I was a little tardy getting up this morning and so left Madura Roadhouse a little later than planned. It was a cold and cloudy morning, with a slight headwind that caused my heart to plummet. Would it pick up to the levels experienced the day before?
The Madura Pass, which winds its way up onto the Hampton Tableland, provided a fair challenge in the early morning, particularly as the Roadhouse is at the foot of the pass and therefore there was no time to warm up before tackling the hill. It is not too severe, though, and I was well rewarded for the effort by the splendid views afforded of the coastal plain as I approached the summit.
The vegetation on the Tableland is denser, with more trees than we saw on the coastal plain, but the terrain is equally level, with few hills. My legs were tired, though, and my backside quite sore from the long hours in the saddle yesterday, as well as the accumulated effects of the past three weeks.
The wind dropped as the sun climbed a little higher, in complete contrast with the last few days when the wind gathered strength as the morning progressed. What a blessed change!
I returned to my routine of stopping at fifty and one hundred kilometres and literally revelled in travelling along at a slightly higher speed. Cocklebiddy, which I passed after about eighty-five kilometres, turned out to be no more than a typical roadhouse. I was so taken with the name that somehow I expected there to be more to it than that. But it did provide Jane with an opportunity to buy lunch.
We intended ending the day’s trip at Caiguna, which lies quite close to the spot where Edward John Eyres’ expedition ran into its serious problems with the murder of his companion, John Baxter. A few kilometres from Caiguna we passed another roadside notice to set our clocks back, signalling our entry into a fourth time zone since we started.
In Caiguna a group of roadworkers had taken over the caravan park and motel, leaving the travellers to find accommodation elsewhere. This was no problem to those folk who arrived early and could simply drive the one hundred and fifty kilometres or so to the next roadhouse, but to us it presented a problem. We set up camp in a picnic area fairly close to the motel and I was able to shower and change at the facilities within the motel complex. The fact that we did not have power for the night was only a minor inconvenience as we managed quite well without it.