Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Leg one = 1046km (650 miles)

Made it to Esperance
As I was coming in to Esperance the feeling of pure joy came over me. The feeling of accomplishment. I think it's fair to say I felt a bit proud of myself (not to brag). But also, the knowledge that me cycling across Australia is really helping children in Norway and Australia is great. I checked my emails a couple of days a go and found an email from Sykehusklovnene (Hospital clowns) that said "You're doing great, you're over halfway towards your goal". Someone donated 5000kr (AU$ 810/£450)!

The road so far
You can track my progress through my Endomondo profile, where I'll post each workout as I go. Perth to Esperance is 1046km and and has taken me 2 days 19 hours 58 minutes and 51 seconds. It has been filled with hills and very challenging conditions.

Day four (above) was probably the lowest point and the most challenging for me. So many uphills and roasting hot. At this point I still had all the gear I started out with in Perth. When I got to my host in Manjimup, I went through my stuff and got rid of about 6 kg. After my spirits (and weight) were lifted.

You can easily follow my route by clicking on my name in the Endomondo widget (the green box on the right side). There you can see detailed information about each day. Some days though, I might have to use manual entry as I might not have any more power left on my phone to actually track my progress.

My hosts in Bunbury. I swear, it must be the perspective or something. I'm not THAT tall.
I've stayed with people I found on Couch Surfing in Bunbury, Albany and now Esperance. It's been great so far. This is the first time I've really (couched) surfed. Back in Europe I've only met a couple of surfers to show them around the city or just exchanged a few travel tips online. Also helped with some translation work back in 2009, which is how I got involved the first time.

It's incredible that you can connect with people so quickly and easily. It becomes like an extended travellers family/network. Hopefully I can repay them one day and host them if/when they come to Europe.

Learnt anything?
Food and water
After the first few days I learnt more about how much food and water I really needed per day. Also WHAT kinds of food to bring. I had brought brown rice because it's rich in fibre, but it takes 20-25 minutes to cook, which is 1/4 of my gas. So instead I now try to stick to pasta and couscous. I was carrying 12 litres of water with my on the first leg. That was not neccesarly. So took it down to 7 litres most days. 1 litre = 1 kg. So that's 5 kg just there.

Phone signal
If you're not on Telstra network, you most likely won't have signal outside major cities and towns. I learnt that the hard way. So for four days I was dependent on payphones. I even sent two texts from payphones. Haven't used a payphones in YEARS. They're more or less don't exist in Norway anymore, except for maybe the odd one in big airports or train stations. And they're starting to take them down in the UK as well. So now I've got one of my phones of Telstra pay-as-you-go until I get to Port Augusta.

I'm learning a lot about myself along the way as well. That if I just give it one more push I can do it. That if I just squeeze out a little bit more energy, I'll make it. There's been moments where I've had to call on things deep inside me I didn't even knew existed.

Plan now

Now I'm spending the week in Esperance, going to the beaches, recovering and prepping for Nullarbor. If all goes to plan I'm heading off on Sunday or possibly Monday. After two nights I'll be up in Norseman, where the adventure really starts.

This is the LAST BIKE SHOP before Port Augusta, so make sure you stock up of any parts etc. here.

Went into town today and got a couple of extra chain links + a mosquito net for the body. I've had a head one, to keep the flies away, but it's no good when it comes to lunch. I'll sit down and they'll be all over me. So decided I'd invest in a full size one, which normally is used over a bed, that I can pop on the top of my head and will allow me to eat my lunch in peace without flies.

Also going over all my gear and reviewing what I need etc. A possibility is also to send stuff ahead to Adelaide and pick it up when I get there. Sending 5 kg within Australia only costs $16.95, so will consider that as an option.

Later this week I'll post a more detailed Nullarbor plan. A day-to-day plan of distances and where I'm roughly planning to camp. Hopefully I'll reach Port Augusta by 12-13th of May, just in time for my birthday (13th of May). Would very much like to sit down and enjoy a cold pint on my b-day.

Leg one - Perth to Esperance: 1046 km (650 miles) - FINISHED
Leg two - Esperance to Port Augusta: 1871 km (1162 miles)*
Leg three - Port Augusta to Melbourne: 1031 km (640 miles)*
Leg four - Melbourne to Sydney: 1052 km (653 miles)*
Leg five - Sydney to Brisbane: 1115 km (692 miles)*

There will be breaks within each, but the longer breaks will most likely be after a part is finished.

*Estimates based on simple point to point directions in Google Maps. Actual distances may wary slightly.