Updated: Aug 23, 2019
Bacon eggs, sausages and beans oh what a wonderful breakfast! My uncle Mark really put on a good breakfast for us, the best way to start the day.
I was excited to crack into the day on the bike but first I had the challenge of crossing the Eyer creek. My dad and Mark drove around because they didn’t want to get in the river this early in the morning. I rode off down to the edge of the creek, stripped off and washed myself. Even though it was freezing cold it felt so good to wash the 9 day old sweat, blood and dust off my skin. I unloaded my bags from my bike and started by carrying my bike above my head across the creek, it was about chest height and incredibly slippery, once the bike was over I swam back across and I picked up all my bags. They were light as I had consumed almost all of my water and food from the Simpson Desert crossing.
I had become cold during my creek crossing so I lay on the riverbank in the lush flowers under hot sun drying myself. I listened to the song of nature, the ducks fishing, parrots chatting and the swishing wind in the trees, it was wonderful. I packed my bags back onto my bike and headed off to meet with Ben dad and mark. As I came up the road Peter had already started trying to figure out a way to leave early and had told Ben he was headed into town and that he could ride in Marks car. Classic, I told him he could go but would have to come back with all Bens gear at sunset. He agreed and was off!
Dad put his hand up for the first leg on the other bike so he climbed on and we set off to ride around the track towards the last 7 sand dunes of my entire journey across Australia. I have learned already to not trust anything dad says about anything to do with distance because his 200m track that he drove in on turned into a 4.5km detour. Together we followed the wiggly track through the lush green floodplain as it detoured around a small creek and then back along to the beginning of the first dune. The contrast of colours from green to orange was absolutely amazing. With uncle Mark following closely behind in his truck, we made our way up and over the dunes one by one. As the day was only a short one we decided to split it in half so once my dad had roughly pushed and rode 13km, he swapped out with Mark. Mark and I rode the next 13km, it was so cool to share some of the journey with my family. I wanted to do the last few dunes on my own to reflect. When I spotted the last dune, I knew it was definitely the biggest, its local name is “big red” and it’s traditional name is Nappanerica.
I crossed the clay pan and came to a stop. I stood at the bottom of this monstrosity of a dune and took a few moments to reflect on the desert crossing and all the crazy things that happened. I thought about the hot springs and how while I was there I got absolutely destroyed by mosquitoes that made me itch every day for the last 2 weeks. I thought about setting off along the Rig road and having my entire journey flipped upside down by the expensive and poorly prepared vehicle that drove Ben across the Simpson. Reflecting on the experience of crossing the desert, the hardest part wasn’t pushing my bike over 1136 sand dunes it was mentaly dealing with challenges that come with working with other people. I didn’t only remember the hard things though, I thought about the dingos, “ringo”, the wild flowers, rivers and isolated desert landscape.
The highlight for me was riding in the dust storm and being able to share the ups and downs of the Simpson adventure with Ben. He is such a kind, open guy, actually he’s the first person I have met other than Ngaio who I dont mind sharing food with. I act like the leader of a pack of wolves around food... very protective! So if your reading this Ben the gift of my food is the most heartfelt and I want you to know your a good keen man! ( kiwi version of what you Australians call someone that I won’t wrote in here) I look forward to many adventures with you in the future.
As I pushed my bike up the Big Red dune, my Dad, Ben and Mark stood at the top. It was an absolute slog but I pushed through the exhaustion and topped out! I gave Ben a fist bump and dad a huge hug, thanking him for coming out into the desert with Mark to surprise me. Mark cracked me a beer and we all celebrated my crossing of the Simpson Desert. We stayed there on the top of the dune watching the sun slowly drop below the horizon, this made for a pretty special day.
Peter came an hour after he was supposed to and Ben was able to grab the gear he needed for a night under the stars. Once they left Ben jumped on the bike for the last time and together we rode down the other side of the dune and onto a proper dirt road. As night took over the four of us set up and camped under the stars 30km out of Birdsville. As we were setting up the owner of the land pulled up to ask what we were doing, I told the lovely woman that I was riding across Australia and the wind was to strong to ride all the way into Birdsville tonight. She was so friendly and totally happy for us to camp there. I got a fire going and started cooking up a storm with the food mark had brought along! It was a huge feast, actually the best meal of the whole trip so far! I ate two T-bone steaks, a ham steak, a delicious mushroom and onion gravy with mashed potatoes and carrot, IT EVEN HAD A SIDE SALAD! Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better Mark pops a bottle of red, Ahhh today was absolutely phenomenal!