Taking on extra supplies at Esperance added another few kilos to the bike, which I felt as I peddled off climbing into a headwind for the 105 kms to Salmon Gums.
I was looking forward to seeing those trees the colour of Atlantic Salmon. Along the way were historic stops at Gibson’s Soak, Scaddan and Grass Patch with their memorials to pioneering farming families. In this marginal farming country it’s a wonder people were able to scratch out a living at all.
While the skies remained threatening, the rain held off. I’m a half blind, casual twitcher perhaps, but I’m no ornithologist. However, it’s getting so I can tell a bird by the sound it makes. So it was as I heard the mournful cry of the black cockatoos as they descended upon the Cyprus pines farmers had planted as wind breaks, I heard the then the familiar 28, 28 of the ring necked parrots.
There’s been surprisingly little traffic today, a few caravans in either direction but none of the road trains of previous days.
Arriving at Salmon Gums Community Caravan Park, which is an unserviced patch of ground in the bush provided by the shire, I meet Ray. He offered me a celebratory sherry on my arrival “I passed you on the road”
Ray just wanted to talk he seemed lonesome for company. “Yeah when the last kid left home, she went all funny, as if she had nothing to live for anymore. She moved into an old folks home, but that’s no life for me, so I just move about in my van.”
I set up camp under a sheltered table area. I thought it would be just Ray and I, until just on dusk Matt and Sarah and their 4 young daughters turned up. We got a nice fire going. They even fed the hungry cyclist a bowl of pasta.
Matt is a professional wedding singer, who together with Sarah, a nurse, caretake a winery in the Yarra Valley. They have spent the last eight weeks traveling down the west coast of Western Australia. Like me they are headed back to Melbourne, but will get there a whole lot quicker!
Matt had a good line of wedding stories he should turn into a book: “Confessions of a wedding Singer.” A sure best seller. Who knows they may even make it into a movie, oh wait they’ve done that!
Tomorrow its 100 kms to Norseman where I will reach the Nullarbor plain.
The bird life has been incredible!
Nick, I love hearing about the birds you identify by their call. I saw an Australian Ring Neck here in Melton once, I’m sure it was an escapee from a local aviary.
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