Friday, August 3, 2012

Uluru, Ayers Rock

Well, after that last post, you probably thought I had a feed of hot damper. Sadly, that wasn't the case. After it was cooked, it was packed up and we left. Thats right, no damper eating. Twas a sad moment. But still, it planted a seed.

As I left next morning, I thought about how simple it looked making damper. Then I met Mike. I'd heard about a cyclist heading my way, but reports were sparodic. I hadn't heard anything in days, so thought he might not actually be on the Great Central Road. Then I met Ted. Wonderful gentleman stopped and we chatted. The cyclist was about two hours back, so at say even 80km/hr, that was a long way back. But then he said later, between here and Warakunna Roadhouse. Oh.. I was 90km from there, so we could meet today. In the end I stopped and made lots of effort to mark the road. It he missed the markings I'd have to backtrack and find him. We met. Mike rode 88km and was going to stop at 90. So it was a lucky chance that we met that night. Ted also left me a block of chocolate. Mike got some of it from me. Ted was so nice!

So Mike and I sat and talked and talked. It was good to met another tourer. Been a long time since my last one. Was a real boost for me, and was also great to give Mike tips that I'd found out the hard way. Go read about Mikes trip at
Mike also lit a fire. So next road house, I bought flour. Got buggered up with the timezones for the weather balloon launch at Giles weather station. Hammered it to get there before 8:30, only to find I was too late. The launch was Central Time, I was on WA time.

Almost missed the shop also, it posted a sign saying it was shutting for a while just as I arrived. A funeral was taking place at the local community. I'd heard another report of two cyclists heading my way. So, set out to find them. As it happened we camped 5km apart and met first thing in the morning. Thomas and Stuart. I'd figured they would light a fire a night, and I'd have an experiment with making damper. Blow me down, I'd meet the traveling bakers. I'd no sooner explained about damper, that it seemed in minutes they'd produced scones, damper, and a cake! All baked on a fire, or a small stove with a couple of pots. Wow. I was so impressed. Speechless in fact. A huge thanks to Stuart and Thomas for sharing some of their skill with baking with me. We also stayed the whole day talking. And next morning I baked my first damper. Thomas has a photo. I was to excited holding my damper to get my camera out.. It was (and still is) so exciting. Been baking a damper or two each day that I can since then. Lots to learn about fire temps, getting the coals right, length of bake time, etc. But so easy to get an edible damper. And so tasty doing the eating! I'm still in the space of raving unbidden to people about cooking dampers. I'm sure it will pass in time... But it is really simple, fun and exciting. Try it :) Thomas and Stuart had a bag of fruit a lovely couple had given them for me. I'd met them the day before and been given a banana, chips and a couple of biscuits. All food that was happily accepted and eaten, but later they thought they'd should have left more fruit. Some people are so nice. After farewell to Thomas and Stuart, onwards to Docker River.

Wasn't too many trucks on the road, but when they did, it wasn't too hard to decide where to be. Upwind!!

The road changed. Hills happened in the distance. Something to feast the eyes on.

Early snake or legless lizard. Whatever, I decided to act and chased him or her off the road before the next vehicle arrived. Sadly, I arrived in Docker River 5minutes after the shop had shut on a Saturday. I'd forgotten the day. So, another day and a half of resting, till the shop reopened on Monday at 9.

Couldn't say there where no facilities on the side of the road. If I hadn't already cooked damper the night before... Another morning, I met up with Henry and Jane.

Weren't too many motorcycles on the road, and even less with a sidecar. Talked for about an hour. They have some similiar experiences with people stopped, asking a few questions and then leaving. Also met William. Cycling on a single speed with full touring gear from Newcastle westwards. We didn't chat long. He was in a bit of a hurry. Speed for him on the sand was slow. We met early in the morning - I was still packing up the tent. He'd managed 36km the day before - so lots of walking. The day for me ended up being 63km, proving what I'd found earlier in my travels - its slow touring on a single speed. Then yesterday the dirt road ended. Tar is back, and with it lots more traffic. Tourists out in force. Until the next dirt road...