Dave Byrnes' Adventures

Round Oz Bike Record Attempt - 2008
Overview     Planning     Schedule     Map     Diary     Pictures     Messages     Conclusion
Day: 028 & 029
Date:

13 & 14 June 2008

Start

Fortescue River Roadhouse

Finish

Wooramel Roadhouse

Daily Distance:

636km

Daily Speed: n.a.
Relative to Schedule:

-576km

Daily Podcasts: Here & here
GPS Track Here
Journal:

I woke at midnight after about four hours sleep and, conscious of the big task I had set myself for the day, hastened to get away as quickly as possible.  The skies were clear and the Southern Cross was directly ahead of me as the road set out into the plains.  Straight away, I realized it was going to be difficult to make the 380km target for the day.  Although it wasnít strong, there was definitely a slight opposing wind and the road seemed to be gradually ascending although it was difficult to tell in the dark   Dawn revealed some remote and awesome scenery.  The spinifex covered red soil plateau which stretched into the distance was broken here and there by mesas and low rocky mountain ranges and hills.  There was little evidence of human activity and the angled dawn sunlight created some fantastic shadows and luminous red rocks in places.  The geology in the Pilbara is very old and the hills and mountains I could see are probably the eroded remains of some once-mighty mountains.  The scenery compensated somewhat fo0r my fatigue, the climbs and the headwinds and I tried to see it in a positive light. Iím gradually refining the art of taking photographs while riding to save time and added a few to my collection here.  Unfortunately the cut-down software on my laptop doesnít include the means to downsize the picture files for internet display so website pictures may have to wait for my return.
 
I kept the pressure on myself to maintain a good pace but, by the time I reached the Nanutarra Roadhouse (159km) at about 9:00am, the only supply point for the day, I could tell I wasnít going to make Minilya Roadhouse (a further 227km), my target for the day by their closing time of 8:00pm. So called them and cancelled my room booking.  After a big breakfast at Nanutarra, I bought sandwiches, cakes, drinks, etc., enough to last me 24 hours of solid riding.  The lady at the Roadhouse was very kind and threw in extras and gave me discounts on various things.  I set off into what was becoming a warmish day across the landscape which became flatter and more featureless.  At a rest area I met a family taking a year to travel around Australia with their caravan and they insisted on taking some pictures.  I was envious of their trip and could tell their two boys were excited by it.
 
I pushed on feeling more and more tired, the gradual hills and slight headwind wearing me down.  Later in the day, the road climbed through a series of long red spinifex-covered sand dunes, each about 50 metres high and about a kilometer apart.  I also saw a few emus, one of which kept pace with me while I rode and struggled to take a picture.  Soon after dark, I began to feel very tired and decided that, if I wanted to keep riding through the night I needed to have a quick nap.  I found a spot just off the road, climbed into my tent, without erecting it, and woke two hours later in bright moonlight, dreading the thought of resuming riding.  I forced myself to get up and get going and rode the 50km to Minilya Roadhouse which was now closed and dead quiet.  I found myself a quiet spot and had a sandwich dinner admiring the stars and trying to stay awake when, around 1am, a Greyhound bus going from Perth to Broome arrived and about 12 backpackers got off and shivered in the moonlight.  They just stood there waiting for something and then another Greyhound bus going from Broome to Perth arrived and shortly after yet another, which I assume was from the nearby Coral Coast.  I noticed that the Perth-bound bus was towing a box trailer that my bike could have easily fitted into.  Soon people and drivers swapped buses and they drove off into the night leaving the place as quiet as it had been.  This probably happens every night of the year here.
 
I continued riding but it was becoming a nightmare.  My legs were shot and I was barely making 15kph, on top of which I kept dozing off (there was virtually no traffic) and weaving all over the road.  At some point I passed a sign saying I was leaving the Tropics.  In the end I decided there was no alternative to more sleep and just walked into the grass off the side of the road, making sufficient noise to scare any snakes and climbed into my tent again on what proved to be a particularly hard and stony piece of ground.  I was asleep in no time and woke three hours later as it began to get light. Saturday morning traffic was quite heavy and it felt like the roadtrains were driving right through the tent.
 
I began riding again, feeling relatively refreshed although in pain from some butt chafing that was getting worse.  I crossed the Gascoigne River as I approached Carnarvon and entered an area of banana and other fruit plantations.  At the Carnarvon turn-off (itís on the ocean 5km from the main highway), the western-most point of my journey, I stopped at a roadhouse about 11:30am and called the Wooramel Roadhouse (119km) my target for the night to book a room.  They said they had a basic cabin, but that they closed at 6pm.  I bought a pie and egg and bacon sandwich which I ate hastily for my breakfast/lunch and set out for Wooramel.  What at first was a tailwind turned into a cool crosswind, but I only had one break on the long straight road which crossed a vast grass and scrub-covered red soil plain that in places has a lot of standing water from recent rains.  I reached Wooramel at 5:30pm and bought a dinner of home-made vegetable pasties, showered and looked forward to sleeping in a bed, even if only for about five hours.

ADVENTURE LIST

 

Round Ireland
(2016)

Hume & Hovell Walking Track
(2013)

Via Alpina
(2012)

Australian Alps Walking Track
(2011)

Land's End to John O'Groats
(2010)

Round Oz Bike Record Attempt
(2009)

Round Oz Bike Record Attempt
(2008)

Round Oz Bike Record Attempt
(2007)

Australia Tip to Top MTB
(2006)

Adelaide to Darwin MTB
(2005)

Sydney to Melbourne MTB
(2004)

Three Peaks Race
(2004)

Appalachian Trail
(1986)

Alpine Track
(1983)

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You can email Dave directly at dave@davebyrnes.com.au or subscribe to his Adventure Blogs here.

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