Day 16: Avoiding Easter crowds
Quinninup – Passed Pemberton
9 – 1 + 1 hr in the arvo – 53km

I woke up to a now familiar sound outside, excited I got out of bed in a little cabin at the Quinninup Caravan Park and opened the door to an emu calling at me from over the balcony. I think it’s my new favourite sound.

The ride today was an easy day, hardened ground surrounded by pretty trees.

As I entered Pemberton – I was squinting. Reminding myself I had broken my sunglasses 2 days before. The towns is so much brighter than the tracks. There is reflecting off everything – the roads, the paths, the cars, the buildings. I never realised than brightness can be an artificial thing.

I met up with Nicole, a good friend who I had organised weeks ago to meet today to receive my last 7 days of food, bike stuff, new sunnies, warmer gloves and just general consumables.

We went to the pub for lunch and had beers.
While I was there a little girl chaparoned by her father came up to our table and asked me if I was a contestant on survivor. …? I’ve never seen the show but maybe I looked a bit…outdoorsy? I dunno. Will need to ask around.

After Nicole left, I didn’t feel like I’ve had enough bike time today. I also wanted to desperately get away from the Easter crowds in Pemberton. I rode down Gloucester tree section, south of Pemby. It is a great winding track (remember this is post beers), with little jumps and some fun sharp turns.
I have about 50 reasons why going north to south is better. This is another of them
I rode a bit more but then decided to follow a little unused track to set up camp.

I lent my bike up against 2 trees and tied my mosquito net to the seat. Tarp on the ground and folded over the feet section of the net. Bivy inside. Prepared for a cold night but I didn’t feel it – it was really nice!

Day 17: Big trees, Flat ride
South of Pemberton – Northcliffe
8 – 1 37km

Woke up at 6:30am to silence and the sun peaking out of the trees. I slept warm but once I got out of my sleeping kit and started making breakfast the temperature was dropping.
I rode the first hour with my jacket on and neck scarf covering my face to protect my very cold nose and lips.

Only about an hour in, I scared a Kangaroo Joey on the track and it jumped so high when it landed it fell on its side and scrambled away through the trees. Sorryyyyy!

The track to Northcliffe was beautiful. Big trees, cool little bridges that seem to be going nowhere. Also long white sand sections promising that I’m heading towards the coast – I hope!

I met Phil and Tim, two germans who riding south to north. We had a great chat – their ride is similar to mine, they haven’t done any multi-night bike touring before but one-upped me by choosing to do their first one so far from home! They are spending 5 months in Australia and they chose the Munda Biddi to be their introduction to the country. I mentioned the pub in Pemberton and straight away was asked how much does it cost to get a pint (oh dear) – this is Western Australia, atleast an arm and part of a leg, no matter where you go!

Phil also told me he twisted his rental bike derailer just before passed Walpole. They both walked back to Walpole and the hostel manager ripped his own derailer off his own bike and retrofitted it to Phil’s. As a gift. People are amazing.

Not much after we parted ways I almost rode over a tiger snake. I didn’t even notice it laying on the track until it was under my left pedal. I’m so lucky it didn’t move. I crept back for a photo making sure I kept my distance.

Just before Northcliffe, I met Sarah who is riding from Albany to Collie. I could tell she was an experienced cyclist and I asked her about some of her other trips including the one from Madrid to Albania! Wow!

I pulled into Northcliffe, bought a snack from the cafe while I assessed my options. I’m going to have a couple days out in the bush and 130km to ride before I hit Walpole (the next town) so I figured I better stay somewhere where I can charge my stuff, download some more podcasts and even though I don’t feel like it – probably have a shower. I paid $15 at the caravan park and asked to be put near some trees so I can set up my tarp. The people who run the park are…strange. The whole park had a strange vibe to it. And I was given the only spot that didn’t have any trees. Maybe it was just post-Easter exhaustion. The place was almost dead but signs everywhere of crowds from the weekend.

I also had some other important business. The sealant in my tubeless tyres has dried up. I noticed when I was just past Collie (yes a week ago) that when I pump up my tyres, I can hear air coming out of the spokes. I messaged Brad @ride_that_trail from Cycles Bespoke in Perth and asked for advice. He organised some sealant and a syringe and Nicole brought it down for me when I met up with her in Pemberton. The idea is to pull out the core of each tyre and pump the sealant through the stem and then put the core back in and pump up the tyre. This avoids me having to pop the tyre off the bead and try and put it back on. Oh man I was nervous. I had no idea what I was doing but while I sat in this weird caravan park, I gave it a go. It worked (thank god) but not before I managed to spray the shit everywhere and over everything.

Another night under the stars. I’m really enjoying this trip so far. I love sleeping without a tent, eating good food I prepared a month earlier and meeting people who are challenging themselves too. I kinda feel like I’m cheating with a couple easy days in a row – I’m looking forward to what the next section (Mt Frankland North National Park) has to bring.