My head was obviously a bit out of sorts. I waved goodbye and was rolling out the driveway of the caravan park when Katie yelled after me, ‘when do you put your helmet on?’. Whoops. Went back to fetch it, strapped it on and took off again. That was this morning.
It was like the day Gill and Paul drove off for the last time, from the Nullarbor Roadhouse to head back to Perth leaving Mel and I looking at each other thinking the only way out of this place, was on a bike. We both freaked out a bit, took a few deep breaths. We had a day’s rest to get our heads around it. Watched some great midday tv. Then we pushed our bikes out the next morning as the sun came up, literally rising before us at the end of the road we were travelling on. It was the flattest landscape we’d cycled on, the biggest sky, nothing between us and the horizon, 360 degrees around us. It was a truly spectacular feeling.
So this morning I had to say goodbye to Mel. I started to get a few nerves. Mel has cycled with me since Esperance, almost bang on 2000km. Every day bar a few rest days. What an adventure it has been and what a cycling companion she has been. We have seen some of the most beautiful landscapes this country has to offer, watched it change and shift from the back of the bike. We have laughed till we cried, we have talked and talked and we’ve sat in silence, each listening to our toons, in our own bubble as we pedalled the long stretches of highway. Mel was also there in some dark times, when I got sick and couldn’t speak for three days because of an intensely sore throat and brutal cough. She kept the focus, made me cups of tea and pulled out the tarp so I could kip at our rest stops. All my energy was on turning the legs and I didn’t have anything left in the tank at the end of each day. She brought me soup in bed and got us safely to Ceduna where we had two rest days. It was just what the doctor ordered, literally. And then, with spirits and health improved, we rolled on through the beautiful Eyre Peninsular and on to Port Augusta where we met up with my next support crew – brother Michael and his family Katie, Lucas and Sonny. It was brilliant to see them, and battle it out over ping pong at the caravan park, although getting woken up at five this morning by 1000 Rebel motor bikers leaving town wasn’t the best start to the day! I missed Mel on the bike today, she would have loved the hills I had to climb! Mick joined me for some of the ride later in the day, some very sweet riding through undulating canola fields and gorgeous old towns. We’re now settled in at our cabin at Laura, with spaghetti bolognese on the cooker. Lucas and Sonny are catching flies. Mick and Katie are having beers on the balcony. Mel is probably sitting on a plane now, heading to Melbourne. See you soon Mel, it was truly fabulous. What a ride!