The morning was absolutely freezing, I didn’t want to get out of my sleeping bag but I knew I needed to get moving if I was going to cover enough ground. Today Ben was riding with me. We pulled the bike off the truck, put a few of the stealth bike bags on and filled them with camera gear. We made ourselves some Radix for breakfast and were on the bikes at 8:30. The dunes to start were a pretty good size, the rig road doesn’t have any really huge sand dunes just lots of rolling small ones. As the day went on the dunes got bigger but I was still able to ride up them which was great.
Last night all of us talked about taking the WAA track opposed to Rig road because it was 47km shorter and would be better for the fuel situation Peter is in. I thought about it as an potential option but really wanted to stick to my original plan as that will make the crossing as easy as possible for me with all the gear I’m carrying. When we stoped for lunch I told Peter that Ben and I wanted to ride the rig. I gave him a choice, he could use the two days to get fuel somehow, then meet us where the WAA meets the knolls track or he could follow us across the desert and do what Ben and I paid nearly $3000 for.
To me the first option seemed like the best choice. It meant Ben would ride with me and film and there would be 120kgs less weight in the vehicle. He said he would think about it and tell me what he was going to do when we got to the turn off. Satisfied with my communication Ben and I started riding. Over the next 10km the sand hills got very large and were bloody tough to get over. The sun beating down on us was definitely making the afternoon much harder. Ben decided that he was going to struggle to keep on top of the filming and ride the bike so it was probably a better idea for him to just tell Peter that he’s just going to have to come down the rig road so he can get all the shots we need, it didn’t seem like a problem considering it’s only 47km further on a road that’s going to be much more economical for his V8 truck.
When we got to the vehicle Peter had decided that going forward and waiting for us was the better option for him. Ben then said that the plan wouldn’t work anymore because he didn’t think it was wise for him to ride. Peter then said Ben could come with him and they would see me in two days! I then said that wouldn’t work because Ben can’t do his job if he’s not able to capture the journey.
Peter didn’t have any ideas on how to get more fuel other than for me to use my satellite phone to organize more fuel to be brought in or ask other 4x4 people if they can spare 60L of fuel. I tried to explain to Peter that i am cycling across Australia and right now that is my challenge. Im not in a position financially or mentally to be sorting out fuel and I’m not going to take on the challenge of getting more fuel.
I ended up voicing out loud my frustrated internal thoughts “you are not my support vehicle, I want to make it clear I do not need your support with my crossing. You have been paid to do a job and that is to take my camera man across the desert so he can film. From where I’m sitting I am pretty much paying for you and your mate to have a leisurely trip across the desert.”
I was starting to get angry because his actions had already caused me a huge amount of stress. I really didn’t want to say something I would regret. I made sure he was also aware that today is the last day he is going to be able to add any stress onto my life without compromising my mental state as tomorrow the medication I take for my ADHD is going to run out. He told me I was going to have to organize for that to come out! I snapped and said “no Peter you will just have to not create any extra problems for me.”
I feel so gutted, this cost so much money and Ben and I were so excited about having the opportunity to film the Simpson crossing. Sometimes things are too good to be true. During the heat of the argument I decided to be the bigger person in this whole screwed up situation and back down. The choice I had made to use the rig road to cross the Simpson wasn’t worth upsetting Peter over so I said I will change my plan for you and take the tougher WAA track. Then without a word more I just rode off towards the WAA so I could try and calm down.
Im not going to lie I was furious, I was taking deep breaths and trying not to let it get to me anymore than it already had. A few km later i reached a sign that said French line 19km I decided that I would make life even easier for Peter and would head up the Colson track that joins with the French line in 19km. Now Peter is exactly where he wanted to be. The only problem we might have is the fact it’s going to take me so much longer to travel along the French line because of the shear size of the dunes and the state they are in after all the traffic that came through over the last few months. But I have compromised for him so he will need to accept the speed I will be travelling at and compromise for me. Over that 19km I was just stewing in a pit of confusion I felt very disappointed with the situation.
When I arrived to the campsite the old fellas were already set up. I cruised into camp and went and apologized to Peter as genuinely as possible in a bid to clear the air. I didnt say anything I didn’t mean. There was a “that’s ok” as an acknowledgement from his end. Peter is a good bloke he just doesn’t seem to realise or care (not sure which) that he isn’t doing the job he was paid to do and it’s causing everyone else to have to adapt.
At this point the biggest challenge about crossing the Simpson isn’t actually crossing the Simpson! I can’t wait to take some frustration out on a sand dune tomorrow haha. Wish me luck...