Sidney says this is for the most incredible Mr Fox adventure of the year, although in this case quite possibly of the decade, and there have been quite a few. This year the award goes to Uncle Rob & Mr Fox no.16 a.k.a. Ozfox for their three-month 20,000km circumnavigation of Australia and Tasmania. It is something that will never be repeated and apparently Uncle Rob and OzFox are now umbilically linked, much to the annoyance of Auntie Ellie, he says.
I’ve been back for a fortnight now. I’m back at work, but wishing I wasn’t. Before I forget, here’s a quick summary of the trip – numbers and commentary…
|Total Riding Distance (from ODO)||22,559|
|Fuel (Total Cost)||$1,876.36|
|Most expensive fuel||$1.886 (Balladonia, WA)|
|Cheapest fuel||$1.215 (Peterborough, VIC)|
|Average distance between refuellings||250.65|
|Longest day’s ride||896km, 9h10m|
|Nights in tent||45|
|Nights in hard accommodation||19|
|Times tent was pitched||43|
|Days not relocated “home”||6|
|Best Road Surface||Bathurst Racecourse|
|Worst Road Surface||Karumba to Atherton|
Hobart to Bothwell, via Gordon Dam & Lake Pedder, with Diesel
|Worst Ride||Approaching Alexandra – cold and wet through|
|Best Twistie||Too many to separate|
|Best Camp/Caravan Park||Esk Caravan Park|
|Worst Camp/Caravan Park||Halls Gap Caravan Park; Baxter Rest Area (near Balladonia)|
|Biggest Riding Mistake||
Going up a very steep & narrow one-way road in Thredbo with trailer
|Worst Oh-F**k! moment||Wind blowing bike over on first day, even before tent was up|
|Worst Equipment Failure||Brake pads @ Geelong|
|Luckiest Moment||Discovering brake pad problem before damage|
|Best Day||Visit to Gordon Dam & Lake Pedder with Diesel, finished with camping in Bothwell, bottles of plonk, Spam, and great company.|
|Worst Day||Day of cold/rain from Khancoban to Alexandria, having missed Great Alpine Rd|
|Biggest disappointment||Not being able to ride the Great Alpine Rd due to weather|
|Best Place||Tasmania as a whole|
|Scariest Moment||Kangaroo u-turn in front of me near Karumba|
|Funniest Moment||Brief discussion of pendulous testicles with Diesel|
|Hotest Day||39c & humid – Lake Argyle to Katherine|
|Coldest Day||7c – Khancoban to Alexandra|
Mount Wellington, Lake Pedder, Gordon Dam, Wineglass Bay
Hmmmm, the last day. There’s still one or two things to do at the start, but the trip is nearly over. No rush (again) though – Ellie was at work and would need to get home before me to let me in.
I started to walk a little yesterday evening towards “Hippo’s Yawn”, but got lost – just a bit – so that was the first destination. This is just another rock formation a little way from Wave Rock (< 1km). Yes – it does look like one:
Just north of Wave Rock is another large granite rock formation. I went for a short walk around these, but it was getting warm already, so I just focused on the aboriginal rock art at Mulka Cave. Surprisingly, there’s no rope, fence, or glass protecting them, and there’s no graffiti. Although, they are only around 400 years old.
OK, hometime. I was still in the wheatbelt, and was in it for an eternity – I knew it was large, but I had no real idea as to how big it was… I was travelling east to west and it’s longer north to south.
I did manage to find every grasshopper/locust (they were small – couldn’t tell) along the way. Those little Messerschmitts would just sit on the road and wait for the bike to approach, then lift off at the last minute. They hit quite hard on the knees, and they made a big mess on the front of the bike.
I knew when I was getting close to Perth: the forests started to appear and the traffic increased.
Then, the metro area got me:
I did a final refuel just before home, with a total distance covered of 22,559 km. I was done.
I had that confused feeling of being glad I was home, but wishing I was still out there. I know I’d only just scratched the surface as the ride was more about getting from A to B, and not about A and B. Ellie & I have lots to cover later.
So, time to start planning the next one. 😉
First things first – get some cash – lesson learnt. While in town I happened across their local Sunday markets. Since not much else was open I paid a visit. It’s pretty much just like, say, the Freo markets but smaller – and like all other country towns I expect. This though was placed in an area surrounded by some of their older buildings. Nice.
I also managed to pickup a nice lampskin for the bike seat for $55. First one that I’ve found that was large enough and cheap too. 😊
Last night I did a quick Google and spotted something I had to go and see…. Esperance Stonehenge. It was only 12 kms away so why not.
I’d already seen and walked inside (a while back) the original so I had high expectations. I have to say, I was worried on approach as the stones looked like polystyrene or something very fake, but that was the way they were “polished”. They’re made of pink granite from around the Esperance area and were meant to be in Margaret River before the project took a dive and a local rescued it.
They say it’s a replica of what Stonehenge would have looked like 4000 years ago – aligned with Esperance’s solstices instead.
It just seemed odd that it would be here. Anyway, a bit quirky but worth the visit.
Next stop Hyden. The road winds its way through WA’s wheatbelt – much of it yet to be harvested.
It’s a wonder anything grows here… the salt lakes would suggest it’s quite a hostile environment for agriculture.
I arrived at Hyden caravan park (adjacent to Wave Rock) and checked in. The weather was starting to turn foul (of course!) so I quickly unpacked, put up the tent, and went for my first look-see of the wave. It’s a lot higher than I expected (and yes Ellie – I’m wearing those horrible shorts!)…
The small dam at the top – which uses the large sloping rocks above as a catchment area:
The forecast storm was approaching, so I had dinner and climbed into the tent with wind and thunder all around. Tonight was my last night on the trip with just 350-odd kms to go.
It was starting to sink in. 3 years in planning and it was nearly over.
The problem with road-side rest areas is that, well, they’re next to a road – and the Nullabor has a steady stream of road-trains 24hrs/day. So, even with earplugs, I didn’t sleep well and woke with the headache. A fistful of ibuprofen did the trick though.
Back in WA time (with no daylight saving) I exited the tent at tweetie-bird time and sunrise, only to find it was still 4:30 fricken AM! I was up, and the other grey nomads were making their noise too so there wasn’t any point trying to go back to sleep.
Ok – this rain thing isn’t funny anymore. Drizzle drizzle. It’s not that I don’t like rain, or mind riding in it (if you have the right gear) but it does make for a slow start in the morning… having to wait for it to stop, rush out from under cover, pack a bit more, rush back under cover, rinse, repeat. Either that or everything gets wet. I eventually had it all done with the 1 thing that wasn’t going to go in the trailer dry and that was the tent itself – absolutely waterlogged. Never mind though – with a bit of sun and wind it dries very quickly so that will happen later tonight.
Ceduna – been there, done that – Eucla here I come.
The rain/drizzle continued sporadically for several hours. A little annoying but it did keep the temperature down. As I mentioned before, some find it boring, but it is an ever-changing scenery.
Horrocks Pass is a short road that winds its way through the Southern Flinders Ranges. It’s a road that I’ve ridden twice before (to and from Adelaide in 2013). Each time the weather was crap at the time, so the views weren’t brilliant.
Yesterday I spent most of the day riding into a storm that also covered Horrocks Pass, so part of my decision to stay in Wilmington was to give it a chance to clear. That was a waste of time.
The road itself was covered by cloud when I woke in the morning, and the rain came a bit later to add something “extra special” to the ride. ☹
I thought of just hanging around some more but that would just waste time, the park wasn’t that interesting, the rain had come, and I could be there for a while. So, bugger it – off I went.
I slept well. It was only a brief stay, but it was great to catch up with Derek & Julia again. Ellie & I will definitely be paying them a visit when we come through here… just not sure when.
Anyway, I headed slightly south-east to get to the hills rather than tackle Adelaide’s traffic (even though it was around 10 when I left). It was a warm one… 32 on departure.
I headed up to Mount Lofty (a great name for a mountain)… lots of twisties I wasn’t expecting.
A short-ish ride today… just down to Cape Jervis and then back up to Adelaide as I’ll be staying with our great family friends Derek & Julia… starting of course with the obligatory quick ride around town before departing… just a refresher really as I remember my visit in 2013 quite vividly now. Victor Harbor (spelling correct now) is a very nice & clean town and it’s little wonder one of the go-to places for holidays from Adelaide.
This was just a run through the SA countryside, with stops along the way in some interesting towns. Everything has turned brown now that I’m in warmer climates and what appears to be harvesting seasons (if the hayfever is anything to go by).