Saturday 16th of April: To Longreach (92km)

16 Apr

What a day full of up and downs!
Yesterday night, after writing the blog and during preparing my dinner, the sky was just beautiful. Unfortunately not on the pictures: Dark blue sky full of rain, dark brown earth and in between at the horizont a cloud free section of an intense orange… magnificant!

While eating, the first rain fall… not just some drops, not a storm. Stopped and started again twice. But as I discovered in the morning not so strong as the tent as well the ground were dry.
I slept not so good thanks to the sheep around. When one was “saying” something, the others had to answer… and then I did not choose the ground correctly: it was not really flat with some bumps just hurting after a while.
So with about 6 hours of sleep I woke up when the sun enlighted the tent… showing a perfect blue sky without any clouds. And I had an email from my dearest… nothing better to wake up! 🙂
After breakfast, I set everything up and was ready for the day. My goal was reaching at least Longreach and may be do some more km – depending what the Police would tell me about the road directly to Hughenden (North).
The day was quite ok… the road going more or less always a little bit up and less down. But don’t worry: only in the 20 meters… sometimes I even though the road would go down while the altimeter telling me I was cycling up.
With the time, my hands, my bottom and my legs started to hurt. I had no power to be faster… The some of the last week. The wind had started to blow a little bit stronger, but from two or three o’clock: not really in my favour, which did not really help my motivation!
With the time, I decided to think about the alternative of having a resting day in Longreach if it would be possible to save the 50km via Winton in the east. As the direct road was dirt, I thought of bying a new (front) tire, just to be sure. And as Longreach has about 5000 people, there should be a bicycle shop… And the people in Stonehenge were quite confident about the possibility of driving directly to Stonehenge.
I had lunch at a creek with the good cookies from Windorah (thanks again *smile*) and enjoyed some time… looking forward to reach Longreach and having good news.
Well… in French you say: “Hope dies at last”!
I finally found the police station which was first closed (of course: saturday afternoon at 2) and then a police car arrived. The officer told me: 1) the road is reeeeaally rough (meaning deep wheel tracks) and 2) the weather might certainly change in the next days and then it is even for 4×4 difficult. My hope went off!
I decide anyway to look for a new tyre and was lead to the BP-Station which have a bicycle shop as well: ok… we are still in the outback. 1) no tyres bigger then 1.95” (I’m having 2.25”) and 2) no “folderable” / the rigid cheap stuff. At that time I was sure I could mount them.
Fortunately, I could give it back and bought instead two set of reparation kit… we never know. Then I wanted to inflate some more the tire to let them live longer. First one without problem.. then the rear one. The manometer wasn’t showing any pression. So I went “on the feeling” like the front one.
Well, for those who read my South America Blog -2nd day of cycling: the same! A big BANG happened letting some whistling in my ears…. Ohhhh NO! That would meaning the end of cycling in Australia!!! My rim in Chile had not survived that… After some words of “de-stress” (it’s better not to write them here) I unpacked everything and mount the tire back (which was not broken or so). I put some little air into the wheel before turning it – hoping that the rim had no damage like the one in Chile (so stong “S” that it was not fixable).
Yes… the luck was back!!! :-))) You cannot imagine how happy I was!
As the super market was closing at 17h, I decided to go in its direction and find a hotel. Taking the best what was possible, not regarding for the price after the luck I had had.
But the luck was still on my side: First, the Longreach Motel close to the super market was open, had shower and WiFi. Then, Annette was kindly to reduce the price in favour of the WWF cause.
Here the place to stay:
http://www.longreachmotel.com.au

After a good shower (three days since the last one) I wanted to hang my fresh washed clothes (put them on the floor of the shower and do some jogging on top of it while taking the shower). Coralee, Annette’s sister showed me where to put the clothe and told me: You are our guest: for the night and for breakfast! :-O I was sooo positively suprised!! By that, the Longreach Motel just spended over 100 AU$ to the WWF!!!
As the time was passing, I had to head to the supermarket and came back with new water bottles, some food for the next days and the most expensive banana I EVER had: 15 AU$ a kilo! But as they were from devasted Queensland and I needed some Magnesia for my muscles I took them.
Back at the motel people were sitting outside at the table and chatting. It went not long and Robyn Redmond from Rockhampton spent 50 AU$ – Big THANK you too!! Her daugther was here to “lend” 🙂 her son for vacation. We had a long talk about copper, minerals and mines as I had had some information from Chile.
Slowly it was time for dinner. There is a Chinese very close to the motel… and it sound good. Just before leaving, I met Bernard Phillips from Sydney and we discussed about “my reason” to be here and that he never could have a picture of one of those many eagles with white parts on the wings (as so their name). I had seen a lot, but not taken a picture as he wanted to have. Anyway: He as well spent 50 AU$ to the WWF. Big THANK you too!!!
Just unbelievable how luck and chance can swap!
So now that my stomach is full of “Chinese”, I will try to eventually sent some more pictures and then go to sleep!
Looking forward for a next day of chance!
🙂
Gud n8
Georges

The day in numbers:
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/79418070