Day 446 | Bridgetown Caravan Park: via the scenic route

46 km | Heading west total: 16,136 km

Well, it looked good on the map: the road followed the river and best of all, it was direct.

OK. There’s another option of continuing on and bending around to join the highway.

River? Or highway?

Unsealed or sealed?

The Blackwood River is the biggest in south west Western Australia. I’ve already made the acquaintance of that lineal lake of inky black water back before Cape Leeuwin. Augusta is situated on the inlet.

I go scenic, as if I had a choice.

I make a note for future contemplation. Following a large river is actually a serial crossing of tributaries and therefore, err, crossing the ridges between them. I give up counting the climbs even before reaching the main river. Each is a steep 100 to 150m climb with an immediate drop back down in level. Then repeat. I’m moving either at 5.5km/hour on the way up, or 45.5 on the way down.

It’s another lovely, if somewhat smoky day and I’m thinking about what treat I’ll have for lunch when I hit Bridgetown. I turnoff on the unsealed road and head up a valley, (humm, wasn’t I going down the river?), but it ain’t too bad.

Then it gets steep.

One thing I haven’t really mentioned is that the local roads are made from laterite. That’s basically pea sized gravel in sand. It’s usually OK because it is seldom very deep and the rear wheel grips through to some firm under laying surface all right.

When you get off to walk the bike up the hill, (now I’m wishing I could get into the granny ring instead of being stuck perpetually in the middle), there’s a problem due to those size 48 surfboards strapped to my feet.

Yup, no traction.

I do see the funny side of this. I’m on a considerable slope, I’d be having problems riding up it even with full traction, and the road is made from ball bearings.

I slip and slide while trying to stand still.

Each step is as if I had crampons on an icy ridge except I don’t have crampons. I kick a little ledge and push another step on. In a eureka moment I take off the surfboards and my toes dig in.

Problem solved. But I still have to shove the bike up the incline.

So that is how I didn’t have that special lunch and even though I had my fastest ever velocity with that overloaded, welded up Bob, (with the mesh base cable tied to the frame now), 53km/hour, (not bad on a narrow bumpy road where I was thinking the trailer wheel is likely to just detach itself any moment now), the average speed for the day was marginally over 11 km/hour.

The road was very scenic.