Friday, August 5, 2011

Whim Creek, Roebourne, Karratha, Nanutarra Roadhouse, Perth

Okay. A bit behind on the journal updates. Catching up now, all in one post on the trip down to Perth.
Currently resting up in Perth, eating lots, replacing and repairing gear. The big items that need work:
bike - time for another Rohloff oil change. Drive chain side oil seal may be leaking oil. Not a problem as noted on the German Rohloff website, but I'd like to get it fixed.
Bike - make a new chain case. The old one has worked well, but it could be better. Will have a bigger choice of plastic in Perth to make the improved version.
Bike - seat and handlebar grips need patching or replacing from wear.
Tent - time to get a new one, or patch the holes. Actually I've decided this already and am going to make my own. Should be able to drop the weight from 4kg to around 1.5kg for a two person, mossie net and bath tub setup. I'll write more on this as I build it.
Panniers- my home made set has been getting lots of patches. They are more than ten years old now. Since I'm going to make a new tent, I'll make another set out of new material. I'll get to ride about Perth and test them before I leave to ensure they hold up. If the new ones work, I'll make another set and replace all my panniers. Weight loss will be at least 2kg which with the tent will save about 5kg.
Since I'm cutting the weight, I'll take the scales to my gear and see what else can go on a diet. Should be able to save another kilo or two that way. Ideally I'll drop six or seven kilos from my gear list before I leave Perth. I'm not expecting that to happen fast. Wandering about the city today checking out the camping shops, found the Munda Biddi Foundation office. Was so excited - bicycle track. Will definitely ride some of that. Sarah there was so helpful and friendly. Thanks heaps.
Also looking at doing some short walks - the Bibbulmun Track looks interesting. Its only 1000km
But not until I get my bike gear sorted. The light tent will be good for that also. Anyway, more on that later..

Update on getting to Perth:
Was glad to get out of Port Hedland area. I left about midnight from the caravan park. There was still a fair bit of traffic at that time. Road trains moving ore and gas, and general goods. But they dropped of by the time I was past the Newman turn off.
Was feeling like resting, so stopped riding before Whim Creek. Saved that for the next day. Nice little pub. Food and a game of pool. If you ever call past - say hi to Harry.
Roebourne plains was next. That was exciting. Large empty plains of short grass, with a strong head wind, but hid out in a creek bed that was so nice, I stayed two days. Would have stayed another day, but needed water.
Next was the food and water stop in Karratha. It was a quick stop, get supplies and leave. Reminded me of Port Hedland. Lots of cars and trucks, not many people walking or cycling. But it did have less road debris.
I was still night riding as the temps were up, and well, it was quieter. Got used to having the road to myself and the occasional road train. Night riding continued all the way to Nanutarra.
Unfortunately I started feeling sick after leaving Karratha. I had passed the Fortescue roadhouse by about 40km, and instead of turning back, pushed on. It was a tough few days with short distances and lots of resting. Spent all of one day in one spot. It was a struggle to get to Nanutarra. With the next roadhouse 200km, and the next town 140km after that, I decided to get the bus to Perth to recover. Spent three more days waiting for a bus, and then 20hours travelling. Not sure what it was - bad water, bad food, a build up of fatigue from long rides without enough rest, some other bug. Nausea, tiredness and weak. Was feeling lots better after three days just waiting for the bus.
Met a German cycle rider at Nanutarra. He was on a two week holiday and rode from Broome and was heading south. We shared thoughts on the towns and both agreed on Port Hedland.
He was relying on the caravan crowd to get water. I wonder if this is just a overseas visitor idea or if Australian riders do it also. I'm happy with 23liters and a plan to get between known water spots, than needing to ask caravan people all the time.

Photos: There isn't much water about..
Kangaroos are strays?
Robe River did have water in it. Was a nice spot to hangout for a day. Stayed there, slept, washed, rested. This was after Karratha.