Today marked a big step in my trip across Australia: my official entrance into the Outback.
Basically the moment I've been waiting for since this trip's inception.
In Adelaide, I bought myself a ten-liter Sea to Summit Water Bag, and I've got five water bottles ranging in size from 600 ml to one liter. That's a carrying capacity of nearly 35 pounds / 16 kg of water.
And I am currently at capacity.
There's definitely nothing ultralight about this trip anymore (as if there ever was).
Leaving Port Augusta, I pass the first of many signs reminding travelers how little civilization awaits in the vast expanse of desert beyond.
There's also a sign informing the existence of “a major rest area” in 38 mi / 61 km. Does that mean there's water there? Am I carrying all this extra weight for no reason? What exactly does “major rest area” mean? Will there be a shop? Flushing toilets? Will it just be a large unpaved cul-de-sac?
So much unknown.
I have little choice since there's no way to know whether I will be able to fill up on water there, and I don't plan on running out of water on day one of my Outback adventure (any subsequent day would be acceptable).
It is possible to search for places with water via the trusty WikiCamps app (iOS/Android), but it seems that the biggest users of this app are caravaners – so I don't want to put too much stock in what they've got to say.
And so begins my ride with what will possibly be my heaviest bike of the entire trip.
As I leave the city behind, a series of large plateaus slowly come into view.
As I will soon learn, plateaus are apparently the only geological formations blessed with elevation in the Outback (and they're surprisingly flat on top – how do they get so flat?).
Speaking of flat, I still haven't gotten any flats since changing my back tire in Adelaide. It's been incredible to be able to ride without stopping to change a tire every hour (but now that I've said this I know what I can look forward to tomorrow).
Besides the plateaus, today also saw in increase in the aggressiveness of the flies, and an introduction to the Mars-like red soil that will haunt my body's every crevasse for the next several weeks.
Why am I doing this again?
- START: Port Augusta, South Australia
- END: Lake Dutton, South Australia
- DAY'S DISTANCE: 63.42 mi / 102.06 km
- TOTAL DISTANCE: 763.15 mi / 1,227.9 km