Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Day 24. Cowell to 10k E Kadina.

With only 15k to cycle to Lucky Bay, & a 1pm departure of the Wallaroo Ferry.. It's good to really take my time to decamp.
No rush whatsoever. 
A chance to sample the wares of the local bakery, I'm craving a sausage roll..with a coffee...
I feel I could be packing in the calories today. It's quite cool after the stinker the other day, the nice southerly change is hanging around for a day or two more... Good eating weather. ;-). 

A leisurely ride to Lucky Bay, with a cooling shower of rain, very pleasant!

Time to board. 

A 2 hour cruise across Spencer Gulf to Wallaroo is a pleasant change from battling headwinds & road trains. 

Arrival at Wallaroo. Seems a shame to have to start pedalling again. 

Spent an hour educating the locals on Rotovelos and my travels to date, before heading off on my way. 

Finally a secluded bush camp on the outskirts of Kadina. 
Dinner's on, coffee brewing...

Day 23. 35k W Kimba to Cowell.

Pitter, patter....rain on a nylon tent fly.. 
Not a great sound, but it's part of touring. The night was dry n warm. 

No morning pic today, camera battery died last night. :-(   Not much to see, just the wetness, which in these parts are always welcome by the locals. 

A break in the weather, looks like my chance to do breakky & pack, before the next band of rain hits. 

Almost made it. 

Rain is back just as I'm packing in the last 1/2 dozen items. Might be time to add on the rain cover under the Flevobike roof for extra warmth..& dryness. 

After about 45mins cycling, I noticed the sky was beginning to clear behind me, & the rain had ceased. The weather was hopefully moving faster than me. 

About 10km from Kimba, the rain had cleared, the blue cloud had caught me, the wind was up a little, again !! This time it's from the left rear..& staying there !
The hills just out of town sapped my energy pretty quick this morning, the last one WAS a bit of tough going :-/. 

3km to Kimba was a nice downhill pedal, cruising at just under 30km/h, tailwind, mostly sunny..though ominous clouds were still lingering. 

Coffee, muffin, and hopefully some "electricals" recharged. Hmm staff here are still suffering Mondayitis :-/. Not happy workers ...must be the weather. Or because I asked permission to at least recharge my phone ..LOL

Hint::  Kimba Pioneer Park has free camping & excellent hot shower ($1-3mins) + leave a gold coin donation to help maintain upkeep. Great Value..

Cleaned & almost presentable, I had to get the obligatory "Big Galah" pic...not sure who's the biggest galah. LOL 

Half Way Across Australia. 

Much better luck here for recharging. :-) 
Better coffee & cakes too. I had a lovely chat with the Manageress, who informed me I'd like the last 10km run into Cowell as it's all downhill...I took this info with a grain of salt...20+ years of cycling, locals can get it wrong :-)

Fully charged phone, camera & iPod, time to bid farewell to Kimba & the Big Galah...then tackle the 90km to Cowell. 

Damn westerly had been up since arriving in Kimba, now heading south east it's a bloody crosswind again. 
"Shut up 'n put up".. Just keep pedalling. 

Well! Magnificent undulations..when the wind was behind it was easy going.. 35-45km/h..woohoo!!
When the wind want so flash..18-9km/h..
But the scenery !!

From a wet n soggy start this morning... these pics just don't do the view justice!!
I think there was a tear of joy in my eyes! AMAZING!!

Almost exactly 1/2 way to Cowell, I clicked up 2500km for the trip. Happy days!

The kindness of strangers, I met a farmer who'd just popped out to "check the mail".. the homestead must've been miles away... I couldn't see it. 
We had a good chat for 15mins or so. He also said I'd like the last 10k to Cowell. 
(I was changing my mind...locals might be right today). 
He caught up with me about 10k further on offering a cold can of coke & another chat, in exchange for som pics. DEAL !! :-)

Finally after the last long climb.. Probably 5k in length, was a view to make any cyclist happy...

Cowell. 15k in the distance..& yes!! It's ALL DOWNHILL!!
What a way to enter town! 60km/h most of the way! 
With the usual crosswind buffeting, which after sooo much of it lately, I'd gotten quite used too...sort of!! :-/

I rolled into town just on 5pm. Caravan park tonight, tent/fly needs drying. 

Errr, I'm the only tent here LOL
These nomads are amazed at how light I travel.  :-). 

Day 22. 15k W Minnipa to 35k W Kimba.

Today's forecast hot (32deg) & windy (read..gales)..

An awesome dawn...

Red sky in the morning ... cyclist take warning lol

The gale force winds were up just as early this morning. Packed & on the road by 7.30am, winds from left rear...good!!
'Til I made a left bend in the road :-(

Bloody Rotovelo feels like a kite in gale force winds, shunted across the road, by what feels like a meter, but is in fact maybe 20-30cms. Frightening if it happens at, barrelling along at 50km/h, when an unseen gust gives me a shove to the right ... best to stick to the middle of the lane... that way I've got road to use on my right..& a bit of road on the left when over correcting the shunt. :-/ 
I rolled into Minnipa at 8.40am. The whole place was still closed, nothing for it but to oil the chain, 'n press on..

5km from Wudinna the road. & winds aligned so I was able to belt along at a good 45km/h.  
Excellent!  No swerving or shunting. Great!

Wudinna was in full business @ 10am. 
Grabbed a few groceries at Foodland, & a filling morning tea from the bakery next door. Coffee 'n cake... the staple diet of a Velonaut !!  ;-)

On to Kyancutta, a mere 14km up the road. By now the winds were still tailing me, but the temperature had easily hit 30 degrees...damn it's hot!

With another 88km before reaching Kimba (the town that's said to be Half Way Across Australia) I thought it might be prudent to have a full compliment of water on board ... especially as it's so hot 
Purchasing 3Litres topped me up 

2x 6lL water bags 
2x 750ml bidons & 
1x 2L bottle... 
15.5L = full water supply. :-)
I can't have too much. 

What had been a tailwind was about to become that gale force crosswind as I made the left turn on the Eyre Hwy to Kimba. 
Damn the wind sucks !!! & the bloody flies are ALL on the leeward side.... out of the bloody wind .. of course. 

A quick costume adjustment ...

Gotta luv the fly-net !! 

SOOO fashionable!! PMSL 

But it keeps the little bastsrds outta ya face!

Oh, did I mention there's a sandstorm blowing through too...all the freshly ploughed paddocks are losing their topsoil.... visibility is down to 300 meters in some places. 
It's too damned hot, 'n I couldn't be bothered taking any pics. :-/

3pm. Afternoon tea time. Damn it! I NEED a coffee !!

Soldiering on with the winds, I lasted only one more hour.  :-(


125km. Bush camp. 

Yet another well chosen site... dinner done 'n dusted... lying in the un-flyed tent, counting stars, & satellites. How good is this!

Flash! Flash! in the distance... hmm might be a storm... forecast at Kyancutta was for a weather change with some rain. 

Begrudgingly I closed off tonight's light show...good move Marky D. 
No sooner did I get the tent fly pegged & secured, when the first drops of rain fell.

Fall they did... all night...steady light rain 'till 6am. 

Day 21. Ceduna to 15k W Minnipa.

Gotta love an early start.. You don't see this after 8am. 

An inspirational start, what WILL the day bring??  It's looking pretty special at 6am.  :-)

Out on the road, it's Sunday morning traffic is non existent. I was passed by only 1 vehicle in 2 hrs, a road train. The undulating road is quite easy riding, long slow climbs (15-18km/h) & some nice undulations. 

Then...Someone turned on the fan!

A howling crosswind kept my speed in check, all the way to Wirrulla.  Pfft :-( not amused. 

The General Store at Wirrulla was a welcome sight for a calorie upload! 2pies & the ever good chocky milk to wash it all down, oh, & a coke for the arvo run ...just in case, afterall it is my first day without "Thelma & Louise" to keep an eye on me. 

Thanks Girls. I've enjoyed every minute of it !! 

Finally the road began heading in the right direction, with the wind behind me, Poochera approached at a good turn of speed. 

Poochera. Home of the Dinosaur Ant. 
& a good sized steak sanger with the works!

142km by this stage...could I do another 100miler?  Only 18km to go.. with a light rain shower n darker clouds rolling in behind me...let's "take the Pepsi challenge"& give it a shot. 

15km short of Minnipa, 160km for the day ... bush camp time. 

Nice little sheltered hide away... and as it turned out, VERY well protected from the gale force winds that began just as I settled in & blew like buggery ALL night. 

Choice spot!! Top day too!!
:-) happy camper. 

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Day 20. Ceduna

My plan for today is "do nothin'". 
To actually sleep in, well, 'til 8am anyway lol. 
To have a full day to restock the pantry, grab a "vandal proof tap handle" for those taps at garages, parks, show grounds with no handle. Gotta have water !!  

Complete RV maintenance, one broken spoke, left hand wheel again.. the one that's dropping off the road when there's heavy traffic (Road trains)... poor wheel cops a beating at times. :-(
This time I've got all day to true the wheel... plenty of coffee too, so I should get it pretty well spot on.....

...... All maintenance complete. I must've got it right..there's blood lol. ;-)
.......Pantry restocked. 
.......hey, things fit better this time!
.......all electrics charged. The poor old solar panel has been vibrated to death. It served its purpose. U get what u pay for. I'm ok with that. 

Tomorrow starts week 3... Farewell Ceduna. 

Friday, 25 April 2014

Day 19. Ceduna rest day.

April 25. 
Anzac Day.... Lest We Forget. 

Today began with the Dawn Service with the local community of Ceduna. Always a special day for me, especially on this ride, & with my attempt at raising money for Legacy. 

To be able to live my life freely, travel safely & to never have had the experience of War close to home, is reason enough to remember those who've made the Supreme Sacrifice.

God bless Australia. The land of the free!!
Don't ever take it for granted. This Is God's country. THE greatest place on the Planet. 

Back at the Ceduna Foreshore Motel,( thanks Aunty Chris) it was time for my ever reliable support team,"Thel & Lou" to part company. 
They'd seen me through, & I'll miss them. 

I've got to go back to carrying ALL my gear again... how do I repack this crap? LOL

Everything seems to fit. 

Thel 'n Lou surprised me with a copy of the. "I crossed the Nullabor" certificate. I noted it specifically says "by Rotovelo"
How Cool !! :-) 

All packed. & Thel 'n Lou on their way back home, time to find some cheaper "digs" for a day or two. A place to give the RV some TLC, & prepare for the next leg to Adelaide. 

Not a bad, cheap cabin. This'll do nicely. 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Day 18. Penong to Ceduna.

The end of the Nullabor. 

A later sunrise, sort of, as the fog this morning is very thick.... 

& it's decidedly cooler as well... 8deg hmm chilly ;-)

Fog = no wind = crap visibility...  Cold is nothing to worry about..10mins cycling will sort that out. 

Maybe I'm getting tired, or it's the fog, but this morning it's tough to get pedalling...trying to get the lung - leg coordination happening :-/

15km out from Penong, the skies are clear, hmm a slight nor'wester that's cleared the fog is becoming a headwind. 

To quote a friend," What the Nullabor giveth, the Nullabor taketh away" again!!

A panoramic view of Velo Heaven. 35km W of Ceduna. Rolling hills, with a Sou'easter ... cranking out the cogs, 'n belting along at 33km/h.. into a stiff headwind MAGNIFICENT!!

Ceduna!! 'nuf said!!

Gobsmacked at Crossing the Nullabor. 
Norseman - Ceduna.  

Yep. That's it for a couple of days. 

Sunset at the Pier. :-)

Time for a Long Weekend break for both the RV & me. Grease 'n oil change, dismantle 'n reassemble. 
And a massage might be nice too. 

Day 17. 20km W Yalata to Penong.

Dawn this morning (at 6.35am) revealed a rather thick fog. Our bush camp is in a flat valley area. 

The fog is good, as it means no wind. ... but a camp in a valley means a hill climb out!
It sure does, the first 3.85 km of today's ride is up a ruddy great long hill. Oh well, I'll warm up pretty quick. 
The hills seemed never ending when I called in at the abandoned Yalata roadhouse. 

Not a very happy camper LOL 
Just suck it up princess & keep pedalling, it'll end soon enough ... 

The hills became more "undulating" as I got closer to Nundroo. A welcome change indeed. 

Morning tea with Thelma & Lou was a welcome rest. Coke 'n pikelets.. perfect "cheer me up food". It was becoming quite warm, so a respite out of the RV was welcome too. 
The reason it was getting warm was the sou'wester blowing at the same speed I was riding ... No aircon effect. :-(

What a difference the rest made! I'd almost completed 2000km from Fremantle.... 36 more K's will be lunch. 

The road now flattened out to rolling Rotovelo riding. With very favourable wind I was belting along, 30+ km/h, & that was UP a few of the hills. 


I was somewhat "emotional" at the 2000km point & absolutely amazed at completing such a distance through some pretty tough moments but still getting closer to Ceduna each day. 


The afternoon leg was for a short 40km on into Penong for tonight's camp. 
With the winding road, & a fixed wind direction, meant for good and bad hills. 
The wind blast through gaps on the forrest made for some "exciting" downhills, with the RV getting hit by some serious cross winds, at 50+ km/h, at one point..."Holy Hell!!" Talk about skitterish!!!  

All's well that ends well.. 
The last 5km into Penong, though up a slight incline, was a nice chance to just take in the days travel. 

Very glad to see I was 1136km from Norseman almost 2 weeks ago. 

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Day 16. 40km W of Nullabor Roadhouse to 20km W Yalata.

The plan today is to try & get past Yalata. 
I've had a rough nights sleep, waking several times. No real reasons, just being uncomfortable in the camp stretcher. 

Due to the time change yesterday, dawn didn't start breaking 'till 6.30am. Maybe they don't pay their power bills here, so the Sun sleeps in. LOL

On leaving camp the wind was totally calm. A few dark clouds drifted through from the southwest.  That didn't last long. 

Riding the 40 K's to Nullabor Roadhouse, the wind rose up from the Sou'east. Grr another day of headwinds. 
Finally the Western side of the Nullabor Plain itself. 

The sign is just 1km W of the roadhouse. 

I stopped in for the regulation chocolate milk & chocolate bar, answered the "20 questions" of all the other travellers. Just like EVERY other time I try. & stop anywhere, lol 

14km from Nullabor roadhouse is the turnoff to the Head of the Bight. I was having a tough time on trying to make the decision on wether to turn, or keep going. The damn wind was winning!!

Time to " take the Pepsi challenge" stuff the wind, & take the 12km detour out & back to check out the view.

I reckon it's worth it!!  :-)
Top spot for lunch again !!

Now for the afternoons entertainment. To see which, out of the "legs", "spirit", "terrain", or "headwind" would win & give out first before calling it a day!

T&L waited 20km up the road from our lunch stop, just to see how I was travelling "against the elements". All was good & I was back in the groove. 

Past the Eastern end of the Nullabor Plain, & good to go... 40km on, a short stop for a bit of fruit, generously donated by others (that will have to give it up at the Quarantine Station at Ceduna.)
Then back at it for the run into Yalata. 

Argh!! Hills!! What are they!! Those steep roady, climby, things... I haven't seen or ridden up one for nearly 1000km!!!

Hmmm there's a few muscles somewhere that haven't been used in a while! LOL

Add in this damned headwind & progress seems depressingly slow!

The sun's getting low in the sky, rather than push on too hard, it's time to call it a day 'n make camp. 

There's always tomorrow