Today was the start of the Easter weekend and the traffic was noticeably heavier than on previous days. There were fewer road trains and other commercial vehicles, but there were far more family cars as people dashed off to who knows where for the weekend. Pleasantly, the driving was generally of a high standard in spite of the fact that most people must have been in a hurry to reach their holiday destinations.
During the early part of the morning it was warm and cloudless, with a light tailwind as I headed east down the Great Eastern Highway, but this good fortune was not to last as the wind reversed itself before too long, blowing quite strongly from the west for rest of the day.
Shortly after passing the camel farm situated on the outskirts of Coolgardie, the traffic was sent on a two kilometre diversion as a bridge on the highway was being repaired. The detour was a fairly firm surface, but was covered by a few centimetres of thick, red mud. This mud was drawn up by my wheels and stuck to anything that it touched. How can anything be so sticky? By the time I had completed the detour the wheels of my bike could hardly turn, for the mud was caked so thickly around the brakes and between the forks. I found a piece of stiff rubber at the roadside, presumably once part of someone’s tyre, and after removing the wheels I spent a good ten minutes scraping as much of the mud away from the moving parts of the bike as was possible.
I noticed that the water pipeline is of greater diameter along this stretch; presumably because a greater volume of water is being carried to Coolgardie and neighbouring Kalgoolie. The pipeline rests on concrete or metal bollards well above the surface of the ground most of the time, but dives below the ground quite regularly to pass below the side roads.
I passed Bulla Bulling about thirty kilometres from Calgoorlie, consisting of the now customary shop, bottle shop and filling station. Nearby was a mounted display explaining the workings of the water pipeline to any interested passers-by.
There were a surprising number of uphills today and I felt rather tired from early on. In truth I have lost a lot of weight and my reserves seem to be all but depleted and it was a matter of grinding out the rest of the day with one eye on the horizon, looking for the end. Which, eventally, I reached.
After checking into the caravan park at Southern Cross I hosed my bike down to get rid of the remaining mud from the early morning before taking my customary shower.