Madura Pass to Eucla


A huge day 165 km of riding today. It must have been Ned's kangaroo tail stew which put a hop into my day. A long day no doubt when finally climbing the Eucla Pass around 5.30 pm. A well earned rest day ahead to recover and refurbish the bike and team equipment including a tad of washing.
We are all looking forward to a back to norm counter meal at the Eucla Motor Hotel restaurant including a catch up of the Aussie Rules final games on TV before the big grand final next week. All part of boosting the morale of the team after being on the road since 5th September, and for me, since starting on the 12th of May, about 7,450 km ago.
We've had some fantastic support out here from travellers going East to West or the opposite West to East. One of the main questions in conversations with folks out here is, "Which way are you heading?" For me, it's definitely East and most people I've chatted with have heard about the long ride home heading to Sydney.
Folks on the move across the Nullarbor have been fantastic, hospitable and very kind by making donations to the long ride home cause or simply offering their well wishes after talking with the team about the long ride.
I dropped down from the Madura Pass just before a huge storm front came through yesterday but was more fascinated looking across the Nullarbor from high up to see the beauty of this massive black storm front sweeping in off the ocean and across the desert plateau towards me. I was totally in a hypnotized state watching the front, something I hadn't seen before, until Juvy yelled out "Get moving, lets pack up, its coming fast!". It was enough to kick my mind back into neutral and then get cracking before it hit. On the road again and I finally caught up to the group of 6 riders from McKay, Queesland who were riding from Norseman to Ceduna.
After a bit of a chin wag and photos together they joined me for about 15 km of riding before my rest stop, but, we met again further down the road for lunch and a bit more chatting about our experiences on the Nullarbor crossing and I'm sure we'll meet again before they hit Ceduna 500 km further down the road.
I've met an old friend, Deidre McAlear and her partner Roy (no fixed address) travelling Australia in the most amazing home on wheels. Roy has been living in his home on wheels for the last 25 years. We met them about 4 days ago in Cocklebiddy and have been meeting regularly along the route in various night stops. I think it's a race between the trusty trek and the home on wheels to see who's going to reach Sydney first. Come on Roy & Deidre!!! Don't be outdone by the trusty trek.
Eucla is the easternmost locality in Western Australia, located in the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia along the Eyre Highway, approximately 11 km west of the South Australian border. At the 2006 census, Eucla had a population of 86.
It is the only Western Australian location on the Eyre Highway that has a direct view of the Great Australian Bight due to its elevated position immediately next to the Eucla Pass – where the highway moves out and above the basin known as Roe Plains that occurs between the Madura and Eucla passes.
The name Eucla is believed to originate from an Aboriginal word "Yinculyer" which one (uncited) source gives as referring to the rising of the planet Venus. It was first used by Europeans for the area at some point before 1867.
In 1841, Eyre and Baxter became the first European explorers to visit the area. In 1867, the president of the Marine Board of South Australia declared a port at Eucla, and in 1870, John Forrest camped at the location for nearly two weeks. In 1873, land was taken up at Moopina Station near the present townsite, and work commenced on a telegraph line from Albany to Adelaide. Land was set aside at Eucla for the establishment of a manual repeater station, and when the telegraph line opened in 1877, Eucla was one of the most important telegraph stations on the line. The station was important as a conversion point because South Australia and Victoria used American Morse code (locally known as the Victorian alphabet) while Western Australia used the international Morse code that is familiar today.
A jetty and tram line were constructed for offloading supplies brought in by sea. The town was proclaimed a township and gazetted in 1885, and reached its peak in the 1920s, prior to the construction of a new telegraph line further north alongside the Trans-Australian Railway in 1929.
In the 1890s a rabbit plague passed through the area and ate much of the Delisser Sandhills' dune vegetation, thus destabilising the dune system and causing large sand drifts to encroach on the townsite. The original town was abandoned, and a new townsite established about 4 km to the north and higher up on the escarpment. The ruins of the original telegraph station which still stand amongst the dunes, are a local tourist attraction.
Many of the pioneer farmers and telegraph operators were buried at Eucla, but as the sand dunes encroached onto their graves, some of the headstones and plaques were removed and can now be seen at the museum at Eucla.
In 1898, the population of the town was 96 (82 males and 14 females).
In 1971, worldwide media publicity came to the town after reports (and indistinct photographs) emerged of a half-naked blonde girl who had gone wild and lived and ran with the kangaroos, who came to be known as the "Nullarbor Nymph". The story subsequently turned out to be a hoax cooked up by the residents of the tiny settlement.
Eucla is the largest stopping point between Norseman and Penong for travellers along the Eyre Highway. It has a hotel and restaurant, a golf club (7 km to the north), a museum dedicated to the Old Telegraph Station, and a meteorological station. These together with fishing are the locality's major activities. There is a Travellers Cross that (despite its name) commemorates deceased local people.
The South Australian settlement of Border Village is located 12 kilometres (7 mi) east of Eucla. Primarily established as a quarantine checkpoint for agricultural produce, this small settlement also comprises a licensed roadhouse and caravan park.
Getting close to South Australia and further down the long ride home route to Adelaide. I am still being wary along the route as even reptiles can get aggressive out here or end up in the spokes of your wheel bringing you to a dead halt . Terry nearly standing on a very aggressive snake the other day and a blue tongued lizard almost in my spokes yesterday.
The blue tongue's main defence strategy is bluff. It faces the threat and opens its mouth. The blue tongue inside the pink mouth is an unexpected and vivid sight, designed to frighten off the attacker. The lizard also hisses loudly and flattens its body which makes it look wider and bigger.
If you pick the lizard up now it will bite you. And it will hurt. Blue tongues have a habit of latching onto your finger and not letting go, which leaves you with a nice bruise. I was lucky that I was on the move at a fast pace past the little creature as his defence mechanism came into play.
Truck, Juvy , Gunney, Terry & Gunney still Truckin on the flats of the Nullarbor Plains