A run just shy of 500kms taking us from Border Village to Ceduna is what we were looking at for day 26 of the Around Australia Ride. This was a tough day for me emotionally. I woke in a very bleak mood and couldn’t really shake it for the rest of the day. I’ve been on the road for almost four weeks now and there is only one week left of the official ride, so maybe that was it. Or maybe it’s the sometimes monotonous countryside, or going from hot to cool to hot to cold, I’m not sure. At least I know it’s not the company because everyone truly is great. And it wasn’t just the mental bringing me down either, my Road Star had developed a few minor but nonetheless niggling issues that won’t go away. Fuel consumption was way up and varying wildly (only 11km per litre, I should get 16km+ per litre), my fuel gauge which has been a little spotty all trip has quit entirely, there’s an oil leak that I can’t find the source of and my saddlebag brackets are being held together with 21st century gaffa tape – aka zip ties. Out here there’s not a lot to do about it other than just get on the motorcycle and keep riding, so I did.
We’re still on the Nullarbor Plains which extends from Norseman in WA to Ceduna in SA. Nullarbor is actually derived from Latin - not aboriginal as most think - with “Nullus” for no, and “Arbor” for tree – meaning no trees (any mangling of the translation is mine). Local Mindiri people refer to the area as Oondiri – meaning waterless with only around 200mm of rain falling annually. I think we saw evidence of a little of those 200mm today. There are trees on the Nullarbor Plains as seen yesterday on the Roe Plains, but there are also long runs where there is nothing larger than a bush in the surrounding landscape.
There was a little more to look at with this section of highway passing close to the Great Australian Bight (spelt correctly) where there are numerous lookouts anything from 100m to 12km from the road. The craggy outcrops run quite a ways and are high enough in sections that the edge can come at you sooner than you think due to nothing but sky in the horizon ending only metres from your feet. Later I stopped at the Head of the Bight which is a popular whale watching area, although we have made it right at the tail end of the season and there were no whales evident today which was a shame. At the visitor centre there was the bleached skull of a juvenile humpback whale which had washed up in the area back in 2009, would have been longer than I am tall.
There are still road trains about, although restricted at 35 metres long they aren’t as big as the ones up north that are up to 53 metres long. The bright spark in the photo thought he would overtake another road train up a small incline. I would honestly guess it took him up to two kilometres to complete the maneuver and there were double lines on one stretch.
The day ended with rain in Ceduna which was foreboding of an unpleasant day tomorrow. Not as unpleasant as the day Adam had today. Adam, Craig and Mark had taken a stretch of dirt road on their bikes and, unknown to me when I took the photo, Adam had come off not once but three times in quite spectacular fashion with his KTM cartwheeling down the track. I felt bad telling him to smile for the camera when I learnt later that he had at least fractured (if not broken) a number of ribs. It was decided that busted ribs were enough shame without adding the Tutu into the mix. Just don’t hug him too hard, ok? You can read Adam’s account of that day at Adam’s Ride Around Australia blog.
The dark clouds overhead summed up how I ended the day as well. I had hit a low point for some reason and chose to spend the evening in my room getting some updates done. I guess out of 26 days not all of them can be bright and cheery, and I will report now I woke the next morning in a much better frame of mind so it didn’t persist. The bike problems still exist of course and I plan to investigate things once we reach Lyndoch in a couple more days time where we have a two night stop.