And a cycling buddy.
Day 18: 60 km from Geraldton to Dongara. A beautiful, clear day. I was well-rested from my rest day in the city, and refreshed from three meals with fresh vegetables. Only on city days do I get fresh produce – the rest I eat dried.
I rode until I got to Dongara, ate a late lunch in the town gazebo, and then rode 5km out of town to set up camp.
Day 19: had a not-so-restful sleep thanks to the frequent road trains heading north to Gero. Most of the area is farmland, so I couldn’t pitch my tent further inland than a few meters from the road. Not a silent night.
So I decided to treat myself and prepare a hot breakfast. Coffee and oatmeal with apricots! Good fuel.
The coast appeared today, and gave off a nice tailwind.
As I stopped for lunch at a rest stop overlooking the ocean, Wolfgang rode up. He’s the cyclist I met in Carnarvon. We rode together the rest of the day.
It was weird. It was the first time in ages that I’d ridden with a partner, and the first time ever that I’d toured with anyone.
I bristled at the company. I didn’t like it.
Normally I slip into this meditative state when riding. 4 hours, passed in a flash.
I go my own pace, stop when I need to stretch my knee, take pictures when I feel like it. With Wolfgang, I felt very aware of how much slower I was riding, and had to alert him whein I stopped. I kinda resented him for breaking my groove.
In any case, we reached a camp site on the coast, surrounded by these massive snow-white sand dunes. I could see tracks from where people had surfed down them.
It was luxurious to spend the night in a safe, permitted area, rather than on the side of the highway. Even though my tent shook a heap from the rainstorm during the night, I was comfortable.
Day 20: woke up early as anything, and left the site at dawn, before Wolfgang. I cherished my freedom again. This wasn’t good day. Knee hurting, headwinds, and cumulated fatigue. I was trying to ride 100+km, in order to make it to Yanchep the day after tomorrow.
On the way I reached the Pinnacles, these incredible, and incredibly phallic, pillars in the middle of green scrub bush. I had been wanting to visit these for months and months, but when finally arrived I was in a damn cloudy mood. It was a nearly 10km detour to visit them, too, so I felt like I was behind schedule.
At least I didn’t have to pay to enter – there are fees listed for motorcycles, cars, caravans, tour buses… but it didn’t say anything about bikes. Might have been a technicality, but I was happy to avoid a fee!
I had a nice little walk around, then hopped on the bike again and tried to outpedal the sunset.
Grumpy and tired, I set up camp 40km earlier than I had planned, settling in for a rainy night.
A few hours after nightfall, I heard a car pull up nearby, and heard the door slam when someone got out. I was camped near to the road, so it wasn’t odd that someone was close, but I got scared when a flashlight beam passed over my tent. How would anyone know I was here?
After the light passed, I scrambled outside and saw that I’d stupidly left my blinking red tail light on.
I turned it off, hoping that it was just an off-duty ranger who’d spotted me, and got back in the tent, struggling to fall asleep again.