After a homemade breakfast prepared by my new friends the Grey Nomads, I set out into what looks unmistakably like rain.
And now it's raining.
Luckily, the rain soon clears and is replaced by a headwind (but not before a torrential downpour). I think I prefer the rain.
I will have to check the exact numbers, but I'm willing to wager that I've encountered some measure of rain on at least 50% of my days riding thus far. Not really what I would expect from the driest continent's “dry season”.
Today I have only one civilized location (aka place with reliable water sources) to look forward to passing: Glendambo.
From Glendambo onward stretches 155 mi / 250 km of nothingness up the Stuart Highway to Coober Pedy (apparently “the greatest tourist attraction in South Australia” – we'll see about that).
I'm under the impression that this stretch has exactly zero places to stop for water, and so I will need to supply myself for three days worth of riding (because I'm still not too quick on this bicycle contraption).
Arriving in Glendambo I do a lap up and down the short stretch of civilization. There appear to be two gas stations (with attached mini marts), a motel, and a caravan park.
All potential sources of the much-needed água.
First, I try the motel.
The man working the reception – an obnoxious ogre – responds to my repeated questions regarding food and water with “We have beer”.
I try to engage him in rational conversation, but he appears to be drunk (or just unwilling to cooperate with his customer's questions). Time to try the BP station next door.
Again, I find that the staff is not helpful when it comes to filling up my water bottles. However, they do offer me the option of purchasing bottles of water from them at around $5 AUD per liter. Since I need fifteen liters, a $75 water purchase doesn't quite fit into my budget.
As a last resort I head into the caravan park to drop hints to the Grey Nomads already stopped there for the night. My efforts yield a total of one and a half liters. Clearly, I haven't made out my situation to be dramatic enough.
Finally, I find a water spout (featuring a sign warning against consumption) to fill up my bottles.
Turns out to be bore water (water pumped up from underground aquifers filled with rainwater) with a sweet, warm, slimy sort of taste. Good thing this is now all I have to drink for the next 155 mi / 250 km.
I'm going to have to use a lot of Powerade powder with this stuff.
Another 9 mi / 14 km, and I've found my home for the night near a “lake” where I rediscover the awfulness of mosquitoes.
I have been so been distracted by the flies that I had forgotten about the world's mosquito problem. In the Outback the skeeters follow their typical routine of appearing at sunset and then violently harassing you until it's gone completely dark.
The wind continues to howl, as I hunker down in my tent behind a bush and watch an enormous moon come up over the horizon.
It's seriously the biggest looking moon I've ever seen.
Photos won't do justice.
- START: Lake Hart, South Australia
- END: Lake Ross, South Australia
- DAY'S DISTANCE: 55.6 mi / 89.48 km
- TOTAL DISTANCE: 888.07 mi / 1,428.92 km