Dave Byrnes' Adventures

Round Oz Bike Record Attempt - 2007
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Day: 023

Saturday, 11 August 2007


Basic room at Willare Bridge Roadhouse


Riding from Fitzroy Crossing to Willare Bridge Roadhouse

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Very warm and sunny.  Light easterly breeze.


“Truckies Breakfast” for breakfast.  Sandwiches for lunch.  Stew for dinner.


About an hour after I left Fitzroy Crossing, a car drew up beside me and the front passenger asked me whether I was Dave Byrnes.  He was Jim, a long-time friend of my long-time running friend and more recently regular golfing buddy, Dave Cundy.  Jim was travelling with his wife Gaye with a camping trailer, and his father, Don, in a separate car and caravan.  They pulled over a few hundred metres ahead and we all had a cup of coffee and discussed our various travels.  Dave had told them I was riding through the Kimberleys and they had checked my website last night and found that I also planned to be in Fitzroy Crossing.  We actually stayed at the same resort, but they couldn’t track me down there.  It was an interesting and pleasant twist to my day’s travels and I was pleased they had taken the trouble to track me down.

My second interesting encounter for the day was with a three vehicle convoy travelling in the same direction as me, at about the same speed.  All carried multiple flashing lights and signs and the front and rear vehicles were there to warn traffic about the middle vehicle which towed a trailer and stopped every 800 metres to automatically carry out a series of tests on the road surface.  The stop-start nature of their work meant that, for many kilometres (maybe 20) I kept on catching and passing the testing vehicle which would then speed past me and stop again and I would pass it and so on.  I wondered whether this odd little band was on a contract to test Highway 1 and their lives involved driving around Australia at 25kph.  Maybe I’ll see them again!


A good night’s sleep.


Being verbally accosted at Willare Bridge Roadhouse on arrival by a truckie who complained that I was a menace travelling on the roads at night.  He agreed that I was well-lit, but said it was hard to work out what I was and he had almost mistaken me for a guide post and passed very close when a vehicle was coming the other way.  No harm done.

Daily Pictures: Here
Daily Podcasts: Here & Here

As sometimes happens when the pressure is off, I tended to dally a bit early today, but enjoyed my seven hours deep sleep in my safari tent.  I left at 7:00am and rode into Fitzroy Crossing town and went to the only roadhouse offering breakfast which, I think, also doubled as a community store for the local aboriginal population.  There were already plenty of aborigines gathering and chatting around the roadhouse and I felt a bit guilty about moving my bike to somewhere where I could see it while I ate my breakfast.  Nobody showed any interest in it.  Sadly, I had seen a couple of boys aged about eight loitering and smoking outside the store on arrival.  I thought again about the capriciousness of birth.  Many of these kids really have no hope of making a go of it.
I dallied over my breakfast and the selection of food and drink to carry with me for the day and finally left town at 8:40am for the 227km ride to the Willare Bridge Roadhouse.  In between the two, the map showed there was nothing, and that proved to be the case.  It was already warm and rapidly became very warm as I pedalled into the bush.  Again it was mainly lightly-timbered savannah with vast horizons and escarpments occasionally visible in the distance, mainly to the north.  The road had many very long straight and flat sections which seemed to exacerbate the heat, but there were also plenty of very gradual climbs and descents.  Sometimes the climbs were so imperceptible that the only way you could tell you were climbing was because you seemed to be working harder to make reasonable progress.
I had probably underestimated my fluid requirements and could have had another couple of litres on top of the five litres I carried, although it was sufficient (I finished with half a litre of water left).  I realised during the morning that I probably hadn’t drunk quite as much with breakfast as usual, which may have contributed to my thirstiness.  However, my good sleep meant that I felt more refreshed and the kilometres passed by easily enough, although the last forty dragged as usual.  Later in the day, there were vast sections that had recently been burnt as part of the fire management that gets practiced in tropical Australia.  For many kilometres, the ground level vegetation was black as far as the eye could see and the occasional log was still slowly burning sending a trail of lazy white smoke into the sky.  The air smelt of burning and smoke and I saw two “willy willies” (whirlwinds) that were almost stationary but vigorously spinning columns of black smoke and ash high into the sky.
There was a brilliant red sunset which would have looked great from Cable Beach at Broome, which is only about 100 kilometres to the west.  Many times during the day I wished I was in the water catching waves at that beach.  After travelling the last hour in darkness I reached Willare Bridge Roadhouse and was greeted by the friendly staff, given my room and served a nice stew for dinner while I watched some football on their TV.  I will get up in time to have breakfast when they open at 6:00am tomorrow and then ride as quickly as I can to the next Roadhouse, at Roebuck Plains, 127km away, with the idea of getting there soon after noon and then having a relaxing afternoon.



Round Ireland

Hume & Hovell Walking Track

Via Alpina

Australian Alps Walking Track

Land's End to John O'Groats

Round Oz Bike Record Attempt

Round Oz Bike Record Attempt

Round Oz Bike Record Attempt

Australia Tip to Top MTB

Adelaide to Darwin MTB

Sydney to Melbourne MTB

Three Peaks Race

Appalachian Trail

Alpine Track

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