I should just learn to embrace the rain.
When you think about it, rain is pretty mind blowing (as is the rest of nature).
Here I am complaining about not being able to find water, and it’s falling from the fucking sky. I am sure some people in the world (maybe someone living in the Atacama Desert?) would be pissing their pants in excitement if it started to rain.
Maybe the key lies in forcing myself to smile and get excited whenever Mother Nature decides to piss on me. Perhaps this attitude would avoid a lot of my frustration in the outdoors.
I guess being rained on is better being covered in swarms of flies.
Before setting out on this journey, I thought a benefit of riding across the driest inhabited continent in the world would be the abundance of sunshine – especially when you consider that over eighty percent of my route is through desert.
Of the 41 days I’ve been on this trip, it has rained on me for seven (not counting the week I waited out the rain in Adelaide).
I’ve changed tires in the rain (how I hate flats), eaten lunch in the rain (mmmm, soggy ham and cheese tortillas), done my business in the rain (nature’s bidet), and sat cowering under rest stop gazebos in the rain (mostly while thinking, “The hell am I doing out here?).
This year the Outback is experiencing its highest daily rainfalls in more than a quarter-century. Actually, it’s the most in the past 35 years, but “a quarter-century” sounds like more, doesn’t it? Think about what you’re reading, people.
Today, as predicted, the rain has returned. Since I am not thrilled at the prospect of riding through two days of thunderstorms to Erldunda, I decide it’s time to give Mr. Jeff the Coca-Cola rep a call (the guy who gave me a ride to Yulara two days ago).
Jeff’s not leaving until the afternoon, but he says I can count on him for a ride.
It will probably be getting dark when I reach Erldunda (and probably still be pouring rain), so I don’t expect that I will be riding anywhere today (or tonight – although I do need to start doing some night riding since I bought an overpriced, but blindingly bright, light).
I take advantage of my free hours and my first reliable internet connection since Coober Pedy to fill my phone with podcasts for the road ahead. What am I currently listening to? Mostly Stuff You Should Know, Reply All, and Radiolab. If you’re unfamiliar with any of these (or are asking yourself, “What’s a podcast?”), then I would give them a listen.
A few hours go by before Jeff rings me up to say he’s leaving.
Back to the Stuart Highway we go.
It takes around three hours to get back to Erldunda from Yulara, and when Jeff drops me off he once again bestows upon me a bounty of Coca-Cola products to combat dehydration in the days to come.
Too bad Coca-Cola doesn’t sell beer.
I make my way into the roadhouse to find a table that fulfills my two requirements: within reach of an outlet (or power point as they say down here) and is located somewhere that I can see my bike from.
Since my bicycle represents what’s currently my entire life, I have a
crippliing level bit of separation anxiety when it comes to me stepping away from it. Going to the bathroom is an incredibly stressful time.
Luckily, the kindly Estonian bloke working the bar accommodates my paranoia and I am able to relax as I watch the rain continue to pour down outside.
Now all that’s left to do is wait for nightfall so that I can avoid having to pay the A$15 fee for camping here.
Don’t judge me.
- DAY OFF IN YULARA/ERLDUNDA
- DAY’S DISTANCE: 0 mi / 0 km
- TOTAL DISTANCE: 1,385.36 mi / 2,248.49 km