*The blog ‘going private’ is having to wait until we get a new website up. The fine print in WordPress says if this goes private only WordPress users can ever log in, making it a hassle for my family and support crew*
And, warning: nothing much happens in the outback on this side of the country to post about. It’s kindof the same thing over and over again, but a great thing.
One highlight is Virgin’s Villas, the nunnery. We make a point of slowly riding by, trying to look casual a few times on our way to the general store and back over the last couple of days and don’t see any pretty nuns at the windows to wave to. I suppose a thousand long distance riders have done this before
Bob, the bird man, has a large aviary he keeps rescued birds in. His hobby and passion. He’s had some of the damaged birds here for 30 years. Wingless or legless, they’re the ones that can’t be returned to the trees. We spend hours over a few days talking about them. He has a story about every bird.
Batchelor is close to the end of the green belt as we happily rode back into the outback.
The outback is the name for the dry inland 85% of Australia. The huge percentage of people in Australia live along the coast in the same way as the huge percentage of Canadians live along the 49th parallel. But rainfall drops precipitously away from the coast, unlike Canada, and the outback population is tiny. Alice Springs being the exception with 25k people.
We ride past a field of termite mounds called ‘magnetic’ because they’re thin and aligned north/south. In fact the termites have built them this way for temperature regulation. But they’re rare and this field is fenced off
Even out in the middle of nowhere the road trains roar by. We leave the road and ride the shoulder as they pass. We wave at each one, they wave back. It’s the same thing as in every country so far, the further from the cities you get, the friendlier the people
Cold water. It’s hard to express how welcome this is. It feels like an unlikely miracle. We do the usual, take our t-shirt off, soak it and put it back on under our jacket. It’s a shock and fantastic, but the ventilation in the jacket as we ride dries it out in 15 minutes. But it’s great while it lasts
Except for a couple of big bottomless holes. Famously called bulldust. There’s no riding technique that works. It’s deep deep dust, as fine as talc, and even the best Aussie rider thrashes through it. If you don’t see it coming (and it’s sometimes hard to spot) you will crash, 100%. This was my first bulldust day of several
Here’s a hilarious photo I stole off an Aussie website. The bulldust is shallow here, so the guy on the right is trying to ride through it. You can see where the problems end, about 20 feet from the camera. But as you can see his bike is out of control, his left hand has just left the grip, he’s being thrown off the right side of the bike and he’s about to have an epic crash, lol. The guy on the left is doing the smarter thing and paddling his bike with his feet along the side. I have tried both, paddling is the way to go, solo, so far. But I get a little braver every time