Day 14 Coober Pedy to Port Augusta

Sleeping underground was only slightly novel. In cool weather the temperature underground was similar to surface and the few blustery clouds did not deliver any rain overnight. I had rolled the sleeping mat out on the tent (unassembled) and slept well.

An eerie dawn broke on surface about 6:30 AM and the sun came up later. The sky was full of purple and red as the clouds hung low in sheets of grey.

I had a sociable breakfast with a couple from Sydney ( camper trailer) and a British welder, on his own in an old Land Cruiser. By the time I was packed it was 10 o’clock!! I could not believe that I spent 3 and a half hours over breakfast and a quick pack up. It looks like I need to be less sociable. To make matters worse I looped back through town to get some video footage. The Drift camera did not work yesterday and I put it down to a flat battery. Overnight I charged it off the 12 volt jump stater ( inverter) because there was no 240v power underground. However by 10:30 I could not get it to work and just gave up. My suspicion was that the electro-trickery is so smart in those things that they demand 50 Hz …this seems to be proven correct a couple of days later when I recharged batteri

Slow down Snookums

Slow down Snookums

es from 240v and everything worked.

Finally I hit the road and was over whelmed by an oncoming stream of Black Dog riders. This charity run to highlight depression (mainly in men my age) was well supported with 500 bikes heading north then west to Uluru. The wind was howling and I felt lucky to be heading south as I watched them hunched over their handlebars trying to punch into it. They did not own the whole north bound lane as a series of Alice Springs Truck Show exhibitors starting the pilgrimage north as well. Strange couplings included tractors and caravans as well as glossy painted prime movers.

The landscape had changed to a series of east west ridge lines separated by salt lakes and surrounded by salt bush. The grass was gone.

 

Overhead the grey leaden skies threatened and the temperature climbed from 18 to 21 degrees C in the next 3 hours. By then I was at Glendambo, the next roadhouse, 282 km south of Coober Pedy. It is the last of the big spaces on the section of highway Alice Springs…Eridunda…Kulgera ..Marla..Coober Peedy…Glendambo…..Port Augusta, each one is about a two hour step. This section has an uncanny resemblance to the “badlands” of Route

Grey skies

Grey skies

66 particularly Arizona. The flat topped mesas and thorny bushes set the scene which is reinforced by the ” whoops” in the failed road base. The final similarity is the road side sign

Port Augusta

Port Augusta

age with Shades of “Burma Shave”

 

 

Buckle up Honey Buns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I opted for a layer of wet weather gear before the run to Port Augusta 287km south. For a total of 5 hours 10 minutes in the saddle this was my second longest day on the trip and I felt it was time to really cut loose tomorrow and let the pony have its head. But not before checking in to a cabin to avoid the looming rain fronts that cluttered every weather map I looked at. And during refuelling outside the Port Augusta van park I was spotted by one of my Kulgera campers who promptly escorted me to a camp site for a cold beer. We didn’t waste time and plotted our next catch up at the Philip Island bike races in October this year. I finally got away to enjoy a meal of South Australian whiting…accompanied by more beer.