Monday, 8 September 2014

Winton to Longreach

It's 2:30 am when I admit I'm lost. The moon is out, but it's not showing enough light to help me. My torch just doesn't have the power either.
The day had started so well. Packed and on the road early. I'd found a screwdriver, some spanners (imperial, left them behind) and a battery drill (still working). And I met Noel and Moreen.
We'd briefly meet at the Burke and Wills roadhouse. A quick chat, they where on their way to Lawn Hill National Park.
They recognized me stopped having a snack, turned around, and came back to say hello. What's more, I was invited into their (motor)home for a cup of caffeine, and one of Noels home made fruit tarts. Out off the wind, I heard about their trip.
Most roadside stops are me answering twenty questions, before I hear, "got to go now, bye". So was lovely to hear about their travels.
Whether it was the coffee, tart, conversation, rest, or dropping off the battery drill, I had good travels afterwards. As the sun fell, I passed a gate. In I went 100 meters to some bushes.
That night I didn't sleep well, so at 1:30 decided to get up, pack up, and night ride. No wind, it was cooler. Moon out. Almost perfect. I headed back to the gate.
By 2:30, I admit I'm lost. Can't find the gate. I've pushed almost a one km now, through two drains! I was only 100m from it when the sun set. Now I'm at a fence, I can see the road, I give up on the gate. Unpack the bike, lift it all over, repack, push through the grass, remembering Russ's Mt Surprise snake talk. Is it better to push through the bundles, or steer for a path? I push through the bundles making lots of noise to scare snakes away, and to avoid any death adders waiting on the path for prey.
On the road, I jump on. One turn of the pedals and stop. Unpack the bike again. Panniers on wrong side and hitting my feet. Finally I'm ready. Now I begin to doubt myself. Am I going the right way? The GPS doesn't completely clear things up. It's only when I see new road signs that I'm happy I'm going the right way.
Winton arrives at 7 am. I eat breakfast, look about. Very touristy. I don't want to stay. By 9 I've restocked and am rolling out of town. The plan was 30 km, find some shade and rest. But the wind died down! Oh, to not have a headwind. Then puffs of a tail wind. I had to keep going!
By 2 pm, the headwind was back, and I wanted to stop, but nothing to hide behind. Just empty grass plains. It was 4pm when I came to some bushes and finally stopped.10 hours cycling time, 170km. A big day.
I drifted off to sleep watching the tiny spiders on the tent mesh.
At midnight I awoke, to tired, back to sleep. At 3 I was up and going again. No getting lost this morning.
Later I regretted not starting at midnight. The headwind picked up with the light. The last 40 km into Longreach was very windy. But time passes, and I arrive.
Sitting having lunch, I notice I've more freckles. Arrrgghh ticks, not tiny spiders!! Time to rest, de-tick, and plan where to next.


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