We started cycling in Australia. So different from my wonderful Indonesia. On the positive side.
..1.people speak English although sometimes with the accents and slang you are no better off knowing what they are saying than if we were Indonesia.
2. Beer is plentiful and cold. I hear wine is good and plentiful.
3. There is normal food.not just rice and chicken. Our camp chefs are ver good too.
4. You can use the tap to drink water and brush your teeth.
5. It is clean as people use the plentiful garbage cans.
But there are definitely downsides.
1. It is wicked expensive. You go from paying 70 cents for a drink and 3 dollars for a very large beer to paying 4 dollars for a cola and 6 or 7 dollars for a bottle of beer.
2. The landscape is incredibly boring compared to indonesia. Kilometer after kilometer with a straight road of the same landscape.
There are rare stops for cold drinks if any. We can have 100 km plus with no place to stop. Only our lunch stop to refuel and rehydrate.
Heat and headwinds. We get to the lunch stop around 9 because it is “coolish” and fairly still. Then the headwind/side wind becomes gale force and the temp goes up to 105 degrees.
When the sun goes down and you settle into your tent..it is still wicked hot and you sweat and can’t sleep. It does cool off at around midnight.
Quick story of our second day. 135km or 80 miles. The Stuart Highway extends down the center of Australia. It is used for transport most notably for the “road trains”. A road train is a cab with four semi truck beds attached. Sometimes it is four petrol oil tanks together. This day thankfully Andreas, our tour leader found a really nice route off the highway. Beautiful in the early morning and with a little more variety. The route made it over 70km before lunch and no stops. Felt great. After lunch the wind was ferocious and it was over 100 degrees. All was good. Felt really strong. Luckily thete was an unexpected gas station 30km from the finish. Well I thought I was fine but when I got off the bike everything got real bright. Yes I am familiar with this feeling from my marathon days..I was overheated about to faint. Managed to get inside…bought a cold drink and some chips because I was craving the salt. I was standing at the bar trying to gather myself and the next thing I know I was a million miles away in my head kind of dreaming. After about 2 minutes (that is how long the other riders sitting at the table estimated) I “woke up” and realized where I was. I thougjt I was already in camp but no I still had some 18 miles to go. By tje last 6 miles I was down to a crawl and cramping. It was Dan’s birthday and desperately parched we pulled directly into the nice campground tavern. I had a beer poured but my stomach was upset from heat distress that I barely was able to sip. Thete was another rider; Jody who was celebrating her 40th so beer and wine was flowing. I felt sick to my stomach so told Dan I was going to camp. I made it around the corner to the little country store when I had to sit down or else pass out. This nice australian family with 3 kids were also sitting outside and began asking me about our ride. As I was trying to smile and answer all of a sudden I ran to the closest available bushes and puked everywhere. Felt much better and fortunstely our medic, Chelsea was walking by and got me some electrolytes and more chips. After a few minutes I felt fine and went and set up my tent. Dan and I have discussed various strategies to make it on a longer day with these headwinds. Mainly it means going slower in the morning and drinking more in the morning even thoigh your inclination is to faster and put the km behind you when it is cooler. Also to stop at about 40km and get off the bike grab a snack and drink even if we still feel fresh because the morning is always easy. Will keep you posted on how things go. We have some long stretches in the next 5 days and the weather pattern is stuck on headwinds.