A huge and fast 45 km per hour ride today with tailwinds of 30 knots getting to our destination here at Madura Pass in a heartbeat. The gods were kind to me today allowing the team to make up for some lost time brought on by terrible weather in the wheat belt and the goldfield WA section of the long ride home.
A calm night by the campfire last night with lots of laughs and yarns of old. I woke about midnight to a 80 knot squall (storm cell) shaking the van like crazy. I also heard some laughter on the outside of the van knowing that something humorous had happened relating to the high winds hitting our campsite. Around breakfast the story of Terry's tent collapsing during the squall brought on more laughter.
Gunney explains; "I looked out on the plateau to see a torch inside a collapsed tent being Terry inside frantically trying to reconstruct his tent from inside which wasn't working then I saw the image of a naked man (Terry) desperately sprinting towards the van to take shelter."
Terry has a had a bad run, first the snake, then the tent. Lets hope there's no more Nullarbor bad luck for him.
Expected storms for the night and the ground is too hard here for tent pegs to secure a solid foundation for a tent so Terry has been relocated to new sleeping quarters in the back of the trailer, hoping he gets a better nights sleep than last night.
We bumped into a young man and his sister working at the Caiguna roadhouse who had honoured their father, a Vietnam Veteran, Jim Carlton (7 Royal Australian Regiment) and other Vietnam Veterans by displaying some fantastic framed photographs taken during the war, including some taken of our WW1 heroes in Egypt. He also proudly wears a hat with Anzac Day memorabilia badges at all times.
There is a group of riders out here as well riding from Esperance to Ceduna and I managed to give them a big applause as they passed by our campsite late afternoon. I imagine that we'll cross paths again somewhere between here and their destination and talk about the Nullarbor crossing.
A fantastic kangaroo tail stew for dinner tonight thanks to Ned our bush tucker man. We're camped in a comfortable location at the top of the Madura Pass approx 7,303 Kms (on the long ride home) before heading down onto the coastal plains tomorrow. Looking down from our site to the journey ahead towards Eucla the terrain looks wild and isolated. Eucla being our next rest day (180 km ahead).
Dodging road kill, mainly kangaroos and their joeys is now common on the daily rides. It's sad to see up close these beautiful animals meeting their fate by by simply crossing a major highway in the middle of no where. But it's a common sight here in Australia for these animals meeting their fate.
Madura was settled in 1876 as a place to breed quality cavalry horses for the British Indian Army for use in the Northwest Frontier region of India (now part of Pakistan). The horses were shipped from the coast at Eucla. (Cervantes, north of Perth, was also used for breeding.) The site was chosen as it was one of the few with free flowing bore water in the area.
The surrounding area is part of Madura Station, currently a sheep station, but was previously used to graze cattle, horses and camels.
Like other locations in the Nullarbor Plain area, the area consists of little more than a roadhouse, open 6:00am to 9:00pm each day. 2 km west of Madura is a scenic lookout with sweeping views of the Madura Pass across the escarpment and the Roe Plains. Natural blowholes may also be found nearby. The area is used for pastoral purposes, mainly sheep rearing. Surrounding Madura is the Madura Shelf stretching 265 600 square kilometres of predominately sedimentary rock, part of the Bight Basin which has been found to contain crude oil and geothermal gradients.
Truck, Juvy, Gunney and Ned Kelly eating Kangaroo tail stew, on the long ride home, on the Nullarbor Plains
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