Day 13 - Carnarvon to Minilya 140km

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Today began with a wake up call at 2am with two planes taking off from the Carnarvon airport situated 100metres from our tent site. They both sounded like they were passing through our tent!

The real wake up call was the 5.15am alarm when we rose to pack up the tent (pack up time is now down to 40 minutes and improving daily!) We were ready for Richard, our ride manger to collect us at 6.15am, and drive us to the Carnarvon Motel to join the rest of the group for a very wholesome breakfast, then a bike tyre check before a 7.15 roll out departure.

The first 15 km of the day was through the fertile flood plain of the Gascoyne River. Carnarvon grows tropical fruits and vegetables and we passed by banana plantations, then tomatoes, zucchini, beans and pumpkin farms. We rode over the dry sandy Gascoyne River (the largest river in Western Australia) lined with gnarley white gums. This is the source of the irrigation water for the area that cannot be seen as it flows underground. What a vast contrast to the previous days of dry red soil and low shrubs. This change was short lived as we left the river flats and were once again riding in very flat flood plain country with slight rises and many low floodways. There was evidence of recent rain as a green tinge appeared on the landscape.

Riding conditions were favorable with very light winds, although the 15km of 20mm reseal was extremely rough on the backside, but the “START peloton train” was working efficiently and pushed on without complaint.

After lunch the skies were building with storm clouds ,but thankfully we arrived at Minilya Bridge Roadhouse (situated on the banks of the Minilya River) just in time to get the tent up before the heavens opened.

There are two resident pet goats (Chompy and Mariah) that quickly made themselves at home in Lesa’s tent, most likely looking for any snacks she had left lying around!

The evening meal will be enjoyed then an early night in the tent in preparation for the same again tomorrow. The facilities may not be 5 star, but the experience certainly is!

Richard Cooke