MONA LENA REST AREA TO PIMBA
Up = 374m, Down = 274m, Highest Point = 200m
MONA LENA REST AREA TO PIMBA - 21st August 2017
This day was originally planned as a rest day - but as the weather forced us to pull the plug early yesterday - we still had 70 kms to go to complete that ride. It didn’t turn out a bad "free-camp" to have. I am a pretty light sleeper, but I have to confess I slept really well!! The wind was bitterly cold tho – and I had to sleep with all my clothes on to keep warm!! There were quite a few other travellers in the free-camp by the time it was lights out – so good to have company around when you are in the middle of nowhere!! Another thing I enjoyed seeing was the train The Ghan heading north just on dusk the night before. There seemed to be a lot of carriages – I never realised it was so long!!
It was strange in the morning just getting up, having breakfast and hitting the road again. We were all keen to get going so we were off just after 7:00 – determined to knock off this 70 kms and then get some R & R in the afternoon.
There was NO wind in the morning so it seemed a perfect morning for riding - just like the previous day until the wind got up! We were continually stopping to cross “grids” as the stations are unfenced either side of the highway. I am never game to ride across grids fearing somehow my front wheel will twist between the bars and I would crash spectacularly!! They actually gave us a chance to dismount, wheel our bikes across and have a bit of a stretch out and drink before continuing on. The road surface is continuing to have several long stretches of very coarse stone seal, and the constant shuddering through the handlebars forces me to frequently shake out my arms to get feeling back into my hands. I am finding it particularly bad on my left wrist and hand that got broken / damaged when I fell from my bike last March. The other "normal" areas of concern on a ride like this are starting to settle down - thank goodness for padded bike shorts!!!
There was quite a bit of livestock roadside this morning – quite a few sheep, some goats, and very few kangaroos as “road kill”. I must say I expected there to be more – I am sure I saw many more across the Nullarbor.
Our first catch-up today was 25 kms out at a truck stop – and you guessed it, by the time we headed off, the wind had started to pick up!! We had a quick snack, chat and stretch and when we were heading out to the road again, a car swooped in and asked if we were the “girls” they had heard about on Macca. They had been at Broken Hill when they heard Bette on the radio. They added to our donation tin and continued on their way to Darwin. We will probably see them coming towards us on their way back!!
We have been alongside the railway track for sometime, and saw a freight train heading south this morning. A little bit further along we couldn’t make out what seemed to be over on the line. It appeared to be still – and then moved off in the same direction we were heading. A little later we glimpsed and thought we were catching up to it – but then realised it was now heading south. The conclusion we drew was that it was perhaps a maintenance crew at work.
It raises our spirits when we get lots of friendly toots – and are thinking they are either Macca listeners or folk who were at the Discovery Park Port Augusta sausage sizzle. We had several today, and all made us smile and wave back.
Sadly, just like the previous day, the wind was getting stronger and stronger – it was a westerly turning south-westerly and it was really buffeting us. When I think of biking from Adelaide to Darwin I think we are heading north all the way – but that is far from the case and for all but the last 10 kms today we were going west so the wind took its toll on our energy levels. Going up one hill I glimpsed at my speedo and was down to 7.8 kph. Liz decided it was just as quick and used much less energy to walk up the steepest hill. The crew waited at the top while we battled our way slowly up to them.
More snacks and stretching and back on the road for the final 20 kms. Still more climbing, but fortunately some ever so slight right hand curves meant that the wind became side on rather than head/side. This was much better – but there were still gusts at times that felt like our bikes were being blown out from underneath us.
While Bette was waiting for us to reach Pimba she chatted to a nice truckie who is leaving us a donation at the Glendambo roadhouse – hopefully we will be there tomorrow to pick it up!! It was good to make Pimba just after 12 noon, so we were in our accommodation at Woomera about 12:30. What a VERY welcome shower after the free-camp the night before, and Pat prepped me a yummy wrap for lunch that tasted so good. We do a lot of snacking along the way to keep energy levels up – but then it is good to get something wholesome for a meal.
Pat and I had also been saving our laundry to do on our "rest day" - so this got done and hung on the line. With the strength of the westerly wind I thought it would be either dry in an hour - or in Sydney!! The pegs we had must have been strong, and although wrapped round the line - all items were retrieved nice and dry!!!
At 5:00 pm we went over to the Cudgee Bar at the camp, as “Hoffy” had given us permission to collect from those who also turned up. Bette took the collection tin around and did a great job collecting $29.15!! A beer was welcome at day’s end – then back to the van to cook dinner – and another early to bed as a big day tomorrow!! Our "Rest Day" had been a "half rest day" - but we would be setting off in the morning basically back on schedule. I was so pleased we had made the decision to stop at the Mona Lena stop as that 70 kms this morning wasn't easy at all!