I left Salmon Gums at about 630am to try to beat the heat and, consequently, the temperature was quite pleasant for the first 2 hours or so. However the northerly become hotter and hotter as the morning progressed and before long I was riding in an oppressive 38 degree heat. For the last 40km I stopped about every 10km to refill my bidons from the ‘camel’ bag and cool down a bit in the shade by the side of the road. It was a six or so litres of water morning.
Meanwhile, Miranda set up her easel on the road into the caravan park and produced an acrylic painting of……a grove of Salmon Gums.
There had been fires to the north of Salmon Gums as well as those that were further south and closer to Esperance that I passed by yesterday. Starkly contrasted with the blackened trees and scorched earth was a new memorial to a pair of 18 year olds who died in a car accident 2 years ago. The original memorials must have been destroyed by the fires and the family and friends had erected replacements within three weeks. Standing and looking I could feel their pain, still vivid after two years.
There were not as many trucks today for some reason though, as with previous days, the truck drivers were terrific. If there is room on the road and it is safe they will pass me a complete lane away on the other side of the road. Many of them giving toots of encouragement as they go by. For my part, I understand that if there is traffic coming the other way, or double lines, the trucks have nowhere to go, so for safety’s sake I leave the road and ride on the shoulder until they have passed. This is also appreciated with many toots of acknowledgement.
During one of my cool down stops a motorbike rider came by, did a u turn and came back to see if I was ok. He was on his way to Sydney and expected to reach Eucla tonight. People have been so friendly and encouraging.
I arrived at Norseman a bit before midday and we headed straight to the public pool for a welcome cool down before doing some food shopping and heading back to the caravan park.
The newly appointed park managers arranged a ‘happy hour’ near the camp kitchen and it was nice to chew the fat with them and two other groups of travellers from Qld and Victoria.
We cooked lentil and sweet potato soup in the thermomix before retiring for yet another early night.
It should be much cooler tomorrow with a cross wind at long last.