October 13, 2002 - Ravensthorpe 121k/72m*

I woke up about 12:30A and considered leaving the dump at Jerramungup very early and going for a record mileage day. I put on my moccasins and wind breaker, and took a walk to check it out. A couple blocks away was the intersection where the South Coast Highway turns east. (I had been going north.). Here’s the sign.

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I was tempted to ride in the dark. If the terrain were flat and the roads good, I’d have gone. It was a nice walk though. Crisp, clear air with galaxies of stars floating overhead. Not a sound, except for some insects, no traffic whatsoever. There’s not much more traffic during the day. I started a little late, around 7:30P.

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There was only pastureland and scrub along the steadily rolling hills. Here’s a shot looking back about 20km into day of the pastureland, and another a couple hours later of the road going through some brush.

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I had lunch in the middle of nowhere this time. This picture to give you a closer up of the brush.

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Here’s a different sign maybe 10k before Ravensthorpe, followed by a mileage sign going INTO the town. (Manglinup is an intersection, not a town anymore.)

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Ravensthorpe has 3 restaurants and two hotel/motels. Here’s the one where I had lunch.

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Here I came across a Swiss couple that is biking around the world over 6 months. They basically take public transportation to a place, ride around for a while and then go someplace else and do the same thing. They’ve done Europe, Russia, China and Malaysia so far. They’re taking buses from Albany to Kalgoolie, then the train to Adelaide. They think this part of Australia is too boring and too hilly. I started riding out of town with a little tail wind, hoping for flat on the way to Esperance.

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It only took me a few kilometers to come to my senses. It was stay in Ravensthorpe and ride to Esperance tomorrow, or join the people on the twice weekly bus run to Esperance. I was going nuts with these low mileage through famrland, no alternative days. They had room for me on the bus. I’m in Esperance now, waiting for the sporting goods store to open up. My supplies (tent, water pouches, etc) that were supposed to meet me in Norseman, before I start crossing the Nullarbor, are tied up in customs. This town is my last option to regear for the desert.

(Oct 15, Esperance 6:39A)

– The terrorist incident in Kuta, Bali is huge news here. More Australian casualties than in any incident since Vietnam, and that took years. The first 12 pages of the newspaper is just about who was killed, injured, remains missing, left just before, etc. etc. I’m surprised (from AOL) that this isn’t getting more play in the USA.

– In case you don’t recall, Esperance is famous for the crash-landing of Skylab. Esperance fined NASA $400 for littering. It’s in the museum only a block away, but I can’t wait for it to open to see the charred remains.

– Riding notes: Anyone riding from Albany to Esperance, the terrain is pretty much the same all the way – pastures, scrub and a variety of hills. You’ll go through maybe a half dozen big hills a day 3-5km downhill followed by a 3-5km uphill. More moderate hills between, with some flat areas at higher elevations. I can average 20km/hr with breaks in this stuff.

– The flies are amazing. They’re never more than 10 seconds away, no matter where you are in this country. You have about 4 minutes when you stop before they gang up on you. They get very bothersome as you grind slowly up the big uphills and whenever you stop. I haven’t pulled out my headnet yet, but will soon.

– I’ve seen a bunch of road-train warning signs, and saw a couple of them today. They’re basically triple trailers (one of them was a 4 decker sheep carrier with thousands of sheep in it) with signs that say Road Train on the front and back. When see one standing still, or if I’m ever standing still when I see one, I’ll get you a photo.

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