Well it sure is hot, and while it is also windy, thankfully for Steve it is going in a direction that assists rather than hinders his progress. Phew. He was off to a fairly early start leaving about 7 am and I walked into the nearby dunes with my oil pastels to try and capture the scene with morning shadows adding drama.
I took my new stool that Steve bought to replace the one left at Norseman – still three legged, but with a back rest this time. He felt I needed the support (or maybe he thinks it less likely I will leave it behind if it’s a bit bigger?) and found what seemed a nice spot and not too far from the campground. Not having really seriously tried to create a work with oil pastels I was a little unsure of how it would go, but I do have a beautiful set of Sennelier pastels, lovely and creamy. Gradually I started to feel my way and was starting to feel more comfortable with how it was going, but unfortunately I was extremely uncomfortable physically with ants attacking and flies buzzing me! After an hour and half it was just too much, I had to get out of there. I guess what they say is true, you must suffer for your art…
It was about 9 by the time I was on the road and I expected I would be finding Steve between half way and two thirds of the 113 km distance. I was taking a slightly different route as Google maps advised one way for the bike and another for the car – and Steve had texted to say that his route included some roughish dirt so best to go the way Google advised. You can then imagine my surprise when I got another text soon after I left saying he was 70 km done the road. He was flying!
The landscape remained agricultural between areas of low bush lining the road, and there were few other features of note apart from the occasional strange letterbox. The road followed quite close to the coast as it wound down to Streaky Bay and our next R and R stop of a couple of days for Steve to recover and to bring in the new year. We had been advised when booking our spot at the caravan park that we were in for a treat ‘Best fireworks this side of Adelaide!’ Wow, certainly something to look forward to, along with the bottle of gold infused sparkling chardonnay that we had been keeping for the occasion.
After Steve I chased, and became increasingly concerned as he was not appearing … but all was well, he had just been speeding along and I found him about 10 km out of town. He was doing well, but he was rather hot and bothered, and having neglected breakfast, I was getting quite hungry – neither of us were sympathetic to each other’s trials! I continued on to town to check in at the Streaky Bay Caravan Park – it was packed. No chance of upgrading to a powered site, so down to the camping ground at the end of the park. Steve arrived just as I was backing into a spot, approved my choice and we finished setting up with solar cell and shade tent erected.
Once Steve was showered and changed we decided to cool off with some beers at the pub before buying groceries and preparing for the big night’s celebrations. We had a great time at the pub chatting with other travellers and hearing their stories as well as some possibly tall tales about great whites caught off the pier in the bay. The photos below show an old newspaper shot of a great white caught by rod and reel in 1990 (22km out to sea from Streaky Bay, not from the pier) and a replica in the local Shell servo.
We returned to camp to disaster! The winds that had assisted Steve cycling had turned around to the opposite direction and become gale force – our shade tent was not built to withstand such an onslaught and several of the struts had snapped under the pressure exerted on them. We attempted to re-erect it, but to no avail – it was just too far gone, so packed it away. Where the pub was situated in town seemed to be much more protected than the campsite and we didn’t realise how much the winds had increased, and the scant shade that was there when we arrived had moved and we were in glaring, baking sun. I was bummed.
All we could do was have a few more beers and go in for a dip in the bay that was a few metres from our campsite – it was now deep enough to have an enjoyably cooling swim unlike earlier when it was so shallow for about 50 metres out that it was like a warm bath.
We began to cheer up as night approached and we waited for the entertainment to start. Being on Australian Daylight Central Time means that it is light until after 9 pm so we had to wait until nearly 10 for the fireworks to start (with many catcalls from the younger members of the park inhabitants!). Well the wait was worth it – with a ringside seat we were treated to a great display from the pier.
However, the long days in the sun and Steve pushing hard with his riding began to take their toll and it seemed he was suffering a slight case of heat stroke – I ordered him off for a cool shower and we turned in before midnight and gave our Gold champers a miss. It was truly time for a break.