladders, and back on the road again. 

35km up the road starts the Longest, Straightest piece of road in Australia....146km in a dead straight line, absolutely no deviation. Balladonia to Caiguna 182km...

A 10min photo stop ends up a 40min chat fest,  as 6 other vehicles all stop in to do the same thing... and chat to the guy in the funny bike "What! It's not electric? " "You came from where?!"...."You're going to Sydney?!"....."You're Crazy!....yep, I resemble all those remarks...."STAY SAFE!" as they all drive off.....

60km further on, the sun is starting to set, time to bush camp 🏕.....

Home, sweet home...

Another night in the REAL outback again...dinner, desert, washing up done phone reception again...sent an "all ok" message out on the satellite tracker..

Bed time 6.30pm


Saturday, 25 March 2023

IndiPac Day day.


Plenty of rain from early morning. It's nice to hear it on a tin roof rather than the tent roof 😀... but somebody also needs to tell the crows that there is a noise curfew till at least sunrise  🙉 💤 😴  


After a couple of hours, there was a break in the weather...and I managed to do some bike maintenance, lubricate chain, check tyre pressure, adjusted brakes, etc 

Rode into town for some supplies and lunch. 
...a pic with the camels

... and a dry run back to camp..👍 bonus!

Rain seems to have settled in for the it's plunger coffee and Scotch Finger biscuits with Nutella... how good is this! 

I'm hoping for another drier spell later this evening to get resorted and packed,  to save faffing around in the morning.... then out into The Never Never... 

189km to Balladonia 

IndiPac Day 5 & 6

Carabin Bush Camp to Yellowdine Bush Camp

After sitting around the Carabin roadhouse for a couple of hours, trying to make contact in order to get some accommodation organised, there was no answer to phone calls or door knocking. A local who had driven by came to check on me, only to say that the roadhouse was closed & no accommodation was available 🤷‍♂️....Bush camp it is 👌

Me, and the nation's quota of bush flies...🤣😞  they all cleared off once the sun set. 
A comfortable camp despite being close to the highway and plenty of truck noise all night. 

Back on the road early next morning with a plan to stop at Moorine Rock for coffee and cake...2nd breakfast 😋 
I arrived just as they were opening,  perfect timing. Coffee, sandwich, Coke and chocolate milk...breakfast of champions 🏆 

Onwards to Southern Cross for lunch...anybody would think all cycling is about is finding more food to keep the engine running...they'd be right 🥖🫒🥫😋😋🥐

Pretty uneventful riding,  still those small climbs but with better descents,  motoring along quite nicely. 

Southern Cross,  and it's hit up the local IGA supermarket, restock, refill water, and a Bakery for more food 😋

It's a pretty hot day out here,  my bike computer is saying it's 39°C. 🔥 an ice cold smoothie and meat pie should make the afternoon tolerable. 

Just up the road at Yellowdine roadhouse , time for afternoon tea... 2 chocolate milks & a vanilla Coke for the requisite sugar fix to see out the next 40km before another bush camp. 

Bath time in the bush....wipes to attempt some sort of sweat and dust clean-up 😵‍💫

Sunsets are pretty good out here. 

(Dinner:  2 Wraps with chicken from a tin...Coffee and Scotch Finger biscuits 😋) 

Livin' the life 👌

Another day dawns and it's back to the pedals....

A few years back, 2007, 3 fire-fighters lost their lives in bad bushfire around Boorabbin. A memorial to their service. 

More rolling miles, good rotovelo terrain now... bolt down the hills & enough momentum to get most of the way up the next rise...this is what I came here for..

Time for lunch... double dose of Porridge,  coffee and more biscuits 😋 

Calories any way I can get them! 

The afternoon is heating up again... 39°C indicated. .... stopped in the shade of the verandah at the defunct and closed Bullabulling roadhouse...this was closed when I rode through back in 2014, and it loos exactly the same....surprisingly not a lot of vandalism has occurred in that time. 
Rolling on through the heat, I finally made it into Coolgardie...125km for today. 1st stop chocolate milk at the servo..campsite in the Coolgardie tourist park,  just like I did in 2014. Not much has changed. IGA for resupply. Healthy dinner tonight,  fresh from the microwave 😋 😆🤣  Shower, bed, and goodnight..