Pinnacles - 616 km detour (28.9. - 5.10.)
Friday 28.09.07 (1st day) – On the way to the Pinnacles
Our first night out. We have put up our tent about 100 m off Wanaroo road in a pine forest. We feel like in a botanic garden here. There are so many beautiful and exotic plants and flowers around. It is springtime and everything is in bloom; it is the best time of the year for a visit. We have seen a flower that sometimes appears on road signs. It is called “Kangaroo paw”; it is a very special red and green velvet-like flower. We have also cycled past a swamp with hundreds of Arum lilies. So lovely! We have found a small watermelon on the roadside, it looked all right, so we took it and we’ll have it tomorrow. We have made 83 km today. We wanted to cycle longer, but it gets dark very soon here. At 7 pm, it is almost completely dark.
Saturday 29.09.07 (2nd day) – Under the attack of a magpie
We have made 93 km and the Pinnacles are still about 130 km far. We didn’t count the km properly and were told that it was about 150 km, but it will be over 300 ☺. Never mind.
We wanted to eat the watermelon from yesterday, but when we cut it, it was green and awful. Later, we saw a lot of little watermelons on the roadside; they are wild and just grow there, but we no longer pick them, we have enough weight on the bikes already ☺.
We stopped at the roadhouse at the turn off to Gingin. Martin had a flat tyre on his back wheel and while he was repairing it I put the panniers off my bike and cycled to Gingin (aprox. 3 km) to buy some bread. There was a magpie very close watching us. As I started to ride, it began to attack me. I got frightened and fell off the bike ☺. Then, the bird disappeared. When I returned, the bird was there again. I wanted to take a pic of the cheeky bird from the side, but it always moved, so we were all the time face-to-face ☺. As we were leaving, there were all of a sudden 3-4 of them flying close above our heads. It was like in a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s horror The Birds ☺. Later, we were told that the magpies are nesting at this time and can be pretty aggressive. We stopped there on the way back and the bird managed to shit on my head, luckily I had a helmet ☺.
Sunday 30.09.07 (3rd day) – Meeting
We have met a Dutch couple today. They are on their way down from Darwin and continue around the whole country, about 20.000 km. They have a year to do it. Wow, that is great! The Dutch lady said that they have met a few bikers with panniers, but I am the first woman ☺. Later, we met two guys from Germany travelling independently. People say that a lot of Japanese people travel on bike as well.
Monday 01.10.07 (4th day) – The Pinnacles and the Tasmanian devil
The Pinnacles are awesome! They are lime formations reminding of a forest of little towers and columns on sand. They were created by under surface erosion and the constant southwest winds have blown away the sand. The tallest ones are about 4m tall. There is a 3.5 km long way among the rocks. Most of the people drive a car there.
We were thinking about asking somebody to give us a lift back to Perth from the Pinnacles in order to save 3 days cycling. I saw a man with a big old car. He was on his own. I gave it a try and was lucky. He was a Tasmanian living in Perth. He was going to Perth and didn’t mind taking us with bicycles. He made some adjustments in the car to make room for the bikes. We were so happy that it worked out. We agreed with him to meet at the car park after we have finished at the Pinnacles.
We got so absorbed by taking pictures that we didn’t realize how much time we spent there. When we got to the car park, our man was no longer there. What a disappointment! There was a lovely guy talking to us and even taking pics with us, but we felt a bit down. The Tasmanian guy must have got bored waiting for us and left. Well, that is life. The funny thing is that we thought if we manage to save enough days along the way, we would also visit Tasmania. Let’s see if this happen.
The first meeting with the kangaroos
We slept in the bush. At night, some noise woke me up. I could clearly recognize that these were kangaroo jumps in the sand. They were sniffing around the tent checking who the aliens were. When we got up in the morning, we saw three kangaroos about 10m from the tent. They were lovely, but quite shy. Since then, we have seen many of them at different places and also had a chance to feed them at Sheoak chalets near Augusta, where they keep pet kangaroos. Different people have brought them to this place after killing their mothers accidentally on the road and the poor things were jumping about their car.
Tuesday 02.10.07 (5th day) – Mystery on the way back to Perth
The last few km today were very strange. At one point, the road seemed to downhill, but we had to struggle very much to keep the speed 15km/h. It could have been maybe 3 km. Was the air that thick or was it a visual illusion and in fact we were cycling uphill or was it some magnetic field there? We do not know. At first, I thought that I was so exhausted that I couldn’t pedal, then that I had a flat tyre…. Strange. After that bit, we could cycle very fast again, about 25km/h or more. Hm.
Normally, on a straight road, we cycle about 21-22km/h, but when it gets hilly the average speed can drop to 15 km/h.