We left Alice with three days worth of water and five days of food. The bikes are very heavy and a challenge to control the first day even on bitumen. Hills and headwind didn’t help anything. Elevensies (late morning snack in Australia) helped. By late afternoon we were knackered and found a quiet acceptable spot for bush camp, built a quick little fire and put our first billy to boil, set up the tent and were chowing down on beans, tinned chicken and raw yam and two cups of tea laden with sugar and milk powder.
The MacDonnell Ranges
The MacDonnell Ranges are a bit like your average SW linear range, turning redder as we head west. Not spectacular, but lovely, a more mellow Four Corners. Long straight road with many small hills making our heavy bikes very very slow, at least mine (Bob). We were getting accustomed to the handling of the Ritcheys on the second day, and hope they handle well on the corrugations to come. We will see.
Glen Helen Homestead
After one night bush and two hard first days, we’re camping at Glen Helen Homestead. We had steak and kangaroo last night, a glass of wine for Claire and a XXXX Bitter for me. We’ll try and get some water carried on the track so we don’t have to carry a full three days of water on the coming very bad hilly track. And we’re a week away from beginning the real difficulty, the Great Central Road.
We were well-and-truly shocked to find internet here, there are no wires, but there is no cell signal. Go figure. It will be three (we hope) hard days to Kings Canyon from here, and we don’t know what we’ll find there. We’re maybe a week from Uluru.
We met a French girl Julie, who is working at the homestead to save up for further push bike travel. She’s come a fair piece and has no end in sight. Two blokes arrived late, one French, Clement Thiepel (afleurdeselle.wordpress.com) and one Aussie, Matthew Harris (arctic-cycler.com) both wih around 38,000 ks under their belt in the last two years. They have each been in some of our favorite places, Ladakh, Central Asia and Tibetan Sichuan. Claire has there names and will insert here later; their blogs are great reading.