Day 19 - Cheela Plains to Paraburdoo 94km

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My Stats.

Distance: 94km

'Twas the Night before....'
As one of the few who are camping Perth to Broome, I was very grateful to be given a floor space out of the rain. I believe if I'd camped overnight, I'd have been okay, if I'd had a snorkel or perhaps an anchor for my tent.

I'm sure I speak for many others who were nervously listening to the persistent rain throughout the night wondering what challenges we had in store for us in the morning.

Morning Arrives...
Dinner the night before had been a feast and absolutely delicious, breakfast with omelettes to order and more did not disappoint. The riders devoured everything in sight like a swarm of locusts readying themselves for what would surely be a very trying and wet day out on the road.

The dirt road we'd pedalled in on, was now a steep mudslide and had been closed to all traffic. The only remaining road out of the station resembled an inland stream. Riders were ferried to the bitumen and the weather looked like it might hold off with the expected rain for a little while.

The embankments either side of the road were flooded with streams of endless brown water, I thought I was pedalling alongside the Brisbane river and felt right at home.

As I felt a few rain drops on my back I wondered how wet I'd be when I finally finished riding today. Richard used the opportunity to have Lou wash off the red mud from the AllTrails vehicle. She did a fabulous job.

Morning Tea was at 45km on the side of the road at Harley River after admiring the newly washed vehicle. What a lovely spot this was and we were cheered by the fact the the rain held off. Coffee was had, biscuits inhaled and we were off up the road to 70km mark.

Group pictures and satisfied smiles were shared as this was the 2000km point from Perth. Well done and congratulations to everyone.

Again we rode on, past flocks of birds that erupted from the bushes. The landscape ever changing from endless spinifex to grasslands. What had been barren land only days prior now gave way to rolling hillsides covered in wattles or Acacia shrubs.

I was delighted as I began recognising various plant species. I could have been pedalling into Mt Isa, the landscape reminding me so much of North Queensland that it was quite weird and gave me a wonderful warm nostalgic feeling.

As I looked across at the nearby mountain range I had mental images of The Rainbow Serpent from an indigenous story I had enjoyed reading growing up. I find it interesting that this was the image I had coming into town and have now since read that the nearby Chichester National Park of the Shire of Ashburton, is considered home to the mythological serpent Warlu.

Paraburdoo was built the year I was born in 1970, and takes its name from the Aboriginal language 'Piru-pardu' meaning 'Meat Feathers' because of the many feathered white Corellas. I'm not sure how I feel about this fact.

We were treated to 10km of downhill segments into Paraburdoo (maybe 5km) what a thrill. I was jubilant that the rain had held off, and my shoes still dry. What a terrific day and a real treat to get into your destination ahead of schedule.

Coffee, Satay sticks and buttermilk scones were rolled out at The Paraburdoo Table Café. Could today get any better. My laundry now washed and dried. I've caught up with my loved ones having telephone coverage again. My bike 'Jasper' is snuggled up resting. Now, I plan to put my feet up having finished the day dry (of course that's what I'm already doing)

What a fantastic way to finish another incredible day.

Richard Cooke