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For Cory, a brave warrior who lost his battle-Expedition Dust day 67

For Cory, a brave warrior who lost his battle.

My brain was a jumble all last night, when I actually finally finished my daily post it was 4am. After a few hours sleep my phone rang and woke me, it was Ben Savage, one of the camera guys. He is trying to get a vehicle to take him across the Simpson desert so he can film my journey. He doesn’t have a ride sorted yet but hopefully when I get to Alice he will have come up with a plan. I wish I could have gone back to sleep at this point but I was way too awake so there was no chance. I got out of bed and into the morning sun, hoping somehow I could absorb some of its energy to get me through the day.

I was so tired, I walked like a zombie to the toilet block to brush my teeth and when I came back I found Calumn talking to a lady. As I approached them Calumn pointed towards me and said ‘this is his trip I’m just along for the ride’. She introduced herself as Lee and at this point was quite emotional and had tears running down her cheeks. She told me I reminded her of her son who she had lost to depression. I opened my arms wide and embraced her with a long hug. We talked for a while about what I do and that I’m doing it for my own mental journey and to empower others to deal with any problems and not hide them. She wanted to help and handed me some money. Lee’s partner Malcom came over and we talked some more about mental health and the journey ahead. I gave them both a big hug before they left.  This is a message for men, boys, males. We are all pretty god dam aware of mental health, it’s something we all have. As men we have grown up in a world where it is normal to be stoic during dark times. We try with all our might and masculinity to protect our emotions, why? Because you feel like it will make you look effeminate? Look weak? That’s the biggest bunch of shit I have ever heard. Men, we need to be fierce warriors, but move past the ancient idea that to survive we must hide our emotions and suppress our feelings. To survive today we need to communicate effectively openly and honestly. It’s time to find balance and let go of the things that are causing any suffering. It’s time to start treating yourself like someone you love!

Calumn had packed the tent up while I was talking and we were ready to go. As Calumn has decided he wants to end his journey in Alice I had the job of  finding someone to join me on the toughest section of Australia. Part of the reason I was up so late was because I was so stressed about not being able to find anybody. I didn’t care that i might have to do it alone. But trying to deal with the other bike and getting it to anywhere without someone on it was going to be tough. I was talking to a girl called Ruby who had offered to drive my support vehicle. I informed her that I don’t have a support vehicle and then went on to offer her the opportunity to be part of this expedition and the first woman to ride self supported across the Simpson desert. All she had to do was get herself to Alice by the 29th, in 4 days... When I came into range of the wifi from the roadhouse I couldn’t believe my eyes, a photo of a purchased flight from Sydney to Alice had been sent though to me. Woooohooooo, Bring on the girl power.

I had one final thing to do before we started making our way towards Alice and that was grease my bearings. Over the last 2700km they have become pretty much dry. I walked into the roadhouse and down the maintenance isle where I found some truck grease that was 39$ for 800ml... I needed like half a teaspoon worth and it would have been a waste for me to buy the tube and then have to bin it I popped the cap of the tub expecting there to be some kind of seal but there was nothing it was just a tube full of green grease. My fingers must have been tired because before I knew it one of them had slipped and fallen, the poor finger was covered in the stuff. I walked back to my bike and decided the best way to clean my finger was to remove the crank, expose the bearings and wipe the grease off inside the bike. I solved two problems at once, I had a clean finger and my bike wasn’t making terrible crunching sounds with every peddle rotation.

Calumn’s headspace had changed now that he knew he wasn’t crossing the Simpson. It was as though a weight had been lifted off this shoulders.  We departed Erldunda around Midday and aimed to ride 70k. With very little winds (but a lot of road trains and caravans) we made quick progress on the road. A lady Stopped and wanted to take a photo with us because she had just stayed with John Birmingham who had offered me accommodation in Alice Springs.

The Stewart Hwy has much nicer scenery than that of the Lasseter Hwy. Downhills were bloody amazing. Just before we stopped for the day a small rav4 pulled up and few people jumped out to see if we needed anything. My classic answer is “ I don’t need anything but I would love some fruit or veggies” the driver Lucy said she only had Byron bay cookies! I said “that’s were I’m going!” I was so excited. As we continued to ride we ate the cookies and I imagined what it’s going to be like riding into Byron bay at the end of the journey. We hit a long straight just as the sun was setting, it was almost the most beautiful one I have ever seen pinks and purples, reds and oranges, the sky was alive. 

Near the Ernest Giles road we pulled up pushed the bikes over a wire fence and made camp next to a dried up creek still 38ks from Stuart's Well. Calumn put the tent right on top of an ant nest and then proceeded to get atacked by a whole colony, he was jumping around like a crazy man! I whipped up a damper that Callum and I ate with our Moroccan venison Radix meal and then after my crappy night of sleep last night I fell straight asleep.

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