October 13, 2002 - Jerramungup 185k/116m*

I left Albany before 6AM on a Sunday Morning in a dead quiet, except for the birds. The Albany Highway heads about 6km NW to the world’s biggest roundabout where I transition to the South Coast Highway heading NE and came to the mileage sign.

pic

A kilometer or two up from here there was a kangaroo statue right in the middle of the 4-lane road in a commercial area. As I approached, it hopped away, right down the double yellow. They go about 25 km/hr. He pulled away on an uphill, and then ducked between two buildings. Whatever was back there was unappealing, because he hopped right back on the road in front of me again, and took off for another few minutes until he found a wooded field and disappeared. Fun, fun, fun.

Here’s the sign for the Albany golf course. If Guy goes bankrupt, gets divorced, and Linda takes everything, and he gambles away the rest, Guy can still afford to golf here. That $8 charge is Australian – about $4.50 US.

pic

The first 50km or so were swooping, rolling hills – fairly big.

pic

The trick on these is to get up them without burning up your legs. The environment shifted slowly through a mix of pastures to forest farms to scrub. I then had 20 km of more modest hills through the scrub. Here’s a road shot with an anthill in the foreground.

pic

At 90km I stopped for brunch in the middle of nowhere (banana, apple, 100g of ham, a king size Nestles Crunch Bar, some gummi-bears, and fortified Gatorade). This was the halfway point on the ride, and things were flat for a while.

pic

Then the road turned north into a bestial wind and more of the bigger hills. There was nothing much to photograph, so I stopped and called out to a group of sheep. They all looked over.

pic

Kangaroo #2 of the day was also standing in the middle of the road, on a downhill going to the Pallump (sp?) River. He just stared at me until I yelled “Get out of the way!.” This guy seemed to be black. All these unusual animals still put me off my balance. The only really substantial thing that might be of merit today is this.

pic

The Fitzgerald Biosphere (a UNESCO designation) seems to be a very large area, maybe 100km x 50km. About half of it is a National Park, the rest farms and such. That’s all I know about it right now.

In spite of conditions, I made 100km before 11A and was at 180 before 3P. This portends well for tomorrow, when I’ll try for a big (300km day). The 19 rivers that I have to cross (according to the map) will work against me, but if I don’t make Esperance, the only interim place is Ravensthorpe, only 124km away. If Ravensthorpe is only half the dump Jerramungup is, I will still certainly want to pass it up. The town/hotel where I’m at now is maybe the worst place I’ve ever stayed. They blackmail you by advertising how far the next hotels are down the road

pic

The town was built in 1952 as part of a government scheme to resettle WWII veterans. They set up 161 farms in the shire, which is over 10,000 sq. kilometers. That’s also when they built the Jerramungup Motel, and they haven’t refurbished or even replaced the sheets since. There are, it goes without saying, no phones or TVs. One of those funky lizards I was playing with a couple days ago was walking along the sidewalk right in front of my motel door. There was a big moth and a fly in my room. (Got the moth, the fly is a fast little bugger.) There’s one restaurant, at the motel, with a dead bird on the steps leading in. The menu is on a blackboard, and for some reason nearly all of the main dishes are made with cheese. The rusty washing machine works, but the dryer doesn’t, so I put my bike (the cleanest thing I can find around here) outside and draped my wet clothes over it. Fellow humans, avoid this place if you can.

(Oct 13, 5:36P, Jerramungup)

– This was definitely a one-star * day. Nothing interesting to see or do at all as I rode through rural SW Australia, away from the coast.

– My lips are chapped beyond recognition. Aauuggghhh.

– The regional tourist map is inconsistent with the guy who shows you the whale chaser at Whaleworld. He says the facility shut down because synthetics became cheaper than the natural products from the whales. The tourist map says the whale populations are now recovering from a severe depletion due to the whaling industry.

– The J sign my bike is parked next to on the photograph above is one of the handy features of Australian roads. These signs are all over the place, every 5km, telling you how far it is to the next somewhere.

– Sorry no pix of the kangaroos. Things are usually in motion by the time I grasp the photo opportunity, and the kangaroos move out quickly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *