Jul 11, 2013
Distance for July 9 = 57.89 km; Total distance = 22,850.63 km; Location = Border Village (45 km east of) – 31 37.627’ S, 129 27.970′ E; Start time = 0807, Finish time = 1658
Distance for July 10 = 70.05 km; Total distance = 22,920.68 km; Location = Nullarbor (68 km west of) – 31 34.211’ S, 130 11.328′ E; Start time = 0759, Finish time = 1822
Distance for July 11 = 56.54 km; Total distance = 22,977.22 km; Location = Nullarbor (12 km west of) – 31 30.580’ S, 130 45.902′ E; Start time = 0822, Finish time = 1704
Another period of three days without any phone or internet coverage – I’m getting used to it now. I have to admit, it’s very remote out here.
On Tuesday I crossed over from Western Australia into South Australia, which included an hour and half time zone change. Almost instantly the vegetation went from one of occasional trees, to a treeless plain, covered with low scrubby bushes. This is the real Nullarbor. I have heard people say that Nullarbor is an aboriginal word for no trees – well, maybe, if the local indigenous people spoke the same language as the Romans. Nullarbor (null arbor) is actually a Latin word meaning “no trees”. That’s the case now.
I ran a long day of 58 km on Tuesday, finishing near our camp, perched on the edge of the high cliffs overhanging the Southern Ocean and Great Australian Bight. The others (Carmel, Jeff, Michael, Jane, and Peter) set up camp while I was running, sighting a whale below the camp.
On Wednesday I ran 70 km, which is the longest day of my entire world run. It wasn’t easy, as I started in a very strong and cold northerly crosswind. It was the real Nullarbor too, with virtually nothing to look at, except for the occasional glimpses of the ocean. I reckon I did well to get through the day. It was helped by the support crew, who warmed a meat pie in the caravan’s oven, for my lunch.
It was, however, a day punctuated with an unusual occurrence. About half way through, I ran into a guy and a goat in the middle of the road. Jimbo had seen me coming, and got Gary, his goat, to stand in the middle of the road, so he could take photos with us both in the shot. Gary was very obedient, standing still for the photo, but, as the infamous Bobby Quin would say, “A good goat’ll do that”.
I was stopped several times by motorists who wanted to know what I was doing. I even picked up a donation to Oxfam from the Mahar family, and another today from an anonymous family.
Peter and Jane left us today for a few days, but we expect to see them again soon. Peter has been cooking wonderful meals at night, so we’ll certainly miss that for a few days. Jeff and Michael have continued to run and ride with me. Jeff ran 7 km and 12 km, and then rode 65 km today. Michael rode 30 km yesterday.
Today I saw two dingoes on separate occasions. They were watching me, trotting along behind, but when I called to them, they both ran away. There was also a dead one on the side of the road, the victim of a car.
I also had many stops today, to say hello to people along the way – two English girls, a Japanese cyclist, and Dave Annandale and his wife. Dave walked from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific two years ago.
Tonight we’re staying at the roadhouse of Nullarbor, with grassy treeless plains all around us. The past two nights have been spent free camping in the wilderness. We are able to watch some TV tonight – I’m looking forward to seeing some of the Ashes cricket, and the Tour de France. I can’t stay up too late, though – I’d suffer tomorrow if I did.