I woke up at first light to the birds singing. As they sung to one another I felt funny because it had been so long since I had heard birdsong like this. It was nostalgic, I was reminded of waking up with my partner in my home in New Zealand.
In summer I would get up and open the windows to our room then jump back into bed with Ngaio to listen to the sounds of the birds and to the ocean crashing against the cliffs. We would often lay there and wait for the unmistakable sound of our dogs little paws sneeking inside the house and down the hallway. She would wait just out of view and start making little excited noises until she heard the words “come on then”, she would then explode into life running at full pace into the room and (depending on just how excited she was) sometimes up onto the bed, quivering with happiness and getting the zoomies Around and around the room!
As I lay there with my eyes closed I imagined thats where I was, a fly buzzed in and landed on my head snapping my out of my morning dream time. I rolled over and opened my eyes, it was time to start the day. Dad got up and put some water on the fire to boil, not long after we were eating our radix and getting ready.
Dads tire has started bulging because the rubber is getting thin so before we left we pulled it off and converted it back to a tubed tire, that way I can get about an extra 1000km out of it.
Trevor came over from where he and his family had been camping, he had a 10L jug of water and some frozen sausages for us, what a legend. Over the morning the wind started to pick up from the east. As it got stronger I could sense dads worry about how big a day we had ahead of ourselves. We had decided that morning to ride 92km all the way into Windorah, I was sceptical about riding that far because I knew how much dad was going to struggle, but he was adamant and sold me on the idea with the prospect of a cold beer and a hot shower.
We set off along the road, the start of our day was one big uphill, it went on for about 13km. As we rode over the crest of the hill we passed into the Coopers creek basin. The morning outback traffic started coming through just after that. The road is single lane so every vehicle that comes past has to slow down, they always wave or give a friendly toot, but boy when those road trains come through I get well out of the way! Mid morning we passed a pile of Afghan Melons growing on the road side. I believe they were deliberately introduced by Afghan camel train operators in the 1860s as camel feed. Anyhow I know they are bitter and unpalatable because when I was back in Western Australia one of the farm hands at Prenti downs station sliced one up for me...it was very unpleasant, but my dad didn’t know that!
As we got next to them I pretended to be really excited about it, I jumped off my bike, sliced it up handed it over and then enjoyed my dirty little joke. He spat it out saying “YUCK!! Thats the most bitter melon I have ever eaten” we laughed about it as we continued to ride along the road!
As dad is still getting used to cycling life I make sure we stop for at least ten minutes every hour for a little rest. At the 3 hour mark we have a lunch stop. Just before we stoped for lunch we were riding along talking about all the drugs we had tried over our lives, dad was never much of a drug user and had only smoked marijuana a few times and tried party pills when he was younger. Me on the other hand, I had lots to say because in the wild life I lived before I found my purpose I pretty much tried everything that i could. It was quite interesting talking about that stuff with my dad, as you might be able to imagine it’s not something to talk about with your kids when they are young (and a terror) and for me this was really the first time i had ever had a conversation with dad not as his son but as an adult.
We were deep in conversation, but out of the corner of my eye I spotted a yellow faced whip snake. I pointed it out and we both stopped and watched it slither across the road and into the bush. At lunch we sat under a tree on the side of the road and finished the last of our Pennut butter and dates, it was a dark moment when the last spoon of the peanut butter came out!
With the afternoon sun dad really started to slow down meaning my zig zag riding technique came out to party, I do zigzagging to give dad the chance to catch up without me having to slow down (and because life is too short to live in straight lines.) Along the road I spotted a few Emu running along side with their bushy tails shaking about, they are beautiful creatures that sone what remind me of a dinosaur!
Dad was in pain by early afternoon he kept standing to give his sore bum a rest every time I slowed down enough for him to ride next to me. I could hear pain in the way he was breathing, we only had 15km to go when he looked up and said “This is so hard, I have never pushed myself like this” I told him he’s nearly there. Five kilometres out of the town there was a huge sign that said hot food cold beers and cabins! I heard dad yell out “Son, we’re going there”. I smiled to myself because I knew exactly how hard this had been for him and the way he was feeling about it. I rode slightly ahead watching a bird of prey soar above the road scanning the ground until it spotted a lizard then swooped down to grab it, it carryed it high then dropped it on the road killing it instantly.
I cruised into town with dad struggling behind, we went straight to the pub for a celebratory beer and a hot meal before moving into our cabin for the night. Just before bed I told him I was proud of what he had achieved and that tomorrow will definitely be easier!