Thursday … Madura to Ceduna … WET!
All that grey cloud ahead of us yesterday proved to be a bit of an omen. Around 4am, woken first by the incredibly uncomfortable mattress (the badly sprung old type that rolls you into the center!) and then thoroughly by another guest starting up his motorbike and heading off (probably couldn’t tolerate his mattress either, as we saw him at Bordertown Roadhouse just getting back on his bike as we went through) we heard rain!
Fortuitously, having to park the bikes on the gravel (no choice here) we’d placed a couple of pieces of found scrap cement sheet under the side-stands. We took advantage of the rain soaked bikes and easily wiped off yesterday’s smashed bug grime. A lovely big serving of yummy scrambled eggs (prepared by the Manager himself – obviously his speciality!) an exit strategy across the wet gravel decided upon, and we were set to face the day.
Madura Pass > Eucla Pass – the escarpment on our left, what we could see of it through rain-spotted visors, ocean we knew was to our right … Before today, I used to like the sound of rain, especially on a tin roof or similar … and our first leg Madura to Eucla fuel stop, the pitter patter of light rain on the helmet and visor was Ok – in fact, we commented to each other that hey, it wasn’t so bad riding through a bit of light rain … with some respite while fueling up at Eucla.
We had made a mental note two weeks ago to visit on our way back if we could at least one of the other photo points of the Great Australian Bight – as the rain had stopped, we were able to access with bikes the Western end, which had an unpaved but large car-park …
Compared to two weeks ago, the horizon was invisible!
Pics taken, we were feeling pretty pleased with ourselves … and then, 10kms down the road, the rain started again, and heavy! Ok, that’s enough, the novelty has worn off, make it go away!! … we still had 520kms to do!
Nullarbor Rd House for fuel and lunch … perfectly BAD timing, as it was “peak-hour” at the few premium pumps! The vintage MG car club (sorry Leaping, no pics) had had an AGM in Adelaide, and a dozen or so Perthians were heading back home … then there were also the cars with caravans, and us … everyone who needed fuel had to hand in their license before the operator would open the pump (because of the number of non-paying run-offs) … nonetheless, the system incensed Chris enough to give the operator an earful of “what is this country coming to!” He was not alone with that sentiment - other disgruntled customers agreed out loud as well – and still it rained.
I don’t know why, but seeing puddles of water beside the road through the Nullarbor is not something I expected to see … OF COURSE it rains on the Nullarbor, but was still surprised to see it ;-)
Another unexpected surprise was to see a Dingo loitering around the Servo, totally unafraid of humans … there were notices placed around saying do not feed the Dingos –a Dingo tamed with hand-given food is considered dangerous to human life and will be destroyed … this dog certainly wasn’t scared, but while we were waiting for fuel, everyone ignored it.
Off down the road again, and it still rained, and got heavier and heavier
Our next rest stop was supposed to be Nundura … with the heavy rain, it concerned Chris that the dirt drive might well be a quagmire and unseen pot-holes – we decided to try for Penong a little further up which we knew was paved, only to find it FULL of road-trains and caravans at every pump! And still it rained … we pushed on for Ceduna
Ceduna being on the SA/Vic border, of course there is a regulatory Quarantine inspection – for Chris, the Quarantine Inspector was the ‘hero of the day’: “Have you got anything to declare?” … “Yes” says Chris, “one very sodden tired and sore body!” … the Inspector chuckles and waves him through, then asks me: I have no available humour left, the tank is empty and reply “No, absolutely nothing” and he waves me through too
Ceduna Comfort Hotel Motel is easily found (thankfully!) and while collecting our room key from Reception (we have to wait in a queue, again!!) we drip water from every piece of clothing … I'd been relatively Ok over the past 300kms, but waiting for our key I start to shiver! Chris kindly lugs my bag into the room, while I can’t get in the shower quick enough! Every piece of clothing was wet somewhere!
To date, it was the most miserable un-enjoyable day’s riding we’ve ever had - no scenery to be seen (we didn’t dare try to look!) just the road ahead with slotted white lines, and for me the back of Chris and his bike! Thank heavens for BMW standard issue heated grips, they kept me safe!
The only saving grace of the day was being able to get some more pics of the Bight, some glorious sunset pics and knowing we had our palatial Ceduna room for two nights!
A delicious Fillet Mignon for dinner, and a glorious sunset (which makes up for missing out at Madura), an early night is very much needed.