October 15, 2002 - Belladonia 193km, 121mi *

Called by various guides “one of the worlds epic car journeys” and “a trip of legendary monotony”, I left Norseman at 8:15A for the ride to the Belladonia Roadhouse. I expected some fanfare, but all I got was the usual mileage sign.

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Plus water and hazard warning signs.

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Since it was a 200km day, I thought I’d take minor breaks at 25k (drink), and major breaks at 50k (drink, eat, suntan lotion) points. The roads had curve and hills, and flora very similar (identical) to what I experienced for the last 50km coming into Norseman. Everything seemed relatively the same until an hour or so into the morning when I rounded a curve at the top of a hill and saw a “Now there’s something you don’t see everyday.” Two dead camels. Roadkill. Camels are not small animals. In the midst of the 50 dead kangaroos and 10 dead emus I would see, this, and one other later dead camel, was of note. Camels are not small animals. They seem much bigger than horses. Moving on, here’s a morning road shot.

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And a photo at the 50km break point. Note that I’m trying different angles on these. If I just took pictures of the terrain, without any road signs, it could be from anywhere for hundreds of km around. Everything is roughly the same. Riding along you notice things you wouldn’t normally notice in a car, like these arranged rocks.

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Merv and Dan strung some beer cans in a tree, and arranged these rocks. I ‘spilled’ here (fell over) in the soft sand/gravel as I slowed down to see this, and broke my rear view mirror. 🙁 I am now rear view mirrorless, and will remain so for the rest of the trip. 50km later I took another break.

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Fluids were becoming a concern here. I was getting 40km/G (that’s 40 km per Gatorade), but the Nullarbor is 20 degrees warmer, and it’s a very, very dry warmer, then the coastal and farmlands I have been riding through. I brought 7G (that’s 7 Gatorades or equivilant) for the trip. It was not enough and I had to ration myself. Here’s an afternoon roadshot.

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Around 4:30P I came to the welcome to Balladonia sign.

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Here’s the first of the 11 roadhouses as you head 1200 km east.

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Behind it are 20 rooms.

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Note the bus with trailer. I caught up with a group of 15 Scandinavian riders here doing a supported, more direct (straight across, avoiding most tourist sights) ride across Australia. Like the lizard, they are afraid of me (I ride as far and as fast as them, carrying 20 kilos of water and supplies while they carry none) and I am afraid of them (anomie). They have invited me to ride with them tomorrow. They will carry my supplies. They are going 187km to Caiguna. I want to do 250 to Cocklebiddy. What to do? What to do? Only tomorrow’s update will tell.

(Oct 16, 8:41P, Belladonia)

– In Australia they don’t have counties (or parishes like in Louisiana). They have shires. A shire is a sub area within a state, with a regional town or city as its administrative center, that provides regional services. Norseman is in the center city of the Shire of Dundas, which stretches over 97,000 square kilometers to the South Australia border (over 700 kilometers away). It’s bigger than most states in the USA, and has only a few thousand people in it.

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