South Hedland to south of Karratha
An early morning start as we rise form our comfy beds.
Goodbye South Hedland
We say good by to our new friends and Keith rides the first six kilometers with Reid to keep him company and to pilot him through town. As Dan and Daun follow Reid out, Graham and Graham catch a short nap, banking some sleep that we talked about in an earlier blog. They will need it later tonight as the day unfolds. While they sleep, Lynda says up and chats with our hosts. Lynda has the natural talent of being able to sleep any where and at any time. Often curling up into some unusual positions. We check our map for stops and are warned not to stop at Whim Creek as the Roadhouse had closed.
The featureless landscape continues. I am sure some people will disagree and can see the beauty of the North West Costal Highway. I am sure I will disagree as I can see the potential to go down side roads and explore places that I see on a map and remember them from travel shows on television. Not for us, it is forge ahead and look after Reid as he powers down Highway One. The landscape is broken by the presence of mining trucks, road trains carrying away the precious bounty riven from the land and by white utes. All the same, Toyota Hi-Lux or Land Cruisers carrying yellow flashing safety lights long antennas bearing a red flag. The red flag gives them visibility especially if they are in the open cut mine. It also increase there visibility on the road. We can see you. Where ever you look there is a white utility driving toward you or driving past you. They all sport some sort off secret code. Large black letters and numbers emblazoned on the side door and the rear tailgate. Black code on a high viz yellow field. It is as if every white ute in Australia has congregated in the Pilbara for a Toyota convention.
Graham H drives Graham F and Lynda into Karratha to run an errand. I think we have found the source of the white utes. They are everywhere, punctuating the city streets, always driving, never stopping. We see at Karratha airport mine workers arriving and being collected in a white Toyota bus, secret code, red flag, yellow lights. Karratha would appear to be a service centre for the mines in the area. We see several large accommodation complexes housing the miners. Meanwhile, ABC Radio from Karratha have interviewed Reid over the phone and a local newspaper reporter comes out to the main highway to interview Reid when he passes. More opportunities to pass on the message about Eagles Wings. Our two teams meet up on the highway outside Karratha. We discover that neither team has been successful in buying drinking water. Back to Karratha for Flo. In Coles we find an abundant supply of water in all formats. From small bottles to large 10l containers. We buy the latter. The high volume of water for sale is a testament to the quality of the town water. As we leave the town we see on the highway a sign saying no water supplies for 650km. We drive out of Karratha at sunset. The featureless plains are now broken by long rows of power pylons. Giant Trifids marching across the landscape. Silhouetted against a glorious sunset.
Against the Wind
Reid has been struggling today as he rides against the wind. His old enemy the Headwind is back. After experiencing several days of tailwinds as he rode up the coast of Queensland, the headwind had to come. Reid was hoping that he would not experience them and that the weather would favor him. Never the less Reid soldiers on. What makes it hard is that we are traveling great distances down the coast of Western Australia where there is no civilization. So it is Reid against the road, riding into the wind. Very demoralizing. In spite of this setback Reid continues, pushing toward his goal for the day which is to maintain his daily average. He rides into the night and finally stops at 3:30am. During the night the support crew stay with him. They snatch moments of sleep while they wait at the scheduled stops. Finally we camp on the side of the road in a truck stop and pile into our beds, sleeping in our clothes. Set an alarm for 6:30am. The niceties of a shower and clean clothes will have to wait until the end of tomorrow.
The featureless scenery and the relentless headwinds make it hard for Reid. Our prayers are for a tailwind tomorrow. Not just to give Reid the extra kilometers he desire, but to also lift his spirits. Be strong and courageous.