- Distance: 675km
- Dep: 845am
- Arr: 240pm (local Madura time... whatever that is.)
- Temp: 17°C to 34°C
I decided to get a proper night's rest so I turned off my 5am alarm, whacked in some ear plugs, and put on those dorky eyemasks so the sunlight wouldn't wake me. The room was surprisingly pleasant when I got in it, but I made the mistake of getting into bed in the dark (the light switch was across the room) so when I was getting changed in the morning, I found some dried blood at the foot of the sheets. Luckily it wasn't a spider, so we're all good. Note to self, check the bed with a flashlight before getting in.
Foodland is the aptly named flagship South Australian superstore grocer. It opens every day at 8am, which was shockingly late for a moto-roadtripper. As a result, my journey was delayed by a couple of hours. A total of 2 customers greeted the ladies inside - myself, and an octogenarian who wanted to beat the rush. I can't begin to imagine the Black Friday sales they have in Ceduna. Nevertheless, it was due diligence to stock up properly before hitting the legendary Nullabor - an extremely flat area along the Great Australian Bight that currently holds the record for the World's Longest Straight Road. So, I grabbed 3L of water, some replacement cans of tuna, and 3 bananas. Space is limited when your joyride is only 600cc.
The air was misty and cool, much like a Vancouverite spring morning before the dew evaporates. The sky was a foggy grey and the flora was thriving green all around. As I left Ceduna, I felt a strange yet refreshing glow fall upon me - I'm leaving the last grocery store for about 1400km, and I'm not sure what to feel about it. The city gets you used to convenience, and it was even more alarming when I didn't see a single soul for the first 30 minutes of riding.
The bush is quite appealing to look at. Australian plants are among the oldest species in the world, evolving over millions of years on ancient soil to become increasingly more resilient to withstand the harsh winds and droughts here. I thought to myself, it takes experience to become as tough as that tree. I should be like that tree.
Fuel along the way was adequate, but human food was few and far between, and limited to fried foods and burgers. Sheba was a happy little beast because she got to stretch her legs for long stretches at a time, just like a motorcycle should feel like. She isn't caged within traffic lights and roundabouts. Not here. I think this is the happiest I've ever seen her.
It takes ages for supplies to get to these remote places, especially with relatively few people passing through (compared to a metropolitan area). The servo staff along the way seem genuinely interested in the journey, even though I'm sure they've seen hundreds of riders come through. There's a sense of camaraderie among the travelers. Pretty much everyone along the Eyre Highway waves to you, kind of like saying "I feel your pain" and "good on ya mate" simultaneously. The general vibe is that I can walk up to anyone and ask for directions or advice. My favourite vehicle was an older couple in a silver convertible, going slow as, but having the time of their lives. Just goes to show you can never give up chasing the dream.
The temperature wasn't an issue at all today and I was happy dancing in my leathers for a solid 7 hours of riding time. It seemed like every song that came on - whether it was deep house or foreign pop music - blended in with the scenery well. Although, in the middle of doing some airplanes (arms outstretched) at an unmentionable speed, I realized that the white car in front of me was very much the state cops. I slowed to a crawl behind them for 90km until they turned off. Then I resumed dancing like a badass. Thank you, Spotify Playlist "All Out 80's"! I won't let you down, ABBA!
The Ashvault backpack sample is going well. Nothing has broken yet despite being strapped to a very hot moving vehicle while baking in the sun. It was covered in the dust of many road trains passed. I'm thankful for the easy access to snacks and water without unpacking everything.
Similar to when I entered South Australia, I searched for the "Welcome to Western Australia" sign, I was kicked in the theoretical nuts: the petrol was $1.90/litre at Border Village, my bananas got confiscated, and I found out that there was in fact no Welcome sign. Balls!
I decided midway that for every 100kms I earn $10 from myself to spend toward accommodation. So, instead of my planned camping, I splurged and rented a small bungalow in Madura with a private bathroom and air con. A whole $50 later I have no regrets, because temperatures in Madura became stifling as soon as I arrived. There was very limited mobile reception here, so internet and phone calls were near impossible. I'll ignore the smell of body odour and cigarettes, and the fact that it was $1.90/litre for petrol, and that it cost $25 for a chicken schnitzel. People out here have to make a living. Plus I have a bed, a full tummy, and a hot shower. In the end, I've realized that these are really all I need to be truly happy and it is indeed very much a privilege to be here.