Glendambo to The Twins Rest Area
Up = 337m - Down = 308m - Highest Point = 195m
GLENDAMBO TO THE TWINS REST AREA - 23rd August 2017
The night certainly had got cool and it was very nippy for the early morning walk from the van across to the ablution block. Still dark at 6:30 – but we were having breakfast and preparing to be on the road as soon as it was daylight. Once the sun rises the day lightens quickly and we were away on our bikes at 7:00 am.
Today's ride takes us to half way between Glendambo and Coober Pedy. That distance is 250 kms and too far to do in one bite for us. Tonight was to be the only "free-camp" of the journey - but of course - we had already taken one the day we couldn't make it to Pimba!
We’ve got a great team – Des and Barry were up bright and early and helped Annie pack up her tent and then all bags were loaded into the van. We checked our bike tyres and were ready to go. All of us have several layers of clothes on as it is cool in the mornings – so full gloves, jackets etc to start the day.
One person who I don’t think slept very well last night was Des ……… the vehicle starting problems of the previous day no doubt weighing heavily on his mind. We were all concerned – and there was a collective sigh of relief when he got into his car – and – it started straight away!!! Phew – what a relief. Confirmed that the “new” battery was a disaster, as Barry’s spare battery had been in the vehicle and all was good!!
So happily off we rolled – no wind, crisp and clear – and so unbelievably silent and still. Such is the wonderful Australian outback. I can’t describe the amazing feeling cruising along in such conditions!! We had travelled 10 kms before the first vehicle passed us from behind. We had only seen 2 cars heading south during this period - such quiet roads! Really and truly blissful – life at its best!!!!! Cycling at its best!!!
We had pre-arranged stops for the day – although the first we had doubts about – one source had said 27 kms to it, and another 37 kms. The 27 was correct, but too early for us to have our first snack – so on we went to see what was (if anything) at 37 kms. Nothing was the answer ……… so when we had travelled 40 kms we stopped roadside and Pat in the support van pulled up to give us our snacks and refill our drinks. It is really important to keep drinks and energy snacks up during the day when we are riding day after day - and not go too far before taking that first break.
The weather had also warmed up considerably so the whole three of us discarded our jackets. Next stop was planned for the Mulga Wells North Rest Area at 64 kms. Shortly up the road we saw the rest of the support crew – and we rode through, yelling that we would be stopping at the 65 km mark. Pat would have stopped as she came through to tell them we had already re-fuelled.
The cycling was so incredibly beautiful through the desert - on a crisp clear, windless morning, seeing such amazing colours, it makes all the effort worthwhile! Sadly the roadkill this morning seemed to be mainly emus, with the occasional ‘roo. Wildflowers started to appear, and much to my delight, the beautiful Sturt Desert Pea – so wonderful to see it growing in its natural habitat.
While I have to stress the traffic has been incredibly considerate of us cyclists. I think there has been a few reasons for this – the publicity on Macca’s last Sunday, campers from the great Sausage Sizzle at Port Augusta Caravan Park still coming through and the big sign in the back window of Pat’s van saying – "Caution Cyclists Ahead – Please Pass with Care". The funny thing is when we are biking and stop at Rest Areas and talk to other travellers – they say – oh wow you are so brave – how are the road trains? They sort of say it all doom and gloom – but – to be honest they have been unbelievably good and I have never felt threatened or endangered when they have passed us!!
I do have to say we had one instant today that wasn’t totally comfortable. Coming towards us around a corner was an older “bus” being used as a motor home. A modern style motorhome hooked out from behind it – obviously???? oblivious to us proceeding towards it. These roads are good – but there is a rumble strip along the side and then a VERY narrow shoulder before a drop off the tarseal into gravel. To have a large motorhome passing a bus towards us made things look rather tight to say the least. I was in the front at the time and yelled to the others – “overtaking vehicle approaching”. As we are normally riding on the roadway where it is smooth, I quickly crossed the rumblestrip to the narrow shoulder. I was oblivious to what Annie and Liz were doing – they went into the gravel!! I looked up after the overtaking vehicle had passed and saw the driver of the “bus” basically throwing his hands in the air with a "WTF" meaning!!!! I always feel it is a shame when one drivers bad judgement mars the day – but when it comes to cyclist versus motor vehicle – we always come off worse – so this type of incident can shake us up!!!
Progress to our further meet-up points was very pleasant and uneventful. Very sad to see dead cattle roadside, and contrastingly the beauty of many of the flowers and plants of the desert was truly beautiful. We passed through about 3 stations today – and riding along we crossed several grids. We also came across a Royal Flying Doctors airstrip on the road. I had struck these on my ride across Australia 6 years ago – I always tend to pedal faster along these – scared that a plane might want to come and land!!
The wind was certainly our friend today and at one stage it was wonderful to see the roadside plants being blown exactly in the direction of our travel – brilliant!!! That part of "the plan" now seems to be working!
We lobbed into our finish point about 2:30 pm – well pleased with our efforts as to how the day had panned out. Over coffee, the final story of the day came from Pat in our support van. About 5 kms from “home” she was overtaken by a truck – and then – spotted something else rolling along the road in front of her. Wondering what it was – she then realised it was a hub-cap off her van!!!!! What a shame she didn’t have a gopro on – that must have looked so funny! She observed it head off across the road and into the ditch - so stopped and picked it up – unbroken!! She decided to put it in the van rather than risk losing it again. Des and Barry checked out the other wheels and found one other hubcap was a bit loose, so that was removed and put in the van with the other until we get home!!!
Des and Barry had sorted out a spot at this “free-camp” named The Twins – half-way between Glendambo and Coober Pedy. We set up camp, and in no time it was “5 o’clock” somewhere – so we sat around under the awning of Des and Liz’s caravan and had “drinkies” and recounted events of the day. A few more "free-campers" trickled in and it is always amusing watching them driving around trying to sort out their "spot" for the night!
Not too many luxuries - or even basic necessities out here - no power or toilets - but the amazing gifts nature gives us - a beautiful sunset, dropping temperatures, a star filled sky and daylight gone at 6:45 pm. I wrote a few words while the battery on my laptop held up, we didn't want to cause any battery issues in the campervan by using too many lights, so we turned in pretty early– hopefully to sleep well and start another day of riding at daylight tomorrow!!