Aileron to Barrow Creek
Up = 196m - Down = 345m - Highest Point = 661m
AILERON ROADHOUSE TO BARROW CREEK - 4th September 2017
Away at 7 as usual, and it seemed funny without Bette and Barry appearing from their caravan to see us on our way and take photo’s. So we had to do that bit ourselves today! Aileron had been a nice stay – grassed areas in the campground – quite a bit of new tree planting going on, and of course seeing The Man and The Wife and Child. There was also quite a bit of interesting aboriginal art around. The next roadhouse was 60 kms away at Ti Tree – and owned by the same owner as Aileron.
Our first meet up was at 30kms – half way to Ti Tree. The ride was going well enough with a side wind – but it didn’t seem to be going “downhill” as much as the profile showed – which was a shame!! Approaching Ti Tree and Liz failed to see a GRID sign – Annie and I realised she was heading for it without showing signs of stopping so while we yelled at her at the top of our voices in the wind she didn’t hear and flew straight over it – in the process giving herself a hell of a fright when she realised what she had done! I have to say in my time of long distance cycling I have come across quite a few “grids” – or varying bar types, widths, etc etc – and I always stop and get off – feeling that one wrong move on my skinny-tyred bike could spell disaster – and possibly the end of the trip!!
Roadkill today was a bit sad – a camel, and 3 cows. We haven’t seen any camels in the wild yet even tho I thought we would have.
Our second meet-up at Ti Tree was quite sad. A dear little dog, who had obviously had several litters was wandering around the car park – looking at us – but probably semi-feral as she wouldn’t come up for a pat. I think the survival instincts of a mother were to the fore. Pat cut some strips of chicken breast from our chicken which she ate – and then disappeared. Later, after us cyclists had gone, Pat said she came back for more – I think she probably had those natural regurgitation skills to her puppies so had fed them - ………. I would have liked to bring her home.
Des had wandered across to the Ti Tree Caravan Park while waiting for us to arrive and said it looked really nice and grassy – so a good place to stay!!
We continued on riding and it was really quite a struggle – yet this was supposed to be going downhill!! It didn’t look it at all – I wondered if it was some sort of optical illusion – but I had started to wonder if I had put in the right start and end point for todays ride, or, if I had reversed these so it was in fact uphill not downhill.
We took our next stop at the Stuart Memorial – as we started this journey from his statue in Adelaide – seemed appropriate that we stop here. Food and drink was taken on board to enable us to continue the journey – onwards to our next planned stop at Wilora – where we would take a longer break and have lunch.
The riding was tough, the wind far from helpful and the road surface a real rough one that jiggles and jars right through the wrists and arms. Liz was struggling to keep with us and wasn’t able to take her turn in the lead. We tried to shelter her by keeping her in the middle while Annie and I alternated the lead – but she told us to go on as she couldn’t keep with us. We don’t like doing this, but we do know that Pat is coming along behind and would keep a watch on Liz. As it happened, she ran out of energy completely 7 kms shy of Wilora so hopped into the “sag wagon”. Still a great effort in very testing conditions.
Wilora was an Aboriginal settlement back from the road – so we sat out the front and had lunch. As we had approached the stop a green and purple Jucy van went past tooting and waving furiously. I’ve often hired Jucy vehicles so we always give them a good wave. As it turned out it was some Irish tourists who had stopped and chatted to Des – so they were on the lookout for us.
Liz decided she couldn’t continue and the profile did show that there were some climbs before we would get to Barrow Creek. Annie and I started to believe the profile was correct, and the last 20 kms of climbing, wind and rough surfaces was a real test as we soldiered on, eventually pulling in to Barrow Creek at 3:00 pm. A long hot, tough day.
Annie decided she needed a cabin – partly because of the “Falconio” story, and mainly to try and get a good nights sleep before 2 further days of riding. There were no rooms available so the tent was pitched – a bit nerve-wracking for Annie – but in the end it turned out to be strong winds all night that caused it to be a sleepless night! I heard the wind from the van – and thought – oh my goodness – poor Annie!!
Barry and Bette caught up with us after their extended stay in Alice Springs when we were about 10k away, and when we were all in and settled we got together for a social nibble and drinks to toast Des and Liz for their wedding anniversary.
Day 19 and Day 20
4th and 5th September
Here's a story that really warms my heart - GREG NOONAN – THANK-YOU!!
Here’s a super supporter of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation!! I’d love to say Greg was a relative of mine, but via emails we have discovered we are from quite different “Noonan” clans!!
Greg, principal with Melbourne based FPA Patent Attorneys advised that his company does not normally support these fund-raisers, but that he was personally happy to donate $500 directly to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation in support of our ride.
I acknowledge this wonderful gesture over the two days of riding –
Aileron to Barrow Creek, and then
Barrow Creek to Wycliffe Well.
While I descend from John Noonan who was deported to Australia for stealing a horse, Greg’s great grandfather came out to Koroit in Western Victoria in the 1860s and was a small time farmer. Koroit is well known as a very Irish area. Greg’s grandfather moved to Sydney so most of his cousins are there but Greg moved back south when he was 2.
As his sons have produced 5 grandsons (and no girls) the name is secure in his branch!! (Not so ours - ending with my brother and I).
Greg says there is a degree of personal interest in this ride - "My daughter is a nurse presently based in Darwin who has spent 5 years as a remote area nurse in East Arnhem Land (where we have visited her) and I have driven Adelaide to Darwin.
Rather a serious bike ride!!"
It sure was Greg – but a successful ride in many ways!!