A blog about cycling...especially the long distance stuff

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Perth to Adelaide - Trip Summary

This page is here to share my trip data from the Perth to Adelaide tour, and may be useful for others planning a similar trip.

             Blog link / Distance / Elevation Gain / Route link

Day 1:   Perth to Mandurah / 110km / +? -? / No route link, sorry
Day 2:   Mandurah to Bunbury /  103km / +226m / Route
Day 3:   Bunbury to Margaret River / 142km / +609m / Route
Day 5:   Margaret River to Alexander Bridge / 85km / +607m / Route
Day 6:   Alexander Bridge to Northcliffe / 123km / +1154m / Route
Day 7:   Northcliffe to Bow Bridge / 128km / +1297m / Route
Day 8:   Bow Bridge to Albany / 96km / +593m / Route
Day 10: Albany to Jerramungup / 173km / +1117m / Route
Day 11: Jerramungup to Jerdacuttup / 173km / +1154m / Route
Day 12: Jerdacuttup to Esperance /  131km / +573m / Route
Day 14: Esperance to Salmon Gums / 109km / +431m / Route
Day 15: Salmon Gums to Norseman / 97km / +324m / Route
Day 16: East of Norseman / 161km / +687m / Route
Day 17: 90 Mile Straight / 161km / +190m / Route
Day 18: Cocklebiddy / 161km / +197m / Route 
Day 19: Mundrabilla / 163km / +117m / Route
Day 20: Nullarbor Plain / 133km / +228m / Route
Day 21: Nullarbor Roadhouse / 131km / +147m / Route
Day 22: Nundroo /  142km / +602m / Route
Day 23: Ceduna / 153km / +542m / Route
Day 25: Ceduna to Streaky Bay / 111km / +443m / Route
Day 26: Streaky Bay to Wudinna / 137km / +490m / Route
Day 27: Wudinna to Kimba / 102km / +604m / Route
Day 28: Kimba to Port Augusta / 158km / +520m / Route
Day 30: Port Augusta to Gladstone / 122km / +768m / Route
Day 31: Gladstone to Riverton / 102km / +760m / Route
Day 32: Riverton to Tanunda  / 57km / +439m / Route 
Day 33: Tanunda to Adelaide / 82km / +396m / Route

Total Distance: 3,562km
Total Elevation: 12,371m
Rest Days: Margaret River, Albany, Esperance, Ceduna, Port Augusta
Daily ride Average: 127km per day
Nullarbor Average: 151km per day

2017 Information on Roadhouses between Norseman & Ceduna


As a cyclist you will depend on these, as I saw nowhere else to get water on my trip that you could count on. Just looking at a roadhouse seems to empty your wallet! So be prepared for that. For example, a 1.5 litre bottle of water costed about $6 when I went through. The better roadhouses were Eucla, Balladonia, Border Village and Nullarbor. The worst: Mundrabilla, Nundroo with the rest somewhere in between. Some other resources online talk about a roadhouse at Yalata, but this is now permanently closed.

These are the distances between roadhouses, riding West to East From Norseman towards Ceduna:

Balladonia:        190km
Caiguna:            181km
Cocklebiddy:     66km
Madura:             91km
Mundrabilla:     116km
Eucla:                64km
Border Village: 13km
Nullarbor          186km
Nundroo           142km
Ceduna:            152km

I will add some more information about weather and gear sometime soon.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Perth to Adelaide - Day 33 - Final Day

I had luxury of a very late start today in order to time my arrival in Adelaide with a pretty awesome treat...my wife meeting me at the finish line! Whilst it is not very far to cycle today, entering an unfamiliar city by bicycle is always challenging so I was allowing plenty of time for navigating busy streets. The first task was to get out of Tanunda and ride to Gawler. The 2 towns are (almost) connected by a sealed bike path called the Jack Bobridge Track. Tanunda also has a cycling hub facility which I had a quick peek at on my way out. It has a secure lock up facility, electronic bike bump...and coolest of all, a vending machine for inner tubes which I certainly haven't seen before until now!


Jack Bobridge Bicyle Path. The Grapes - St Hallets
The bike path was a bit random. It takes a very circuitous route, sometimes its just the footpath, sometimes it would veer weirdly through some hotel car park and be pretty hard to follow, and other times it would route around the back of huge vineyards with some steep sections. This is the cellar door for the behemoth Jacobs Creek which it skirts,for example.

Jacobs Creek
But it was still good to stay out of traffic as the road looked both narrow and busy. Once at Gawler I pulled over at a coffee shop to try and figure out the best way to enter the city. If I stuck to A roads it would be less than 50km from here, or there were a few B road options quite a bit longer. In the end I tried an A road for about 15km before finding it way to hairy for my liking so I got off it and just used the route finder on my GPS to get through the remaining distance to the city centre,

During all that there wasn't much time for reflection as I was too busy concentrating on navigation and traffic. So quite suddenly I found myself pulling in to Adelaide Parklands railway station...the finish line after riding thousands of kilometres for over a month, and my wonderful wife who had flown here to enjoy this moment with me. All I could manage was a loud burst of laughter as I pulled to a stop...I was done?!


Done!
A railway station may seem like an uninspiring  place to choose to finish, but it has personal significance to me in that 4 years ago I got the train from Melbourne to here and cycled over 1000km home along the coast. A year or so after that I then cycled from Melbourne up to Sydney. Both trips were challenging and exciting, but much easier than the crossing from Perth which at the time I hadn't seriously considered undertaking as it just seemed impossibly far and remote.
A series of events would transpire to change that fear into action. The first, was when my father was dieing in a hospital bed in France. I was flying over there to say goodbye to him. I can't recall if it was the flight there or back, as I was in a bit of a mess as you'd expect. But on the in flight entertainment there was a documentary about cycling available called 'Inspired To Ride'. Its about an amateur cycling race across the USA. No prize money, no trophy, and the riders have to be completely self supported. The only reward at the end coming from their own battles with pain and extreme perseverance. The rider that won was a British bloke called Mike Hall and I was just gobsmacked by his insane levels of endurance, way beyond that of even pro Tour de France riders.

Mike Hall - photo credit: Road.cc
For example, he would cycle through the night for days on end, without any sleep at all. Watching all of these riders, but particularly Mike and also Juliana Buhring both helped picked me up at the time, and got me thinking about maybe pushing myself a bit further...maybe I could have a go at Perth and see what happens? Completing a whole crossing of Australia would be cool!

In the documentary, at one point Mike is asked what is adventure? He said: "...it is different for everybody...but its more about: does it [what you are doing] intimidate you, does it worry you that you are taking on something a bit bigger than you thought it was going to be?"

Mike Hall was killed by a motorist in March when competing in a similar race across Australia. My own ride was a thousand times easier than his, but I nevertheless felt like I was riding behind him at times, and when struggling would remind myself: "What would Mike do"? And he sure as hell would not give up. Ride on bro...

In researching the best conditions to attempt a crossing from Perth I had settled on April/May as the best time to go in order to avoid insanely hot outback weather, and have the best chance of light winds. Late last year I looked at how much leave from work I had, and made the decision: I could train over summer and have a crack next April.

At this point a colleague at work was in a heck of a fight with cancer, and her plight was devastating. In addition to her another close colleague had recently lost her Dad to Cancer and her mum was in a fight to survive. Maybe my bike ride could do something positive for others as well? I looked into Cancer charities and Cure Cancer Australia stood out as being a very cool idea, to target innovation in research and for all kinds of cancer. So the plan was hatched!

Needless to say, I had plenty of doubts about whether I'd actually make it or not!! Especially once underway. On the first few days of the trip the bike felt so heavy and slow, I was tired at the end of relatively short days, and still had such a long way to go! But without those doubts it would not have been such an adventure. It was only after my 3 day ride from Albany to Esperance covering 480km that I started to build some confidence and had got used riding with a heavy load. After that, chance encounters with strangers, all so incredibly generous and caring, and all the support from friends, family and colleagues kept me going! Thank you all so much, especially my wife for enduring my selfish undertaking....

So far we have raised over $5300! The donate page is here if this has sparked your interest.

...So, if an average middle aged bloke with a desk job can cycle across a continent and raise a bit of money for a good cause, what can you do?

Total distance today: 82km
Total trip distance: 3562km


Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Perth to Adelaide - Day 32 - Tanunda

I had a day to fill today so had the pleasure of a detour to the Barossa Valley before I ride into Adelaide tomorrow to end the trip. It was a nice easy ride today, only 56km, and has the added benefit of making tomorrow a pretty straight forward route into the centre of the city off the worst of the main roads, hopefully.


I was fascinated riding down Seppeltsfield Rd which is bristling with big name Shiraz vineyards. Vines seemed to line every inch of available space, and most looked extremely healthy unlike the Clare valley for some reason. Or, maybe it was just a bit more opulent?



I did not call in at any, but enjoyed getting some context on the place for some excellent wines. Tanunda is a super cool town as well, bursting with interesting cellar doors, shops and even gardens. But I could not quite make up my mind on what to do and felt like I should still be cycling or something.



So, tomorrow will be the last day I get up out of bed and ride to a new place. But it is not quite yet time to reflect on the last month of living a pretty simple nomadic life, even though tomorrow is just a short days ride to the end, it would be a bad time to lose focus.

In mountaineering, climbers talk about 'GetHomeItis'. This is the 'disease' that gets you killed on the way down. You die because you think you are done just because you got to the summit, but most cimbers die coming down. For me, my summit was Ceduna after crossing the Nullarbor and I have been descending ever since. There were plenty of traps for the unwary so staying focused was a pretty good idea!

I also have work to do in order to hit my fundraising target for Cure Cancer Australia...so not done yet!

Total distance today: 56km

Monday, 15 May 2017

Perth to Adelaide - Day 31 - Riverton


In Gladstone last night it was fine dining night...for the mozzies. They ate very well on yours truley despite repellent! It was also genuinely cold overnight, about 6 degrees, but I was quite snug in the tent anyway...maybe the itching kept me warm?

Once underway it was another brilliant, cool, clear autumn morning, and I set about the 75km lunch target of the infamous (in wine circles) town of Clare.


It was a nice ride on a B road without any hassles, the hills a mix of shades of browns and reds from recently ploughed earth. I was keen to push on to Clare to get a better breakfast than my leftover fruit which was all I had left in Gladstone..oh except for muesli bars as always!

After a few hill climbs and some decent descents with it, on I rolled into Clare to hit up a bakery I'd read about. Conveniently the bakery was right next to an entry point for The Reisling Trail...a very nice and very well maintained bike path that connects a lot of the local vineyards and other points of interest.


What an amazing ride this was! Hard packed dirt zipping through glorious vineyards and farmlands.  Had I not had further to ride, I would have stopped to try some wine, but I was actually pretty content just enjoying the cycling. Also I was pretty filthy looking after a month of cycling and may not have been a very pretty sight for tourist's trying to enjoy a wine tasting.

But this was cycling heaven...



Just the kind of cycling to enjoy after dodging road trains on highways in blustery winds. I was grinning from ear to ear.


The Reisling Trail (which is also part of the much bigger Mawson Trail) connects up with the Rattler trail at the town of Auburn, and this takes you to the next settlement of Riverton without having to ride on a road.


I will post a better map once home, as well as a gpx file.

Riverton was my target for the day. I'm now really close to Adelaide and could easily finish tomorrow, but will hold another day for a special treat on my final day!

It looks like my run of clear skies will come to an end sometime tomorrow, with some rain forecast. The Barossa valley is a mere 60km from here so I will ride a half day over there and look round if I can vaguelly smarten up enough to not get kicked out.

Distance today: 120km

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Perth to Adelaide - Day 30 - Gladstone

Ahh a day off yesterday. Its a funny feeling to not ride...almost guilt? But nice at the same time. I visited the Waldata Outback centre which was very interesting, great to learn a bit more about the Flinders Ranges I'd be riding in for the last part of the trip. The Aboriginal section was also really good and there were a few snippets about bushcraft and outback survival that I got quite engrossed in. In the section on the first Victorian explorers, their first journeys into the outback were epic, and in some cases, insane. Charles Sturt gets special mention for his insistance at the time that there is an inland sea in the centre of Australia...so on his expedition some poor sap (s) were dragging a boat. It did not go well. He did discover the vast Great Sandy Desert however!

Anyway, I was well rested this morning and keen to keep moving. Any more rest time and I'd go stale...momentum is important.
First, I had to leave town, and the good news there was that as it is early Sunday morning, the traffic was very light so it did not feel as scary as the approach into Port Augusta. Once clear of town, getting over these hills into the next valley was the next step:



But, at that very spot I took the photo from a damn strong headwind cropped up, not at all forecast and I think it was a local effect grom the Flinders Ranges. It took a long time to crawl the few kilometers to the start of the hill climb, which was then nice and still.

Once out of the wind I loved this climb! It was very steep and a the road followed a narrow little gorge. There was the odd car and truck but for the most part, it was just Beatrice and I vs the hill. I got into a nice rhythm, really focused on turning those pedals and got it done quickly.

The road then drops to the little town of Wilmington in the valley on the other side. I grabbed a coffee at a very cute cafe that had delicious cooking smells wafting from inside and watched an amusing drama unfold as a cocky grey nomad was joking and teasing the staff who were running round trying to prepare for a mothers day event the cafe was later hosting. The same caravaners were also surprised to see me there, they'd passed me coming up the hill.


After the town there were some dirt road options so I took those for a while just for a change. They were probably a bit too bumpy for a loaded bike, but Beatrice seemed to handle it fine.

But it was great being off the highway almost all day today. In fact, I should be able to get all the way into Adelaide without highways now, thanks to this diversion. And a beautiful diversion it is!


I started getting hungry again at the usual time, and was in a little town called Wirrabara. It all looked closed up for Sunday which was a bit of a problem as I was totally out of water as well. But on the edge of town I struck gold with this place:


Who had (more) coffee and a fantastic selection of home baked goods. I can vouch for the beetroot chocolate cake in particular...look away now if on a diet...


And they kindly let me fill my water bottles up as well. The area I'm entering for the next few days is known for it's gastronomic delights and so this felt like a good start!

After that little kick of energy, the last few km's for the day were easy. I rolled into Gladstone and got a fantastic warm welcome at the Caravan Park. I'll do a couple more nights in the tent, if the weather holds at least! Some rain to end the trip looks likely.

Distance today: 126km

Friday, 12 May 2017

Perth to Adelaide - Day 28 - Port Augusta

Last night I just couldn't quite sleep soundly, I could not shut the brain off from thinking about the day ahead! But after eating as many pieces of toast as I physically could for breakfast, it was finally time for action.

Kimba is most famous for its giant Galah statue  (sticking with the Aussie back country rule: if your town is a little bit short on the attractions front: build a big concrete sculpture of a Roo/whale/vegetable/bird etc).


But somehow in my haste to get moving this morning, my exit rote bypassed the town's famous Giant Galah! How I achieved this remains a mystery as there were not exactly a lot of streets in Kimba. The photo above is from wiki commons...

It was very cold this morning as the sun was etching it's way over the horizon, so I was grateful for a few hill climbs out of town to get warmed up quickly, and there were yet more endless roads disappearing off into the distance as far as you could see.


Beatrice was running silky smooth yet again, and urging an effort. When riding for a target of 160ish I break it down into 4x40km blocks and think only of the next block, which makes a bigger target a bit more palatable. I got through the first block nice and quickly and was feeling very  strong so the day was set up perfectly in great riding conditions.

So after a pit stop for a muesli bar and an apple, the lunch target was the proudly named town of Iron Knob. No, its not a pardody of a Marvel comic...its a massive mine that has eaten a hillside for the last 100 odd years.


Behind this monster was perhaps the most depressing 'town' I have ever scene. It sounds harsh but the place was strangely fascinating...every house seem to have some sort of rusted derelict metal out the front, a car, some girders...anything. It felt very post-apocalyptic and would make an excellent set location.

At the far end of town there was a tiny post office with a tiny fridge and a tiny selection of cold drinks available...how the place remains afloat is another mystery as everything else in town resembling a shop was long since boarded up. Surely I was the only customer all day? The girl serving was surprised to see me anyway.

I ate lunch outside the abandoned roadhouse, fully expecting something dead to come shuffling out from the undergrowth at any moment.


After Iron Knob the land opened up into more vast open space and I had 68km left to ride in order to hit Port Augusta. The wind picked up a little but thankfully never got serious, but what did become an issue was a very dangerous final stretch of 26km into town, after the road from Port Lincoln merged with the Erye Highway.

This was the scariest piece of road on the trip to date. No shoulder again, but the main problem was very aggressive driving. I was watching my mirror as best as possible and just pushing as hard as I could to minimise the amount of minutes exposed to such madness. Rounding a big sweeping descending corner finally revealed Port Ugusta off in the distance and it was a great relief to get to town.



I only have about 350km to go and my flight back booked 5 days away so will take another rest day tomorrow and look around town. Also there are some good options for safer roads into Adelaide if willing to ride further that I'd like to pin down a bit more.


Total today: 157km

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Perth to Adelaide - Day 27 - Kimba

Last night in the field behind my tent there seemed to be some kind of 24 hour ploughing operation going on which made sleeping a bit challenging...though given the epic sleeps on previous nights I was not exactly  short, compared to a week at work anyway!

I ate a very healthy, but probably not calorific enough breakfast and was on the move again nice and early. Only 11km from the caravan park I was staying at was the small settlement of Kyancutta, and it had a tiny little cafe with real coffee which was a welcome, if a little early distraction in the days riding. Sitting in the sunshine by their front window with a hot drink made it very difficult to get moving!

The target for today was another wheatbelt town, Kimba. The area is extremely arid getting a mere 300mm of rain a year and this must make farming very challenging...it felt greener in the outback from what I saw.




It was nice enough riding but a combination of the traffic increasing and not much, if any, shoulder, made it important to stay sharp. Also I was a bit flat today, maybe from not eating enough or a bit of general cycling fatigue. A bit more hill work here too, though nothing too big.


I rolled into Kimba quite early and fancied a night inside, the hotel here a step up from roadhouses but costing about the same. Currently I am eating everything in sight in preparation for one last big day tomorrow. This consists of 155km to Port Augusta. There are no supplies available all day by the look of it, so I am stocked up with a packed lunch and lots of water. Get this done, and I can really take my time on the last leg into Adelaide!

Distance today: 101km
Total trip distance to date: 2910km

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Perth to Adelaide - Day 26 - Wudinna

There is nothing like eating your breakfast on the beach with the sun slowly rising to get your day going with a perfect start!


A massive sleep last night too. I'd crawled into the tent very early to listen too some music but only lasted a couple of tracks before I was out like a light. So I was nice and refreshed this morning and ready to eat some miles so to speak.

After leaving town I rode East to get back to the highway which was about 60km distant.  Nice clear skies and only a faint breeze, so those factors, combined with minimal traffic made for very enjoyable cycling. Strangely, one of the settlements enroute today was called 'Piednipple' and after spotting the turnoff for the Piednipple Catholic Church I suffered a maturity failure and was making up stories about what the place involved, which are best left unsaid.

At one point a very large Roo was hopping along in the bush next to me, easily keeping pace and then darting across the road in front of me...impressive!

Once back at the highway it was time for a snack at the town of Poochera. I was sipping my coffee when my phone rang...a number I didn't recognise...but answered it anyway. There was a long pause when I answered which is alway ominous as its the cold callers automated dialling software connecting you to the poor chump making the cold call. And no, I do not want to switch energy providors. That kinda stuff feels a world away. At least I have blocked the number now.

After that interlude back on the bike I went, stopping only briefly for water and made great time to Wudinna, my target for the day. The legs felt good today and the riding easy.


The camp ground here is great and has superb showers, and is pretty quiet. Tomorrow I have a short day riding but the day after that is an unavoidable big one so I will save my energy for that.

Distance today: 136km
Total distance to date: 2809km

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Perth to Adelaide - Day 25 - Streaky Bay

Cudena is a great spot for a rest day. My clothes were in dire need of a wash and my legs were pretty pleased to not be turning pedals! I also spent quite a long time updating the blog, a nice relaxing day!


The hardest part of the tour is done, but I still need to cross the Eyre Peninsula, and there is 1 section in particular that might mean a long day. But I have loads of time now, my wife is meeting me at the finish line so I won't finish earlier than that day.

Rather than ride out of town on the highway, I thought I'd detour via Streaky Bay and spend a day on back roads. So I rode out of town down a dirt road that was a bit bumping but blissfully traffic free.

 
This road later joined up with the B100 which was wonderfully quiet...only the odd truck and some tourist traffic. One option for tonight that I heard was great to camp at was Perlubie, but when I got there it looked more like a new housing development and there were 'no camping' signs everywhere so I just pushed on to the town.


Streaky Bay is a pretty town, dominated somewhat by a campground big enough to be its own municipality...I have never seen so many RV's. It's right on the beach and I can understand why it's popular...I would hate to be here in summer though! 

Once all set up I went for a walk and watched the many Pelicans...big beautiful birds. One was showing off in a long glide just a few centimeters over the water. Then it was time for dinner as I eat so early it's with the Elderly when touring!


A nice easy day, tomorrow I'll head back to the highway and push Eastwards again.

Distance today: 111km
Total trip distance to date: 2673km

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Perth to Adelaide - Day 23 - Ceduna

I was ready to start cycling as soon as there was the faintest hint of light in the sky this morning, in order to make some progress before potentially windy weather arrived. The landscape was very open farmland now and a few hints of habitation were getting more frequent as the day went by. I stopped to eat the last of my muesli bars with 37km done, and at that point a really vicious headwind kicked in.

Progress became super slow again and I had real doubts about making Ceduna before dark, but of course there was no other option but to dig deep and keep cycling, so that is what I did!

Around midday I finally got to the small farming town of Penong, the first settlement in a long time! There is a 'restaurant' inside the gas station doing the usual trucker type food but it was good to sit down for a bit, out of the wind even is it was at Caltex.

I considered staying here but it wasn't the nicest place to relax so figured an afternoon dual with the headwind would be preferable...so onwards I rode.

Not many photos today...I was staring at my front wheel and just trying to progress, although I did notice the aptly named 'Windy Ridge Farm'!


Finally Ceduna got closer. My legs just jelly and speed under 15km. As a final test, the wind increased to 40-50km...and I started laughing out loud at the absurdity of the situation. Maybe eating a gel would help? Fresh legs would help more! What would Mike do? [I will explain the Mike reference in a future post].

Of course I kept going. Rolling into town I can safely say I had nothing left in the tank...but Ceduna!! I've bloody well done it!!


There is a bio security checkpoint at the entrance to town to stop the spread of fruit flies...the gaurd asked me if I had any fruit in my panniers, which is a perfectly reasonable  question but I still found it hysterical. I last ate fruit 500km back.

8 Days across the Nullarbor and I am pleasently surprised that as an old fella I can still push out consecutive big days on the bike. My last rest day was Esperance, 10 days and 1400km back which feels like it happened last year. It was awesome, beautiful, and incredibly challenging out there.

Now its time to refuel, and figure out a plan for the last stretch to Adelaide, but I am 3 days ahead of schedule so can take it much easier from here and look around a bit more.


Total distance today: 153km
Total to date: 2672km

Perth to Adelaide - Day 22 - Nundroo

Before breakfast a couple saw me loading up Beatrice and asked what I was up to. Once again I'm amazed by the generosity of complete strangers, after only a brief chat Sharyn and Dave donated $50 on the spot to Cure Cancer Australia.

I have got a reasonably long ride of 143km today to get to Nundroo. The Yalata roadhouse I had marked as a water supply point about 94km into tge day is closed down for good, so I will have to be self sufficient again for the full day today. I was also a little late to get going and there was plenty of wind, already! But, a few kms East of Nullarbor roadhouse a car passed me slowly and carefully, the occupants shouting out words of encouragement and giving the thumbs up...it was Sharyn and Dave again...what great people!



This area really is treeless, and is more like my preconceptions of the whole Nullarbor plain! Its quite beautiful.



After the turn off to the Head of the Bight [ good whale watching from May - Oct ], the land changes quite dramatically as you enter the Yalata Aboriginal Reserve, with the road undulating through forests with the tallest trees I've seen since about Norseman. But to be honest I wasn't enjoying the cycling today, the combination of no shoulder on the road and the undulating terrain meant great care was needed at blind spots and I frequently had to suddenly steer Beatrice into the rough gravel to avoid vehicles when there was not enough space on the road. Still loads of waves and honks from friendly drivers, but there was just plain old not enough room.

The wind also turned from a blustery crosswind to directly head on, and got really strong. So it was some relief to get to Nundroo, my goal for the day after working pretty hard on the pedals. Looking at a map Ceduna is so close now, but today has reminded me not to get complacent...it sems there are no easy kms out here at the moment.

Tomorrow I will get going earlier, a day off riding will be the reward on reaching Ceduna, and I'm probably going to have to fight for it again!

Distance today: 142km
Total distance to date: 2519km

Perth to Adelaide - Day 21 - Nullarbor Road House


Last night the tent was flapping about a lot in the wind which picked up again overnight, I found myself not able to sleep soundly because of both the noise and the mind wandering over the implications of this for today's cycle. But what a view to get out of bed too!


So after a nice quick pack up and no dew to wet the tent thanks to the wind, I was off nice and early. Initially it was a northerly cross wind, but after 40 odd km it swung round to my back quarter.. tail wind at last!


Riding through Nullarbor national park it was surprisingly green, no trees as such but the vegetation looked healthy, maybe some of the rain I saw a few days back had fallen here? I made a few more cliff viewing pit stops

But otherwise, I decided to take full advantage of the good conditions and keep moving. Traffic was really light today, but since the border from WA the road has had no shoulder at all and cyclists need to stay darn sharp. One example for me today was a period where I hadn't seen a single vehicle for 30mins, then suddenly 3 large road trains converged from both directions at once. Next to the edge of the bitumen there was a build up of sand and stones that is dangerous to cycle into quickly...but less dangerous than converging road monsters. I'm grateful for Beatrice's wide tyres which have saved my ass in these situations.

Its a long ride between supplies from the border and there were also few rest spots other than the cliffs. I ended up taking a 10 min lunch break just by the side of the road...I'd only been stopped 1 min when a campervan cames to a rapid halt next to me....another MURDERER? No, the guy gets out and hands me a ice cold bottle of water..."rather you than me mate" he says before quickly driving on.

Incredible.

Around this point the land flattened out more and now there really were few trees. I have seen very little wildlife in the park, but spotted a healthy looking dingo that was taking a fair amount of interest as I passed. Also I am still loving the massive horizons!



I pulled into the Nullarbor roadhouse quite early...2.30pm, hoping to rest the legs a bit in preparation for the final 296km to Ceduna. Another nicer roadhouse and I've given Beatrice a much needed clean...not to mention myself...I look like The Wild Man Of Borneo in the mirror.

For dinner I easily dispensed of the mighty 'Nullarbor Burger'...when I have finished this trip I'd better remember to switch back to eating normal amounts of food!



From here, the gaps between roadhouses get a litle bit smaller so there should be less need to haul large amounts of water, and most of my food has been eaten. But I wont be taking the 296km remaining to Ceduna lightly, it's still a fair way!

Distance today: 130km
Total to date: 2376km

Perth to Adelaide - Day 20 - Nullarbor

After yesterday's burn out, something had to give, there was no way I could sustain another century into the wind. So, for starters I thought I'd leave a bit later to force [myself into] a shorter day and see how I felt at the state border.

I'm really not impressed with the Mundrabilla Roadhouse, whilst not expecting the Ritz in the outback, it had a bad atmosphere, was run down, and the staff didn't seem to care about anything. The only thing positive I can say about it is that I got a good rest there when it was badly needed!


Riding East after breakfast, I had 64 km to cover to get to Eucla first up. The wind was back to the NNE but not too bad so far, and the sore legs appeared to be functional still. I was talking yesterday about the plateau that looked like an ocean shelf and thats exactly what it turned out to be, just before Eucla the road climbs steeply back up onto the shelf and the edge of the plateau forms spectacular ocean cliffs.



At the top of the steep climb was the Eucla roadhouse...a much nicer place. I had a delicious muffin for 2nd breakfast whilst gazing at this sign and running the numbers in my head:


Then kept riding. With a mere 13km to the border and the wind dropping further it was a nice ride, and so good to cross into South Australia!


At the border it was time to stock up on enough water for 2 days as there is now another big gap of 186km before you can get any more.


This road now enters the actual Nullarbor national park and very nice to see the ocean again Australia's southern lands coming to an abrupt and dramatic end where the land meets the South Pacific.



If you are here a little later in the year than I am you can see whales breaching from these cliffs. There are many viewpoints and most are not signposted, but with the cliffs heavily eroded some common sense is needed!




I ran out of daylight with 130km done, the legs a bit better thanks to a shorter day and favourable weather...and what a place to camp in!




Distance today: 130km
Total to date: 2246km