Route: Coolgardie – Lake Johnston – Norseman – Esperance
Day 190: 16 August 2019
From 6 km passed Coolgardie to 45 km passed Coolgardie
52,26 km (Total so far: 9.069,12 km) – Altitude climbed: 247 m
Weather: Sunny, moderate side wind
I rode back to Coolgardie to restock supplies, take water, visit the museum and have a shower in the community centre for the friendly price of 3 Aud.
All the ground beside the road is this sticky red mud which sticks like mud to your shoes and tyres, but the road itself is in good condition.
This is salmon gum country. The road is slightly undulating and when at high points, when one stands on the pedals, one has a brilliant view over the forrest, hundreds of
kilometers nothing but salmon tree forrest. Only saw two other cars on the road today.
Day 191: 17 August 2019
From 45 km passed Coolgardie to somewhere along Victoria Rock Road
63,09 km (Total so far: 9.132,21 km) – Altitude climbed: 386 m
Weather: Sunny, very strong head wind
I had a really nice camp site last night. Beautiful scenery, good sheltered from the wind, quite a lot of bird life around again (a lot of Lorikeets among others) and well drained for the rain that fell again during the night.
But before the rain, I saw a splendid full moon rising.
Also, perfect quietness. Not a sound apart from the birds and the wind.
It’s that wind that made the day today as one of the hardest I had here in Australia. Most of the time, I managed a meagre 8 km/hr on the flat.
After a few kilometer, I arrived at Queen Victoria Rock. It is towering only about 50 meter above the surrounding landscape, but you have amazing views. The strong southerly wind almost blew me off the rock. I enjoyed this rock much more than Ayers Rock, although it has nothing of its grandeur. You are here on your own to enjoy it.
About five kilometer after Victoria Rock I started riding through an area which must have been on fire recently. It lasts for thirty kilometer. Thirty kilometer through a completely burned down area where nothing stops the wind.
I had a rain shower and rode through a sandstorm here as well.
Then the sun came out and the only car I saw today stopped to offer me some chocolate and fill a water bottle.
The variety of greenery is enormous today. A lot of salmon gum trees but also so much other plants, bushes and trees. Also saw an emu.
I passed the junction with the Holland Track. I think that must be a beautiful track to cycle as well. I continued straight south on the Victoria Rock Road.
Very few times the road becomes too sandy and only a very few sections with corrugation. This is a much, much nicer ‘outback road’ again as the more famous GCR & Oodnadatta.
Again, I pitch the tent in a very scenic places and spend a night in all quietness.
My right knee hurts. It started half way during the day. Probably from working so hard against the wind with that heavy bike. It continuous to bother me all night.
Hopefully it will get better again.
Day 192: 18 August 2019
From somewhere along Victoria Rock Road to Disappointment Rock
61,97 km (Total so far: 9.194,18 km) – Altitude climbed: 187 m
Weather: Sunny, strong head wind
My knee hurts terrible. Kept me awake at night.
After more than 110.000 km bicycle touring, I think I have my first injury.
I wonder wether the rest days before the windy day of yesterday could have something to do with it. The first twelve kilometer, I stop three times to give my knee a rest.
What to do, what to do ??
I don’t want to stop. Too many nice things to look forward to in the remaining kilometers in Australia.
So I carry on and hope for the best.
The road I’m following, still free of traffic and the environment lift the spirits a bit.
For the first time since long, a kangaroo hops away over the road.
The road meanders between some lakes. Mostly dry, or muddy now after the recent rains. I walk through the mud to an island in the lake.
At the junction with the Hyden-Norseman Road I turn left. This road carries a bit of traffic, say a car every fifteen minutes.
The road winds its way around Lake Johnston. The western side of the lake is forested with salmon gums, the eastern side almost barren with some low bushes only.
I camp opposite Disappointment Rock. Too late in the day to hike to the top. Give that knee some well deserved rest. It doesn’t seem to get any better.
Well,…. maybe I’ve got to admit I reached the autumn of my life. It’s not going to get better from here.
Day 193: 19 August 2019
From Disappointment Rock to 16 km before Norseman
68,03 km (Total so far: 9.262,21 km) – Altitude climbed: 300 m
Weather: Sunny, light head and side wind
First cross the street and up to the rock. I thought this was going to be a quick run up the hill, but no… it’s much more interesting. There is an interpretive trail with little signs and interesting information. The views are fantastic. I stayed 1,5 hour on Disappointment Rock, but never found out why it’s called that.
Rest of the day is relaxed cycling through the salmon gum forrest.
‘The knee’…. I was thinking.
The knee is much better !
Yes, I still feel something, but definitely not the pain from the previous days. Pedaling goes rather smooth.
Ah, let’s face it, after all, I am still in the high summer of my life.
Things look good, no reasons to worry, forward with the goat !
Day 194: 20 August 2019
From 16 km before Norseman to along Dundas Heritage Trail
28,53 km (Total so far: 9.290,74 km) – Altitude climbed: 256
Weather: Sunny, light side wind
Every day has its highlight.
Today, for some that might be the first phone connection in five days, or it may be that hot shower you can take next to the visitor info centre (2 Aud, but much, much less clean as the facilities in Coolgardie).
But I think the real highlight was Lake Cowan, the big salt lake I crossed before entering Norseman. And also the first part of the ‘Dundas Heritage Trail’, a 25 kilometer dirt road going south from Norseman. Excellent to avoid the highway. I camp at the highest point of the track, a hill top with great views to the forested flat lands to the east.
I wanted to take some rest days at Norseman, but next two days a light northern wind is forecasted, and I’m going to take advantage of that, riding south to the coast.
Rain is expected on day three though.
Day 195: 21 August 2019
From along Dundas Heritage Trail to Gilmore Lake Nature Park
67,38 km (Total so far: 9.358,12 km) – Altitude climbed: 252 m
Weather: Sunny, moderate tail and side wind
Continued along the Dundas Heritage Trail. Only one car passed me here. It’s a beautiful track and interesting trail.
Eventually, I arrive back at the highway which I have to follow for about 40 kilometer. The original plan was to ride via Peak Charles (which would involve only a 30 kilometer ride over the highway) but with the recent problems with me knee, I decide to take it easier.
From the highway I have views to the beautiful Lake Gilmore.
At Beete Road, a dirt track running south of the lake, I leave the highway behind. Agricultural land and forest along the road.
Day 196: 22 August 2019
From Gilmore Lake Nature Park to near junction Styles Road and Truslove Road
99,37 km (Total so far: 9.457,49 km) – Altitude climbed: 455 m
Weather: Sunny, strong tail wind
A beautiful cycling day on quiet country roads, all unpaved, less than a handful of cars. It is nothing spectacular, just relaxed cycling. Lot’s of grassland, fields with yellow flowers, vistas to Peak Charles in the distance and lots of small lakes. And the lakes have water now. Due to the salt and minerals, they can have all colours. Some are red, others green and another one blue.
The farmland is fenced off, but there are several ‘islands’ of forest where one can camp.
North of the junction with Styles Road and Truslove Road is a bigger forest of 15 km or so.
Day 197: 23 August 2019
Near junction Styles Road and Truslove Road
a wet day, and as I don’t like cycling in the rain, I stay a day in the tent, give the knee some more rest, read a bit and make a short walk around a small lake.
Day 198: 24 August 2019
From near junction Styles Road and Truslove Road to Esperance
65,04 km (Total so far: 9.522,53 km) – Altitude climbed: 170 m
Weather: Cloudy, moderate head wind
I am surprised to hit the asphalt already 40 kilometer before Esperance.
But the road stays quiet until the junction with Dempster Road and Fisheries Road, at which point I’m almost in Esperance.
And back at the sea for the first time since leaving Melbourne.
I am lucky to have people hosting me. It is again arranged by Susie whom I met on the GCR and who had arranged already my stay in Kalgoorlie.
Now I stay with Diana and Rod, both originally from New-Zealand.
Below a map of the route since leaving Alice Springs. The gpx-track can be downloaded from Wikiloc