Day 378 | Almost at Howick River: no water there anyway
46 km | zzOz total: 10, 486 km
7.6 kph for 6 hours.
A tough day at the office.
Much of the remainder of the day was spent standing still, bike in hand, taking a brief respite from progress.
This track up to Cape Melville is a true 4WD track, the challenging parts for the drivers the big, almost vertical drops down into the sandy creek beds at times and the gnarly washouts in the clay.
Surprisingly that part isn’t so hard on a bike, you can pick a reasonable line usually, even the dual single track through the chest high speargrass ain’t so bad, actually it was great fun rumbling along.
For the bike the issues come when the track surface turns to sand. There’s two types: thin sand over the solid clay layer where steering by the rider is not really required, the bike veers, surges, on its own trajectory and engagement of the granny cog continues forward momentum.
In deep sand that’s not possible.
There’s then 2 choices: crash through the undergrowth off the track completely, the ground still soft, fallen trees, etc, require some weaving but at least you can ride on.
Or, the slow walk-the-bike option, not so fast, often when so heavily loaded with 3 weeks’ food you need that inspirational thought: what else would you rather be doing on a Monday morning?
2 convoys went past, the first late afternoon, 5 grim faced drivers in jacked up 4WDs, big ones, just smashing their way through the landscape, tyres churning through the sand, no one stopping or even winding their windows down, not happy to see some idiot out here on a bicycle, they think they are the heroes in their huge armchairs in the air conditioned 4WD listening to Pink Floyd at volume.
The second convoy cruises past an hour after dark, me listening to the radio but hearing the low growl in the distance, I’d camped just 10 feet from the track, full driving lights on, why you’d drive like that at night I’ve no idea, it’s ridiculous even during the day, an aggressive toot as they rumbled past.
If I wanted to get away from it all, today I certainly majorly over achieved.
Good training for the Telegraph Track further up the Cape.