Day 435 | Out on the Augusta Busselton Heritage Trail: a bush camp amongst Dave's Blue gum forest
54 km | Heading west total: 15,661 km
One of those days where everything came right.
The weather: cloudless sky, no wind.
The terrain: flattening hills and those sharp 200m rises and falls since Walpole or before have turned into 50m inclines that you can just power up and crank up the pace heading down.
The surface: after yesterday’s sand trap and days of forest dirt roads the realistic options have narrowed to one, a little used highway.
Everything was looking good.
I cruise for an hour or so making excellent pace for the first time since … umm … I don’t know where. (Maybe heading to Balladonia in November.)
Then, the back brakes seem jammed on, actually the trailer tyre is flat. I quickly change to my spare tyre and patch the tube. Make good progress for 20 minutes and it’s flat again.
I find I can’t get the tube to accept a patch. So I patch the spare tube but there’s a similar problem. There’s an incompatibility between the tube, the glue and the patch.
I try everything, thin glue for 3 minutes, ten minutes, bulk glue for 20 minutes.
All eat at the tube and refuse to bind. Peals straight off. Patch on a patch. Same.
After 3 hours of mucking around, some would say he is approaching frustration, he finally gaffer tapes a patch to the tube without any more glue and pumps it up.
This works perfectly all afternoon. It’s action once again.
I drop into a small roadside store, I’ve run out of water on this cloudless day, and get my first ever refusal for water despite my attempt at charm. Buy something and then I’ll think about it.
I’m travelling through one of the wettest areas of my trip and get knocked back. Those guys out in the arid lands had no hesitation.
But I don’t say anything, I shrug, then says thanks and as they say, move on.
Fortunately 5 km down the road the local hall has a large rainwater tank. No worries.
I cross the huge Blackwood River and get off the highway onto an increasingly obscure Heritage Trail. There’s some gates and bounding kangaroos.
Time to set up camp and just as the tent is up the local landowner Dave comes past with his huge dog, (in the style of Tom Hanks in that film with a huge dog), in the back of his 4WD truck.
Dave is completely deaf and we communicate on the back of some stray envelopes.
I tell him the story of my trip in less than 140 characters.
He’s delighted I’m staying. No worries.
It was that kind of up and down day.