Thursday, 14 July 2011

Roebuck Roadhouse to Port Hedland

Huh. So much for weather reports. It got to 34C after leaving the roadhouse.
I Just before leaving I met Aitor and Evelin, cycling from Boome south. So we rode together for a bit. Wow. Evelin only started cycling from Darwin. Amazing. Picking to my mind the hardest place to start touring in. Aitor has been on the road two years.
It was hot. So that night I left them and continued my night cycling.
One thing about over here, is that once the day warms up i doesn't cool in the afternoon. It needs the night to cool down. I miss that on the east coast - how its hot in the middle of the day, but cooler in the afternoon.
So cycling at night, trying to find some shade and then rest or sleep in the heat. Tiring it has been. Been some days just so tired, that I have slept for a couple of hours in the middle of the day. But a lot of sleepless times.
On night a car with a trailer passed fast. Two hours later I found them in the bushes on the right hand side. They where okay - and getting the car back on the road and then the trailer out. I didn't stay about as they said I couldn't help. I wasn't going to argue with them.. An hour and a half later they passed fast again. I don't think they learn't their lesson.
Sitting in the shade in the day I see all the small creatures: so many differant ants, beetles, bees, wasps, spiders, lizards, birds. More wildlife than I thought would be about. Cause at night i see snakes and bugs. Not seeing to much of the larger animals. Welll, there was a kangaroo that almost hit me. What is it about them - i'm not going that fast. It bound from the road edge just in front of me across the road. Road kill for sure if it does that with anything else.
Been lucky - it showered one night - not enough to dampen everything. Just enough to give the smell of rain and a hint of coolness.
Then past Sandfire Roadhouse it really showered and rained. Got wet. But was happy it was 15C and cool. Such a releif after all the hot days and nights. I was riding in the morning when it started. That night I slept well. First time in a while. Slept from 5pm through to 7am. Then had breakfast, before cycling in the day for the first time.
Breakfast was in the tent - lots of flies. The pesty ones that walk all over your face and dive onto the spoon from the pot to your mouth. Arrrghhh.. So annoying those flies. Eat in the tent.
DeGray River rest area was the first one I stopped at for a long time. Well not much reason to stop at them at night, and in the morning - just looking for a place to crash and avoid the sun later. One I stopped I stayed. Since I didn't want to stay in the rest area, I didn't stop. Stopped for lunch, but ended up staying the night. Met lots of nice people there. Got given a dish of home made pasta sauce, a packet of buscuits, and a feed of roast potatoes. All from different people.
Today was Port Hedland, and then South Hedland. Hmmm Port Hedland was not pleasant. Busy road, narrow, winds. And there is nothing in Port Hedland. Well, not true - there is the port. Some services. South Hedland has shops. Its a very spread out place. People drive everywhere. The two places are about 20km apart. Lots of trucks, 4x4 and road trains. Busy. It was also windy. So after going into Port Hedland, it was a head wind getting out.
Someone said to me the port started at Port Hedland, but then the town run out of space because of the salt flats - so South Hedland was started.
Whatever, it was a bit dissapointing to hit the first town after leaving Derby and have to deal with Port Hedland.
I'm staying in a van park in South Hedland tonight. All the sweating up north, everything is loaded with salt. So while the last two days have been cooler, everything is damp as the salt absorbs the moisture at night. Washed everything today and dried it. Feels so good to have clean dry gear. The last wash/dry cycle was in Halls Creek - a long time ago.
Plan now is to head down the coastal route towards Perth. Looking at the map today, there are road houses spaced out more - well not too far apart. Towns are a bit sparse, but water shouldn't be a problem. Going to head that way, can always change my mind and swing back inland if I want to.
It doesn't matter who you talk to about how busy the roads will be - someone will always say the other is more busy. There is definitely a lot more road trains about Port Hedland though, than I've seen getting here.
Not many pictures so far, as I forget to take them, and cycling at night, well, I think there is lots to see, but my phone camera won't work so well. I'm still leaving early in the mornings, but should have more day time cycling, so maybe some more pictures from now on.

Derby

Well after leaving Fitzroy Crossing I only made it 30km out of town before crashing in the shade of a tree. It was hot, a head wind, and some hills. Gentle hills, but with the heat and headwind, too much to power over. So was the slow grind up and over.
Before I left, I had lunch with Anton. He's holidaying about and was admiring my bike. We chatted and he offered lunch, so we sat under the tree and ate some sandwiches. Thanks Anton.
It was still a bit of a head wind when I left in the morning, and sometimes it blew hot. Luckily it as cool most of the time. I'd planned a big day, but by lunch time, could only look for shade and rest. From that I
Today was an easy 90km into Derby. Had plans to do so postal stuff, but ended up talking with Mac and Gerrie most of the day. They were going to ride the Gibbs River road, but changed their minds after a day of corrugations,dust and 4x4's. Lots of traffic on the road. There were going by bus to Kununurra to spend their holiday up there.
Broome - Derby road had lots of traffic on it. Surprised me. It was still hot, so I didn't sleep well, Started cycling at 1am.
Cycling at night is cooler, but sometimes the wind is still hot. It cools more towards 3am.. I'd pass through rivers of warm or cool air as I'm riding alone. The stars are all spread out just for me. Currently the moon is rising, but is hidden by midnight. I can tell different areas by their smell or feel. Still lots of bugs at times. Annoying are the ones that crash into you and then hunt about for a spot to bite.
Just made Roebuck Roadhouse this morning at 4am. Faster than I'd planned. The plan was to spend the day here resting and then do two big days to get to Sandfire Roadhouse 300km away. But the weather has cooled. There will not be any 30C or over days. This is good. So will do some more daytime cycling.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Fitzroy Crossing

Ended up resting another day in Halls Creek. Washed a few more things. The rotten onion smell is definitely gone from my things now. Basically sat about and ate. Found that I had a lot of food resting in the bottom of my panniers. Started a mission to eat it all as its just extra weight I'm carrying. Reckon I should be getting near the bottom of it by the time I get to Broome.
Did a bolt from Halls Creek at 3:30am. Stratergy to avoid the heat - cycle when its cooler. It worked well. By 8am had done 110km and stopped for breakfast. Stopped again at lunch time and was going to call it a day, but sitting there resting the wind gusted up.. Arrrgghhh.. A tail wind. What could I do.. Jumped back on and did another 50km before calling it quits for the day. 190km all up. Since that was such a success, I repeated it today. The 100km into Fitzroy Crossing was done by 8am. Cycling at night is definitely cooler. Bugger all traffic about and you don't get to see the hills. Well, actually between Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing there aren't any. It seemed pretty flat all the way.
The temps are hitting the low 30's. But feels like its a bit less humidity. I'm looking longingly at Port Hedland - their max is about 25.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Halls Creek

Ow, ow, ow... Answering the early morning call of nature, I'd forgotten the ant trail near my tent. The ants, although small, were not happy and let me know it. Jumping about trying to get them off, I stumbled into the patch of grass like needles. I'm now very awake.
I stayed around Kununurra for the two days, and then had to get south. It was so hot and humid. My plan to ride the Duncan Highway went out the window for an easy way to get as far south as possible - down the tar.
Along the way I met Max, Margarita and (not sure of the spellling) Gioragio (George). They were travelling towards Kununurra and stopped. Kindly they gave me some apples and garlic. Those apples sure tasted good. They're travelling around Australia and are currently looking for work. Maybe I'll see them down south ways..
It did feel cooler as I rode south, but its only a matter of degrees. Sitting here in Halls Creek its just below 30C and not so humid. Certainly an improvement. The best I can do until I'm past Port Hedland in another two weeks time. Water consumption has been running about 6 to 8 liters a day in drinking. I'm sweating so much. Luckily the sun has been behind clouds the last two days. The road has been hilly -look at the map and see all the ranges about here. I wonder if a head wind would have made it cooler as I'm not travelling fast in the hills. I'm not doing so well in the heat and humidity..
Have you seen the Bungle Bungles? I have. There was a good poster for them at the Doon Doon roadhouse :) In my mission to find somewhere cooler, I didn't detour into the park. The prices for a day trip were truely jaw droppping. There are lots of things I'm never going to see in the world - the Bungle Bungles in person, are in that list..
Halls Creek is a nice rest stop. It has an IGA and the caravan park is quiet. Yep - I'm in a van park. Decided it was washing time. I'd bought some veges in Kununurra and left them in the plastic bag. But in the heat they turned into a soup in my pannier. I sure wished the plastic bags hadn't leaked. Onions gone off have such a strong smell! That was the pannier with my sleeping cloths in it. Last night my camp ended up next to a dead cow. It was just bones and I couldn't smell it when I set up 20meters away. But during the night, when I woke a few times, I was wondering what I was smelling - me, my souped on clothes, the dead cow, live cows, or something else.. So even though its overcast and cooler than it has been, I decided to stop the day and wash everything. I'm sure that getting all the salt out of my riding gear will make it lighter and breath better to.
Depending how I'm feeling tomorrow morning - it will be either an early start to get towards Fitzroy Crossing, or another rest day.