Vino under the stars-Expedition Dust day 68
I woke up to my alarm, I had set it last night because I knew I would sleep in otherwise. I had my breakfast ready to go so while I was writing my blog I could eat at the same time. As I wrote Calumn went off exploring and took some amazing photos. We packed down the tent and pushed our bikes back over the fence and onto the road. We were 45km from Stewarts well, Calumn and I planned to stop for lunch there.
On the road we came across a wedgetail Eagle that had been hit by a truck, poor little guy! We rode along the road and eventually made it to the road house. It was Calumns shout, I got a camel burger with the works, it had an egg a slice of beatroot some onions and a whole lot more. I took a sneaky shower with all my clothes on in the sprinklers. Once we left the lunch spot we had hills we needed to clim. The were rolling so it wasn't so bad because what goes up must come down.. I could tell Calum was getting a bit tired because he had stated to fall behind. I would power off ahead and then stop and wait, or if there was no cars on the road I would do zigzags to slow myself down so I didn’t get too far ahead. I had a plan in the back of my mind for a long time, it was to be off the road on the way to Alice so Calumn could get a taste of what this journey is really all about.
When we hit the Owen springs reserve I double checked my map for distances because I was quite aware that Calumn was a little low on water. It was an extra 25km to ride tomorrow so I was in with a grin. I pointed down the dusty road and shouted “WERE GOING THAT WAY” I peeled off onto the dusty corrugated road and up to the the visitor book that was at the beginning of the track. I explained to Calumn we needed to let the air out of our tires for a smoother ride. I found it quite fascinating that even though this track is so close to Alice it had only had 10 cars through in the last month (well ten that wrote in the book) the bikes are so much comfier when on the sand but it is a little harder on the body than cruising on the road.
This track was only 50km and it has Australia’s first homestead on it. (i forgot to tell you I finally named my bike! Cruiser is it’s name. ) As we both cruised down the sandy stretch of road I remembered how much more I love riding on the sand and dust than the road, there were dingo prints to follow, I spotted lizards and even had a few wedge tailed eagle flying over as we went. Calumn had slowed down even more and was finding it quite tricky learning to use the bike on this new terrain. It took us towards a mountain range called the waterhorse range and then through a narrow gorge with hundreds of big old white gum trees it was quite spectacular. The ruins of an old bore were visible and had a information sign explaining that a flood had washed it way. Calumn was a bit gutted it didn’t have water because he had drunk more than he was meant so I was forcing him to ration it. He Only had 3L left to get to Alice which is enough and there should be water at some point tomorrow but I still didn’t want him to drink anymore than the 5L he had already consumed today just Incase something went wrong.
As the sun set we were just coming out of the trees and into a open valley. We pushed on another 3km to where the homestead was built (now ruins) and set up camp for the night. I mixed some tomato paste with flour water and mixed herbs to create a tasty damper to go with our dinner. We both had a Radix venison thyme and leek meal it went down a treat with the damper. Bloody Calumn presented a bottle of wine for our last night on his part of the journey so as we were chatting around the fire eating we were also drinking. He stitched me up though because after he took one swig he stood up and put his phone on the little cell coverage extender and ended up in the realm of anti social media. Anyway 25mins went by and I realised I had consumed almost the entire bottle of wine by my self. Calumn was tired after a big day and soon went to bed leaving me under the influence trying to write my blog next to the fire. It didn’t work to well and i ended up falling asleep.
Once again woke to the sound of a passing road train and the noise of Brando rustling in his sleeping bag. Another stunningly epic sunrise rose over our campsite near a dried up creek.
Got away at about 0900am and had a few decent descents along with uphills that pushed my knee to its limits.
A few hours on we made it to Stuart's Well and treated myself to a burger, chips and xxxx beer. I nearly lost my finger to a snapping puppy as i bought a bottle of red wine.
Another couple of hours later, Brando decided to take the road to Owen Springs which cuts through a range and leads to Larapinta Drive just near Standley Chasm. This was my first real off road test with the Surly Bike and bloody hell it was a rough mission.
An hour later I realised that I was seriously lacking in the water compartment. I ran out of my 2 litre bag about 15ks into the dirt track and I was in a shit state of mind thinking that I wouldn't have enough water to get me to Alice Springs. I calculated that I'd have enough water to get me to Alice if we stuck to the easier Stuart Highway but that wasn't the case.
I have about 2.5 litres left but I know Standley Chasm and Simpson Gap are close and I will have an opportunity to fill up my water bottles.
Right now Brando and I are camped next to one of those satellite dishes that amplify phone reception.
Overall today was fucking hard. I had to push the bike up a few sandy tracks which didn't help with my thirst. I am exhausted and with one more push for me to Alice Springs tomorrow. 91ks kind of came from nowhere but so good to be immersed in the gorges, deserts and dried rivers of the Northern Territory.