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Mar 15, 2002

Wan and Mou leave Bali, Indonesia. It is just about the last day of our expired visa. We both went to the immigration and fly from Bali to Perth at 1.30 a.m. arriving Perth International Airport at 4.30 a.m. Our new world begins. Custom and immigration strictly check our luggage in pieces again and again. It takes us so long to re-pack them to place. We haven't slept all night and very tired.

We assemble each part of our bikes to make it complete for 2 bikes. We feel hungry and buy a small bottle of drinking water 250cc at price A$ 2.5 (equal to 60 Baht) Everything is totally change from Indonesia. The weather is cooler. Australia is a huge country with high cost of living compare to our country "Thailand". Our plan is to bike from Perth to Sydney (imagine the same distance cycling from London to Moscow…)

We bike from Perth International Airport to Backpackers at Summers Street. We try to adjust ourselves to new environment and preparing ourselves ready to cross the Nullarbor, the long dersert in Australia.

The reason we say that Australia is a new country in an old land, it means that Australia was came from Antarctica Continent and moving to the north, some say that Australia is moving to north at 5 cm./year. We are not sure if this is true or not. There was no human living on this land at that time. The first group settle in Australia is "Aboriginal" and the land belongs to them, the population is 500,000 in 200 years ago. Then, James Cook explored Australia in year 1770 (200 years ago) and year 1788 English came by ship with 1,500 prisoners (population of Aboriginal is 750,000 at that time).

In 1800, European settled at 6,000 people and mostly from England. Thirty years later, the population of English is equal to the Aboriginal. It was a freedom to English to settle in Australia and the number of aboriginal was decreasing more than 100,000 people.

In1962, Australia government gives the right to Aboriginal for the ownership of land (Aboriginal Land) in the desert. 1988 is a year of celebration for 200 years of Australia.

Australia is the first country having a regulation for cyclist to wear helmet in 1990. After, New Zealand is the second country and many others follow. In Perth, there are bike lanes around town. We often see many cyclists passing by, many bicycle parking space are provide in a good place and very organize.

We start our trip on April 1, 2002 and ready to bike to the east heading to Sydney. The distance of our route is 5,000 km. We bike on route 94 Great Eastern Highway via Midland. We camp near the public tap water off the road in the bush. We feel very cold in the night. The road is quite steep up and down to Northam, West Australia. Many hills slow us down. We tent near a farm on the next day. We got up in the morning, it was so beautiful seeing hundreds of sheeps looking at us at same time. We are so happy, we forget the bad happened on yesterday that one man threw chips to us and shout
at us.

April 4, 2002, today is our first experience staying in a caravan park in Cunderdin. We camp and pay A$13.20 which is worth to clean ourselves and had a hot shower. Two Third of Australia is mostly desert. This is our first lesson to be training to be in the semi-desert. We carry drinking water and food to be enough for 3 days.

 

We continue on route 94 Great Eastern Hwy passing small town of Kellerberrin and camp in Caravan Park. In the morning, we see pretty girl who is the daughter of the owner of Caravan Park riding horses, look so elegant. Then, we pass Merredin and camp in the bush off the main road. April 7, 2002 we arrive Southern Cross, a mine city. We rest and stock food and water to cross Yellowdine, there are no houses or farm until Coolgardie for 190 KM. Riding in the Boorabbin National Park, we see different kinds of eucalyptus at both side of the road and wild animals such as emu (second biggest bird in the world), kangaroo and parrots.

Our first seen emu and kangaroo are so sad, we only see many dead ones beside the road. We see more than 2 thousands of kangaroos and 50 of emu with the white bones around us on the road. Many flies follow us everywhere we go. If our biking speed is less than 20 km/hr they fly into our eye, nose, mouth even when we eat. We have to cover our head into our cloth to eat. We need to wear a mask and sunglasses to be safe from the flies. We arrive Coolgardie.

 

 
 
 

April 10, 2002

We rest in Coolgardie for two nights to get energy before entering to the desert called "Nullarbor Plain". Coolgardie is a gold mining town. Beside the road is the big water pipeline for more than 500 km for comsumption of many cities on the desert.

 

 
 

 

April 12, 2002

From Coolgardie the road doglegs south and travels more than 160 km down the Coolgardie-Esperance Highway to Norseman. It is a semi desert. From Norseman to Ceduna, we will enter the heart of the desert call Nullarbor Plain. Before 10 km to Norseman, the road crosses Lake Cowan, a huge shining salt pan criss-crossed with tyre tracks. Just about arriving Norseman, there is a sign warning of "Limited water Norseman To Ceduna, Obtain Supplies at Norseman".

 

 
 

 

April 16, 2002

We prepare ourselves ready for few days at Norseman. There are many rainy days and dark clouds. We see many signs of flooding in different areas and also warning signs.

We enter Eyre Highway to the east. From now on, there is no farm or houses but only a service station (roadhouse) every distance of 100-200 km. Food and water is most important, we need to prepare and stock enough food to survive at least for 3 days. When we arrive service station (roadhouse), we need to get drinking water and food in each settlement. We camp in Caravan Park or Roadhouse so we could get water for our consumption and buy food for living. We need to carry enough food and water for future consumption both drinking and cooking. We have many head wind days, this make us very difficult and delay our plans.

From Norseman to Balladonia, it is about 193 km with no facilities in between. Arriving Balladonia, we have lunch and see a museum of Sky Lab. America's first space station - Skylab - dropped out of the sky near Balladonia on July 11, 1979, this make Balladonia a well-known place to the world. We left Balladonia about 31 km, we see a sign "90 Miles Straight -Australia Longest Straight Road 146.60 km", some said that it is the longest straight road in the world. We camp near this road tonight and it is a long night in the rain.

 

 
 

 

April 19, 2002

We bike on this straight road...keep going until the end at Caiguna. This road is also named Eyre Hwy. Prior to World War II, this road was rough and dusty. The first travelers across the Nullarbor were Aboriginals. Edward John Eyre, the first European to make the crossing and he used a supply line during the construction of the Overland Telegraph between Adelaide and Perth. He explored this route with the Aboriginals along with horses, camels and sheeps. This road then named "The Eyre Highway".

Many cyclist wish to bike across The Nullarbor Plain, it is a dream of anyone. Arthur Richardson becomes the first person to bike the Nullarbor in 1896.

We leave Caiguna for 10 km, there is a sign of forwarding a clock to 45 minutes. We are crossing the time zone (and many more).

We have met many cyclists. One of them come from England, he looses job and got one amount of money so he explore Australia by bike. The other biker, he bike in Australia every year for holidays for small route. He called himself "Mark at Nullarbor".

 

 
 

 

April 21, 2002

From Caiguna, we are up and down on the hill, rolling all the way. We thought that it is easy to bike on the desert but not at all. There are lots of mountains, strong wind. It is hot during the day and cold at night. Sometimes, the heavy rain comes with big storm. We bike to Madura, then the road is flat. We have backwind pushing us so fast. On the opposite side, our friend who pass us he push the bike very slow at 10 km/hr. We bike at 30 km/hr and relax. Not too long, the sky is dark, the heavy rain come with strong wind. There is no tree around us. We are a little worry. It is about 30 km to the service station in Mundrabilla. We couldn't camp off the road and it's getting dark. We bike in the heavy rain and lightening all the way.

We did not say even a word. We are wet and so tired. We have been riding at 118 km today. We couldn't sleep until midnight because of the strong wind blowing our tent, rain and cold till morning.

 

 
 

 

April 23, 2002

We leave Mundrabilla noon time. We are very exhaust of the nature happen. We are lucky to see the alive-kangaroo far away and get a photo. It is about 67 km from Mundrabilla to Eucla and we keep riding. The weather is getting a little better. Eucla is the biggest of the Nullarbor settlements with the service station, motel and a small museum of a brief prior history; Edward John Eyre. Eucla arose because the telegraph technology that an overland connecting Adelaide and Perth is completed in 1877. The Sand Dune at Eucla is so beautiful. We leave Eucla and enter the border W.A./S.A. (West Australia and South Australia), the price of items is quite expensive. We could use the internet access at A$2 per 10 minutes. At to this point, we have biked at 1,500 km. The difficult part is not only biking across the Nullarbor for long distance but also the high cost of living.

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