Category Archives: Rest Day

Under New Management

My French friends are just a day in town and the Schnitzel-Place is already being hijacked and put under new management …

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Let’s see what the cooler box will carry after the rest day.

Outback Adventure

Renting a 4×4 in Coober Pedy and driving it into the outback is as easy as this:

Ask for a car, pack it, find some partner to come along with you, set your alarm clock, go to bed, get up at 3:30am and drive into the desert …

However, getting out of the desert can be much more adventurous and difficult, when the unexpected happened. But one thing after the other.  Coober Pedy, our rest day location, should be the starting point for a trip to the Painted Desert and other locations around the opal mining town. Mike and I wanted to go there for sunrise the next morning. 24-DSC_0618All we needed was a car to drive around, because there was no tour offered, which covered our plans.  So I stopped at the Mud Hut Hotel on arrival in town, and made a reservation. A nice and shiny looking Toyota Patrol 4×4 was the only choice. Credit card and drivers license was quickly exchanged and the baby was ours for a day. A brief introduction on how to use the 4×4 and off we went for grocery shopping. Back in camp we found Mary, Ursula and Rae who wanted to join us for the trip. 01-DSC_0532All seats were now occupied for an early morning start at 4am, as the drive into the painted desert is about 170km on gravel and sand. At 4am we started into our adventure. Mike drove the car into the black darkness. Mile per mile ticked down on the odometer getting us closer to the Painted Desert. Mike did a good job driving the car in this environment. It was a perfect timing, just when we03-DSC_0562arrived at the lookout the sun showed up in the horizon, starting to cover the desert, which was up to now dark and 08-DSC_0575grey, in a carpet of colors. Everyone was taking photos of this spectacular event or simply enjoyed the moment. The nearby mountains and plains changed their colors almost every minute, as the sun rose higher and higher. We were the only ones in the desert, besides some cattle. Soon ‘the show’ was 12-20141114_064716over and it was time to return to the car. Mike, Rae and Ursula went ahead, to find it in a different condition than when we left it. the16-DSC_0595 left rear wheel was totally deflated. So they started to get the tools ready to change it with one of the 2 available spare tires. Their faces showed great disappointment when I arrived and they told me, that there was no jack in the car. They had searched all corners and started to lift the floor cover to see underneath. I found the toolset in a compartment in the rear door, but the other compartment, which looked as if it was used to store a jack, was empty, confirming their search result. So what to do? No car around, no phone signal, the UHF radio also not receiving anything. Wait? The GPS indicated a homestead with campsite, ‘only’ 12 km away. Walk there? All rules say ‘never leave the car’ … so we decided to drive slowly to the homestead on the flat tire. However we only came about 5km further down the road, when we recognized that the flat tire will not last much longer on the rough road. So we had to 17-DSC_0604come up with another solution. Having 5 intelligent persons around it took not long and we setup the car on the raised edge of the gravel road, such that we could dig out the flat tire and replace it with the spare one. Collecting wood and rocks to secure the car and dig we worked a good 60 minutes before the 2 wheels changed their position and we could continue with our trip. Having only one spare tire 22-DSC_0612left and no jack, we decided to take the shortest way out of the desert to the Stuart Highway, where changes are much better to get help, if we happen to run into more problems. This said we headed west towards Cadney Homestead, where we camped 2 days ago. Still 70 km to go on gravel and sand, through a beautiful desert. 31-DSC_0638Remembering the good fries at the pub we pulled in for an early lunch stop. It felt so good to have made it back to civilization. Our enthusiasm didn’t last very long. When we returned to the car we found, that the right rear tire was running low on air. What the f… is going on here? We got air at the gas station, pumped it up and hurried down the 160 km to Coober Pedy to return the car as soon as possible. There was no way to visit the other locations which were on our tour list, with this car and the luck we seemed to have today. Mike dropped Ursula, Mary and Rae at the campsite and we returned the car, prepared to complain about sending us into the desert without the right tools. The owner couldn’t believe what we reported. 2 flat35-DSC_0651s on a single trip has never happened before. And a missing jack, absolutely impossible. The car was checked before and it was there. So we went to the car and he opened a small compartment behind the left rear lights and pointed into a dark corner. Guess what we found hidden behind a string of electric wires?? A small hydraulic jack! Which has replaced the one, which was provided with the car by the manufacturer. We were so pissed. Why didn’t they tell us when we rented it? Why is there no label in the old compartment saying ‘Jack was here before, now he is elsewhere’! So, all for nothing, but a nice adventure and good teamwork to rescue ourselves from the outback. And finally the highest one day car rental bill ever and a good story for the bush camp nights ahead of us.

Find more pictures of this fabulous adventure in the gallery below.

Nov. 14, 2014

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Me and Me2 in Kings Canyon

Second day of the rest day trip to the outback’s most famous sites. I am feeling good even without my bicycle.
My ‘wind cycling clone’ and I are lazing on the rim of the spectacular Kings Canyon in the Watarrka National Park.
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This canyon is considered one of the most spectacular sights in Central Australia. The 7km, 3.5h hiking loop started with a short but steep climb up to the canyon rim with fantastic views into and over the canyon. The heat turned on and reached a high of about 41°C before noon.

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We left Uluru at 4am to be early at the entrance to the canyon for a breakfast and before it is been closed for hiking due to the burning heat.

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Garden Eden provided shade and water, not only for us but also the, plants, birds and other animals in this boiling oven.

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Now on the way back to ‘Alice’ for one more day of real rest and longer sleep? Or do I have another tenting surprise after leaving my little home unattended in ‘French’ territory for 2 days?

Leaving for Uluru & Kings Canyon

A new perspective on Stuart Highway.  Usually nose deep down, almost into the tar, to break through the wind we now have a high raised and comfortable seat in the coach that carries us 1300km over the next 2 days, through the major sites of Ayers Rock, The Olgas and Kings Canyon.

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At the Stuarts Well Roadhouse we were served the Soup of the Day.

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Probably some of the riders who decided to spent 3 boring rest days in Alice Springs, rather than to go with us on tour, will regret to miss this special.
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Later at Curtin Springs, the view of ‘Fooluru’ – Mt. Conner or ‘the world largest toothbrush – and Lake Amadeus. Mt. Conner is often thought to be Uluru (Ayers Rock), which is still 100km further to the west, and it is said that some people even turned around here after taken their photos, not knowing that they were fooled by a similar looking rock.
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Now at ‘The Rock’ for a quick daylight photo before this pkace gets crowded.

Leaving for Uluru & Kings Canyon

A new perspective on Stuart Highway.  Usually nose deep down, almost into the tar, to break through the wind we now have a high raised and comfortable seat in the coach that carries us 1300km over the next 2 days, through the major sites of Ayers Rock, The Olgas and Kings Canyon.

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At the Stuarts Well Roadhouse we were served the Soup of the Day.

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Probably some if the riders who decided to spent 3 boring rest days in Alice Springs, rather than to go with us on tour, will regret to miss this special.

A Starter for Eric

Eric is protecting his ‘starters’

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Whereas Gerald has still got nothing, yet.

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At the Tennant Creek Memorial Club

Waiting for Breakfast

Another long cycling day ahead. Everyone is ready to get on the road, however not without a good breakfast, which is still minutes away …

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Daily routine:
Breakfast at 5:45am. But first tents were broken down as earky as 3:30am!!! End of the sleep for the rest of us, as the noise of moving zips, folding poles and packing bags runs through the whole camp in the otherwise quiet night.

The last Waterhole?

Chilling out at the last Billabong (waterhole) – the pool at the camp ground – before we go on a 5 days / 660 km trip further south into the dry Aussie interior

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Unfortunately the rental car companies were closed on Sundays, thus we were trapped in the town and could not go to see the Gorge …
At least the restaurant at camp is open today and we don’t have to taxi into town again.

Mini TdA2008 Reunion

Chris, Ursula, Rae and I met with Gwen and Hans, who are traveling NT by car for 3 weeks and stayed in our camp in Darwin. We shared stories and beer and went out for dinner.

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A Giant Tour

DSC_6518Today we arrived in Kupang on Timor, the 7th island of our cycling and island hopping trip and the last Indonesian, before heading to Australia. After a short flight from Ende on Flores and a 8 km taxi drive from the airport into town, we were warmly welcomed at the Sasando International Hotel with music on the traditional Sasando instrument and a very nice banner, honoring our extremely long trip from Medan to Sydney.

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Now I have a problem to explain to my employer and followers, why I need a 4 months leave to cycle the gigantic 11km from Medan, a  new suburb of Sidney, into the town. Winking smile

Lets phrase it different. Good Job Cristiano! My odometer already shows 5300km at not even halftime of the full tour. You proved to be the master of making a probably short and easy trip a giant monster.

Looking forward to find out how you turned the final 6 km from here to Sydney into another long and man-eating 6000km monster stretch. Surprised smile