Day 464 | finally rolling into Perth 464 days later: you mean Perth, Western Australia?

35 km | Heading west total: 16,734 km

I’ve decided that when I head back east one day it won’t be on a plane or other mechanised transportation and you will be the first to know of it. I haven’t yet had my fill of my little Aussie adventure.

But currently everything is stuffed and that includes my body.

Front derailleur is history; back ditto, it was a cheapy back in Broome and it’s more than the jockey wheels that are barely turning; the ill fitting bottom bracket and el cheapo chain rings were only cobbled together at Esperance for the final 2500 km; the back wheel with the disintegrating hub; one or two new tyres needed; saggy seat with the snapped tensioning bolt and packed up with innumerable plastic bags; perished grips; the replacement bike component list goes on a bit.

Matt’s bike weld from Katherine seems solid at least.

There’s also the unwaterproof tent with a busted zip, sleeping mat with the rapidly engulfing bubble, ragged bike shorts and, err, rotting gloves. Basically I need the complete travelling outfit replaced after my 15 months on, or off, the road.

The Ortlieb panniers are the sole unscathed survivors, along with the Ortlieb water proof rack bag that’s holding up after the excellent patch job effected following the munching by that agile wallaby’s teeth back in Nitmiluk National Park.

That’s a lengthy shopping list.

No brekky this morning because I gobbled the dregs of the muesli for my dinner last night to avoid cooking. I am camping too close to house lights, slamming car doors and barking dogs. The city beckons.

The cold 300m drop down to the Perth suburbs along the Heritage Rail Trail gave a good airing to my fingerless gloved fingers.

The rail trail abruptly ended in an industrial wasteland. Now where?

Well, where now indeed?

I rummaged through my load of excess baggage and found Antonio’s crumpled map of Greater Perth with sufficient detail to at least head in the general direction of the centre.

Ever the planner I stopped and booked a bed for tonight, well, actually a week, to let the body and the mind adjust.

I effected a slow migration, what’s the hurry now, it ain’t so far on this last day. Just a downhill pedal with a slight tailwind on a perfect cloudless late autumn day.

Man, someone hit this town with a big dose of the ugly brush. Smashed up concrete, chain link fences with ripped out holes, random piles of broken glass in a variety of colours, occasional stacks of redundant crumbling asbestos fencing.

It hasn’t sunk in that I’m not going to be heading over the roller coaster, through rivers of pea gravel, through big tree forests, sleeping in a damp and cold sleeping bag, at least for a while.

Unlike many of the online bike blogs I’ve read there’s no dramatic finish to the trip like Victor Weinruber’s unexpected abandonment of his tour, for love, or the great Charlie Tronolone’s mind meltdown. Kind of feels like Shane Keating just, well, stopping. My accommodation is a little grotty but cheap enough, breakfast of a sort thrown in, a place to stash the bike securely, plenty of power points, yahoo, enough space even to stack my gear and I can shuffle into Hay Street in about 20 minutes, on foot.

After a lengthy hot shower, where I find much my suntan has evaporated, I head that way just to let my brain register what my eyes are taking in.

I become just one more anonymous dot among the swirling sea of faces marching briskly towards the train station and suburbs, already Monday over, only four days to the weekend and few with the time to take in the apocalyptic sunset over west.