Monday, April 7, 2008

Good things do come to an end.

After spending a few days in Fremantle Harv and I both agreed to make this our final destination for the bike tour. There are a number of reasons why, including some financial difficulties, some time difficulties, and also the problems we are having with our hands to name a few.

I’m so proud of effort throughout the tour, and it’s certainly proved a great friendship between Harv and I. People would ask, “So have you guys had any massive fights yet?” And honestly we had to say, “Nah we’re all good.” Sure we both had our mood swings and got a bit grumpy from time to time. But we both understood what was going on in the others head, because sure enough along the say one of us had felt the same.

Its kind of disappointing to not make it the whole way around Australia, but I’m definitely not disappointed in myself. A few months ago I was in Europe throwing down way to many beers with the best of them, and here I am now having cycled across Australia feeling the fittest and healthiest I’ve ever been. It’s definitely a great start to future journeys to come. I set out on this trip in search of some form of inspiration and freedom from whatever was going on in my life, and I certainly found it. One thing for sure, I’m proud to be Australian. We have the most amazing country and I hope everyone out there can feel as lucky as I do living in this place. Please lets all look after it so it can be possible for future travellers to have a chance at possibly experiencing what Harv and I experienced on this trip.

First of all thankyou to our families for helping us every step of the way. We couldn’t have achieved our goal without you.

I give tremendous thanks to all of the people we met along the way and specially to those of you who took us into your homes, and fed or accommodated us. Also thankyou to those who believed in us, and to those who didn’t, thanks for the inspiration!

Day 42, Wednesday 26th March. Preston Beach Road Stop - Fremantle

Day 42

Wednesday 26th March

Preston Beach Road Stop – Fremantle

102 kms

“Hey Rob there’s some dude out the front in a ute that looks to be some kind of road side patrol” Harv called from outside the tent. “Just tell him it was late and your chain snapped dude, we’ll be right.” I packed up my things and crawled outside. The guy was just sitting in his car and didn’t seem to be of any threat. We packed up our things and tended to Harv’s broken chain. Frustration kicked in when it took us at least 40 minutes to snap the chain back together with a recycled chain pin at early hours of the morning. Eventually we got moving.

My legs weren’t excited about pedalling again, and nor was my backside excited about spending hours on the bike seat. The ride was slower than ever as we both knew we were reaching a major destination, and it meant we had days off. We stoped at a servo feeling dehydrated after not drinking enough water the day before. We filled our water bags up and drank a heap of water and got moving again.

Eventually the city started to reclaim the beautiful countryside I had been enjoying so much. A head wind made its way into our final hours of riding, and every hour seemed to last at least a week to long.

I felt some form of depression cycling along the freeway making our way to Fremantle. The air stank. I couldn’t take a full gasp of air with out feeling sick. My ears filled with the sound of cars hammering past carelessly. I eventually pulled off the road onto the footpath to try and relax a bit. I felt overwhelmed with the presence of the buy lives now surrounding me. Everyone had somewhere to be, and not enough time to get there it seemed. We kept moving at what felt like slower than ever.

We stopped for some lunch at some sort of shopping complex. After sitting down it felt hard to get motivated to get up and keep moving again.

We cycled, and cycled, and then cycled, and after that we eventually made our way into Fremantle past a monstrous looking industrial estate and a sea of houses. A few nice downhills came our way to finish off the ride, but at the same time traffic lights made there way into existence to start slowing things down again. We were to stay at a friends house in North Fremantle and we were almost there when I looked back to see Harv once again yelling out to me. He was off the bike and I soon realised that his chain had snapped. Time to walk. Harv waited for the lights and picked up his chain off the road. We laughed about it all and walked our way to our friends Suzette and Doug’s house. They didn’t know we were coming but fortunately whilst crossing a bridge to North Freo we ran into Doug and he gave us some keys get into the house and have a shower. We arrived at the house and sat down on the couch. Oh the feeling of a couch. You’d think the last thing you want to do after sitting in a bike seat for so long is sit down. Sitting down is the best, as long as it’s not on the bike seat.

We had a quick show and made our way to Scarborough to play a gig with Loren and the Grow Your Owns. It was nice to meet up with some friends from home. I felt really tired at the gig but it still felt great to play. I also ran into some mates from QLD and it was great to be able to share some stories from the trip with the audience. Harv and I had a few to many beers and a bowl of wedges for dinner to celebrate our Australian crossing by bicycle. Loren’s parents kindly let us stay at their house for the night. Harv passed out snoring on the couch and helped myself to some vegemite on toast in the kitchen. 

Day 41, Tuesday 25th March. Margaret River - Road Stop near Preston Beach

Day 41

Tuesday 25th March

Margaret River – Road stop near Preston Beach


I woke up in the morning feeling quite good considering the awesome party we had the night before. Wheetbix and Banana for brekkie. We put our bikes back together and said our goodbyes to our wonderful new friends that no doubt we would meet again somewhere along future journeys.

We made our way out of Margaret River with the intensity of Easter weekend traffic. It was quite daunting and felt pretty unsafe to be riding on the road. A sea of caravan’s and people in a rush to get back to life in the city for work commitments.

We pulled up at the beach in Busselton near a huge pier for some lunch. Harv was keen to check out the Busselton pier because of a huge Triathlon race that goes on there once a year. A spaghetti sandwich for lunch and we head off on our way.

Next stop was Bunbury. We headed into town to get a good feed before some long kms that night. I got myself a huge Pasta Salad and Harv hopped into a Chicken Parma. Before leaving we went to a supermarket that ended up being closed, and when I came out of the shops I found my back tyre completely flat. So I pulled everything off the bike and changed the complete tyre. Pumped her up and no worries. This just happened to be out the front of the bottle shop just by chance, and for some reason both Harv and I felt inclined to have a couple of drinks. We grabbed a six pack and headed to the lake side in Bunbury to relax and have a chat on a park bench. We sat and enjoyed our beverages as people completed their afternoon exercise of cycling or running around the lake. We met and interesting young fellow who spoke about living in the bush’s around Bunbury, eating out of the bins, and protesting to save the trees. After a bit of a chat it felt as if we were in some way escaping as we headed off on our bikes.

The road felt dark but the riding went quite fast as I listened to Harv ahead of me working on his singing techniques. After some hours of riding we had made good progress, but we both felt tired and needed to eat something. We pulled up at a road stop in hope there would be a good place to camp. It was quite open and right next to the freeway, but I didn’t mind and was keen to camp anywhere in my state of fatigue. Harv wanted to keep going and see if we could find somewhere more sheltered. I agreed and we had a can of tinned stew each to keep us going. We jumped back on the bike and headed off. I rode about 20 meters and could hear Harv calling out to me. His chain had snapped. We made the decision to camp there the night and lock our bikes to a power pole. I set up the tent and instantly past out into a deep sleep.

Day 40, Monday 24th March. Margaret River.

Day 40

Monday 24th March

Margaret River

No riding

My alarm sounded and I jumped in the shower. Part of the deal with our room was we get a free breakfast of our choice bought to the room in the morning. Eventually their was a knock at the door and a girl handed me a tray with two massive egg and bacon breakfasts. Harv and I couldn’t be any happier! I remembered that the washing was still in the machine. We constantly forget to hang our washing out, so this was nothing new. We grabbed it from the machine and spread it around the room hoping it would dry before we started to ride.

I got a message on my mobile phone from the girl named Sally I had met at the tavern the day before. She said her friend Michelle has a gig around lunch time at a place called he Colonial Brewery and I could go play some songs if I’m interested. I gave her a call and sure enough it sounded like a good idea. It was only about 10kms on our way out of town, so we packed up our things and started moving towards the venue. Because of my wet bike gear, I stupidly decided to ride in my jeans. The sun was quite warm and I was so uncomfortable.

We rocked up at the brewery and it looked like a great set up. I had $20 stashed away with my cd’s so we decided that being at a brewery and all we should get some beers. I went to the bar and ordered a tasting pallet. About 6 different beers in 150ml glasses so that you get to taste them all. Not bad beers at the old Colonial Brewery.

Michelle turned up and set up the Pa system before informing us that we can get a free lunch, and free beers over the bar. Ripper! The sun was in full force and it looked to be a positive day.

I jumped on stage and felt really good playing my songs. Sally and Michelle and her mates all looked to be really enjoying what I was playing, and so did the crowd sitting around hopping into their beers. After I played the manager had a word with me and told me I’m welcome to come back and play a show any time. It’s amazing what comes out of meeting nice positive people. A few pints later, Michelle and Carolyn started whipping out some mellow Jazzy tunes. Harv and I ordered some Fish and Chips and started discussing the reality of us actually leaving Margaret River to do some riding for the day. It was just to good a day, the sun was shining, good beers, good people, good music, the decision was practically made for us. Michelle and Carolyn played some great tunes and then joined us for some beers. We met Michelle’s brother John who invited us round to his house to have a feed and stay for the night.

So after the show was all over, we headed off to John’s house via the supermarket. Harv and I were in full party mode so we bought some more drinks, and I bought a heap of stuff to make the crew a big salad to eat with dinner.

Over the dinner table John told us of some of the adventures he’d been on. My favourite was a 6 month sailing trip on an old 20ft Catamaran around Indonesia. Definitely an inspiration! He was also into spear fishing, and had surfed some massive waves in his time by the looks of the photos on the wall, and was about to head to his home land of New Zealand to take part in a kayaking trip. He also took pride in his veggie garden out in the back and took us for a bit of a tour. Harv took a real interest in Vegetable Gardening from that moment and started asking questions excitedly, thinking about future possibilities or his own garden. We had an awesome feed. A big curry, and a massive salad. We sat out the back and spent the rest of the night passing the guitar around playing songs, and singing harmonies to one another’s songs.

I retired to the couch for some sleep with the realisation that we had to ride the next day.

Day 39, Sunday 23rd March. Brockmans Rest Stop - Margaret River

Day 39

Sunday 23rd March

Brockman Rest Stop – Margaret River


We rose nice and early at around 5am. We decided to get up early and then we can get to Margaret River to do some washing and organise a few things. The Easter bunny left us each a Chocolate Cadbury Cream Egg. I didn’t realise chocolate would taste good in the morning.

I rode in a jumper because the morning was cold. We sat on a good average of around 20kms although my legs weren’t to happy about more cycling. Even after my super pasta the night before, and a good sleep, there was still no quick and easy way to refresh my muscles.

After around 30 or 40kms we pulled up along a slim windy little rode surrounded by lush paddocks and grazing cows at a small little store as we were both quite hungry. We decided to have some Chocolate milk being Easter and all. On our way back to the bikes we came across an old Italian bloke who was really inquisitive into our travels. He asked us questions about the weight, balance, and some general questions about the bikes and the gear we carry. Now retired at around 70, he and his wife live on a small little hobby farm. He told us of how he used to do triathlon, but one day his ticker (heart) just went crazy and he had to go hospital. He can’t do strenuous exercise any more, but he said he bought himself a bike and he still rides a return trip weekly of about 100kms to Augusta and home. Not bad for an old fella. We left with grins on our faces, finding some sort of joy and inspiration in what he had to say.

The hills we existent but they had somewhat mellowed out. The worry now was directed at the Easter traffic on the road. People rushing around to get somewhere along the same busy road, that we just happened to be cycling down.

It felt like a long ride because we were eager to get to town for some breakfast. We rolled into Margaret River around 10am and sat down at a café for a combination of eggs, bacon, mushroom, spinach etc. How delightful.

We both stank as it had been a while in between showers so we decided to go check into our room at the venue and change out of bike clothes. Bike clothes are great on the bike but you soon get sick of walking around town in lycra bike shorts, getting strange looks from everyone.

The room wasn’t ready yet so we found some Internet access and caught up with what was going on across the world.  We returned to the hotel and checked into the room. It just happened to be some kind of deluxe suite or something. Everything was made of dark polished wood, and looked as if it was fit for some kind of royalty. Harv headed to the bottle shop and got some celebration drinks while I had the best shower in the world. We kicked around in the room and made some phone calls to friends and family. Once again we forgot to put the washing on, and eagerly headed into town for some beers at a local tavern. There was a Sunday music session on the veranda so we hung out to watch a few tunes.

Whilst sitting around we randomly met a girl named Sally who buy chance told us that she to had taken part in a cycling mission, only she road from Fitzroy Crossing down to Perth, raising money for a charity. We sat around and compared stories from our cycling journeys. Sal introduced us to some of her mates including a girl from New Zealand called Michelle. Michelle is a singer, piano player, and also teaches vocal training. We hung out while she played a few awesome songs as part of the veranda session. Her friend Carol played saxophone during the songs and as a duo they sounded great. It was a shame we had to leave, but we told them to come up to the pub for a few drinks and watch me play a bit later on.

We sat down and had a meal at the hotel, before I set up my gear for the show, and Harv headed off to get the washing into the machine. The room I was playing was quite empty and the manager told me in a relaxed manner that they didn’t think many people would be coming. That’s ok, I was just happy to sit and play some guitar.

I started my show and there were a table of 6 people having dinner. I played some easy listening stuff and worked on a few ideas I had been looking forward to working on. Its interesting playing to a pretty empty room. Sometimes it can be really disheartening, and sometimes it might be one of the best gigs. I wouldn’t say this was the best gig, but I still really enjoyed playing. We had spent so much time on the bike, that there had been no time to play my guitar. Eventually Harv jumped out of his seat and got up for a dance, which put a big smile on my face. On leaving the room, one of the blokes who was having dinner got up and handed Harv $20 and said good gig mate. Harv informed him that for $20 he could have a cd, so he hooked him up. They left the room just as some more crew turned up. Only another 6 or so people but it was nice to have some faces in the room while I finished off my set.

I packed up my guitar and leads etc, and half expected the manager to be quite disappointed with the way the night went. He was actually just happy to get home after the rush of Easter weekend. We threw the gear upstairs in our room and headed off to see if the tavern was still open. Everything was shut, including the late night kebab shop. With a bit of luck some random bloke started knocking on the window of the kebab shop and they opened the door. The guy inside told him he could only buy Turkish bread for $3.50. I jumped on the trend and we bought a massive Turkish bread and headed to the room for a feast. The bread was massive, at least a few foot long. We didn’t really need it, but its just so much fun to eat food late at night after a gig.

It was no drama drifting off to the land of sleep on such a full stomach.

Day 38, Saturday 22nd March. Windy Harbour - Brockman Rest Stop

Day 38

Saturday 22nd March

Windy Harbour – Brockman Rest Stop


The mornings were starting to get colder. Outside the tent I could here the campground keeper having a go at a bloke for bringing his dog. He was yelling, “No dogs allowed here mate, pack up your things and leave ey?” I just sat inside the tent and ate a bowl of cereal and packed up my things. We hadn’t checked in or payed camping fee’s because we turned up late at night, and we were hoping to get away without paying to save a bit of coin. Eventually the bloke left so I got out of the tent and finished my bowl of cereal by the waterside. The place definitely seemed windy and quite cold, but still a beautiful isolated national park with plenty of fishing going on by the looks of all the boats being towed around.

We packed up our things, filled our water supplies and rode out the campground entrance only to pass the campground keeper that I had dodged earlier. He looked at us but didn’t seem too interested. I told Harv not to look him in the eye and just ride. And off we went! No dramas.

It felt like a shame to have to ride an extra 60kms into the trip, but I felt for some reason we were meant to have ridden down that road. The isolated national park that surrounds it is beautiful. The morning was frosty and we looked forward to a hot breakfast in Northcliffe at a nice looking Café we had passed the day before.


We rode back up the hills that we had so happily cruised down the night before, with the luxury of daylight on our side so that we could take in the picturesque surroundings

It was only a 28km ride to Northcliffe, but we were both so hungry it felt like an eternity. We hit the café and ordered ourselves a nice big hot brekkie of good old egg and bacon. The supermarket next door kindly exchanged our dollars and cents for a bunch of fruit, some bread, and a couple of cans of home brand spaghetti tins.

Finally back on course and off to Pemberton. The sign for the turnoff was really quite small so we weren’t surprised we had missed it in the state we were in the night before. Back on the course and the hills fired up for us once again. We had heard from an American cyclist we met the day before that Pemberton has a really great bakery so there was no doubt that we wanted to stop and check it out. And what a worthy stop that was. Pemberton happens to have one of the best Bakery’s in Australia I’d say. Well out of those that I have already visited anyway. On the way into town we rode down a massive hill that lasted for around 7kms. It felt amazing to fly down, and I knew the bakery was at the bottom, but it wasn’t to flash passing the turnoff we needed to take at the top of the hill, knowing we would have to ride back up again. But the bakery was definitely worth it.

During the hard slog back up the hill we ran into an old bloke who was cycling alone. He said his trip had started in Asia cycling with a bunch of other people across Asia. He didn’t have a lot to say, other than he had started his trip in Darwin and we were the first cycle tourists he had come across so far. I told him how good the Bakery was, we said our goodbyes, and we continued slogging it out up the hill.

The roads swept and climbed across the winding countryside. I couldn’t help feeling the presence of the continuous groups of Red Tailed Black Cockatoos screeching above us, as if they knew we were coming, and laughed at the reality of our crazy little tour.

The map showed a little roadside stop that looked like the perfect destination to set up the tents for the night. With 30kms to go we started to run out of steam. It had been a day of relentless hill climbing. Finally the undulation mellowed out and we both hopped into a least 6 apples each to get us through the final stretch.

Sure enough the map didn’t lie, and we found an awesome little roadside stop where we could camp for the night. We were both really happy with our effort for the day because we still had daylight to set up camp, and then have a big pasta cook up with some ingredients we’d purchased in Pemberton. The 2-minute noodle phase still excited us but we decided it was time to pump a bit more energy back into the body. The pasta was a huge success and within an hour or so bedtime called. Harv laid in his and enthusiastically shouted out delicious sounding recipes to me from a cookbook he had bought earlier in the day. Mmmm food.. Mmm… Sleep… Mmm cycling?

Day 37, Friday 21st March. Walpole - Windy Harbour

Day 37

Friday 21st March

Walpole – Windy Harbour

124 kms

The morning air was fresh, and once again we rolled our wet tents away and jumped on the bike. The bloke at the pub told us nothing would be open, because of Easter Good Friday, but I was keen to get some more food so we went for a look. To our delight all the shops were open, and we couldn’t resist hopping into a big breakfast of Egg, Bacon, and all the extras.

Our surroundings were still amazingly beautiful, but the hills were still consistent. The bush was dense and their were native grass trees everywhere. While leaving Walpole we found a stall on the side of the road that sold bags of the most delicious looking Royal Gala apples for $4. So we bought a bag for the road and headed towards Northcliffe. It was a long intense ride. My left knee was getting really sore after all of the hills. It had been compensating for the damage I had done to my right leg, and all of the hill climbing was causing it to feel similar to the pain I had received in my right earlier in the trip. We got to Northcliffe and no shops were open. Harv called his parents on the pay phone and I laid on a park bench for a while feeling dehydrated, and pretty hungry. We only had 30kms to get to Pemberton and then we would crash for the night. So on we road.

I felt in some kind of zombie state as the sun slowly sank away. We went down some amazing downhills through dense forest, and eventually road along a nice flat section of road surrounded by nothing but scrub for at least 15kms.

We reached a turn off and I could see a lighthouse. I said to Harv, “Dude I didn’t know Pemberton was on the coast, this is awesome!” I remember Pemberton on the map in my head so I decided we should check the sign at the turn off. I went ahead and read the sign at the campground, and Harv checked out the sign.

The camping area sign said Windy Harbour. I rode back to Harv and he said, “Dude, we’ve taken the wrong turnoff from Northcliffe!” He showed me the map and told me how we had ridden 28kms on a one-way road to the ocean. I looked up at the lighthouse, laughed and said, “Yeah, I didn’t think we were meant to be on the coast.”

We had ridden enough for the night so decided to stay at Windy Harbour. It seemed like a beautiful place so we might as well check it out. Down a dirt road and into the campground we found what seemed to be another ocean of its own. Full of caravans, four wheel drives, and campers alike. We found a spot in the campground and set up the tents for a well-deserved feed of our favourite 2-minute noodles We were hoping to get to Margaret River the next day for a bit of Saturday night party action, but it wasn’t going to happen. The mistake we made by not turning off to Pemberton meant we had to make up an extra 60kms the next day, on top of our already planned 140km ride to get to Margaret River early. My knee was feeling a bit ordinary so there was no way I could push it that far.

Day 36, Thursday 20th March. Albany - Walpole

Day 36

Thursday 20th March

Albany – Walpole


Both Harv and I woke quite early because we couldn’t sleep. The washing I had put in the dryer was still wet. So no dry bike clothes. We hung some things out around the room and went to the shops to get some brekkie goods. After breakfast the clothes were dry enough to pack away in our bags so we got moving.

Our first stop for the day was Denmark. I wanted to show Harv a cool little café I had been to there before so we dropped in for a Chai tea, and an Ice Chocolate. You probably may have noticed if you’ve read this far that the tour is evolving around food ey? We ate some tinned spaghetti in sangas, and chatted with a local bloke who was drinking beers at a park bench over lunch. He had a bike with half a slab on the back, but he didn’t really have to much to say.

From Denmark we made our way through the hills to Walpole. I was so overwhelmed by the beauty of this area. Surrounded by huge Tingle wood forest, it was the most amazing part of the trip for me. We were both exhausted from the intensity of the hills, and we were putting in a good effort averaging around 21kms an hour through the hills for around 120kms. On the downhills I took my hands of the handlebars and felt like I was flying. Its hard to describe the feeling, but I guess I felt in someway I had found part of what I was searching for by doing this bike ride. I guess it was a feeling of freedom, an amazing state of living.

Everywhere in Walpole was closed except for the pub. We had a huge day and we decided to get a good dinner, and have a couple of beers. We got a few strange comments from dodgy looking locals when we showed up in bike gear, and then proceeded to spend $20 on the dodgiest Roast Chicken I’ve eaten. The bloke who worked behind the bar told us we could camp behind a big shed next to the pub so we set up the tents behind it, had some more 2-minute noodles, and hit the hey. 

Day 35, Wednesday 19th March. Boxwood Hill - Albany.

Day 35

Wednesday 19th March

Boxwood Hill – Albany


We woke up with wet tents again. So decided we should go to the roadhouse and get a drink to let the sun dry them out before packing them up. Egg and Bacon sangas were just to tempting so we had one each and packed everything up.

I needed to get some bike tubes after spending way too long on the side of the road trying to patch a tube. It took me 3 goes before I realised that I had to let the glue dry before sticking the patch on. I don’t think Harv minded because he just laid back on the side of the road for a bit of a snooze.

Both tired, and hungry we finally made it to Albany in the afternoon. It was nice to reach our next destination, but frustrating to roll into another big city. The afternoon traffic didn’t seem to like taking us into consideration with their driving skills on the road. I didn’t feel to safe so I moved onto the footpath. It was nice to have the conveniences of shops, but the fresh air that once had healing qualities with every  gasp was now gone.

We eventually found a bike shop that had the right tubes I needed for my bike, and then headed into town. I was still dizzy so had a couple of sushi rolls to fill me up a bit. I knew of a backpackers so we decided to stay there and wash our bike clothes. It had been at least 4 days without a shower to so it was time for a wash.

After a good wash, and a couple of beverages to celebrate another landmark in the journey we joined the rest of the crew staying at the back packers for a bit of a bbq.

All day we had been talking about getting some pasta for dinner so we left the bbq and found a good pizza/pasta restaurant and sat down for a meal. We both opted for the carbonara and it was so good! Harv noticed that the restaurant was BYO so I ran for at least 10 minutes to the bottle shop and bought a bottle of wine to have with dinner.

Harv was keen to head out and try and find some crew to mingle with so we walked up and down the hills of town searching for an open pub but no luck. So it was back to the backpackers with the realisation that we needed to wash our clothes. There was a que for the washing machine but finally we got our clothes in before bed.

Day 34, Tuesday 18th March. Rest Stop - Boxwood Hill

Day 34

Tuesday 18th March

Rest Stop – Boxwood Hill

The tents were wet in the morning but not due to rain. Harv seemed somewhat refreshed from a good sleep. We ate some cereal for brekkie and hit the road. More hills just for a change.

I keep noticing birds throughout the trip. They seem to give me some kind of motivation to keep going when I fall into a trap looking at the pedometer on my bike and counting down the hours till we get to the next destination. Whilst passing the Fitzgerald national park area I became quite interested in the local vegetation wildlife.

It was entertaining to fix my attention on the native trees and the birds beside me.

The first half of the day went quite fast, although the hills were still intense. We arrived at Jerramungup and once again hit the supermarket for some kind of refreshment. A fair bit of time which riding is spent thinking about what you are going to buy when you get to the next town. Ice cream? Lemonade? Chocolate? Fruit? Quite a crazy thing considering the beauty of you’re surroundings, and how lucky you are to be surrounded by nature completing such a journey. But I guess with all that physical activity your body craves sugar or something?


We got to Jerramungup and bought Ice creams once again. Next we went to the roadhouse in hope of buying a salad roll or something healthy. Studying the menu startled us with the value of the local Truckie Burger. A massive burger full of Bacon, Egg, Steak, Hamburger, Cheese, Salad. Quite a massive burger but we couldn’t go past it! We hopped into that lot and got moving again.

We road till it got dark. The hills were still evident but not too intense. We turned up a little road stop called Boxwood Hill. There wasn’t really anywhere to camp near the road side, but there was a big grassy area next to the roadhouse. The roadhouse was closed but there was a bloke out the back feeding the chooks or something. I asked him if its cool if we camp and he said yeah go for it. You gotta love country crew who are happy to help you out.

We started setting up camp and a dog started barking and running towards us. Looked to be quite big, and I could imagine a big German Shepard coming to mall us both. A bloke started yelling and cursing the dog. It quietened down but started barking in small spurts. I suggested we move behind some trees to camp so the dog might settle down a bit. The tents went up a breeze. We’re really good at setting up and packing up camp at this stage in the trip. 2-minute noodles for dinner, just for a change. 2-minute noodles may not seem like they’re much. But they are just the absolute ultimate cheap, easy, tasty, effective dinner travelling around. And we were so excited every night to have noodles again.

Day 33, Monday 17th March. Munglinup - Rest Stop Past Ravensthorpe

Day 33

Monday 17th March

Munglinup – Rest Stop Past Ravensthorpe


I woke keen to ride. Still feeling great after our days off in Esperance. Harv wasn’t to motivated to get out of bed, but he did. Some cereal for brekkie and we started making our way towards Ravensthorpe.

Much to Harv’s disappointment the hills started to show up again, and they didn’t let up all day. Up, down, up down, all day. We got to Ravensthorpe extremely hot and sweaty from the intensity of the ride, and the hot sun. There was a massive steep hill as we rode into town just to finish it off. We pulled up at the local supermarket and bought some lunch. I ate a couple of bowls of breakfast cereal and a heap of fruit. Harv opted for a can of Irish Stew or something. We sat around for a while until we gave into temptation and bought ice cream. Back on the bikes and into a nice downhill out of town. The hills just got worse. One felt as if it was constant for at least 5kms. Harv was really struggling and he told me it’s the worst day of riding he’s had the whole trip. I pushed him for at least 30kms until he couldn’t go anymore.

We pulled into a little section of bush on the side of the road and set up the tents. We ate 2-minute noodles for dinner again and headed to bed. It felt like it was going to rain, and it was quite windy.

Day 32, Sunday 16th March. Esperance - Munglinup

Day 32

Sunday 16th March

Esperance – Munglinup


I woke early, and poured a bowl of cereal for breakfast. I filled the bowl with milk only to find out after a mouthful that the milk was off. So I had an apple and ran down to the pier where the race was to start. The weather couldn’t be any better. Harvey was there all ready to race. He got a special mention before the race to let everyone know about his mission across Aus on a pushbike.

I stood back with the video camera and watched the race kick off. In the swim it looked as though Harv was having trouble seeing where to go, which slowed him down a bit. He later told me that the goggles he had borrowed were fogging up. He borrowed a road bike off a local guy, and said that it was weird to stand up off the bike because it was so light. No trailer, no panniers, kind of strange. Most sections of the race he said felt pretty average, and harder than ever without constant training at high intensity. I stood back with the video camera and filmed him whenever he ran, or rode past, feeling quite lazy watching a bunch of people exercising while I did nothing. He got a time of 2:18 in the race, which he said is ok, but definitely not his best. I reckon he is a legend for giving it a crack after our effort of riding across Aus.

It took a while to get Harv motivated to start riding towards Munglinup after the race. And who could blame him really, but the truth was we had to keep moving. Our old mate at the caravan park helped him fix his bike rack, and eventually we got moving.

I was feeling great. Probably the best I had felt during a ride for the whole trip. And it was evident that Harv was really feeling it. He was lagging behind and looked to be in quite a bit of pain. I felt really sorry for him, but we had to get through at least 100kms. It felt like quite a fast, easy ride for me and I pushed Harv to make sure we got some kms done. We eventually found a rest stop and pulled up to get some sleep.

Some 2-minute noodles for dinner, then off to bed

Day 31, Saturday 15th March

Day 31

Saturday 15th March

Esperance Day Off

A good sleep. I woke up at a good hour and started writing some things down. A shower and a pack up and we made our way back to the caravan park.

We had a pretty quiet day and got some things ready to start riding again the next day. Harvey organised a bike to ride on in the race. The triathlon organiser came to the caravan park and took us for a drive around the course to show Harv what to expect the next day.

Another massive barbeque for dinner. For some reason I absolutely stuffed my face with food to the point where I felt sick. Harv had to race the next day, and I think we learnt our lesson by drinking too much a couple of nights before, so we decided to have a quiet night. There was a good movie I wanted to see at the local cinema, so we went and watched that, and then headed to bed.

Day 30, Friday 14th March, Esperance Hotel Gig

Day 30

Friday 14th March

Esperance Hotel Gig

I woke in the morning with a dry mouth and the familiar feeling of feeling pretty ordinary after a big night. Harv felt even worse I’m sure. But for some reason he decided that he wanted to enter a local triathlon race that was to be held on Sunday. An Olympic distance race that consists of a 1500m swim, 40km bike ride, and 10km run. It meant we would have to stay an extra day, and make up kilometres, but for some reason it sounded like a good idea. And Harv was keen so he called the local organiser and set everything in.

Harv was star fished on the ground lying in the sun looking as if he was dying of a hangover. Our old mate we met the day before came over to our camp to stand around and tell Harv what to do. Don’t lie in the sun, go for a swim, why are you doing that, why don’t you do this, blah, blah, blah. It was a bit annoying, but quite funny. Harv wasn’t enjoying it with the state his head was in. Eventually old mate asked us if we wanted to go for a drive so he could show us some beaches around Esperance.

We jumped in the car and started by driving to a huge look out. You could see all over Esperance, and out to the surrounding bays and beaches. A really beautiful sight after spending some time in the desert. I couldn’t believe how many islands there are around Esperance. We drove along a windy ocean road that followed the coastline and dropped in at a couple of beaches. The water was coloured with a refreshing blend of blues and greens, and looked so clean and untouched. We got out at one of the beaches and Harv went for a swim. I thought it might wake him up a bit, but we returned to the car where he fell asleep.

I refer to the guy driving us around as old mate because I cant remember his name. We asked him numerous times but just cant remember. So I do apologise to him if he ever gets to read this. We kept driving and he wanted to show us a hill where there is a local billy cart race every year. We drove up the hill and spun around and stoped at the starting line. He kept raving about how good it would be to ride down it in a billy cart. It looked quite intense actually. He put the car in neutral and we rolled down the hill from the starting line. The car picked up quite some speed and I was almost worried that he wouldn’t break for any of the corners. But he threw on the breaks and we cruised down. He took us to a lake where he goes fishing and then headed to the caravan park. It was such a nice thing for him to do for us. We thanked him and started packing up our tents and things to head to the pub.

That night I had to play a gig at the Esperance Hotel and there was accommodation included in the deal so we headed there and checked into the room. Ahhh… a nice bed to sleep in. We both settled in for a bit of a snooze before the gig, but for some reason couldn’t sleep, so we went and had an earlier dinner.

I sat by the bar for a while talking to some of our new found friends. The pub was quite empty, and the only crew that were there were obviously there for the alcohol. I delayed my starting time with a few lemon squashes and eventually got on stage. It felt pretty empty but slowly the room filled out a little bit.

I could really feel my left hand struggling on the guitar. After all of those hours on the bike Harv and I were both still feeling the effects on our hands. My left and was week and it was a real effort to get through some of the songs. And some of them I had to change because it was physically not possible to play with the condition of my hand. In some moments it felt like it was cramping up, and just felt kinda grose.

But I got through the show ok, and after a while a few people showed up who were really appreciative of the music. Including one girl who seemed to know all the words to my songs. Another old bloke spent his time dancing strangely and squealing like a pig. At the end of the show he jumped on stage and asked me if he could squeal like a pig through the mic. It wasn’t to pleasant but I figured it’s the only way he will leave me alone, so he let rip much to the crowds disappointment.

A bit of a chat with some lovely people, and straight to bed. Oh sweet sleep.

Day 29, Thursday 13th March, Esperance Rest Day

Day 29

Thursday 13th March

Esperance Rest Day

I woke up sweaty in the heat of the sun, and startled at the sound and vibration pulsating through the ground at the Caravan Park. But at the same time, I had such a great sleep. Bacon and Eggs for breakfast on the barby was high in priority, and it absolutely ruled! Our English mate joined us for an egg and bacon sanga before heading off for a stroll to the shops. It was a really windy day, and he kindly brought us back some pegs for the clothesline. We had unsuccessfully tried to hang out our clothes to many times in the wind, and it was obvious we weren’t going to buy pegs ourselves, so he kindly made the offer.

We kicked around town for a bit, bought some bits and pieces, and used the internet to catch up with all of our friends, and see what had been going on back home.

Esperance had a massive Woolworth store so we headed there to have a huge cook up for dinner. After not going to a big supermarket for ages it was quite overwhelming to walk into a huge store. So many options! We walked around the store for a while throwing everything we felt like in the basket, without even thinking about whether or not we needed it. Dinner was set to be quite massive. Fortunately, but unfortunately Woolworth’s also had a big liquor store, and we were ready to celebrate our journey across the Nullarbor, and make quite a night out of it. So we bought a slab of drinks at a good price and started making our way back to the caravan park.

Harv received a call from Dave at the local bike shop saying our bikes were ready to be picked up. It was quite a mission trying to get home with two bikes, a slab of drinks, and numerous grocery goods. But we managed!

It was nice to hang out at the camp for a bit. Play some guitar, and talk about what had already been achieved, and what was to come.

A bloke came over to our camp that was curious about what we were doing. We later realised that he was curious about what everyone was doing. He was on holiday in Esperance, but pretty much the whole time we were there, he seemed to just wander the caravan park and talk to everyone. He knew where people were going, where they were from, who has what business, etc. We told him where we were going next and he whipped out a map to try and show us faster ways to go, but I don’t think he understood that we actually wanted to follow the coast. He was quite an interesting fella. Short, round, he wore glasses, and had a little bucket hat covering his patchy white hair. A good bloke, and he was quite envious of our trip.

A few drinks under the belt and it was time for a cook up. We gathered our goods and started heading over to the barby area. Whilst walking past a well set up camp, carrying heaps of food and a slab of drinks I received a shout out from some young crew who looked like they were keen for some company and a good time. So we headed over to the camp and ended up staying there all night. A good crew consisting of two guys and a girl, all travelling around Western Australia in a couple of 4wd’s, in search of good fishing spots, and a good time. We cooked our food and proceeded to finish all our drinks. They got all excited and eventually headed to the bottle shop to buy a couple of casks of wine. I held off the wine, but Harv was in full flight and got stuck into it. Eventually we headed to the Esperance Hotel because someone mentioned there was karaoke, and that for some reason sounded like a good idea. Karaoke was on at the pub, full of local ladies singing quite poorly, but having a good time. They told us they didn’t have time for us to sing anything. So after a few more beers we headed back to camp.

I crawled into my tent and left Harv with our new friends and their wine casks.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Day 28, Wednesday 12th March. Salmon gums to Esperance

Day 28

Wednesday 12th March

Salmon Gums – Esperance



The trucks consistently woke me up through the night, so by around 5am it wasn’t to hard to get out of bed. We were both excited to be finally heading to Esperance. We packed everything fast and hit the road.

The morning was really fresh and it was interesting to feel the warmth of the sun breaking through the trees in spurts to the left of me as I rode. We were now counting down the kilometres in 5km sections, and every 5km felt like at least an hour. Our anticipation for Esperance was strong, and it made the ride feel way longer than it should have.

We stopped in a small town called Gibson, for an early morning Ice Cream, Flavoured Milk, and Harv opted for a pie. About 10kms out of Esperance we rode to the top of a hill where we could see all of the lakes and bays. We stopped for a small look around as it was really exciting to see some bodies of water again.

Finally in town, we set up the tents at the Caravan Park. The bikes were well due for a service, so we dropped them into the local bike shop, before heading to the Supermarket to get some snags for a lunchtime barby, and a few celebratory drinks.

The barby was awesome. We spent some more time calling all of our mates to tell them where we were, and after some more drinks headed off to by some pizza for dinner.

After dinner we went back to the campsite where we met a bloke called Mark from England camping next to us. We got chatting over a few beers, and eventually we got the guitar out for a good old sing along. It was so nice to finally spend some time off the bike, relax, and play some music. It was getting late so we put the guitar away, and headed to the barby for some mushroom sangas before bed.

Day 27, Tuesday 11th March. Norseman to Salmon Gums

Day 27

Tuesday 11th March

Norseman – Salmon Gums



Rain. I opened my eyes and for some reason felt at ease to here rain drops pitta patter on the tent outside. We both felt relaxed and laid in the tents until the rain passed. After packing everything up we went to a Supermarket in town and bought some supplies for the road. IT was good to see some supermarket prices again. We ate some brekkie and hit the road.

The day seemed to be taking a long time. The sun was really hot again, but nothing in comparison to some of the heat over the desert. But we both agreed that riding felt like it was taking ages. About 15kms from the town of Salmon Gums I felt somewhat possessed to ride a bit faster and fired up. I had broken a few spokes, but all I could do was bend them around existing spokes to try and give the wheel a bit of extra strength. We had run out of spare spokes, so the only option was to laugh and say “Ahh, she’ll be right.”

We picked up a good pace and then bang! My bike was shaking from side to side. I looked down and the wheel was wobbling, and whacking into the frame of the bike with every rotation. This wasn’t good. I dropped the bike down and we both laughed so hard. I pulled out my spoke tool and made some adjustments to the wheel to stop it from hitting the bike frame, and made the decision to keep going to Salmon Gums. It was only 10kms away. Within 4kms, Snap! Another spoke had gone. A total of eight missing spokes. We both laughed really hard for a while, and then decided that it was now time to take spokes off the front wheel, and put them on the back.

We pulled off the road and into the shade for an hour and a half to repair the rear wheel. It took some swearing, cursing, and sweating in the hot sun, but we managed to achieve an ok result.

Back on the road and into the town of Salmon Gums. The local pub looked inviting so we dropped in for some refreshments. We had seen to beautiful looking wild Horses during the day and a local bloke told us that they are wild Brumbies that still exist in packs of around 20 or so in the area. We had a god yarn, a couple of counter meals, a few cold ones, and then back to the saddle.

After another 15kms of so I got really tired and we set up camp for the night. We wanted to ride as far as we possibly could to make it easier the next day, but we decided it would actually be easier if we just sleep, and don’t push our bodies. We found a pretty rough roadside camp spot, but managed to set up the tents and get some rest.

Day 26, Monday 10th March. Balladonia to Norseman

Day 26

Monday 10th March

Balladonia – Norseman



“Hey Rob, its 5am dude!” Harv said from outside the tent. We had both slept more than we had expected to. I jumped out of bed and we packed everything up. It wasn’t such a bad thing because it meant the roadhouse was now open again, and I could load myself with another $4 bowl of cereal before leaving. Harv was pretty impressed with how much cereal I ate in a short amount of time.

We were well slept, and both felt great. The wind was at our backs and the road was smooth. We smashed about 100kms easily without a break before having lunch. Riding through the Friaser Range, the hills were noticeable, but didn’t seem to be a drama before lunch.

After some noodles and a couple of sangas for lunch we got back on the bikees. The scenery was really beautiful. Now the roadside was thick with smooth golden looking trees that I am yet to discover the name of.  There must have been a bushfire or some burning off done recently. Sectins of the bush were black, with fresh regrowth coming through.

All was going well for the day until about 50kms from Norseman. We both blew up and found it hard to ride at a pace over 10-15kms an hour. Harv had some energy gels in his bag, so we had a couple of those to kep us going, but it was still really hard work. I was once again sloched over the handle bars feeling like I wasn’t getting anywhere at all. The last 30kms was the hardest and longest part of the ride, but we made it to Norseman finally with some time to spare.

Once again we had ice cream, before hitting the bottle shop for a couple of drinks to celebrate. Finally we had made it over he Nullarbor. We set up camp at the Caravan Park and then spent a fair bit off time calling our mates on the phone because we now had some phone reception. It was so good to talk to some mates, and let them know how we are.

Dinner time came and we decided it was definitely time to get a good meal away from a roadhouse. So we went to a place just across from the Caravan Park. But to our disappointment the kitchen was closed and we had to settle for some more Roadhouse food.

Sleepy sleep.

Day 25, Sunday 9th March. Balladonia

Day 25

Sunday 9th March




The alarm rudely awoke us at around 2:30am. I knew we should get up and ride, but it was just so hard to rise from sleep. I knew that Harv didn’t mind hearing me press the snooze button around 4 times before resetting he alarm or another 30 mins of sleep. Unfortunately when we finally rose to start riding again, the moisture in the air had wet alll of the gear we had left out on the picnic table where we were cooking. But we packed it all up anyway and hit the road. We had about 110kms to get to Balladonia, and we were still on the 90 mile straight section of road.

The riding became monotonous. Harv was still falling asleep at the wheel. We were freezing cold. And there wasn’t a lot of motivation apparent, apart from the fact that when we get to Balladonia, it meant we could sleep. Eventually the sun rose to warm us up, as well as help us stay awake. The ride felt like an eternity. It was so nice to turn a corner after the 90 mile straight. The road had been improved and it was a bit smoother for riding on, but the hills started to undulate again closer to Balladonia.

Finally we made it to Balladonia. We hit up the shop at the Roadhouse and hopped into some ice creams first for some reason. I was stoked to see that there was a self-serve breakfast cereal bar with the most massive bowls. I filled a huge bown of cereal for $4 and couldn’t wie the grin off my face. It was hot outside but we set up tents, and had a swim in the pool at the caravan park. Again sleep time had arrived. I woke up fter around 5 hours of sleep but Harv was still going strong.

I realised I had broken 4 spokes during our ride in the night, so decided to fix those as best as I could. I actually did a great job and managed to get the wheel running quite straight considering some of the bending I had to do to the spokes to get them in the rim. I washed some of the bowls we had used the night before and then went back to bed.

At about 11:30pm I woke up and remember that the roadhouse closed at 12, so I wke Harv and told him we should go get some supplies so we can keep riding. We got up and had some food. Once again I had another massive bowl of cereal, because you cant really get better value than that. I was still tired and decided to sleep for another hour or two before hitting the road. So we both went back to bed.

Day 24, Saturday 8th March. Cocklebiddy to Caiguna to Rest Stop

Day 24

Saturday 8th March

Cocklebiddy – Caiguna – Rest Stop

65km + 70km


I woke up to the stars staring through my tent. It was easy to press the snooze button, and lay half asleep for the next 40 minutes. Harv was as sleepy as I was, but eventually we kicked into gear and got out of bed. I was tired, but it was nice to feel healthy again.

We ate a Powerbar for breakfast, and only had to ride 65kms to Caiguna. We were both feeling good and we averaged around 23km/ph. I listened to music the whole way, which is a really beautiful thing when the stars are out in the morning, and then to feel the sun rising at your back to thaw out the day.

We got to Caiguna in no time at all and got stuck into an egg and bacon breakfast. IT was a really spin out to run into a bloke I know from Geelong at the roadhouse there. His name is ‘spud’ and him and his girlfriend had packed everything up and we’re moving to WA for a while. They were totally flipped out when they saw it was Harv and I on the bikes. After brekkie, we booked a little cabin and decided to get some rest. We slept really well but woke up at around 2 or 3 pm and it was hard to get back to sleep. The cabin was great though. It had an air conditioner, a little fridge, and a little bathroom. Harv was still sleepy so I went and hung out some washing that we had put on early. Nowhere ever has pegs for the clothesline, and it was a really windy day. I hung the washing out anyway, but at this stage we were used to picking all of our clothes up of the ground later on anyway.

After some more food from the cranky old crew running the roadhouse, we packed up our things and hit the road around 8pm. The heat had died down, but unfortunately the wind was still present. We battled against it and we’re only managing to ride around 15km/ph. Frustration soon became involved. Unfortunately body clocks can’t be changed at the snap of a finger, and we were both getting really tired. I found it half amusing to watch Harv almost falling asleep while riding his bike. He kept dropping back, or veering off into the gravel until I asked him what he was doing. Harv has been a machine on trip. I’ve had a whole bunch of issues, but Harv has been mostly solid until now. If there’s one thing Harv can’t handle, its sleep deprivation. He just couldn’t keep his eyes open the poor fella.

Harv was getting a sore forehead from trying to keep his eyes open, and we were both getting hungry so we pulled over at a rest stop. To my excitement I found that there was an awesome fire place and decided that it would be a great idea to get a fire going. During the planning of this trip, I imagined us travelling over the Nullarbor with heaps of time or camping out, jamming around a fire, but none of that had existed, so this was my chance. Harv said I looked like a caveman when I came back to the rest area with a huge dead tree slung over my shoulder for the fire. I picked it up and smashed it on the ground to break it up. To my delight, the fire was lit first go and before we knew it we were nice and toasty by a camp fire, cooking dehydrated peas and beans, and then way to much rice. Harv seemed to be really cold and just couldn’t get warm. He pretty much had every layer of clothing he had brought on and still couldn’t get warm. I was quite content hanging by the fire in my bike shorts and short sleeve shirt for some reason.  After eating too much rice, Harv crawled into his sleeping bag and went to sleep. I said we should sleep for 30 mins and then hit the road again. I set my alarm and lay next to the hot coals of the fire. A feeling of contentment came over me laying next to the coals, starring up at the stars through an over hanging gun tree. This was just how I had imagined the trip, and it was something that I would like to experience more during our travels. I was almost tempted to try and stay awake for the 30 minutes and enjoy that moment, but there was no escape from sleep.

Day 23, Friday 7th March. Madura to Cocklebiddy

Day 23

Friday 7th March

Madura – Cocklebiddy



“Rob, wake up mate. It’s 5am.” I heard from outside the tent. I had slept solid. My legs felt like tree stumps and didn’t want to move. I gave a groan and a mumble but eventually got out of bed.

There was no sign of wind at this hour, and the moon and the stars were the only light providers. The temperature was still warm enough to not have to wear a jumper, which made it easy to pack everything up around the camp, and not worry about it later. It took me a little while to pack all of my gear up because I had been fixing my rear wheel before bed. But we got it all done. We were told the water from the toilet block was drinkable so we went and filled our water supplies in the laundry. It has been really important to fill our supplies everyday. Harv carry’s two 6ltr bags of water, and I carry one big 10ltr bag.

We were off to our first good early start. No problems yet, and it felt good. We had a vegemite sandwich each, and a Powerbar, and left the caravan to tackle the first hill for the day.

After 1km of hill climb, it was all cruising from there. We set a good pace and we’re averaging about 23kms an hour. Riding in the dark was nice, because it kind of takes your mind away from looking at the speedo on the bike, or looking at the signs on the road to see how far you have left to get to the next town. I had my headphones in and listened to some music, and enjoyed the stars around me. Feeling good. Our water was cool, and we drank plenty of it. The sky filled with shades of violet and blue, and the sun rose at our backs. With only 20kms to go I started noticing small amounts of flies starting to creep their way into my nostrils, but it was bearable. Breakfast was on the way.

We turned up to Madura roadhouse after about 4 hours of riding. We sat down and hopped into a big breakfast. It was so great to get some riding out of the way early, and have everything run smoothly for once.

Outside the temperature was rising, and the wind and the flies were getting out of control. After breakfast we got changed out of the bike gear and made the decision to stick around at the roadhouse for the day, as it was pointless to try and get any more riding done until it cooled down.

The staff at the roadhouse were cool with us to sit inside at the bar and chill out for the day. I spent some time updating the tour diary, and for most of the day we spent our time sharpening our freshly discovered, not to flash dart-playing skills. And by the end of the day I think we managed to get some sense of accuracy, until we got sick of playing darts all day. My appetite was back, so for most of the day all I wanted to do was eat, and it was hard not to be tempted by the roadhouse menu. I think by the end of the day we both ended up racking up a bill of around $70 each. It was quite entertaining hoping into some good tucker, but proved an expensive exercise.

We had planned to wait for the heat to calm down, and then ride another 65kms to Caiguna. We spent some time studying the map, to see what kind of challenges await. We noticed that after Caiguna the only stop before Norseman was Balladonia. The ride either side of Balladonia was around 180kms. The only way to ride this section comfortably would to ride at night. On such a long ride, its important to stay hydrated, and riding night is the only way to keep the water cool enough to drink. So we decided to stay the night in Cocklebiddy, rise early, ride to Caiguna, and then sleep through the day to try and charge some energy for a long ride in the night to Balladonia.

Eventually the temperature cooled down, and after deciding to stay the night, we actually had a bit of time to sit around and play some music. We sat out the front of the roadhouse and had a bit of a jam on the guitar. The heat had thrown the neck of the guitar all out of wack, so it wasn’t sounding to flash, but it was still fun to play some tunes.

The tents were set up the tents to the side of the roadhouse so that we didn’t have to spend any more money for the day. We had a shower before bed so we didn’t have to waist any time in the morning. I set my tent up so that I could lie down and look at the stars. The night sky was amazing. It was tempting to lie there and look at the milky glow all night, but sleep was even more tempting and eventually I drifted off. 

Day 22, Thursday 6th March. Mundrabilla to Madura

Day 22

Thursday 6th March

Mundrabilla – Madura



We got up nice and early, and everything managed to run smoothly. My stomach was feeling a bit better, so I had some cereal, and some toast from the roadhouse for breakfast. We filled up some water and hit the road. We were up early, but still got off to a bit of a late start.

Just to make a good start turn wrong, about 10kms up the road one of my spokes snapped. I pulled off the ride and changed it over while the sun rose. A beautiful sight, but it meant the heat was coming, and so were the flies.

The bike was back together and we kept riding. The day was getting late and the sun was getting intense. There was a strong cross wind, and my body got really weak. I think after the lack of sleep, de-hydration, diarrhoea, vomiting, heat exhaustion, it had just decided to slow down a bit. I struggled to push 8-9kms on the bike, and in some cases could hardly stay up on the bike when the cross wind blew hard. We kept going and then pulled up for some lunch.

I didn’t have an appetite but threw down a sandwich, and some cooler water I had stashed in my pannier. Harv laid down for a rest, so I lay down and tried to sleep. It was no good. I was so frustrated with the flies and the heat that I couldn’t sleep, and just needed to get to the next town.

So I got back on the bike, and switched my 2way radio on so Harv could contact me, and kept riding. It didn’t take long for Harv to catch up, and we battled on in the heat.

Every day seemed to feel like it was the hardest challenge in the tour so far. I was losing strength in my arms and was riding slouched over the handlebars. I was slow but I was getting there. I managed to drink some hot water, but after a while felt really bloated, and couldn’t drink anymore.

Finally it was 5kms from Madura. We could see the road rose uphill ahead, but up to top of the cliffs, and I was expecting to have to climb the hill before hitting the roadhouse. It was such a relief to turn off to Madura about 500 meters up the hill.

We sat inside for a bit and had some cold drinks. My 1.25ltr water cost me $5.05 but it was so worth it. We found out that the temperature during the day had risen to 47 degrees, so the sun we were riding in mast have been an extra few degrees above that. Insane! Harv was stoked that we rode through such a hot temperature. I thought it was hell, but its quite an achievement to know you can get through those situations.

The caravan park had a pool so we had the best swim, and decided it would be a good idea to rinse the bike clothes. We ate a good meal and headed back to camp. Harv whipped out the guitar and played me some songs while I changed another 2 spokes.

Another intense day, but we got through it, and we were rewarded with a bit of time to do some things before bed. 10:30pm I laid down, and couldn’t wait to get some sleep.

Day 21, Wednesday 5th March. Border Village to Mundrabilla

Day 21

Wednesday 5th March

Border Village – Mundrabilla



I slept but not too well. I had to rise during the night from pains in my stomach, and had to head to the toilet to try and get rid of whatever it was inside me making me feel sick. I had some serious diarrhoea, and wasn’t looking forward to the ride later that day.

For breakfast I had some toast, and bought a Gatorade to try and restore some fluids. We did some washing, had a swim in the pool, and I had to fix 3 spokes on the back wheel of my bike. By this stage in the trip the wheel of my bike was looking a bit ordinary. We still couldn’t get the tools to take the disc or the cassette off he wheel to put the spokes in correctly. So we bent the hell out of them to get them in. They didn’t look to flash, but the wheel was in one piece.

The temperature was so hot. Around 47 degrees. We sat inside the roadhouse for most of the day contemplating what to do. We had a session of killing flies, squashing them and making a pile on the table. A pretty grose game, but it was fun at the time. The roadhouses are really expensive, and we got sick of giving them money.

During the day 3 other lads rolled up on road bikes. They were riding from Perth to Sydney to raise money for some kind of Quadriplegics Association. They had a support vehicle with them, and it was quite envious listening to the way they were riding. The driver would go ahead with an esky full of food, make them lunch before they turn up, and then cleans up for them while they ride ahead. He also fills their drink bottles with cold water every hour. We told them about the way we were doing it and they did gave us a fair bit of credit for what we were doing.

I was feeling good around 3pm. So for some stupid reason I decided to order another burger for some lunch. It went straight through me again, and it was back and forth to the toilet for quite a while. Harv was in top shape, and looking forward to hitting the road.

We packed up everything that we had laying around the campsite. I threw my bike back together, pumped up my tires, loaded the gear on the trailer and then headed to the shop one more time. I bought a couple of Gatorades and lemonade to get some hydration and energy for the ride. 

At about 6:30pm we let the roadhouse. We got a couple of photos with the welcome to WA sign, and a lady at the border entrance asked us some questions about what we were carrying as we crossed the border.

We stopped in Eucla for some dinner. Harv got a full feed and I had a couple of chips. I hit the toilet there a couple of times, and then we left for the open road of WA.

Just out of Eucla we went down a massive hill, which led to into a flat straight section of road. The wind was well behind us, it was cooling down, and the flies started to let up a bit. I knew the drinks I had wouldn’t last long in the system, and within 20 mins of riding I hit up Harv for the toilet paper, and ran off into the bushes for some business. Having a stomach bug and diarrhoea is no good anywhere you are, but its not the time or place to have it in the middle of the desert, with 80kms of riding to get through. I will say though, I think it’s the best and only sunset I will get to watch while going to the toilet in the desert.

The sunset was amazing again, and soon faded into the night sky. We made really good speed, and were sitting between 25-30kms for most of the ride.

I stopped for a few country toilet calls along the way, but we did make good time, and turned up at Mundrabilla about just before 10pm. The tents we up in a flash and we went to bed.

Day 20, Tuesday 4th March. Nullarbor Roadhouse to Border Village

Day 20

Tuesday 4th March

Nullarbor Roadhouse – Border Village



6am start. Jump in for a quick shower, pack everything up. I still had a bag of dry biscuits in my bag so we ate those, and a piece of bread with peanut butter for brekkie. Not really the nutrition we need for a 180km ride, but that’s all we had.

We rode in the dark until the sun came up behind us, and slowly convinced us that it was time to pull over and throw on some sunscreen. The second the sun kicks into gear the flies decided to get really friendly, and don’t want to leave you alone. Especially around the facial area, up the nose, and around the eyeballs.

The road was now quite flat, and we were riding along the Great Southern Bight. A cliff face that drops to the ocean and runs for kilometres along the southern coast. It was so refreshing to see the water. We pulled up at a lookout and sat for a while mesmerised at the coastline. It was hard to build the motivation to ride again, but we kept going until we got hungry around midday.

We found a shelter with a picnic table under it, and turned off to cook some pasta for lunch. The wind was so strong, and the flies were intense. I struggled to light the stove in the wind but managed to get it burning to cook some food. We ate a bit, and then laid down for a snooze. The flies were so crazy. If you stay still your face just ends up covered in them, until you’re so irritated that you shake and shiver and make funny noises until you get them off.

Harv had a small mesh bag that he kept some bike things in, so he pulled it over his head to seek shelter from the flies. My tent fly is made of mesh, so I laid down on the stones, and crawled into the tent to get away from them. It was hard to sleep, but we got a little bit.

We had 100kms to go to get to the Western Australia border. We had the option of camping somewhere the night half way, or we keep moving to get to the border, where there would hopefully be a roadhouse open, and we could get some food.

The water was boiled again, and I was throwing up the remains of a tuna can in my mouth mixed with hot water. Not a good feeling. Soon the most amazing sunset happened, and the stars slowly showed up in the night sky. There are so many stars out in the desert. Its truly inspirational to be out amongst those stars. Such a beautiful sight, but hard to look at while your trying to ride a bike.

Harv and I joked about the things we wanted to eat, hoping that the roadhouse would be 24 hours. It was a long ride, and the help of a couple of Powerbars got us through.

5kms from town the Border Village sign got us all excited when we noticed that the servo is 24hours. We turned up and could hardly decide what to buy. Harv ate a few fried goods, and bought a bag of jellybeans, and then joined me for a burger with the lot, followed by an ice cream.

While setting up camp for the night my stomach began to feel really bloated, and all of a sudden I was off to the toilet. The food I just ate seemed to go straight through me. We made the decision to sleep well that night, and hang around the next day to wash the bike clothes, have a swim in the pool, and relax a bit.

After a couple more toilet missions, it was into the tent for some sleep.

Day 19, Monday 3rd March. Nundroo to Nullarbor Roadhouse

Day 19

Monday 3rd March

Nundroo – Nullarbor Roadhouse



I woke up at 4am in the morning with a lot on my mind from some conversation I’d had with a friend the night before. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep after waking, but I didn’t want to wake Harv just yet. I went and had a shower, and tried to go back to sleep but no good. I woke Harv at 6am and told him its time to ride.

Everything got packed up reasonably quick, and we were ready to go within another hour. Then we remembered that Harv had to change a spoke on his rear wheel. We thought it was all cool and we would just bend it in, but it wasn’t as easy as the one Tim had put in. It had to come in from a different side. So Harv made a phone call to find out if there is any way we could get the cassette off the wheel without the right tools, but no good. We decided to leave the spoke out, and pack everything up to leave. During this time I made a phone call to a friend, which for certain reasons really dropped my spirits and I didn’t feel like riding.

By about 8:30am we hit the road. We got away to a fairly early start but it was a bit disappointing considering the time we woke up. The ride was really hilly and we were feeling their presence. The water we were carrying was boiling hot, and it was hard to drink anything. I was still vomiting in my mouth after any drink of water, and wasn’t really feeling hydrated.

Around lunch time we met another bloke who was riding east over the Nullarbor. His name is also Rob and he is from England. We stayed for a chat while he ate his lunch and exchanged stories. He mentioned that he had quite an extensive toolkit with him, so we borrowed the right tools to pull Harv’s wheel apart. The wheel was easily fixed and Harv was quite excited. We also ate some food, said our goodbyes and hit the road with 80kms to go.

The main problem with cycling during the heat is that we had to carry any water we want to drink on board, and there is no way to cool it down. So the water just boils, and it’s very hard to drink. With about 40kms to go we ran out of water. We had 2 hours of cycling left till the roadhouse, which felt like an eternity.

I rode past a couple of Germans who’s car kept stalling and they filled my water bottle from the tank in their van. It was no different, boiling, and hard to drink, but better than nothing. Their vans kept over heating so they would pull over to cool it down and get it started again, then drive past and wave, and then another 5kms up the road we would ride past them again, and visa versa.

With the last 15kms to go I lost sight of Harv. He was really de-hydrated too, and when he’s close to town he usually takes off to get to food and water early. So he took off, and when I turned up to the roadhouse he came out the front with a big bottle of Lemonade, and gave me a drink.

I bought some water and a few more drinks and then we set up the tents while the sun went down. We bought 30ltrs of water, and a loaf of bread for the next day, and then made some phone calls back home. I took a bit longer on the phone than Harv, and he came back to the phone booth to tell me that some sort of animal had eaten the loaf of bread we just bought. The roadhouse was now shut, and we had to get an early start in the morning, so we couldn’t get any more supplies for the next day. We found some left over bread, and had some tuna sangas for dinner, then laid down for some sleep.

Day 18, Sunday 2nd March. Penong to Nundroo

Day 18

Sunday 2nd March

Penong – Nundroo



I woke up a number of times in the night, feeling a bit sick, knowing that the day ahead was going to be hard when I had to finally rise.

At about 10:30am it was time to get out of bed, and get sorted for the ride ahead. The sickness I felt during the night had grown, and I felt absolutely terrible. I don’t usually get that bad a hangover after a few beers, so It had to be something more than that. I had a shower and packed everything up, then we headed over to the roadhouse for some breakfast. I had some Wheat-bix and some Eggs on Toast. It didn’t go down to well but I needed some energy for the ride. Much to my discomfort, we threw on some sunscreen and hit the road.

I was hunched over the bike, and started throwing up in my mouth. Things weren’t looking good. About 40 minutes into the ride I pulled over to throw up. Out came the eggs I had for brekkie, but for some reason my body hung onto the wheat-bix. There was no other option but to get back on the bike and keep going. The sun didn’t let up. I tried to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, but my body didn’t want to hold it down. My head felt dizzy, and the kilometres felt slower and slower.

During the ride we ran into a Japanese guy who we had heard about. He was heading east, and had spent the last 9 months riding from Sydney, anti-clockwise around Australia. He was fully loaded up, and told me he even had a didgeridoo packed away in the back of his bike.

Finally the Nundroo Roadhouse showed up. I had been craving an icy pole all day so that was the first thing I bought. I laid on the concrete out the front of the Road house for a while, eating icy pole, and drinking some soft drink and water, and then we set up the tents. I hadn’t eaten much all day, so we decided to get a feed in the bistro at the roadhouse. I ordered chicken and vegies, and got through half of it.

After some phone calls to the crew back at home, sleep was on the cards. Off to the tent to retire for the night.

Day 17 Saturday 1st March. Ceduna to Penong

Day 17

Saturday 1st March

Ceduna to Penong



Finally a bit of a sleep in. We stayed up late to update the journal the night before, so didn’t get moving to early in the morning. I had to change my rear tyre, and Harv had to replace a bolt that holds his bike rack on.

We were raving about how easy the day would be, only having to do around 80kms. After some Egg and Bacon action, we hopped on the bikes to realise, that the wind was strong, and the ride wouldn’t be as easy as we thought. We could only average about 15kms an hour in the wind, and the sun was getting really hot.

Finally we turned up to Penong to be greeted by a display of old rusty windmills, and dodgy looking cars at the towns entrance. We pulled up at the Penong Hotel for the nights accommodation, and I noticed I had broken another spoke.

We started with a beer in the bar, and then I tended to my broken wheel. I’ve never changed a spoke before, and to be honest we didn’t think we would break any during the trip. But stupidly we didn’t put any research into the technique of changing a spoke. I pulled the wheel off and after some bashing and bending I discovered that we didn’t have the right tools for the job. I told the lady at the bar what I was trying to do after handing back some tools I borrowed, and she suggested we give one of the local guys name Tim a call. She said that Tim is in a wheel chair, and he has tools to die for in his shed, so he should be able to sort us out. We called Tim and he was more than happy to help us out.

We rocked up to Tim’s house to find a yard full of 4wd’s, Utes, Tin Sheds, Boats, Motorbikes and dogs. It looked like Tim’s house gets more interest than the local pub. We found Tim and a big table full of blokes inside a big shed. They were sitting around drinking beers, and tying up some fishing trace’s for the next day. There was a huge fridge full of beers, and a heap of awesome looking old tools kicking around.

We said g’day to everyone, and Tim hopped straight into fixing the wheel. I’ve never seen anyone rip off a bike tyre so fast. After a short time I explained to him that I didn’t have the tools to take off the cassette on the wheel, so that I could get the spoke through the right hole properly. Tim decided that its all good and bent the spoke around some different bits and pieces until it went through the hole. I had no idea you could bend spokes, and I don’t know if you’re supposed to, but it was the only option, and it seemed to work. We got the tyre back on the wheel and pumped her up, good as new!

Tim is a happy looking bloke who gets around in a wheelchair these days. He looks like a hard worker, and you can tell he thrives off people’s company. He asked us to stick around, and offered beers, so who could refuse? We went back to the pub and got some more beers, and the guitar to play some songs. More people started to show up, and eventually some food was thrown on the barby. Fresh snapper and some grilled potato chips. Harv and I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast, so we were so excited. The fish was so delicious, and there just happened to be enough so that we could absolutely stuff our faces to the point where we felt on the verge of exploding.

We had a good yarn with everyone, learnt a few things about the local fishing, we were introduced to Fru-chocs, and had a few to many beers of coarse. At one stage the whole room joined in to sing “I love to have a beer with …” using the names of everyone in the room, and making up reasons why they enjoy a beer with them in the verse. An absolute ripper night, but we had to ride the next day, so at some stage we left for bed.

After a Milo, it was sleep time.

Day 16, Friday 29th Feb. Wirrulla to Ceduna

Day 16

Friday 29th Feb

Wirrulla to Ceduna



Up at 6:30am. We got off to a good start but Harv had some troubles with his breaks early in the morning. This was our fasted average speed for the trip so far, sitting at around 22.7km/ph for the day. It was great to get off early. We didn’t have as many issues with the sun being so hot, the flies weren’t as intense, and it meant we got to Ceduna by around 1pm.

We hit the local Sports Power to get the bikes looked at, and get the rear spokes fixed, as I had now broken 4 rear spokes. Our rear tyres are wearing quite fast because of all the weight we have on the back so we purchased some more tyres to change over if we need them. We also grabbed some spare spokes just incase we need them over the Nullarbor. We did some shopping for the next few days, and then washed some clothes finally.

Being a busy fishing town, I couldn’t go past some Whiting for dinner. Off over the Nullarbor next. Only 500kms from the WA border. Woohoo!