Saturday, April 17, 2010

Part 1- Forward March

Rewinding back three weeks is tough, especially if you are blessed with the memory of a goldfish. But there are a few things I remember quite well from the first nine days from Norseman to Caiguna. I definitely remember the first day and the last. The first being possibly the worst day on the trip and the last being up there with the best.

Day one was tough, as we knew it would be. Forced to overload our trailers to the absolute limits of what the wheels would allow us to take always was going to increase the chances of something bad happening. Nothing really did, except another wheel blew off the trailer, spraying ball bearings all over the road. At the time this was the second wheel wrecked in 40 kilometres and given the current weight being carried and distance still needed to go, I started having a trademark Leigh breakdown, a beautiful sight to anyone who has been lucky enough to witness it before and I'll just leave it to the imagination what it involves for people who haven't. We continued on regardless but for Sam eventually the combination of hills and pulling the equivalent of three and a half extra Sams took its toll and we had to finish up early, stopping at around 30 kilometres for the day, much less than we were hoping. The day was brightened by Therese, the lady from the Norseman Hotel, who somehow managed to enlist a backpacker to deliver a missing tail light off my trailer and a big block of fruit and nut chocolate (which Sam decided that he then liked after 21 years of insisting he doesn't).

The first 200 kilometres was extremely hilly, and we were told otherwise leading up to Norseman so we got rather disheartened by that and left us wondering how long this was actually going to take to get to our next actual town, Ceduna, only some 1170 kilometres away at the time. But the good news was it rapidly improved and with us eating and drinking around 15 kilograms of weight out of Sams trailer each day we started averaging 45 kilometres a day, actually an improvement on any of our previous speeds. Arriving at our first stop, Balladonia, 190 kilometres down the road, was a relief more than anything as we knew we had got through the worst of it for a while. The kitchen staff were quite busy during our brief stay cooking us up 5 days worth of missed junk and comfort food.

From there we landed on the flat, straight roads including the 90 Mile Straight, Australia's longest straight road and thats when things really got going. 4 days it took us to get to Caiguna, and waiting for us there was a phone call from an Aunty and a pre-paid meal. Was quite strange getting in there and they already knew who we were and said we had a call waiting for us, and that we already had our meals paid for by an anonymous caller, my guess was correctly mum. After our meal we ran into the Carpinteyro family who introduced themselves and then gave us $40 to pay for our NEXT meal, as well as a box of RedBulls which were gratefully recieved and strategically used. Thank you so much, hope the rest of your trip went well! Was a perfect finish to a really great few days.

And that is the first half. Might do the second later tonight if we're still in internet reception, but might not be. As I used to tell my school teachers, I'll have it in soon.

Road upgrades. For the record, Sam and I approve. Best road we've been on, hands down.

This might be a beautiful scene for motorists or to the untrained walking eye, but for Sam and I this is heartbreaking stuff. Especially at 2 in the arvo with plenty still left to do. 10 kilometre hill and we had to finish it that day. Its going to be even tougher for Sam with him heading for the trees like that.

Been told that we must be having pretty good weather. Well, yes, but it rains a LOT. We obviously just dont like using the already temperamental camera in the rain. Here's Sam looking like a banana.

And one of me on a hill looking ponderous. I'm pretty sure I'm pondering 1- How Sam got the camera and 2- Why is he taking a photo of me when he knows he'll pay dearly for it later on. The answers never came.

Us at Balladonia Station. Someone wanted a photo of Sam and I together, and we thought we might as well make them useful and take one with our camera as well.

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