Stanley rest area to South Hedland
A new day awakes. We are on the Great Northern Highway and Reid hits the road just before 6:00am chasing down the kilometers.
A Big Country
Once again we start to understand the vastness and openness of Australia. There are again only two roadhouses to stop at today before our destination. Only two contacts with other people.
Reid has favorable winds this morning. However, this can easily turn. Take advantage of the wind when you can. We reach Sandfire Roadhouse by mid-morning and again stock up on refreshments. Reid takes a break and stops to eat. Part of the 15,000 calories that he eats every day. We found some delicious home baked food in the hot box for him. Variation in what Reid eats is always difficult especially how often he must eat. Providing something different can break the tedium of eating the same food every day. Sandfire is one of those roadhouses that just service the travelers such as us and the truck drivers. This roadhouse is covered in upside down roadsigns, a rusty old petrol pump. an old gas cylinder that exploded some time in the past, plus two peacocks.
The Team Splits
Once again we have commitments with our hosts tonight in South Hedland, so Flo, with the two Grahams and Daun go ahead. Dan and Lynda stay with Reid. The second roadhouse to be encountered is the Pardoo Roadhouse. It is late afternoon when they arrive and Reid is able to have a big feed of chicken and chips. Keep up the carbs and keep up the protein.
Lynda is new to the Challenge or Change family. She has joined the team bringing her massage table. Lynda is a qualified massage therapist which has proved most useful in looking after Reid, especially in the first week while Reid’s body was acclimatising to the riggers and demands of the stress of long days in the saddle. Of course that is not all that Lynda is doing. She pitches in with the other jobs, as do the rest of the team. Lynda loves being a relief driver for Dan.
We have left the Kimberly and have entered the Pilbara region. From cattle country to mining. Our destination tonight is South Hedland. We are guests of the South Hedland Baptist Church. South Hedland is a satellite suburb of Port Hedland. It is where you will find all the infrastructure, the shops and the houses, the offices and the services, that support the Port at Port Hedland. This the major port and is where iron ore mined in the region is exported to Asia and beyond. Looking at all the bumps on the map that follow the coast, it is not a headland as we expected. It is a harbor that was discovered by, and named after, Captain Peter Hedland.
After spending days traveling the Australian Bush and going for hours without seeing another human being, it was overwhelming to see so many people crammed into the supermarket as we did our daily fresh food shopping. Over seventy percent of the people in the shopping centre were wearing high viz clothing, the same uniform of overalls with a fluro yellow shirt. In the car park, seventy percent of the vehicles where white Hi-Lux utes with a long antenna bearing a red flag. If you work in the mine, you wear the uniform. If you work in the office you wear the same uniform. As an office worker steps out of the door, his/her high viv clothing ensures their safety. You can tell the difference between the two. The office worker in their bright clean clothes and their shiny white cars. The miners in their dusty red overalls and their red dust cars. Reid needs a new pair of cycling gloves. We are met in the car park by Keith who recognized our van. He directs us to Smirky’s sports store and then raced ahead let them know we are coming as they were just about to close. We shared Reid’s story of why he is riding and Reid’s new gloves are donated.
Our gracious hosts provided a BBQ steak dinner and billeted us in their houses. Sleeping indoors tonight with air conditioned comfort. We spent a pleasant evening chatting about Eagles Wings, the Mines and Queensland. A couple of our new friends are from Brisbane. Reid arrived around 10:30pm with Dan and Lynda in tow. Dinner for our late arrivals and off to bed.