I’m in Ceduna, South Australia.
Since the last update I have crossed the Nullarbor Plain and am now back in a town again (after 1200km of pretty much nothing).
As I mentioned last week, there is very little on the road between Norseman and Ceduna. There is only one village of any size (which occurs after 1100km). Other than that, all you get are roadhouses, which can be as far as 200km apart.
I tried to finish at a roadhouse each day, as it meant that I had to carry less food and water, since I could stock up in the evening. But this also meant some long days, especially if the wind wasn’t being helpful. It was probably one of the hardest sections of the whole trip so far.
Carrying enough water was tricky. On the second day after leaving Norseman, I set off with 7 litres of water in my panniers, but it still wasn’t enough. As I reached the end of the day I had to ration the supply. Together with the water I drank before setting off and at the end of the day, I must have consumed close to 10 litres of water that day. The worrying thing was, it wasn’t even that hot by Australian standards: maybe low thirties centigrade. The temperatures can reach into the forties here which I really wouldn’t want to be cycling in.
The winds have also been really strong here. On day 3 I was cycling all day into a headwind of about 25 mph (according to the local weather station). It was a real slog and it took me all day to do 100 miles (which normally would be much faster). But the following day the direction had flipped and so I had a massive help as it pushed me along the road. That day I managed to cycle over 150 miles, the most I have cycled in one day on the whole of this trip.
The mileages were pretty big across this region: 121, 115, 99, 152, 120, 109 miles. But I think doing larger miles actually makes the crossing easier (many people split the journey into more sections but I think that actually makes the journey harder as you need to carry more water).
I met quite a few people at the service stations on the route (in fact that was pretty much the only place I met people, other than the few people who stopped to offer me food or water). There are always some interesting characters at the service stations if you hang around long enough. One lady clearly thought I was mad to be cycling across Australia in the summer and advised me to keep on taking my medication. She also insisted on referring to Christmas as “Chrissy”, telling everyone there to have a great “Chrissy”.
I’m now heading towards Port Augusta and then down to Adelaide.