I woke up sweating like crazy, I had fallen alleep with the heater on in the small caravan that I have called home for the last week. I must have just missed Kara as she had left for work already when I came outside. Calumn was awake and eating his Radix for breakfast. I could sense that he was excited and he was also anxious about the unknowns that were about to become known. We loaded our gear into the newly welded, wildboy proofed Burley trailers and stealth bike bags.
This is the gear I had on my bike...
60 Radix meals Grill wire Pot cooker and fuel Pelican ruck20 case with satellite phone, hard drive 1 of 3 and spare memory cards. 10L of water Inreach device from Trackmenz Sleeping bag Kathmandu camp chair (my luxury item) VSSL survival and first aid capsule Pump Gopro hero 7 Camera (Lumix GH5s) Spare bike parts and tools My handmade Knife Cables for charging 2 Goal zero solar panels Goal zero crush light Goal zero venture 70 (power bank) Goal zero Sherpa 100 (inverter/powerbank) Peanut butter and dates A fan (because it gets hot) A book that I haven’t touched since I started the trip... A chunk of Australian Sandalwood Roll mat Warm jacket Rain jacket Backpack with spare clothes.
In the trailer was my Pelican air case with spare batteries, laptop, Gnarbox, 100-400 Lumix lens, 12mm lens’s and my drone. My helmet and toiletries are also in the trailer.
Calumn’s bike is quite alot lighter as it only has the gear he needs to ride, the tent and the first aid kit. We had originally planned to leave 0930 but because we were slow packing up we didn’t leave until 1030. I wanted to head into town to send a postcard to my wife to be and get a coffee and a pie. By the time we actually left Yulara it was 1200, I was a bit sceptical about how far we would actually get today, but I had forgotten about riding on a road! Calumn and I were averaging 17kmh, it was amazing to be able to move fast enough to keep the flies off and have a cool breeze.
I had a very vocal day today I was pretty much singing the entire time .. now I think I have an alright singing voice but I have a memory like a fish and can’t ever remember more than about 10 seconds of songs. Calumn had a smile on his face so I geuss it wasn’t too annoying. I rode ahead a few times to give him a break from my crazy sounds. We stopped for a snack at a picnic table on the side of the road, it feels strange to be around so many people. To be honest, it’s all very overwhelming when I come into busy places. So as nice as the time in Yulara was I am happier out here on the road.
The afternoon went quite fast for me but Calumn Was getting used to the bike and he was feeling it in his bad knee. He assured me that he is still having a good time! We cruised along the road and into Curtain springs just as the sun was setting. It was very busy, at least 100 cars and lots more people. Curtain springs has a free camping spot, a pub and they sell steak and chips...my night was sorted! Me and Calumn chatted about the day over a beer and some food. We put our tent in the far back corner of the campground next to an electric fence. Calumn tried to convince me that it wasn’t a real one and that it was just to stop people from climbing on it. As we were setting up the tent, the pole Calumn was pushing through touched the fence and began to shock him, I burst into laughter! Every time he tried to push the pole through and off the fence he would get shocked again. Eventually we surrendered and moved the tent away from the fence so we could finish setting up. We climbed into the tent and started getting ready to sleep.
Calumn said to me that he wasn’t sure about crossing the Simpson desert and that he wasn’t as tough as I am, he thinks he might not be able to do it. One of the biggest reasons I asked Calumn to join me out here on this expedition is because I know he struggles with Anxiety. I talked to him about it explaining that the only person he needs to worry about is himself and that he couldn’t let me down no matter how hard he tried. I said “look mate I’m not some tough guy, this is hard but I’m very resilient and I never give up because something is too hard! I enjoy pushing my limits and seeing just how much I can achieve. This is day 1 of 25 and even though we’re on a road the first week is always the toughest”
I told him he won’t ever look back on this and wish he didn’t cross the desert, but, if he doesn’t do it, there’s a good chance that he will wonder how life would be different or what the opportunity would have actually been like if he had pushed on. In the end I pretty much told him I think people have gotten too comfortable, we aren’t ok with being uncomfortable anymore. Yes we may be dirty, hungry, tired and sore. But we are going to be crossing a desert!
I’m so excited for tomorrows adventure to begin.