Day 12 - Wooramel River Retreat to Carnarvon 120km

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The full, heavy, blue moon was hanging low on the horizon as the lone rider was slowly cycling out on the 2km dirt gravel road towards the main highway, whilst the majority of the riders took the easier option of getting a lift to the highway, where we said good bye to Rachael the owner of Wooramel Station Retreat.

People like Rachael and her family are forging an existence on the land, where they must overcome all sorts of weather conditions and are presently praying for rain, the last decent fall being 3 years ago. Her family has had to diversify so they can live on the land they love. This has meant selling off all their livestock, and regenerating the land, while building an export trade with the wild goats roaming the station. Our group was fortunate to be welcomed into her home where we enjoyed a delicious camp fire dinner of lamb and apricot curry, vegetable stew, rice and home cooked damper in front of an open fire under the stars. Rachel then followed this up this morning with a fabulous breakfast of porridge followed by eggs and bacon. The stay here has definitely been one of the highlights of the trip so far and was definite an experience I would recommend!

We are heading north to Carnarvon and peddling with side winds and then headwinds, with long stretchers of straight roads and vast lands of red soil and low shrub, and there is plenty of time to ponder life.

Cycling allows you to wonder why you have take on such extreme adventure. Every 10kms seems to take an eternity, this endless journey of long straight roads, pushing hard, fighting with your mind about whether to carry on nor not, your muscles ache and discovering new ones that you never knew existed. It can be lonely but the joys of cycling the highways are like life itself. You never know whom you may meet on the journey and where it will take you. The lives of people like Rachael inspire you to keep challenging yourself and be a part of this great adventure.

Finally after following the long, flat, barren, dry road and landscape with unrelenting wind the buildings of Carnarvon appeared in the distance and all the self doubt melted away. Another 120km down and another day complete. Time to rest, eat, rehydrate and prepare to do it all again tomorrow.

Richard Cooke