Bush camp beckons
Bush Camp Surprise
October 9. A tailwind assisted 133 kilometers included 100 plus of Australia’s longest strait road, 146.5 kilometers by the compass. No worries. We like long flat straight roads, they are easy to pedal and roadtrains can see us for a long distance. This night was another bush camp in beautiful bush, and some trees; the Nullarbor still has trees after three days. We were set up and had the billy fire going strong, when a truck slowed, stopped, and backed up on the highway. We had been seen. I wondered aloud to Claire if there might be fire restrictions we didn’t know about and we were about to be fined. That would ruin our chances at the visa extension we need to complete our journey. The truck turned into the bush 50 metres from us and stopped. Here it comes. A man got out of the truck. I decided the best defense was openness and I began walking toward him. He looked in my direction, the direction of the fire and our tent, and then turned away. I realized he hadn’t really seen us at all despite now being no more than 30 metres away. I hailed him. He jumped, shocked to see someone else nearby. In addition to Jamie, the man, the truck held Helen and one year old Samuel, a young family from Perth, also looking for a bush camp. We invited them to share our area and invited them over for a cuppa when they got settled. Sam was a sweetheart and we all enjoyed a sunset and billy fire together, talking until late, for us anyway. Jamie cooked us bacon and eggs for brekky, a real treat for us in bush camp. We said goodby and promised to look for them in Ceduna, the far end of the Nullarbor.
October 11. Madura Roadhouse. Met Tom Sykes in the pub. He is a Telstra (phone company)subcontractor, maintaining the power systems of the remote sites we have seen all over the country. He has traveled extensively in the U.S. on AmTrak, and is a major train buff. He loves blues and jazz; was even mugged in Chicago after coming out of a blues bar. The mugger was a beautiful woman who grabbed his manhood as he stepped on the street, held him while telling him the wonderful things she was going to do to him, for him, in the nearby alley. After much thought, while he enjoyed the moment so to speak, he declined and she grabbed his wallet and jumped into a nearby car. He lost $350 U.S. and considered the experience worth it, and tells it with great relish! He has been to New Orleans and seen some of Canada also. His dream is to come to the States, buy a late model Camaro and tour. Tom says Americans are the friendliest people in the world (American’s say that about Aussies) and he has friends all over the states. In owe him a shout of Bundaburg and Coke when he comes back to the States. He will find me he promises.
A long day’s ride
October 12. Mundrabilla Roadhouse. Celebrated 10,000 kilometers today. It seems strange and yet oh-so-normal at the same time to have ridden half way around a continent in the past 4 and a half months.
(Another roadhouse. Familiar diesel generator throbs and labors to some unseen load. Full moon, blue and black and brown clouds scud past. Faces in a window. A stubbie raised, lowered, a smile. A dog trots from door to door looking for his master. From space, this place, a pin prick of light between the Southern Ocean and the Red Center; middle of the Nullarbor, sole link between the Australias, truckies talisman and test, tourist’s toy, waitresses toil, and two pushbikers last fling with outback, last nights under black diamond studded night skies.)
October 13. Friday. Not an unlucky day. Tom Sykes stopped to see us at Border Village Roadhouse. He had found a track to the cliffs overlooking the Great Australian Bight. He took us for sunset. It was probably 5 or 6 kilometers of soft sand, not something we would do on Zippy, certainly not for a sunset. Very nice of Tom to think of us. It was spectacular. Now In owe Tom a couple more shouts of Bundy and Coke and a bottle of wine he shared over evening tea. Tom; fair dinkum mate.
During the day we saw a strange sight coming down the road. I was too shocked to get out the camera. A couple on a very large, very orange tractor with amber flashing lights, flags flying, pulling a caravan. They played Dixie (Way down yonder in the land of cotton…) on their horn as they passed. What a hoot. (pardon the pun) Wonder what they’re about?