Day 26 - Port Hedland to Pardoo 150km

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When Richard announced the weather for today’s ride from Port Hedland to Pardoo, we were happily told of a tail wind the whole way. Unfortunately, when the map was rotated 90 degrees to actually point north, it was a somewhat different story.

With 150km to cover, things were suddenly not looking so easy. As I had personally been unwell for the prior three days, it wasn’t exactly the easy return to the bike I had been hoping for.

After a beautiful sunrise over the bay, the group set off as a single peloton to navigate it’s way out through Port Hedland’s peak hour traffic and back onto the Northern Highway, our companion for the final days. It wasn't long before we sighted one of our first road signs indicating the distance left before we reached sunny Broome 56okm.

Once clear of Hedland, the traffic thinned out and the constant stream of road trains carrying iron ore were a thing of the past, making for a more pleasant day on the bike. Well, except for that wind, a constant presence that ensured there was little chit-chat on the bike, and that nothing was going to be too easy.

Also changing was the landscape – the rising peaks of the Pilbara fell away behind us, to be replaced with low scrub & gums taking on a harsher outback red hue. The occasional flood river, still receding after recent rain was the only sign of quite how life is possible in such a harsh environment.

After 110kms of hard graft, the road took a welcome turn towards the north, putting the now easing wind to the side, and Pardoo Roadhouse was almost in sight. After one last stop to refuel tired bodies, our destination was reached. Communal showers (for some!) and tiny dongas are a reminder of roadhouses past, but we won’t be here long. With just 3 days left, and 460km to go there is nothing left but to eat, sleep, and get back out there again tomorrow.

Richard Cooke