Saturday, 27 September 2014

Another long, long day...

I woke early this morning after what turned out to be a very cold night. My sleeping bag is good down to zero but I wound up putting on long-johns in the early hours as it was just so cold.

The funny thing is that I woke before sunrise, had breakfast, showered, then packed the tent onto the bike just as the sun had risen and already the temperature had gone from nothing to the high teens. It doesn't take long.

Leaving early today in order to make it to Coober Pedy before dark. It's a long 4 hour ride back through nothingness (and heat) to Erlunda on the highway so I can fuel up, get a feed, oil the chain and check the bike over before heading south. 

Erlunda Roadhouse - Fuel, groceries, grub, and grog (and well maintained 'public' toilets).  From here it's about 100k's to the SA border with nothing much in between. No point in hanging about.

The ride to the border is uneventful. There's time for a quick photo op and a toilet stop and then back on the road. When it's hot like this it's best to just keep moving. Any breeze is better than standing still. I've got to say, this is a much better crossing than the crappy tin sign up on the Qld border. A great looking monument, a picnic area, and public toilets. Even the parking area is sealed. As the sign says, Welcome to South Australia (although on the other side it says the same but for NT).

I am so over the heat and the long straight roads now. The only thing to break the monotony (and the numb bum) is the fuel stops, and the Marla Roadhouse doesn't disappoint. It comes at just the right point on the road. Fuel, a pie, and a cold drink in the shade of a tree while being dive-bombed by an irate magpie. My only respite and I'm being chased away by the wildlife.

As you can see, a garage and a pub. Welcome to Marla.

By the time I leave here the temperature has soared and I realise I'm nursing a very sad looking rear tyre. The tread is balling up and there's now a substantial flat spot across the width of the tyre. I'm down to about 1mm of tread in the centre and it's not looking like it'll last all the way to Adelaide where I can replace it.

Watered and fed, I place Coober Pedy firmly on my radar and ride south.

I reach the outskirts of Coober Pedy late in the afternoon. The heat is overbearing, just when I thought it would be getting cooler as I ride south, it's actually getting hotter.

I call Mrs Snappa from the outskirts of town while taking some pics and get her to arrange accommodation, she asks "above ground or below, my choice". I go with the Mud Hut Motel and head on into town.

I check in for 2 nights, unpack the bike and then put my feet up and relax with the air-con on max.

It's been 2 weeks, 6,500k's, and 3 states so far. Every day up till now has been in the mid to high 30s. The word I keep using is 'unrelenting'. The heat just never gives up. It's time to take a day or two off.

And now for the entertaining part of the day...

As it gets dark I decide it's probably cool enough to go for a walk into town and get some dinner. Just after turning the corner from the motel I see a bunch of drunken aboriginals. Some are laying in the street opposite the pub, some are brawling outside a shop a bit further down the road, and outside the pub a rather elderly (and totally naked) aboriginal woman was screaming out something about rape and waving her dress in the air over her head, to which no one was paying her any attention until she began yelling "rape me" over and over. Everyone scarpered to the other side of the road.

I walked only about 300 to 500 metres along the main street but that and other incidents along the way we're a life education.

Apart from aboriginals in various states of intoxication (it only varied from shit-faced to totally leggless) along the way, I saw no-one else in the street, and this is just after 7 pm on a Saturday night. When I get to the pizza place it's chockas, absolutely packed full, standing room only. A very much inebriated local lad tells me the VFL grand final was just won by the team the town supported so it was celebration time. Hence the packed house.

I order the pizza and walk back to the motel and on the way the police drive down the main street, ignoring all the goings on with the aboriginals, and cruise up to me to check me out. Not once, but twice. I must have looked really shady.

Today's route.