Thursday, May 31, 2018

Part 2 of the Nullarbor: May 21-24

May 21: “I’ve Heard All About You.”

Off in the distance I could see something smaller than a motor vehicle. It was moving slow. Was it an animal, or could it be??? Yes, it was a cyclist! I crossed the road to meet him. The first thing he says is, “I’ve heard all about you.” Actually, I had heard about him too from one of the caravan people. But, you’ll never guess how Mark had heard about me. He met Dorothy and Bev!!! Of course, it was a couple of weeks ago, he said. I forgot to ask him where he had met them. They told him to be on the lookout for me. That just made my day!

As for the rest of the day, it was a good 99kms. Twice I went out to the Bunda Cliffs to have a look at the view. It was just short little distances off the highway. The first was just a dirt road, but I could see caravans were out there. I met a couple who were taking in the view while having their lunch. They were Jen and Rodney. Jen asked if she could take my picture. I told her of course she could. 

The second viewpoint was more official with a walkway and everything. It was a good view looking back east of the whole stretch of cliffs (so far). There I met a guy traveling on a motorcycle. He couldn’t believe what I was doing. I told him all I have to do is pedal.

I knew I would be bush camping tonight. I wanted to get a little more than halfway to Border Village. I was looking for the turn to go to Hughes. On the map, it’s a dirt road that goes north up to the Trans Australia Railway. There wasn’t a sign, but I came to the road, and knew it was the right one because it also goes to a place called Koonalda Homestead in Nullarbor National Park. Conveniently, there were a bunch of tracks off into the bush where people have pulled off to camp. 

I found a nice sheltered spot. As usual, I’m hoping to see some wildlife tonight. Last night I could hear the dingos howling. 

As for wildlife today, all I saw was one emu. We had a little race. I won.

May 22: Almost to Western Australia, But Not Quite

My night bush camping was quite peaceful. The sunrise was nice. My tent was soaking wet from the dew, so I even let the sun dry it a bit before packing it up. 

For the first time, the wind was very much easterly, and blowing pretty good right off the bat. I was sailing! I stopped to ditch my trash at the first rest stop, and there I met Rob and Lynn. Apparently, they have been playing leap frog with me for a few days (they are in an RV). Sure enough, they passed me, then I caught up to them at the first viewpoint of the Bight. Then, they passed me again. I didn’t see them the rest of the day, but I passed them where they were camped at the last rest stop before Border Village. Tomorrow, they will probably pass me again, and we’ll have a good laugh.

Today, there were two more opportunities to view the Great Australian Bight. I visited both. The second was different because now I’m toward the end of it, I think (but maybe not). There doesn’t seem to be a “Tail of Bight” like there was a “Head of Bight”.

Anyway, I made good time today and actually arrived at Border Village 45 minutes earlier than my clock said I did. It’s really strange. Now the time has changed by 45 minutes. At some point, it will change by another 45 minutes. This time zone is called something like South West Central Time. It’s just weird. So, it’s now getting dark earlier, but should get light a little earlier. We shall see.

I treated myself to a very nice dinner at the Border Village Roadhouse. I had prawns in a cream sauce with fettuccine, zucchini, and spinach. And I had garlic bread. And I had dessert! I am so full! 

Border Village, as you might guess, is right on the border of South Australia and Western Australia. Tomorrow I will go through the quarantine checkpoint (no fruit, veggies, honey, and a whole host of other things), and be in Western Australia. It has been almost a month since I crossed from Victoria to South Australia. I still have another 700kms or so of the Nullarbor.

May 23: There Was a Dog Who Crossed the Road...

And Dingo was his name-o! Yes, after a bit of a dry spell in wildlife spotting, I got to check Dingo off my list. In fact, I saw two—well, one must have been a hybrid, because Dingos are blondish, and the one that crossed the road first was dark. However, the second one was definitely Dingo. It was even so kind as to come back to the road so I could get a decent photo! Also, I saw 6 kangaroos. There were so many dead ones, though...

My original plan for the day was to just go the 77kms to Mundrabilla Roadhouse. But, as these things go, I changed my mind. Madera, which is the next roadhouse, is 115kms away from Mundrabilla. I had another good tailwind today, so I decided to just stop in Mundrabilla for some lunch, then continue on for another 20-25kms and bush camp. That way it would even out the two days.

The sun did come up earlier this morning, and I was on the road an hour earlier than I have been the last several days. Of course, it gets dark earlier too...

Today I crossed into Western Australia, my final state. I had to go through the quarantine checkpoint. The lady looked through both my food panniers. I passed. About 14kms from the Border was Eucla. It’s another roadhouse “town”, but a bit more substantial because it has a medical facility. The original Eucla was out on the Coast. It was the old telegraph station. The original town is now a ruin, having been buried by sand. Apparently, all you can see now are the chimneys of the old buildings.

About 30kms before Mundrabilla, I met another cyclist (that makes 3 so far on the Nullarbor). This guy was Bart from Belgium. He was an older guy. He was more like me in that he preferred to stay at the roadhouses or caravan parks. He had bush camped only once. You’ll notice in the photo, he doesn’t have a helmet. Apparently, he forgot it someplace. 

I arrived at Mundrabilla just after noon. I had some lunch, bought some extra water, used the toilet, and headed back out. I was there for about 30 minutes. The first rest stop was only about 10kms from Mundrabilla. That wasn’t quite far enough, so I kept going. The next pulloff was not really a rest stop per se, but I had gone 103kms which was what I wanted to do, so I pulled in for the night. There is one other really big 5th wheel RV (one with all the pop-outs). Haven’t seen anyone yet, but maybe I will later.

Oh, and the flies are a bit annoying here...

May 24: You Just Have to Know Where to Look

I did meet my neighbors last night. Lou and Michelle were a bit of an odd couple, but nice enough. Lou was Czech, but has lived in Oz for 40 some years. The RV they have, they bought from the US as well as the Chevy they use to pull it. They had to have everything modified to make it legal in Australia. Seems like an awful lot of trouble to go to.

I was up with the sunrise this morning. The wind was pretty strong, so I opted to not cook breakfast and just eat in my tent. I was on the road by 7:20.

A couple of days ago when I met Mark, he said he hadn’t seen hardly any wildlife. Well, I think he just doesn’t know how to spot it. This morning, I saw 34 kangaroos! The trick to spotting them is to look to the side, as in perpendicular to the road. I don’t see them if I’m just looking ahead. For awhile, I thought the live ones were going to outnumber the dead ones for a change. Unfortunately, that was not the case. I was hoping to spot some emus too, but not today.

I was about 10kms into today’s ride when I spotted a tent and bicycle off the side of the road (I hope he wasn’t going for stealth, because he wasn’t too successful). I could see the guy, so I hollered a hello, and pulled over to his side of the road. He walked over and said, “You must be Colleen from Washington.” That threw me for a loop! Turns out, he had met Rob and Lynn, the people I had been playing leapfrog with for a few days. They told him he would see me. That’s the thing when there is just one road! Anyway, we had a nice chat. His name was Shane, and he is from Albany (where I will start the Munda Biddi). 

At 20kms, I pulled into a rest stop for a snack break. There I met a motorcyclist named Imry from Melbourne. He used to ride, but said it got too intense. Maybe he’ll get back into it. He also said there is a woman coming toward me. He had seen her this side of Norseman. Hopefully, I will see her in the next day or so. 

The wind was pretty good today, but became more of a crosswind later in the morning/noonish. Actually, I think the wind was pretty much the same all day, the road just changed enough to make for the crosswind.

As I neared the 90km mark, I thought the very last thing I was going to have to do today was go up Madura Pass. Well, I started up the Pass, but the Madura Pass Roadhouse is just a short way up the Pass. I’ll have to finish the climb tomorrow. This is a decent roadhouse and caravan park. The showers are free, and the water is drinkable (they have a de-salination plant here). The dinner menu in these roadhouse restaurants is pretty impressive. Also, the quantity of food is tremendous. Tonight I had a heads up from some women who ate in the restaurant last night. Instead of ordering a main, I ordered two entrees (appetizers). I had garlic bread (I’ve been on a bit of a garlic bread kick, eating it every time I’ve eaten a dinner in a roadhouse), coconut prawns (with a little salad), and sticky date pudding with cream for dessert. It was just the right amount of food.

There is a group of Jahovah’s Witnesses here in caravans. I spoke to two of the women. They are going from Norseman to Border Village spreading their gospel. To their credit, they didn’t try to push any of their reading material on me. Actually, they were very nice ladies. 

I was thinking it was going to take me 18 days to get across the Nullarbor. I don’t know why I thought that. I counted again, and it’s only 14 days. That means I’m now over halfway. Talk is there is some weather coming by Saturday or so. Winds could be against me. My days of tailwinds might be numbered...

I’ve run out of things to do, and it is 6:15...maybe I should go talk to the Jahovah’s Witness people...


The Great Australian Bight

Bush camp

Border Village

Western Australia!

Eucla Pass

Bart from Belgium


Part 1 of the Nullarbor—May 17-20

May 17: The Last Town for a Good Long While

Since the wind was going to be in my favor, I didn’t worry about getting an early start. Besides, I only needed to go 72kms. Wanting to reserve my food for the Nullarbor, I stopped at the bakery in Ceduna for breakfast. I realized, as I was stopping to pee for the third time, that my breakfast had been mostly liquid (juice, hot cocoa, peanut butter smoothie in a bowl with seeds, granola, and fruit, and two pieces of raisin toast). It was delicious though.

So, although the Nullarbor “officially” goes from Ceduna to Norseman, it’s not very Nullarbor-ish yet. It’s pretty much what I’ve been riding through the last few days. I didn’t see any wildlife (and no roadkill either). 

Tilmann was probably the heaviest I’ve ever ridden with all the food I’m carrying (don’t even have any extra water yet), but with the tailwind, it was not bad. My average speed for today was 17km/hour. One thing I have been able to unscientifically prove is that, in a tailwind, one must go at least 20km/hour to out ride/fly the flies. Below 20, they can keep up, and generally be a nuisance. I’m sure the flies will get worse (I have a headnet).

I saw another touring cyclist today. Brett is riding from Perth to Melbourne (he’s from Melbourne). Like Steve, he has had headwinds many days. Some people say this is unusual, while others say the wind is mostly easterly at this time of year. I’m just hoping it continues (although I felt a touch bad for Brett...).

I arrived in Penong around 1:00. Penong is home of the largest windmill in Australia. In fact, they have a windmill museum. It’s right across from the caravan park. I could see the big windmill from quite a ways away. The way the sun was shining on it, it looked like some big shiny spaceship. I stopped at the museum on my way to the caravan park. They have quite the collection of a variety of windmills. 

The Penong Caravan Park is full tonight. I’m actually set up under a shelter. There is no grass to speak of (South Australia is the driest state in the driest inhabited continent). I’ve met a number of people here (including another Colleen), but my favorite has been Margaret and Greg from Collie. They are also heading west (in their caravan). The Munda Biddi Track goes to Collie. Margaret gave me their number to call them when I get to Collie (it’ll be...Colleen calling in Collie—ha ha!). If they are home when I get there, they’ve invited me to stay with them! 

I’ve decided, food-wise, that I will eat a mid-day meal at the roadhouses if I end up at one, then cook my dinner and breakfast. I ate at a cafe here in Penong. There is no camp kitchen here (just a BBQ), so I used my stove tonight. I think I’m glad I got another fuel canister.

Penong is the last actual town I will come to until Norseman (I think). From here on, it’s roadhouses masquerading as towns. One interesting thing for golfers, you can “Golf the Nullarbor”. There is a hole at each town/roadhouse. I think you play each hole (getting your card signed at the roadhouses) as you make your way across the Nullarbor. Apparently, you can even rent a club. As I am a terrible golfer, I’ll pass.

May 18: Where Are the Live Wombats?

I took my time heading out this morning. I didn’t even get out of my sleeping bag until it was light enough to see without my headlamp. I stopped at the grocery store to pick up another pack of tortillas. Now I have 28 tortillas. That oughta do me. 

I was on the road about 8:30. I took a photo of the distances to all the places on the Nullarbor. Norseman, the end, is 1163km away. It’s going to take me awhile to get there! There was also a sign for kangaroos and wombats for the next 79kms (basically, my entire day). I had pulled off at about 20kms for a break. Off in the distance it looked like there were kangaroos. I got out my monocular thingie, and sure enough, there were three kangaroos! They were the only ones I saw today. 

I was seeing lots of wombat burrows, but no wombats. Then, I started seeing dead ones on the road. These wombats are not the same breed as the ones on Maria Island. These ones are absolutely huge! They are probably three to four times as big as the Maria Island ones. I saw 6 dead wombats on the road. I kept calling the wombats to come out of their burrows so I could see them. They didn’t listen. When I was about 15kms out of Nundroo Roadhouse, way off down the road I could see something moving across the road. It was big, brown, and roundish. It must have been a wombat. I tried to keep my eye on where I had seen it so when I got up to that spot I could see if it was still around (they’re not the fastest moving critters), but I never saw it. 

I did see some really pretty parrots. They were mostly green with a black head, yellow breast, and a yellow ring around their necks. 

The wind was not really a tailwind until I was almost to Nundroo. It wasn’t a killer headwind either, but I was certainly not going as fast as yesterday. Plus, it seemed to be more hilly. I don’t know if that was because I was going slower, or if it really was hillier. 

Still, I arrived at Nundroo after 79kms at about 3:00. There is a caravan park here...of sorts. Definitely no kitchen, and the showers were cold. But, the woman in the roadhouse let me use one of the showers in a motel room, and that was nice and hot. Normally the caravan park showers are hot, but they’ve been having problems with them.

There are several Aboriginal people that come into the roadhouse. Yalata, Aboriginal land, is just up the road. I will begin riding across it tomorrow. I won’t make it all the way across, but I can camp at the rest stops without a permit. That also means I’ll need to carry extra water. It was cheaper to buy a 10 liter box than the 7 liters I think I will need in bottles. I reckon I’ll need 3 days worth of water as I want to go out to the Head of the Bight (that’s 24kms return, then another 14kms to Nullarbor Roadhouse). If the wind is good, I might make it to Nullarbor Roadhouse in 2 days, but I’m not counting on it, especially since I’ll be packing at least 8 liters plus three water bottles. Ai yi yi, that’s a lot of weight!

May 19: Who Ordered This Rain?

I sure slept well last night! I didn’t even have to pee until 4:15 (okay, probably should have drank more...). This morning wasn’t as cold as it’s been the last couple of mornings. I said goodbye to my neighbors, Mike and Angelique. We had dinner together in the roadhouse last night. It was pretty good. I had a Caesar salad with prawns, and garlic bread. 

Carrying the extra water was pretty heavy. All the extra water was on the back. The 6 liter bag was strapped on top of my tent, and the two one liter platypus bags were in each of the outer pockets of the rear panniers, as was the extra water bottle. The biggest issue, though, was that I couldn’t use the kickstand (too much weight for the kickstand, and I couldn’t lift Tilmann anyway). Throughout the day, whenever I stopped, I had to find a tree to lean Tilmann against. 

It was slow going up the hills (again, today, there were several hills), but I expected that, so it was okay. What I didn’t expect was rain. I thought what I was looking at toward the Coast was fog. As it moved in, it was actually rain. It was misting at first, and I thought, oh, this will end. But, then it was “misting” a bit harder. I pulled off the road and found a tree to lean Tilmann against and pulled out my rain gear. As it wasn’t especially cold, I took my long pants off, and just wore the bike shorts Steve gave me under my rain pants. As always seems to happen, as soon as I was suited up, and headed down the road, it stopped raining. I pulled into the next rest stop place and took off the rain gear. 

Things were progressing along nicely. I saw one kangaroo bounding along a dirt road in the bush parallel to the main road. Still didn’t see any wombats. The n the dark clouds moved in again, and I had to pull over, find another tree, and put my rain gear back on. This time it rained quite hard. It was extra special when the road trains would go by. It added greatly to the shower I was getting (well, I don’t get a shower tonight, so...).

Finally, it stopped raining, and the sun poked through off and on. I decided if it was still not raining, and the roads had dried some, when I got to the Yalata Roadhouse (which is closed), I would at least take off my rain pants. 

I pulled into Yalata and took off the rain pants. This was where I had planned to stay, but it was only 1:30, and there was no reason to stay there since everything is closed. I continued on. Even though I was now on Yalata Aboriginal Land, I figured there would be someplace I could pull off and stealth camp.

I came to a good place, but it was still pretty early. I would just end up being bored, and spending way too many hours in my tent. However, looking up the road, it looked like it was raining again. So, you would think I would have decided to stay there. Nope. I put my rain pants back on, and continued up the road. I decided I would either ride until I was out of the rain, or to the next suitable campsite, whichever came first.

I was beginning to despair about finding a decent place to get off the road. There just wasn’t anything. I’d gone about 15kms past Yalata, and down a big hill. At the bottom I could see where it looked like a rest stop. This wasn’t one on my map. Sure enough, it was a rest stop, AND it had stopped raining! Hallelujah, home for the night! There was a sign that said it was a rest stop and not for camping, but I don’t care! There were several roads leading away from the road. I went well down one until I came to a perfect spot with a tree to lean Tilmann against. The sun even came out, and most everything got dry. 

Several vehicles have pulled in to the rest stop (I can hear them), but then they probably read the sign, because they continue on.

The sky has cleared up mostly, and I’m hoping for good weather tomorrow. Please don’t anyone order up anymore rain!

May 20: Heading to a Bight

I stayed outside my tent last night, even went for a little walk when it was almost dark in the hope of seeing some kangaroos or wombats. I saw nothing. Finally, I gave up and retired to my tent. Just as I’m starting to read, I hear the unmistakable thump thump thump of a kangaroo go hopping by. I grabbed my headlamp and opened my tent. I could see nothing. I went back to reading. Then I heard multiple thumping feet go by. Again I looked out my tent door. Nothing. To be fair, it was pretty dark by then. I guess I will just have to be satisfied knowing they were there.

It was very cold this morning—5.3 Celsius. However, it was sunny, so it was just a matter of time before it warmed up. I rode about 5kms with my warm jacket on, but took it off after going up the second hill. The hills continued for about the first half of today’s ride, then it flattened out.

As I was riding along, a vehicle went by me, then pulled over just up the road. A guy got out, and was waiting for me as I rode up. It was Ian from Streaky Bay! That was 5 days ago! We had a good chat. I took off, and he beeped as he went by. It was fun to see him again.

I wanted to go to the Head of Bight. I was hoping the wind would still be slack when I got there as the road turned a bit back east to get out to the Bight. Well, it was doing its usual thing of picking up shortly after noon. I made it to the turn off shortly after noon. But, even though I had a headwind for the 12kms out to the Head of Bight, I knew I’d have a tailwind coming back.

Head of Bight is where the whales come into the bay to have their calves. Except it’s a little early yet. There were reports of two whales, but I didn’t see them. The scenery was still quite spectacular. 

I rode the tailwind back to the highway, and the final 14kms to Nullarbor Roadhouse, one of the nicer roadhouses along the Nullarbor. I’m am now officially on the Nullarbor Plain, and it is definitely more null, and less arbor. There are still low shrubs, but no trees. 

There are several caravans (a club of several traveling together toward Sydney) here. I’ve met some really nice people, and had a good time chatting with all of them. I’ve come to look forward to these roadhouses because I know I’ll get to talk to lots of people.

Apparently, there are dingoes here. It’ll probably be like the kangaroos. I may hear them, but won’t see them. 

I hope it’s not quite so cold in the morning. There was just a brief rain shower (like 30 seconds). That means cloud cover, and that means more warmth. However, if it’s a choice between rain and warmth, or sun and cold, I’ll take sun and cold!

And then there was the outback...

Largest windmill in Australia in Penong 

The iconic sign

Sunset on the Nullarbor

And now no trees (sort of)

Head of Bight

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

May 16: Ready to Tackle the Nullarbor!

When I was in Streaky Bay, everyone who talked about Ceduna only had bad things to say. They made it out to seem that Ceduna was a hotbed of crime. People only came to Ceduna to get parts for their caravans, or stock up for the Nullarbor. Nobody talked to anyone. Well, as usual, I have not found that to be the case at all. I’ve talked to many people in the caravan park and the town. In fact, I’ve found Ceduna to be one of my favorite places. The town is compact, and easy to walk around. It’s clean and has everything one could need. It even has an outdoor shop with bike stuff. I went to add some air to my rear tire (something that hasn’t been done since Maria Island off Tassie), and discovered my bike pump was nonfunctional. This one part (a small little coiled hose) had basically disintegrated. I went to the outdoor shop, and was able to get a new pump. Most amazing of all was that it only cost $10.99! And, it’s not crap either! Anyway, I’ve found all the trash talk about Ceduna to be unfounded.

This morning my new friend, Steve, and I went to the Foodland. He was getting stuff for the rest of his trip with his friend and breakfast. I got a backpack full of food for the Nullarbor (trip one, I later went back for another backpack full). The idea is to carry as much food as possible. While there are places to get food along the Nullarbor, it will be wildly expensive, and the selection will be limited. So, I will be starting my trek across the Nullarbor with the following:


12 sachets of oatmeal

20 sachets of hot cocoa

A big bag of granola

2 bananas (it’s hard to carry many...besides, I can’t carry fruit and veggies across the border into Western Australia)

Bag of raisins

Bag of diced apricots


1 jar of peanut butter

1 jar of Nutella 

1 jar of jam

Trail mix

Fruit and nut Dairy Milk Bar 

Jelly beans

3 Snickers

2 Cherry Ripe Bars

3 granola bars

Small packet of crackers


6 cans of chicken

3 cans of beans

18 tortillas

6 pouches of rice

Parmesan cheese

Cheddar cheese block

The panniers are full full full! Of course this won’t last me all the way across, but it should be pretty good. I’ll supplement as necessary from the roadhouses.

I watched Steve pack up his stuff. He gave me a pair of bike shorts that he didn’t wear as they didn’t really fit him well. I tried them on, and they fit me just fine. Might be good for some of the longer days. As I’ve said, I think the lack of bike shorts has limited my ability to go longer distances (or, more accurately, ride for a longer time).

After Steve was all packed up, we went to the bakery. He treated me to a juice and pastry. I’m sure we will keep in touch. He just lives in Vancouver, BC. He has made my stay in Ceduna quite enjoyable. 

So, food has been gathered, laundry has been done, friends have been made, and I feel ready to tackle the Nullarbor!

Steve’s campsite (even though Steve said I could put his photo on my blog, and therefore Facebook, I’m respecting his desire to not have his photo on Facebook)

The Foreshore and jetty of Ceduna

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

May 15: The Longest Day, Butt It Was Fine!

A little update from last night is in order. My camping neighbor, Ian, was also a cyclist. We chatted for a bit, then he offered me some fish for dinner that he was going to be cooking up. I said sure. Well, it wasn’t just fish, it was also pasta salad and tomato too. I contributed some chocolate for dessert. We had fun cooking on the BBQ with parchment paper (a new thing for Ian...the parchment paper). Ian was pretty funny. He had a very dry sense of humor. He is from New South Wales, and is driving to Perth to visit his sons. I have to say, about half the time I had no idea what he was saying. I’ve gotten pretty good with most of the Aussie vernacular, but sometimes the accent still throws me. Every time a person would walk by, he would say, “Hey Champ, how ya goin’?” Then when they answered, he would ask where they were from. Then, there was a camp trailer parked across from us (between us and the water). He said he wished he had a bazooka so he could blast that trailer because it was blocking his view. Then he thought maybe he could push it into the water, but he didn’t think that would do much to improve his view. Funny guy...

I planned to get going early because I was hoping to make it to Ceduna which was 111kms. I ended up leaving at 7:45. So much for the early start. But, I also had an out. I could go only as far as Smoky Bay if I wanted, then have a short day into Ceduna. Ian was going to Smoky Bay (he was bypassing Ceduna altogether). I decided I would see how I was doing when I got to the turn for Smoky Bay.

There was really no wind to speak of at first. The terrain was a continuation of yesterday’s gradual ups and downs. I stopped for a break at the turn for Perludie. I could look back and see Streaky Bay. 

I stopped about 15kms further up the road at another rest stop. There was a trailer pulled in (a smoke break for the guy). We chatted for a bit, then we both continued on. 

I started to notice I was going along at a pretty good clip...22-25kms/hour. Even up the hills I wasn’t slowing down much. Ah, at last, a tailwind! This was looking promising for making it to Ceduna!

I got to the turn for Smoky Bay at noon. I was feeling pretty good. I decided to go for Ceduna. I had taken the best possible actions to make it the least uncomfortable...liberal use of chamois cream, wool capris instead of my pants, and my most comfortable undies. And, it worked! Of course, what really helped was the wind. I arrived in Ceduna at 2:45 after 111kms in 6 hours of ride time.

I made one stop at an outdoor shop to get another fuel canister. My fuel isn’t out yet, but I doubt I’ll be able to get more fuel on the Nullarbor. Then I went on to the Caravan Park. In the office, I met another cyclist named Steve who has just finished his tour from Perth to Ceduna. We ended up going to dinner together, and he shared with me his experiences with the Nullarbor. He said it was really great, but he had a headwind many of the days (hoping that continues, because that will be a tailwind for me). He said I will really enjoy it. We had a great time talking about our tours, and just how great traveling by bike is. Tomorrow his friend is picking him up, and they will go inland. He gets to go to Uluru. I’m totally jealous!

Tomorrow I will stay here in Ceduna. I need to stock up on as much food as I can, and do my laundry. I don’t know how much WiFi there will be (if any) across the Nullarbor. So, if you don’t see any posts for awhile (It might take me about 18 days to get across to Norseman), it’s probably just because I have no WiFi. Even maybe not until Esperance which is a couple days beyond Norseman.

Sunset in Streaky Bay

Streaky Bay in the distance

Back to the Eyre Highway

Only 5kms to go!

Tree full of Galahs in Ceduna

Sunday, May 13, 2018

May 12, 13, and 14

May 12: Back to the Coast

Today was 92kms from Lock to Elliston. I have now traversed the Eyre Peninsula, and am back to the Coast. It’s taking longer and longer for the sun to come up in the morning. This morning, I got dressed, and packed up with my headlamp on. Fortunately, the Laundry room (which I repurposed as a camp kitchen) had a light. I heated water for my breakfast with my stove. I’m still on the same fuel cartridge that I started with, but I’m thinking I may have to get another one in Ceduna. Hopefully, I can get a small one.

I was on the road earlier than usual, at 7:20, but there was no reason to hang around in Lock. Plus, the wind was minimal that early. There was also zero traffic. It being Saturday probably had something to do with the no traffic.

The land today was mostly fields of rocks. Some enterprising folks had made walls of the rocks, but I’m not sure what exactly they were walling in (looked like more rocks to me). There was one really big rock, okay, it was more like a mountain. I think it was called Mount Wedge.

I made up a bit of a song about the wildlife I spotted today. It’s to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas, but it’s only part of the song (I didn’t see THAT much wildlife!). It goes like this (starting with the 5 Golden Rings part):

Five hours of riding

Four green and yellow parrots

Three kangaroos

Two non-native deer

And an emu running through the bush

So, really, I saw 6 green and yellow parrots, but I didn’t see the last two until I’d already made up the song. I also saw a gazillion gallahs. A whole flock flew right over my head. If only I’d had my camera ready! I did get a photo of the deer. Also, these funny doves at the caravan park in Elliston.

The wind wasn’t too bad until about 20kms out from Elliston. The road turned more into the wind, thus making it harder. However, once I went up a rather lengthy climb, it was downhill to the Flinders Hwy, and the wind was behind me into Elliston.

I expected a bigger town (I don’t know why). Since it’s Saturday, the one and only grocery shut at 12:00. Oh well, I didn’t really need anything. This caravan park has a decent kitchen. When I checked in, I told the guy I’d like to be close to the kitchen. I don’t think I could be much closer without actually being IN the kitchen! Plus my tent is set up out of the wind (sort of) behind the rainwater tank. 

I walked down to the beach. It’s all limestone, and therefore pretty interesting looking. The Bay is nice, there’s even a swimming dock, but it’s way too cold now for that. 

The sunset was nice, but there is a nasty looking bank of clouds off shore. Could be rain a comin’. Tomorrow will likely be a shortish day to Port Kenny. It’s either 60kms to Port Kenny, or 137 to Streaky Bay. If I had a really strong tailwind, I could maybe make Streaky Bay, but I doubt it.

See the deer?

Mount Wedge, an apt name.

The Bay at Elliston.

Doves a struttin’ 

Goodnight from Elliston

Right next to the camp kitchen!

May 13: An Altogether Great Mother’s Day!

Well, no rain! It was really not a bad day weather wise. I started out late as I didn’t have far to go, just the 60kms to Port Kenny, buuuutttt...I didn’t go to Port Kenny, and I ended up riding 76kms.

Oh, I had plans to go to Port Kenny all the time I was riding, but first, how about this day? I started out by seeing 4 kangaroos. It looked like a mama and three progressively smaller joeys. First they were up on the hill, then they came down and hopped across the road. It was the mama first, then the next smaller, then the next smaller, then finally the smallest one. I really wish I’d been able to get a photo of them going across the road. It was so cute! Then, later, I saw 5 more kangaroos. They were lounging in the field. 

The weirdest thing I saw today was 3 cats. They weren’t all together. I saw them one at a time throughout the ride. There was nothing around, so they must have been feral cats. Since that means they are wild, I shall let them play in the wildlife spotting games. Still, the kangaroos won today. When I told the lady in the caravan park office about the cats, she said the feral cat population increases when the mouse population increases. Right now, with the lack of rain, the mouse population is pretty high. I’d say it’s good to have the cats!

The reason today was longer than expected was because I rode out to the Talia Caves. Well, actually, I just rode out to one of the caves. It was about 6kms down a bumpy dirt road to the first cave, Woolshed Cave. The caves are limestone that’s been eroded away by the ocean. It was pretty cool scenery, and worth the extra 12 kms. See the photos below.

My original itinerary had me going to Venus Bay—not Port Kenny. But, Venus Bay was off the Flinders Hwy about 4kms, and Port Kenny was on the Hwy. as I was counting down the kilometers to Port Kenny, I came to the turn off for Venus Bay. As I went by, I thought to myself, I bet the caravan park in Port Kenny is going to be like the one in Cleve (just behind the roadhouse). I turned around and went to Venus Bay. 

I’m so glad I changed my mind! Venus Bay has been one of my favorite campsites. I think most of the people here are here to fish, but the view is great and the people are very nice. The guy next to me introduced himself (Paul) right when I got here. Later, we sat and chatted for awhile.

When I went to fix my dinner, there were two couples cooking up a fish fry from today’s catch of King George Whiting, some calimari, prawns, chips, and salad. They asked if I needed to use the BBQ. I said no, I was just going to have some tortillas with cheese (I had eaten a big late lunch when I got here). They told me to put it away, and come join them for the fish fry. So I did. Michael and Robin, and Peter and Bette are from Brisbane. Michael said they come here every year and fish. I had the best evening with them! And the food was great too!

Tomorrow should be about the same distance as today to Streaky Bay, so no need for an early start. 

Go Roos go!

The walkway down to Woolshed Cave

Woolshed Cave

The mighty Southern Ocean

My Venus Bay campsite

Huge pelicans!

May 14: Happy Birthday to Connor!

I was hoping to see 24 kangaroos in honor of Connor’s 24th Birthday. Things were going good when I had seen 11 before I had even gone 11kms. Sadly, I didn’t see anymore after that bunch. Maybe tomorrow (when it is Connor’s Birthday at home) I’ll see 13 more.

The ride today was fairly uneventful. I passed by the turn for Murphy’s Haystacks, but saw them from a distance later from the road.

They are rocks (not hay).

I also stopped at a rest stop called Eyre’s Waterhole. It’s a well that supplied water for the explorers. There was actually some water in it.

Eyre’s Waterhole

I’m in Streaky Bay now. Again my campsite is on the shore. It’s a nice sunny day.

Tomorrow is a long day to Ceduna. Hopefully the wind will be favorable.