It was another clear and windless morning when I emerged from the caravan park to start cycling. It was cool enough for a long sleeved top, but was not cold enough to be unpleasant. I took off through the quiet streets of Merredin.
At the edge of town there was a roadside board commemorating the assembly site of the longest road train in the world. Six hundred and ten metres long, it was, and was made up of forty-five trailers. It was driven for some eight or nine kilometres down this very stretch of road. My mind struggled to get around the nightmare of meeting up with a road train well over half a kilometre long while cycling quietly along a country road. A little further on a signboard restricted the length of road trains using the Great Eastern Highway to a more reasonable thirty-six and a half metres.
The Great Eastern Highway passes some low-lying, waterless “lakes” that, in South Africa, would be called pans. The Hines Lakes and a bit further on the Baandee Lakes, clearly pointed to the occasional presence of surface water, although there was none at the moment. As we approached Northam we also passed over a few creeks, also waterless at present, but the first creeks that we had seen for the longest time.
Some sixty kilometres from Merredin I reached Kellerberrin, which turned out to be quite a sizeable settlement, with an attractive looking caravan park. This evoked a short-lived regret at not having pushed on from Merredin, to spend the night at Kellerberrin instead.
I also passed through Tammin, Cunderdin and several other small settlements, many staking some claim to fame. “The Earthquake Capital of Australia” proclaimed one. Another featured a photographic museum housed in a building decorated to look like a camera, with the entrance being via the lens. Some of these settlements bore the quaintest of names: Doodlakine, Wyalkatchem and Grass Valley.
By this stage of the trip I found that I was very tired towards the end of each day’s cycle, although I was fine for the first half. I was surprisingly free of any specific aches or pains. My behind was tender from the hours on the narrow saddle and I had some really minor chaffing between my legs, but otherwise I felt that I was in pretty good condition.