Day 17 – saved from hell
I decided to splash out 50 dollars and stay in a room at Camooweal – it was the filthiest room I have ever stayed in but even worse was the toilet which had seriously not been cleaned in maybe a couple of years. I soon realised that no one ever stays here apart from short bald kiwi cyclists and one 80 year old, half deaf and 30% blind (his words) evangelist preacher named Leigh. Leigh was saving souls in the town and hanging out by day at the billabong where travellers camp to spread his message. He ended up saving me on the morning I left when I locked myself in the stinking portacabin toilet by accident. Fortunately I could stand on the stinking handbasin and reach a tiny slot window which I could just fit my head through and call Leigh for help. After a bit of confusion and conversation along the lines of “Where are ya? I can hear ya but I can’t see ya?”, Leigh finally understood my predicament and released me.
I set off at midday loaded up again with 10 litres of water for a 190km run to Mt Isa. I cycled slowly into a gentle headwind all afternoon reaching 90km by 6pm. I cooked dinner and rested here then set off in the dark for another 45km ride trying to make use of the lower wind speed at night. My legs were feeling really tired by now and my body was telling me I needed a rest. I did not enjoy the ride and felt tired and uneasy in the darkness. There were dead kangaroos all over the road and I startled a number in the darkness which were feeding close to the road and they scared me as they bounced off even though I could not see them. At 11pm I pulled into a rest area and ate 4 weetbix then lay down in my bivvy bag for a few hours sleep.
I planned to wake at 4am to get moving again but was so tired I slept until 6am and did not get moving until 7am. The wind was blowing much stronger today and I cursed my tardiness as I fought it for the next 5 hours into Mt Isa. My legs had no power left and felt as if someone was injecting syringes of lactic acid into them. I had to pedal to push the bike down the hills the wind was so bad. Completely drained of energy I crawled into Mt Isa just before 12 o’clock to tally 190km since leaving Camooweal 24 hours earlier.
Mt Isa is literally a town built around a mine. The mine is the centre of the town and you can walk out the entrance and down to MacDonalds.
I am lucky to be hosted by Craig – the president of the triathalon club here and his wife and lovely family. He gave me a tour of the town and also we visited a beautiful lake called Moondarra, 20km from Mt Isa.
I am having a much needed rest today, my first in 13 days. I am getting my bike serviced and am feeling very posh as I upgraded from the bivvy sack to a real tent – my nights will be much more comfortable for the rest of the trip.
Tomorrow I have a hilly section for 120km to reach the town of Cloncurry. I hope my legs will feel better by then. The head winds look like they will get worse over the next week or so. Fortunately the temperature has now dropped to around 26 by day and 11 by night so it’s much more comfortable than the heat closer to Darwin. Bye for now!