Today Blackwater. I get up at five in the morning. A little later than yesterday, that was the intention. My mileage is up, so I decided to leave it alone: I could sleep longer, but
Parrots don’t just make us happy
The roar of birds awakened me. When I came out of my tent, I found that the parrots were making their raids – very pretty, but also very noisy.
As I move further inland and south, the nights are getting colder. Sleeping covered with a sleeping bag and not getting sweaty was very pleasant. I have one change of clothes and one dry change of clothes. So, finally, comfort. Everything recharged, water topped up, Mayo checked and lubed – I’m ready for another day.
I got off the bike before seven. Having ridden for about an hour. I’m pedalling much better. There’s only a light breeze blowing, even from the side. Luckily, I have a bike computer that doesn’t show average speed. How I’m competitive, and if it’s going that well, I’d be chasing average by now. As a result, I’d end up blown away and deprive myself of the strength I’d still need. Some things are better not knowing.
Sometimes, I stop because I’m taking pictures, and sometimes, I quit because of the birds. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t get attacked by one. It’s some magpie or raven, or God knows what it is. Today, I got a bird from one. I got hit in the helmet by one. Then, when I had a red light at an intersection, he sat at a sign and looked me over to see if I had had enough. I’m slowly becoming phobic about it. Not of snakes and spiders, of which there are plenty, but the Hitchcockian Birds.
Today looks like a very sunny day, not a cloud anywhere, but hopefully, the wind will bring some and bring at least a little shade. The landscape has changed again, with trees and hills, and it’s so much more welcoming.
The barbed wires around the road have disappeared too – well, not completely, but at least there are considerably fewer of them. I have a more pleasant feeling; I feel more accessible. Although going down into that tall unexplored grass doesn’t tempt me so much. I am still determining what’s in it. Later, I discovered that the reason for the fewer barbed wires is the presence of the mines.
I’m approaching the town of Emerat. My strength is gone again, but I hope to recharge it over lunch and continue. In front of the city, I stop and nap on a concrete bench. After half an hour of sleep, I go down to the town, refill my water and buy a nice plate of Tom Yum soup with shrimp in a Chinese restaurant. That will give me enough energy.
When I went out after a good soup, I discovered another technical problem. The two-litre bandana I’m carrying under the handlebars is cracked and leaking water. In addition to the fact that I lost one bottle yesterday, I lost another source of water on the road today. We’ll have to wrestle with new water logistics.
The shrimp have taken, and I can move on. I have two routes to choose from. I tossed a dollar, which worked out to a course closer to the coast. So I’m going to pedal my way to Blackwater. Whether that was the better choice, I have no way of knowing. I’m excited because I’ve got a nice free campsite with showers and toilets lined up. It’s a walk of about ten kilometres, but with so many kilometres, it’s okay.
Along the way, I discover an “exhibition” of beautiful, rusty, originally four-wheeled kings of the road. I vividly imagine more than one of them standing shiny in a motorcade in front of a big screen and on the back in the backseat, a love story unfolding. Now, these vintage cars are gradually decaying and crumbling to the ground like their original owners. The current owner has a great fondness for them. He has dozens of them parked in his yard. I stop momentarily, photograph them, and pedal to the finish line.
Before the town of Blackwater, I turn left and, knowing the last ten kilometres, I take a time trial. I don’t know where it comes from in me, but my speed stays below 30km/h, and I’m going slightly uphill. The euphoria ends with the arrival at the campsite.
Big surprise. There is no campsite here.
There’s a mining company and some employee housing, which I’m not. Deal with someone here? It’s a huge, huge, massive- Big mining company. On the way, I saw hundreds of cars coming out of here, probably finishing their shift. I’d better pull out my cell phone and reload everything, checking again. The campsite really should be here – it’s called that. The campsite is initially for mineral prospectors. Unless I get a job at the mine, I need somewhere to stay here. The camp I had choosen is another 18 km from here. That would be 30 km to go there today and 30 back in the morning. There is a sunset. So I give up and pedal down 10 km into town. There’s a caravan park there, so I’m in town. There’s a caravan park, but they need tent sites. It’s a hostel for miners. They only offered me a spot on the gravel for an excellent $56. I don’t know why I refused.
I go into town to look for something else, although the lady at the front desk assures me I won’t find anything here. Unfortunately, she was right.
I ended up staying in the park by a booth. It’s far away from people, but it’s in the city. By the morning, it will be quiet. Tomorrow will be better.