Day 2 Clayton Wetlands to Cooper Creek
It was an extra 30 kms on yesterday’s cycle. I woke up to a colder morning, around 5°C but slept okay in my new Kings sleeping bag and a very new self-inflating mattress, a ‘360 degrees’. I had my 800 calorie Radix breakfast, black coffee, and a cup of water with some added lemon juice. During breakfast Dusty and I discussed the plan for the day, lunch stops (about 50km), food, and the next campsite.
I rolled up all my bedding and packed my bike, the ‘Northern Express’, and I left the tent for Dusty to pack away. Yep, sounds like I had it easy doing this cycle – thanks Dusty.
There was only one section of that day’s cycle that I would call nice. The other 70 kms was horribly unforgiving – corrugations, rocks, and some bulldust with a headwind all day. I would stop every now and then for a drink. It’s too dangerous to drink and steer the bike and trailer with one hand because of the roads, rocks, and all. This is not the place to come off and break your bike or yourself. There’s no rush and you can take photos, I took heaps.
“There is always a bright side to life no matter what”, is something I often say and it happened today on my cycle. Just before the 50km lunch break, I could see in my side mirror a four-wheel drive and caravan coming behind me, dust everywhere. I kept looking in my little mirror and noticed the dust was getting less and less. Then this guy pull up beside me and stopped. I stopped as well and waved hello, it’s always nice to chat to travelers in the outback.
“You know”, he said. “I have been up and down the Birdsville Track nearly a hundred times, seen many a snake trail from cyclist but you are the first actual cyclist I have ever come across.”
“What (WTF) are you doing out here?”
I gave him the spiel about Bravehearts and that today’s cycle was ‘Suicide Awareness’, pointed to my flag on the trailer and he started shaking. He then confessed that he was on his last trip up the Track to say goodbye to some very dear friends and had intended to take his own life after that. We both stood in the middle of nowhere on a rocky, dusty old road in silence.
I told Alan that Dusty was about 8kms down the road, it was my lunch break. I told him how I met Dusty on my Darwin to Broome cycle and that she travels around Australia living in her Honda Jazz.
He said he would stop and say hello and then was going to the Mungerannie Hotel for a while. I told him I would be there on Tuesday (2 more days cycle). We could meet up then.
I arrived a little over the 50km lunch break, Dusty found some shady trees in an old river course, not many trees out here. She was amazed at the visitor the had just popped in. Yes, I had some tears, how could you plan to be on “Suicide Awareness’ Day of my cycle, and someone was so deeply affected on the same day and in the middle of bloody nowhere. All the pain I had in my legs and hands, dissipated with joy. I might have helped someone. B4B has made a difference…….bloody fabulous.
The cramps hit me during the last 20 kms. Power peddling all day on the rough track takes its toll. Power peddling is where you have to exert power down on the peddle when you hit a rock with the front wheel then the back wheel then the trailer wheel, all with a brutal headwind.
Garmin Stats—– Dist. 82.1 kms Time. 6:26:45 Avg Speed. 12.7km/hr