I don’t think I have been as cold as I was last night on this journey. My mat has randomly started going flat and without that I’m pretty much sleeping straight on the dirt. Ruby woke up while I was writing to ask for socks because of how cold it was, the night was very long and my sleep was pretty bad.
Pretty much all of my gear is from Kathmandu except for my mat. My mat is made by Thermarest and it has been coming on my expeditions since I was 19. It has served me well with no problems for 793 warm and comfortable nights. I tried to find the hole but had no luck. The hole must be tiny as it takes about an hour to completely deflate. I’m thinking I might tape the whole thing, then I might be able to get another 100 days out of it possibly even 200 if I use the good tape. I made it to the morning without turning into an Ice cube but only just.
As the sun kissed the tent I spotted a dingo prancing his way down the old railroad between the tracks, I woke Ruby so we could share the moment. We got up packed up and set off along the side of old Ghan Railway track.
We started on some soft dusty tracks that looked as though they had been created by or for motorcycles. When the dust got deep I showed Ruby how to let the air out of the tires to make travelling on the soft stuff a bit easier. We followed the track until it linked back onto the road, that has its own challenges.. more corogations and cars that zoom past at crazy speeds. It didn’t take long until my bum was sore, but believe it or not I would rather this than tarsealed roads anyday.
Ruby had come off a few times at the beginning of the day but by lunchtime we had made it 25 km and she was looking like a pro as she bounced her way down the middle of the road. As the afternoon pushed on Ruby dropped the L bomb (leaving the trip early bomb). She thinks the Simpson might be a bit too big of a challenge. Considering 8km was the furthest she ever rode before yesterday when we hit 33km, it’s clear she’s a trooper but even troopers have limitations. After watching her ride and woman-handel the heavy bikes I know she could get across the Simpson but probably not without support and definitely not in the time we have to do it.
I had always been prepared to do this section alone and I am now commited to do just that. It’s sill another 6 days until the beginning of the Simpson though and I will do my best to make sure Ruby has a fantastic experience over the coming days.
At our 45km mark there was a big sign with a painted green cactus on it. It had a crown and glasses added to it. I stopped to grab a photo and found the most random thing! There was a pile of tennis balls at the bottom of it, Ruby had reached the sign by this point and told me I should grab one for her to roll out her back as it was getting very sore. As the afternoon slowly transitioned into evening and we reached our 50km mark we pulled off the road and up into a small valley between some hills.
I like to be well and truly away from the view of the road so we pushed our bikes across a dry creek and up onto a small rise with a perfect spot for the tent. I started the fire and Ruby got started on the tent. It’s not often I have been stopped and setup before the sun is down so I used the time to go explore the area. I arrived back at camp as the sun disappeared Ruby had put some big logs on the fire so it was throwing out the perfect amount of heat to boil some water for dinner! I had radix Mexican organic beef with my own added corn chips, it’s one of my favourite meals and I don’t think it will ever get old. As the stars chatted a fair bit around the fire before snuggling into our sleeping bags and drifting off to sleep.