I made it to Carnarvon in 4 days, and to celebrate I am giving my poor, poor knees a break for a day before setting out tomorrow.
Aw yeah – did I mention Carnarvon’s on the water? Gonna get this weirdly tan-lined body into a bikini and catch me some rays!
So the first 4 days of my tour have each Ben filled with a different type of…nothing. We’re in the desert. The red dirt comes right up to the water – no green coastal vegetation, just scrubby desert on the Indian Ocean.
Day 1: Exmouth – Burkett turnoff (88 km)
My couch surfing hosts invited me to go out to the pub, but I declined, wanting to get on the road by sunrise. Oh boy, I should have gone out for a drink. All the tossing and turning in anxiety over my first day of touring, I barely slept.
But I did get on the road, loaded up with water and food. Riding straight into a vicious headwind. 9km/hour for nearly 10 hours, stopping on the side of the road to set up camp as dusk settled.
What have I gotten myself into? 1600 more kms to go before I reach the Southern Ocean.
Day 2: Burkett turnoff – Coral Bay (74km)
More headwinds. Shit, I hope this let’s up soon. 9km/hour, on and on. Grassy plains, termite mounds, grassy plains.
The winds are so strong, and the door wafting off the abundant roadkill (kangas and sheep) is so strong, I’m convinced that Australia is farting in my general direction.
Grey nomads save my morale: Carol and Ken, touring the country in their caravan, stop to hand me water and an apple! My conversation-hungry self is eager to chat, and these two lovely humans send me off with more water and fruit and even some granola bars!
I roll in to Coral Bay, where I meet my couch surfing host, Steve – it turns out he’s a guide on a quad bike tour leaving soon. So 30 minutes later, I’m on the back of his bike, ripping through the beach sands, 6 other tourists driving behind us.
I sleep well tonight.
Day 3: Coral Bay-Minilya Bridge Roadhouse (97km)
I sleep in, enjoying my mattress and hot cup of morning coffee. I’m positive I won’t make it to the roadhouse before dusk, and the anxiety of finding a place to camp begins to set in. But, thankfully, the winds change late in the day and I juuuuust make it to the roadhouse. I celebrate with a meat pie for dinner, then set up camp beside the roadhouse’s caravan park.
Day 4: MBR-Carnarvon (140km)
The winds are in my favour! Relief sets in as I realise that I won’t be struggling against a wind-wall for 1000 km.
In my elated state, I push harder. My left knee is starting to bother me, but whatever.
OK, it’s really starting to hurt now. But look! Only 30km to the turnoff to Carnarvon!
Damn, I can’t keep using this knee. It’s radiating heat and pain. But I’m at the turnoff! Only…12 more kays to go?
5km to Carnarvon, I stop to buy ice for my knee. It soothes the pain, and as I roll into town at dusk, I realise that, true to Western Australian form, everything has closed at 5pm. Including reception at every hostel.
So I roll into a caravan park and set up camp. Hey, I promise I’ll pay tomorrow night, at least. I’m taking a rest day.
Day 5: Carnarvon rest day!
Shopping, tanning, eating dinner with some lovely ladies at the caravan park (thank you for the food and shampoo, Belinda!). Really, people are good.
That’s all for now, folks! I’m writing this all on my phone, so it’s a bit lacking in photos. I’ll upload those later on.
Next stop: Kilbarri!