Day 14 – Wow we’ve been at this for 2 weeks straight now! We woke all ready to get going, but alas one of the tyres had gone down overnight and we had a quick repair to do before heading off. Turning back on to the Gunbarrel and straight into the wind … which stayed on our nose for 112km! We passed a number of water bores and startled a small mob of cattle, who decided they all had to outrun us to cross the road in front… weird how they can never go behind! We stopped for lunch after 80km and after a short rest set off for the final 32km to camp. Our support crew found us a flat spot off the road where we watched the sunset over a field of quartz stones.
A note about our support crew – Tony and Annie – who pack up camp after we leave in the morning and set up before we arrive in the afternoon. Annie whips up lunch on the side of the road and dinner in the evening. They also fill our water and fuel and meet us every 20/30km during the day for water bottle refills and rest stops. We couldn’t keep riding without their help and support.
The 9th of May – Day 15 and we got an earlier start to try and beat some of the wind… it didn’t work and soon enough the easterly was blowing the flies from our faces and making our legs work hard. The landscape changed a bit today and we saw more wildlife than many other days – kangaroos, dingo’s and galahs. Sometimes we are so focused on the road ahead and avoiding holes, sand and rocks that we only get brief glimpses and rarely have a chance to get a pic. We came across a flat plain of grass and thought we’d warped to a prairie somewhere. With 80km done before lunch we rested on top of the Princess Ranges before enjoying the first chance in 12 days to actually coast downhill! The first 20km after lunch flew by on a good road surface as we passed Wongawol Station and pushed on another 40km before a roadside camp.
Day 16 – We’ve pushed hard into the wind for last 2 days to make sure we get to Carnegie Station today – a day sooner than the spreadsheet says! Both feeling pretty tired and hoping our efforts to make up a day (lost back in Meeka) pay off. After spotting a rusty Valiant (car) on a hump, some dead camels (shot on sight by property owners out here), the highlight of the day was crossing Mingol Pool where we stopped for a morning break. There we decided to clean and re-lube our bike chains that had taken a battering from sand and dust for the past few days and were sounding decidedly unhappy! We were passed by a group of cars in the last 5km before arriving at Carnegie. This stop is something of a milestone for us as we are approximately halfway across WA and this oasis in the desert is our rest stop for tomorrow.
Rest Day, ahhhh – Day 17. Woken by the birds and stirring of fellow campers, we enjoyed a leisurely, late breakfast before embarking on our rest days chores – washing, bike maintenance, catching up on blogs and messages to/from home. I made some time late in the afternoon to get the drone in the air and grab some pics and video of this beautiful part of the country. Carnegie Station is 1.5million acres and along with neighbouring Wongawol Station (3million acres) are about to muster 14,000 head of cattle, mostly by helicopter before sending 5,000 head down the road on trucks. Tomorrow we farewell the folks at Carnegie and head east again toward Warburton on what are expected to be deteriorating road conditions.