June 22. Plenty Highway. Bush camp to bush camp. We have 210k more to do in three days. 84k today. Bad flies for the second time. Claire fixed up some string to hang in front of my helmet to ward off the flies. It kept them from flying up my nose or in my mouth, but they still found my temples, eyes and ears. This I fixed by putting my mozzie (mosquito) net over my ears under my helmet. Hot.
BOB is broken
At lunch, under a cool wattle (a mesquite) I noticed a strange look to the BOB trailer. The mesh bottom sagged visibly. I looked closer and found that the welds had broken and our precious water was in danger. Claire had some good ideas and I combined two of them: dead tree limbs to take the load off the mesh, and a belt from my downtown shorts to further ease the load. We hoped it would work, and it did for the rest of the day at least. We stopped often to check it. Our load consisted of 14L (30 pounds) of water, (earlier we had an additional 20 pounds of food) well under the 70lb. limit set by the manufacturer. Either there was a new welder being trained in Taiwan, or these roads are much worse than I thought.
Our fix for a broken welds
June 23. Bush camp to Jervois Station. Much bull dust today, some deep. Keep hoping for easier conditions, and getting worse. The constant jarring continues to take its toll. Zippy’s rear tire cord was broken in three places, bulging dangerously when we arrived. I wondered what would break next. We carry two spares. We are holding up well. I was concerned my shoulders would give out under the constant stress of difficult steering of the very long vehicle wheelbase we now have with both tandem and trailer, and the incessant pounding. Old mountain biking injuries made my shoulders very suspect, but the weight training I we did this winter has paid off; they hurt all day under stress, but are fine as soon as I stop. It’s not easy for Claire either. She never knows when a bull dust obscured rut will take us down. All our clothes have a distinct red tint from the falls. Fortunately we are usually going slow and there is no damage, except I am wont to turn the air blue with well chosen words of self-abuse.
Our food arrived by weekly mail plane (a relief), but we discovered that the next supply point, two days ahead, would be closed on Sunday, the day we would be there. We could still run short of food before Alice Springs. Bugger. The only food the station had to sell was ice cream bars that brought a steady stream of Aboriginal ringers in during the afternoon. Quite a treat when you are at least a long hard days drive from the next source of lollies. Some of them probably drove 50 kilometres of rutted bull dust for these.
The woman at Jervois was very nice and interested in our venture. She said in her 20 years at Jervois, she had never seen a tandem bicycle, and just a hand full on single bikes, and those had support vehicles following them. I know why!