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From Coolgardie we made our way towards Balladonia. I was still feeling the effects of an Australian cold virus, not Covid thankfully, so both Bushy and Scotty talked and then we all decided to modify one very long day, approx. 180 kilometers, by turning one day’s ride into two days, 100 kilometers for day one and then another 80k on day two. Thank you to both for looking out for me.
There were challenges of course, it wouldn’t be an adventure without bumps in the A1 Great Eastern highway. The van was fitted with emergency camping accommodations including an awning that rolled out into a sided and floored tent, sleeping bags of some sort for each of us, a two-burner camp stove and all the needed food and utensils to camp on the plain in the middle of nowhere, Western Australia.
We rode about 80 k, found a good camp area that had some very basic facilities but quite a few other caravans, that is camper trailers in Aussie speak. Plus, that would make the next day longer. I was feeling ok at 80k, so we decided to ride to what looked like a second-best choice. It would have been second-best, if it hadn’t been closed for construction, dang! Scotty and I sent Bushy down the road in the van to try and find third best. Luckily, third best was only about 10k more. Off we went.
Third best was a primitive style camp, meaning absolutely no facilities, just a turn off into the bush and some clearing area to park the van and try out the tent, first time ever! Scotty and Bushy got the tent set up as I made dinner, early dinner (4:30 or so) for my mates but we are in the middle of nowhere and complete darkness will arrive about 6:30. The tent floor space was very cozy! Barely room for three bodies and sleeping bags side by side. Sleep was at a premium. I slept ok, warm enough in low 30-degree F temps, Scotty was warm, Bushy was freezing. By 6:00 alarm, Bushy was inside the van, Scotty barely slept at all, I was ok, not great. Hot breakfast via the camp stove, very welcome. Hot coffee as well. Pack up, find “private” areas to suit whatever we needed to do in the morning and then off down the road. The last I heard from Bushy and Scotty before we left was, “We are NEVER CAMPING AGAIN”.
The next 80k was relatively uneventful however I think we all suffered from having a poor previous night’s sleep. I decided that I might not be able to ride every kilometer across the country, sad but this was a vacation as well as an adventure. I told Busy and Scotty that from now on, I would try and ride at least 100 k per day. Ride in the van as needed to stay sane and alive and healthy and complete the adventure.
Before long, I saw the 30k to go sign (for Balladonia) that I seemed to be able to always look up and see every day. Some days, I swear, I saw multiple 30k to finish signs in the same day. Nullarbor, fever, I think!
Balladonia Roadhouse and motel, a night in a warm room, a good pub feed with a beer and a decent bed for all three of us.