Sunday 19 October 2014
I left Kalgoorlie on Thursday and did the 600-odd km to Perth in two hops, stopping overnight in Merredin. The ride from Kalgoorlie to Merredin started well. It was perfect riding weather, not too hot or cold and just a light breeze.
Not long after leaving Kalgoorlie I ran into a series of road works that spread over a 20-30 km distance. At various points the road was diverted onto clay tracks which had been dampened down by a water truck. It wasnít until I felt my feet becoming wet that I realised mud was being sprayed all over me and Ruby. I hadnít even managed to last a day without my nice clean riding kit getting mucked up again.
I stopped at the road house in Yellowdime for breakfast where I got talking to a cyclist, Mario, who was on his way east. We swapped info about the road ahead and when I stepped back outside half an hour later, the temperature had sky rocketed. Not only that, the wind had got up too, and I was now being pummelled across the road. I did think about calling it quits at Southern Cross where a huge dust storm was underway, but given it was only 10.40 am it seemed a bit early so I pushed on. However, when I saw a sign saying it was 108 km to Merredin I wondered if this was such a good idea.
Thankfully the winds abated enough to keep me on the road and I got into Merredin at 12.30 pm. I could have carried on to Perth, but the heat was too draining. By now it was 38 degrees C and the prospect of putting my tent up did not appeal. The caravan park had a Single Ensuite Cabin with air conditioning available for $70 so I took that instead. It was a bit of an extravagance, but I just couldnít bear the thought of sitting in my tent all afternoon.
The next morning it was freezing again and I needed to rug up all the way into Perth. The approach to the city was actually easier than I expected, being well signposted and I managed to make it all the way to the hostel with only one stop to check the map for directions. It was 11.30 am and check-in wasnít until 1 pm. I decided to take Ruby for a wash. It took a few attempts to find the car wash the receptionist had told me about, but when I did, I was dismayed to find that wherever mud had stuck to her chrome, it was starting to rust. Iíd only left it a day, and already Ruby was corroding!
After checking in I went to explore the city. From a distance it looks very modern and clean, but from street level, there is a lot of poverty in Perth. All the main shopping streets were filled with down and outs. It made me feel uneasy.
I hadnít been sure if I would continue up the west coast to Darwin after reaching Perth or try and sell the bike and fly home early, but this short experience convinced me to get out of Perth as soon as possible. So Iíll be back on the road on Monday.
In the meantime a huge thunder storm broke yesterday afternoon and itís been pouring with rain ever since. As I donít have rain jacket, Iím not quite sure what Iíll end up doing today.
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