Day 25 - Foothills Bushcamp to Port Hedland 137km


I awoke to the sound of ducks landing on the nearby pond. The next sounds I heard were the pitter-patter of feet reluctantly making their way to the luxurious portable toilets beyond my tent. A steady stream of people followed and zips went down and zips went up. Most emerged rapidly!

As I emerged from my tent the moon greeted me, suspended just above the outcrop of red rocks. This really was a quintessential Outback Australian campsite.

As experienced bush campers, mattresses were soon deflated, tents packed away and breakfast eaten on schedule. Luggage was stowed and we were ready to depart. But who packed the toilet up?

Cleats cleaned out on roadside, then we were soon on our way again with a much loved tail wind assisting. Even the relentless road trains, oversize loads and caravans couldn't sap our enjoyment of a downhill gradient and a tail wind as we headed to Port Hedland. We were so energized that many of the team beat the All Trails Café to the morning tea stop. At the roadside rest stop we were introduced to Ned, who was lamenting that his road train had gone ‘caput’ and was waiting for a mechanic to come and fix the problem. Alasdair executed his limited Croatian, which warmed him to our group and Richard made him a cuppa and offered him some biscuits for the road. Needless to say, he was intrigued by our intrepid adventure!

The momentum continued for another 50km as the scenery flattened out with the odd outcrop of red rocks appearing like the Devil’s Marbles in NT. Most cyclists arrived at the lunch stop ahead of Lou and Richard, who had raced ahead to South Hedland to collect our salad rolls and cool drinks. Once again, we had a great conversation with a truck driver who was very interested in our ride, having heard Kerryn’s interview that morning on ABC local radio. He praised us for our ‘smart riding’ on the highway and said the truck drivers were very positive. He also told us how much we will love Broome when we get there and gave us a few pieces of local knowledge.

As the temperatures rose, so did the biggest pile of salt I've ever seen appeared on the horizon as we arrived in the outskirts of Port Hedland. It was a bit tricky negotiating the ‘spaghetti’ overpass and round about, but very soon the ocean was within our sights. A few left and right hand turns had us at the Hospitality Inn and there was a collective sigh from the peloton! Another great day of cycling, but more importantly washing facilities, showers and toilets with plumbing!!

Kerryn and the START team were greeted with more media engagement activities, with another local radio station recording an interview to be played on Spirit FM between 9:00 – 9:30am tomorrow. Shannon Beattie, from the Telegraph newspaper arrived next and did a photo shoot on the foreshore of a group of START cyclists and then had a chat to Kerryn. The article will be in the local paper on Wednesday next week and we will ensure it is online for everyone to read. The publicity has been fantastic and it is evident by the vehicles passing us by that they are aware of the group and the message behind START Foundation.

Richard Cooke