Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Culcairn, Walbundarie, Rand

Felt much better when I woke. Peaceful ride into Walbundarie. It's larger than I was expecting. I'm ravenous, eat my breakfast, quarter of a watermelon, a loaf of fruit bread and a handful of cashew nuts. Still I'm hungry, but decide to leave. Better to be a bit hungry than stuffed full.
A tail wind leaving, and it is good, until it moves to a cross wind, and strengthens.
I'm walking. The wind is roaring. Black clouds grow. I head down a narrow dirt track to get to a parallel road. But riding is impossible. Even walking is difficult. Just as rain drops hit, I find a bush to hide behind. There are other trees about, but none I trust to shelter under.
I watch the storm pass. Not enough rain to wet me. But the wind continues. Eventually I decide to find better shelter. More walking.
An hour later, I find it. A stand of Casuarina trees. I wait in vain for the wind to drop. Dust clouds are whipped up.
I watch the fire brigade speed past, and look anxiously for a fire. Impossible to tell with the dust. No smell of smoke.
As darkness falls, I'm not going anywhere. Still too windy.  A couple hours later it eases.
Next morning, in Walbundarie, I learn the fire was at Rand. But it's out now.
Rand, when I arrive it's a ghost town. Or maybe aliens have abducted everyone. I stop for lunch. Then riding around the town, still see no one. Slightly spooky. I head off towards Urana.
Later I see a ute driving up and down in a paddock. Is this what country people do instead of driving round and round the block? Nope, Jay is doing EM Mapping. Up and back, 30 meters apart, for the whole field, dragging the sensor. He tells me of fields that are 8km in length. Long uneventful days, just driving up and back. I guess it is a job that drones will replace in the future.