Waking up to the sound of the ocean is very calming, in fact it made it hard to get going at all. It wasn’t helped by taking my cereal and coffee to the top of the dune and sitting and contemplating the world. Then with my tent still wet from the night’s dew I went for another walk to the other end of the beach and up to the lookout.
Finally with the bike packed I headed further north to Geraldton where I farewelled the Indian Ocean and started to head east. I knew that WA has great wild flowers up the coastline, I’m just not sure when they are at their best. However even on the side of the road there were quite a few different wild flowers. While they generally supplied colour by the roadside it wasn’t until you got much closer that you saw their true beauty.
As I moved further east I noticed a number of things, the trucks got even bigger (now with 3 full size trailers or over 53meters long), the countryside grew more sparse, and the temperature started to climb. It was at this point that getting premium fuel got harder to get as the pumps weren’t working due to the higher octane fuel evaporating. This forced me to use normal 91 octane fuel, while the bike isn’t keen on this fuel I really didn’t have a choice. By Mt Magnet the temperature had topped out at 42 degrees C and I spent over 10 minutes coaxing just 7 litres of premium full in before I gave in and filled it with regular.
By 5pm the temperature had just got below 40 degrees C.
As the sun started to sink towards the horizon I started to scan the scrub on the side of the road for a suitable camp spot. My criteria for a camp spot is fairly basic: It needs to be off the road and relatively hidden; I need to be able to ride the bike in there; the ground needs to be suitable for a tent; and it is always nice to be somewhere that has nice outlook.
After checking out a couple of places I found this great little clearing that fitted the bill and as a bonus had a nice colourful rocky outcrop / cliff that was a nice backdrop to my camp spot. And while the sun may have set the temperature certainly didn’t go down which made for an uncomfortably hot nights sleep.
With an early start the next morning it was much cooler which was a big relief. My first fuel stop of the day was in Leinster where a miner told me about the old town of Agnew, an old closed pub, some old mining gear, and a lookout. I had the same tip a couple days earlier from a fisherman on the beach. So the miner drew me a mud map of how to find it.
From here I started heading south through little townships that look like there only lifeblood is the various mining operations that are dotted all over the landscape. Travelling down this highway it is amazing at just how many mining operations there are out here with signs on the highway at regular intervals to different mines and warning signs of entering road trains.
Then onto the city synonymous with mining, Kalgoolie. This certainly appeared to be the hub of many mining operation and support services with workshops working on monster tip trucks and other mining related functions.
The other thing that is synonymous with Kalgoolie is the “Super Pit” which is effectively a working mine site with an observation area for people to watch the extraction of material from this now huge hole in the ground and the procession of fully loaded giant tip trucks snaking and crawling their way up and out of this big hole.
An interesting travel fact to date – whenever you travel along Australian roads there is alway the ever present issue of wildlife and out here the biggest issue is kangaroos and emus. However, since I left Sydney my animal count has been surprisingly low. To this point I had seen 1 eagle, 1 other small marsupial that I couldn’t quite figure out, 2 kangaroos, and 6 goannas. Not at all what I expected.
So as the sun set I started on the 90 mile straight, and straight away I saw eyes in the bush high lighted by my high beams with a couple of small Roos crossing my path. I backed my speed to 10 under the speed limit and proceeded warily. The trouble with a road like this is that you can spend a lot of time on low beam and that makes it really hard to spot an approaching animal from the side with enough time to take appropriate action. After a while I’d had enough of the nervousness and pulled off into the scrub and set up camp.
I’ll finish the straight tomorrow.
Postscript – in my 50cc post I said that I wasn’t sure what the collective noun was for a group of endurance riders. A friend reminded me a couple of days ago that we discussed this on the forum a few years ago and in the absence of one we made one up. A convergence of riders. I think that is accurate.