Day 17: Happy Birthday Dan

Dan turned 10 today and what a way to celebrate. We rode 116km to Mundrabilla roadhouse before lunch time. We enjoyed the tail winds and did the 116km in 3 hours 41 minutes, that’s averaging 31.5kph.

We’ve just had an all day breakfast at the roadhouse of bacon, eggs, mushrooms, hash browns and sausages. The staff brought out an ice-cream sundae for Dan complete with sparkler.

We considered riding the 65km to Eucla later today but Dan wants to stay here the night. Some rain has just arrived so we’ll stay here the night and watch a movie together this afternoon.

The Mundrabilla roadhouse is one of the most cyclist friendly we’ve come across. They’ve offered drinkable water for our water bottles and tea and coffee for free. It’s quite modern and worth planning as one of your stops along the way.

Day 15: Hot to Madura

We are now resting in Madura, an oasis along our route. Yesterday we headed into Madura in time to watch the AFL grand final. It was a hot with cross on winds.

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The last two days we have seen lots of animals. First was an lonesome emu who decided to run alongside us while we rode. Then we started to see the Wedge Tailed Eagles. These massive birds were spectacular to see in flight and up quite close at times.

We saw some lizards, most of them road kill but one live in the middle of road showed us some attitude.

We spotted a couple of emus and stopped to take a closer look. They had a full nest of 8 baby emu chicks with them. We spent some time watching and taking what photos we could.

The night before last we pulled into a campsite with other campers there. We were both given dinner a cold beer and met some new friends. More trail angels.

The weather is hot for a couple of days so we are going to have a zero day here at Madura today. Hopefully tomorrow the temperature will stay below 36C and we’ll get some more favorable winds to head on towards the border.

We’ve been riding for 11 days straight now making some ground East. We’ve ridden 1,063km since our last rest day. We gone far enough to cross a time zone.

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Latitude:-31.98346
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Message:Saw baby emu’s today. 107km.More trail angels

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Message:Saw baby emu’s today. 107km.More trail angels

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Day 13: A tough day on the Nullarbor

We’re both zoning out at Caiguna roadhouse eating dinner after our toughest day yet. We are 132km from our camp last night on Australia’s straightest road.

Today started with cross on winds which kept us going slowly. We planned our breaks every 20ks to give us something to look forward it. It got up to 31c.

Dan rode well today. A good attitude and enough determination to get through the hard bits. This is why I think he can do this ride. He dug in, complained a little, but rode 132ks into the wind on a hot day through a very arid and exposed landscape.

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We’re now 1,158km into our trip. Our daily average (including rest days) is 89.1km. We’ve been riding for 12 days with one day rest. To finish in 6 weeks we need to ride 98k per day for the rest of the trip. In the last 3 days we’ve ridden 375km.

Thanks for everyone’s comments and well wishes. It is certainly encouraging.

Time for bed 😉

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GPS location Date/Time:09/25/2013 18:45:43 EST

Message:Day 12: 108km camping on the Nullarbor.

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On the Nullarbor at last

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So much of our trip preparation was getting ready for the Nullarbor. The iconic bit of bitumen goes for about 1,200km. It is supposed to be flat, however our first day had a few hills. We spent the day going up and down gentle hills. The ones you won’t notice when you’re in a car but when you’re pushing a bike with enough supples to camp for 2 weeks and 20 litres of water you quickly notice the speed drop. We climbed to about 500m above sea level, pushed along most of the day by the wind. Gusty cross winds kept us on edge as my bike now handles like a road train.

The stars out here are amazing. They remind me of the stars I saw growing up, which I now miss living on the Coast. The clouds cleared nicely at the end of the day so we could do some star gazing before bedtime.

Up early we’ve headed 60ks to Balladonia roadhouse for brunch. We saw the last parts of the American Skylab that crashed to earth near here. Now back on the bikes to another bush camp. We bought 10 litres of water for $13.50 to keep me slow up any hill. It was nice to connect with home and hear Dan’s in the local paper today. This afternoon we’ll ride our 1,000km and be 1/4 of the way home.

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Message:Hello Nullarbor. Day 11: 132km >600m climbing

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Day 10: First mechanical threatens trip

We had a great start, riding at 7am and making good ground in the gusty side winds. Before we had set out I lubbed the chains, thinking the bikes had done well. Secretly I hoped we’d make it all the way home without anything except a barrel adjust on the rear derailleur.

30km outside Norseman we stopped for a quick break when Dan said “Dad are those bolts supposed to be missing?”

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I checked his front chainring, only two bolts of five were left. Somehow we’d managed to vibrate loose the other three. The bike was still rideable, but if we loose one more then it’s not. Suddenly 30ks seemed a lot further than normal. That would take more than a day to walk with our bikes.

I tightened the remaining two and we nursed the bike into Norseman. I knew there wasn’t a bike shop or likely anything that we could get here. We could get some posted, catch a bus to Esperance and hopefully get some there, or we could canabalise another bike.

The local hardware shop sold bike stuff, but no surprises they didn’t have any chainring bolts. The bike they sold were cheap and had riveted chainrings.

Leaving the hardware store we bumped into a lady and chatted about our trip. Many people have been interested, especially seeing such a small kid riding such as massive effort. It turned out they had some bikes on the back of their caravan. We got one off his mountain bike and tightened the remaining ones.

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Thanks for your help guys.

Mum back at home is going to post a new set to a roadhouse along the way. We have re-supplied here in Norseman including finding a wall USB charger. Ours had decided to die in Coolgardie leaving us with only solar charging and two cloudy days. Now we’re charging up ready for some big days. We start the Nullarbor tomorrow. 20130923-175325.jpg

We saw some of the most amazing wildflowers today.

Day 9: The Nullarbor is in sight

We both slept well in the motel at Coolgardie, it felt luxurious after being in the tent for so many days. Today was a big day in Coolgardie, it was their annual Coolgardie Day Festival, which Dan has been waiting for. We had a look around, ate a bratwurst, went on a ride and meet some interesting people into bikes and land yachts (and one kite buggy guy). As soon as we had headed out the door we were slammed by the wind. It was gusty and horrible.

Riding out of town the wind was howling. We averaged 29kph and hit speeds over 38 on the flat while barely peddling. Soon the rain came, we’d be riding the front of a storm cell. We stopped to put on our jackets as the skies opened up. Afterwards the wind shifted. We had little tail wind for the rest of the day and strong side winds blowing us off the road. A number of times we ended up on the gravel, it was quite physical to keep the bikes up. No wind would have been much easier.

We rode 90km after leaving late. Only 78 or so tomorrow to get to Norseman for our big resupply before the Nullarbor. We’re bush camping and seeing some pretty awesome stars tonight.

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