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
Bart from Belgium