We really enjoyed our stay at Fraser Range, such a fantastic place, lovely old stone buildings, excellent amenities and the best camp kitchen we’ve seen so far. We were hoping to go on a sunset tour of the property, however they required a minimum of six people and did not have the required numbers, oh well, next time.
The forecast for Friday 18th December was for 38 degrees in Balladonia so I decided to leave early to beat the heat. I arose with the sun at four (it rises very early in the east of Western Australia) and was set to go by six thirty. Fifty metres down the dirt road back towards the Ayre highway I heard the familiar hissing sound of air escaping from my rear tyre. Quick tube change, then back to the car to inflate properly with the floor pump and I was on my way again.
Riding conditions were excellent; still quite cool and a beautiful SSE breeze that at least did not hinder and sometimes turned to the west enough to give me a kick along. So far, the Eyre highway has been a delight to ride on with a good surface, not too much traffic and a nice wide shoulder .
Some points of interest from today;
- I saw the first wedgetail eagle of the trip; a truly magnificent bird taking flight from some road kill as it heard me approach.
- There was a dead cow be the side of the road, quite fresh and very large. It must have done some damage to whatever hit it.
- A cyclist came past travelling in the opposite direction and being escorted by a van driving behind with a flashing light. There appeared to be other cyclists in the car and I wondered if they were on some sort of non-stop across Australia relay attempt.
- Finally, an English couple stopped in front of me, got out of their car and energetically waved two bottles of water in my direction. They explained that they were told, ‘if ever they saw one of those crazy cyclists on the road, they should stop and offer them water’. I gratefully accepted one bottle, chatted with them for a while, left them with a steveandm.com brochure and departed.
I made very good time and arrived at the Balladonia road house about eleven thirty and downed a large bottle of ginger beer. The day was starting to warm up and though I had beaten the worst of it the afternoon became more and more oppressive.
Sitting in the road house waiting for Miranda to arrive I received phone call, “where are you” M said, “in the road house” I replied, “I was worried because the spot tracker shows you were still 30km away and it had not updated for thirty minutes”. Hmm curious. So I checked the link, and sure enough it showed me not at Balladonia but about 30km to the west. I turned the tracker back on and pressed on the check in message which worked and showed me at the same location. After a bit of consternation and checking with the phone GPS it became apparent that the Balladonia road house is indeed about 30km west of the spot marked Balladonia on the map.
I looked through the road house museum which has some interesting displays including local geology, the Redex round Australia rally and, of course, Sky Lab, part of which crashed nearby in 1979. After about an hour Miranda turned up having completed two art works at Fraser Range and we set up camp and had a bite to eat.
As the sun started to lower in the sky we went for a refreshing dip in the motel swimming pool, such a welcome relief. Leftover sweet potato and lentil soup for dinner then into the pod for a restful sleep.
Forecast for tomorrow is great, mid twenty’s maximum temperature and a stiff SSW wind.