Saturday, May 27, 2017

World walk blog Australia 7

Friday a big 13 hour, 56 kilometre day to finish in a campground. I started at 5:45am. At that early hour two kangaroos jumped across the road about a hundred metres in front of me. Unfortunately, I wasn't fast on the draw with my camera. Not many secluded camping places. There was a rain water well there; so we filled up our water containers, treated it and are back to 120 litres. That's what we started out with from Norseman eight days ago. Enough for two weeks at our current consumption. Three weeks if in the unlikely event of me giving up tea and coffee 😂😰 Extreme athletes break all the rules 😀
The roadhouses are experiencing a shortage due to drought conditions. We were refused water at Balladonia roadhouse.
With an estimated 20 days required to cross the Nullarbor Michael Gillan queried what I meant when I added " Plus two days margin"
Well humans can go three days without water before dying lol 😀😂🤑😓😜😩😬😂🐫💦☔️
Michael discovered a hillock and dragged me over to it kicking and screaming for after almost 15,000 kms from Dublin this 100 metres was too far, " It's not on my route Michael and I have to walk all the way back!😂"
Then he said. " I declare this Mount Mangan!"
Later, thankfully I was out walking when he discovered another of my conquests, Lake Mangan 😀
A six-thirty early start today, breakfast after 15kms and am now at 21 km today, only 19 to Caiguna

Friday, May 26, 2017

World walk blog. Australia 6

 The walk from Balldonia roadhouse towards Ciguana is going well. I will be there on Saturday. After 35 kilometres I came to a straight stretch of road which is called 90 mile straight, for its 145 kilometres long, and without a bend. It's Australia's longest straight road, longer that many countries, four times longer than Singapore!
A month ago on the way to my Australian start in Perth, Michael and I stopped off at rest area located just one kilometre east of the sign for the longest straight road.
 As a 'cache' food drop experiment we buried seven cans of Pepsi and documented the location. We did this for a laugh but also as I have often thought it possible that a runner or walker who didn't have a support crew or even want to push a cart could run or walk a desolate area if they had access to a car and drove the route before. One could bury a small stash of water, canned food or even snacks that are well wrapped up. Obviously the secret is accurate documentation, and photo taking of drop locations. More drops than are required also. In Australia km posts are every 10 kilometres. There are also picnic site every 20 kilometres or so. So caches could be say 10-20 paces from the post into a field and below a stone with say colored ribbon or a spray of paint. One could make a drop every 20,30,40 kms or whatever. Just a thought, everything is possible.
Anyway, at this picnic site mentioned above we left two cans of Pepsi for the next Nullarbor crosser!! It's location is on the west side of the longest straight, at the picnic site, just one km from the sign. Go into the parking area. And without wanting to sound like something from the Shawshank Redemption movie... Look for the tree that shouldn't be there! It's a stub of a tree with its branches sawn off. Walk twelve paces towards the fence. See photos. You will see a piece of duct tape on the barbed wire fence. Look closely at that photo too. Just in front of that is a red stone. That's where they are buried! Enjoy, if you plan to make a Nullarbor crossing. But hey, the cans say best before September 22nd 2017 at 07:02 and!😂
Anyway, back to the road. I walked on that night and Michael found a camping place. The long straight road took a bit of getting used to for when I saw a vehicle approaching me with its lights in the early evening, it often took five minutes to reach me. I first saw it approaching me about ten kilometres away. No wonder Michael was an hour out on the road shining his flashlight down the road at me, for I was so far away. 44 kilometres that day. Next day I walked 41 and also finished an hour after dark as so many people stopped to check on me including a gold prospecting couple and a man from Ireland on a motorbike
Just as I reached our camping place tonight I heard howling dingos. They are like dogs, often sandy brown color, more of a wolf than a dog. Dingos don't bark, they howl, which sounded like an ambulance siren to me.


World walk blog Australia 5


Before leaving Norseman at the start of the Nullarbor I stopped at the towns information office to check on conditions ahead. The friendly, but alarmist woman who worked there gave me the 'idiot boy' look. A look that suggested I was yet another fool on the road. I heard about Japanese cyclists who staggered into town as they hadn't taken enough water with them, well there is only so much water a biker can take. I was sure I heard about these cyclists when I was running the Melbourne to Darwin route four years ago. Then the lady mentioned that roadhouses are suffering a shortage due to a drought and the taps on water wells are usually vandalized. If none of that kills you, the road trains surely will seemed to be the attitude. I have noticed that many Australians like to play the drama queen, and talk about how difficult everything is, especially the dangerous roads. The reality is that Australian road are so safe, little traffic. I have a shoulder to walk on in addition to a wide gravel verge. Whatever I die from, it won't be boredom. Everyone is courteous. Except one man in the town park who pushed me too far when he said... " So I suppose you also take a ride in people's cars?"
"Never, that would be cheating for I have walked every land step since Dublin." Was my reply.
"But why? Surely you do when nobody is looking and nobody would know?"
Well, I would know and that's all that matters. And he persisted a third time. At that stage I just called him an idiot, to which he replied that I should understand the Aussie humour that he was joking. So I asked him if I called him a pervert would he think it was a joke..
"Well that's different" was his reply.
"Why?" I asked. No reply, some things you don't joke about.
On the road towards Balladonia I was loving it, walking along the start of the Nullarbor. After my rest day I needed the road like an artist needs a canvas. I walked four solid days, enjoying myself so much. My body was like a begging bowl, begging for kilometre posts. Four days and 192 were rolled off. Temperatures fluctuated from 20-25 degrees C and sometimes a cooling tailwind.
Trees and bushes lined the road and sometimes provided welcome shade. Each night Michael and I cooked our dinner in picnic areas or parked at trail heads just off the road where we pitched out tents. One night it rained heavily and I cooked the dinner out of his car door. Each night we cook pasta and add either a can of beans, spaghetti or our favourite, corn. I usually get walking around seven am while Michael packs up the camping gear and boils up water for our thermos's. I used to have breakfast before I left but that was such a waste of time. Often I sat there for almost an hour. Time just vanished once I took out my phone. Now, I walk straight out of camp and onto the road, just grabbing a few biscuits and some water for the road. After about eight kilometres Michael catches up with me, then I take my breakfast. Better time management.
I haven't seen any kangaroos. I reckon the reason is just like Russia I am traveling along the main road. Had I drifted into the minor roads in Russia I would have seen brown bears there. Likewise, I am told there are many kangaroos on those minor roads in Australia.
After my 50 kilometre day I was not impressed by the Balladonia road house. The management wouldn't even fill out thermos's. Camping wasn't allowed in the truck stop area, everything seemed to be 'Can't do' So, I will always remember Balladonia as ' Can't do town' However, I had a great chat with one man called Doug and his wife Lynn who invited me to their room for coffee and he filled up the thermos, I didn't really need him to but he insisted. I keep meeting decent people who stop to see if I am okay on the road. This morning a couple invited me over to their campfire for breakfast as their RV had broken down and they were waiting for a tow truck. I also met an eighteen year old Belgian cyclist who was looking for work. He plans to cycle to Sydney. I asked him what he wanted to do after that and he didn't know. So I asked him what country did he want to see more than any other in the world. It was Nepal.
" So fly there an cycle home!" I suggested. He thought it a great idea and is considering it.

Next leg will take me four days to Caiguna. About 1,000 left on the Nullarbor


Australia my world walk blog 4
Australia my world walk blog 3

Taking a rest day in Norseman. A small town named after its founder, a Scotsman who considered himself to be a Norse man, he even name his horse Norseman.
So today we are tourists. We started off with a bar b q in the town park. However, it turned out to be a disaster when we mistakenly purchased horrible vegan burgers 😂 which tasted like sawdust.
One crisp winters night in 1894 prospector Laurie Sinclair tethered his horse to a tree outside his brothers tent. Legend has it that in the morning he found his horse lame. On inspecting it found a sizable chunk o gold-bearing Quartz stuck in its hoof. This led to a gold rush with people flicking from Dundas and surrounding areas, and the birth of the town.
Two years later there were five English and twenty-five Australian companies at work processing gold through two batteries. The yield that year was 4,271 ounces

Friday, May 5, 2017

My world walk Australia Blog 2

If it shines... It's gold.
> Update: Total distance to date for 359 road days is: 13,724 kilometres. It was May Day, my second day on the road in Australia. I was enjoying myself immensely. I was excited and wondered what  adventures and yarns  lay ahead waiting for me and Michael Gillan. 

Michael had kindly offered to provide crew support for me for Australia. He drove his white Toyota Corolla which we had crammed with camping equipment, clothes, food and water. That meant I could walk hands-free, free of the shackles of pushing Karma, my cart.

> As I walked along route 94, a busy four lane divided highway Michael would come from behind, about once an hour. Or sometimes depending on the weather less frequent. On my back I carried a small water bottle bag, which was obviously optional. Many of my followers wondered if I was attempting a fastest trans-Australia west-east walk record. My feet were itching to move fast and are capable of long, long road days. They felt like two boxes of tinder, ready to explode, a spark to fire me along the hot Western Australian tarmac. I considered the Perth to Sydney, circa 4,200 km walking record. I thought about it  for only one day. One man told me that it was in the region of 90 days, if so it was a soft record one to be broken by a serious challenger. I for one was not interested. I want this walkabout to be as enjoyable as possible, I don't need any added pressure nor have I anything to prove to anyone. I will walk at my own pace, as little or as much as I like

> That second day I walked 39 kilometres and then the following day an enjoyable 47 when I finished in the coolness of the evening. Usually towards the end of the day I ask Michael to go on ahead to find a place to camp and prepare dinner. That night we camped just north of Northam.
> Australia, a country of 23.9 million  people is the sixth largest country in the world, by landmass. Most people live along the coast. There are just a few main roads, a national network in the shape of a figure 8. So-called 'grey nomads' who are elderly, usually well-heeled, retired people (akin to the American 'snow birds') travel the country in expensive RVs, motor homes or caravans pulled by powerful SUVs

> I walked past countless street names with Irish names, like Kelly road and even a place called Irishtown
> For the early settlers in the country were mainly Irish convicts and also the English gentry who also introduced cricket, rugby and horse racing, all of which are deeply rooted in Australian culture today.

> Arriving in a small town called Meckering, population 139 we camped in the Memorial park. In 1968 the town was completely flattened by an earthquake. Miraculously, nobody was killed and perhaps some townsfolk  were spared as it was a holiday weekend when many people were away.

> That night I walked across the road to the petrol station to ask if I could charge my battery pack overnight. I would collect it before leaving town the next morning. The friendly attendant, a woman called Lou couldn't do enough to oblige. While telling her about my world walk another lady called Emma kindly made a donation towards our next tank of petrol to keep my cancer awareness march on the road. I have said it many times in the past... Life is precious and early cancer screening saves lives.

> In the morning when we went into  a cafe called Coltons Beef Jerky company we got a really warm reception from the owners Ralph and Louise. They had only just opened for business a fortnight before. It was to be a long enjoyable fry up breakfast. First we were both told we could shower! How generous was that? In all of my years traveling, I struggle to remember a more delicious breakfast for even the mushrooms tasted like pieces of tender steak. Before we left Ralph  told me to keep my head down to the ground. I wondered if he meant to watch out for snakes. He laughed and said that there is so much gold there that 'anything that shines is gold!'

> Then gave us each a packet of his delicious beef jerky. When I asked him where he was from, with a big smile he replied. "Western Australia" Its not the first time that I have detected that big proud smile, for in Western Australia, the largest state, many people like to brag about 'biggest is best.' Reminds me of Texas!

> It was a late start on the road, around ten am, for lately I am managing to get walking before eight o'clock.
> On the way out of town I was stopped by a man called Joe. He was doing some pipe work outside his house. Joe told me of his friend, a woman who had been diagnosed with stage four cancer. Tragically the very next day her daughter was killed in a traffic accident.

> I walked on, through Cunderdin, a quaint town where many buildings have interesting architecture. As it was five pm and with so many break stops I made slow progress. Earlier that warm day bush flies were a nuisance. When the day cooled I decided to send Michael on ahead towards Tammin to find a camping spot. I walked alone for twenty more  kilometres that evening for it was a pleasant time of the day.