Well here we are, about as close to the halfway point in actual days that you will get for the Around Australia Ride. And what a journey it has been of over 8,000kms to get this far. To date we have seen weather extremes of hot and cold, dry and wet. We have had beautiful scenery and boring highways. We have seen big trucks and bigger trucks and have jousted against the wide loads. Personally I have taken over 1,000 photos, I think amongst all of us the images could total over 100,000 by the time we’re done. We have drunk lots of beer and wine and we have injected a fair whack of money into each local economy that we stop at. Donations continue to come in from people buying shirts or just handing over money at petrol stations when they hear what we are doing. You can still donate if you’re still interested by the way. Tax deductible donations can be made via the Everyday Hero website. We’ve only had one injury incident and in the grand scheme of things it was minor (although Tony may think otherwise) with a broken ankle from a slow speed turn – with the speeds and animals out here I am surprised no-one has collected anything bigger than a bush turkey. We’ve been on TV quite a few times and in a number of papers. People are recognising us as “those guys (and girls thank you) riding around Australia for that charity thing”. Yes, it has been quite the adventure.
After the previous day’s run of 870km the short 480km sprint to Geraldton was a cake-walk. We had to be there early too as the local police were putting on a BBQ for us at 1pm so another pre 7am start was on the cards. The trip to Geraldton was fairly uninspiring but on this day I saw the most varied amount of wildlife yet. The usual cows, wallabies, kites and eagles were present, but I also spotted feral cats, goats, sheep and my first pair of Emus. Again, they have the whole damn outback to wander around and yet two Emus just strolled across the road in front of me, taking their merry old time. Despite the size in the photo they were actually quite large, and like the big Red Kangaroo I sure wouldn’t like to collect one while doing 120kmh. They’re one budgie the Road Star probably couldn’t go up against and win.
Due to the early start and short stops I made Geraldton by 12pm. I had pondered a detour to Monkey Mia, but it was an additional 300kms to the day and quite frankly I just wasn’t up to it. Geraldton is another seaside town and its little shopping strip was quite nice and varied. The weather was warm and coffee in the local Dome franchise was very enjoyable indeed. Quite a few people visited the HMAS Sydney memorial as well, in place to honour the 645 lives lost when it sunk after a battle with a German cruiser in 1941 – the wreck only found in 2008. 1pm came around and we mustered at the police station for a BBQ lunch put on for a gold coin donation. Local media were present with Allan McGuirk giving a couple of interviews and there were some speeches. Myself and Karen also got our 15 seconds of fame and ended up on local WIN news that night as well. It was a lot of fun, but I don’t think I am going to live up to the ribbing my new “superstar” status has found me.
It was good to have gotten to Geraldton so early as it meant I could relax back at the motel room once lunch was done and dusted. The previous night in Carnarvon (from the big 870km day) I had to share with Jimie and I would liken his snoring to that of a passing road train, on a rutted track, while carrying 100 drums of steel ball bearings, as the engine misses a cylinder or two, and all the while dragging a trailer off the back that has lost its wheels. Thankfully earplugs and sheer exhaustion got me to sleep in the end but I am was definitly looking forward to my solo snoozing quarters in Geraldton and with a very short day of 420kms to Scarborough (Perth) the next day, heck I might even have a sleep-in.