Stage 69: South Australia

Woomera to  Range View Rest Area
Date: 11-18-2014 Time: 05:29 h Σ Time: 384:50 h
Distance: 118 km Σ km: 8268 km Temp: 11/35°C
Up: 366 m Σ Up: 73705 m Down: 395 m
Calories: 2436 kcal Σ kcal: 175812 kcal  
Conditions: The somehow expected and feared headwind.

With only 2 more cycling days in the outback, I decided to go on my own again, although the strong headwind would have made riding easier in a peloton. However, chances to see wildlife when riding alone are much higher than riding in a group. I left camp earlier than usual to be ahead of most of the other riders. Right after leaving Woomera I spotted a group of Emus in the morning sun on the road to Pimba. Unfortunately a fast approaching car and a rider, who imitating a scene from the last movie we saw – blowing a whistle when our racers speeded past us – made the emus run into the open field. Turning onto the Stuart Highway the wind was really blowing into the faces, making progress very slow. I continued my pace, although I was invited to join another group, as I was on my mission today. The slower speed made scanning for wildlife a bit easier. Soon I spotted another emu family with 2 adults and 10 kiddies.Approaching another big salt lake opened a fantastic view. It was as if the ocean was already in sight. I decided to walk into the bush field to get a much better view down onto the lake. Coming closer to the edge I saw a movement and a kangaroo disappearing into the valley. Soon there were 4 large red kangaroos on the scene, which I enjoyed to follow and watch until they disappeared in the horizon. The 30 minutes walk into the bushes had paid off with this encounter in front of a stunning lake. It made my day I could could continue to lunch and into camp with more focus on breaking the wind. Camp is at a really nice spot overlooking a range of flat mountains, but also a bit noisy, as there are to cattle grids on the road, and a lot of trucks and cars running over it.

Most of the riders decided to directly continue to Port Augusta, the next rest day location, and just 67 km more to go. They really miss the best part of the tour, the nights in the bush, with fantastic sunsets and night sky. However it is everyone’s right to sign out from the tour and find more comfortable places to sleep.

Tomorrow is the last day in the outback. Just 62 km to reach the southern coastline of Australia and 3 cycling days away from Adelaide.


Woohoo! Kangaroo!

Today, the second to last day in the outback, I had the luck to finally spot a group of big red kangaroos. Riding solo again I had the time and opportunity to deviate from the road, when I wanted to. 1-DSC_0283I had to walk about 1 km into the bushes to find and follow them. I was walking into the fields away from Stuart Highway, to get a better view of the salt lake this morning, when I recognized a movement ahead of me. I just saw a bouncing long tail disappearing into a valley and followed it. I 2-DSC_0292readied my camera and followed the ‘tail’, when I spotted a big ‘rock’ on the other side of the small valley, in front of me. My zoom lens revealed the ‘rock’ was another kangaroo. Soon there where 4 of them ahead of me. I continued to follow them, funny to see them hopping away whenever I moved, then stopping and curiously watching my next step, when I stopped, too.


This continued for quite a while. I made a step, they jumped ahead. I watched them equally amused as they watched me. Eventually the kangaroos disappeared in the horizon, as if they were diving into the white, salty lake.


My extra walk and time spent paid off. I had my photos and an awesome experience, no other in the group had, as everyone was just riding into the wind and to next camp.

<placeholder for a video I shot>