Friday 13 November
We are not sure if today's date has anything to do with this BUT .... After cleaning and servicing the bikes we have discovered Denise has a cracked rear wheel rim much the same as I had in Bowen. We have ordered a new wheel but we cannot get it until next Friday so we have decided to stay in Esperance until Thursday 19 November. Esperance seems a cooler and more interesting place to stay and wait whilst the new wheel gets built than anywhere further along our route.
We will get the new wheel sent to Norseman as, touch wood, we expect the existing wheel to stay serviceable for the 205km ride north. After we replaced my wheel in Bowen we cut the cracked wheel rim up for a closer look and learnt there is a lot of metal still to break before the wheel completely fails. However, we still want a new rim before we start our crossing of the Nullarbor. Since 2005 there have been no Nullarbor bus services so there are no obvious escape options if we breakdown on this section of our journey. Hopefully this delay will also give the weather the opportunity to cool down a little but we somehow doubt this.
At the moment Esperance seems to be a staging post of cyclists as there are a few in town that we have met or heard about resting or waiting for it to cool down before they all head east. Currently the weather forecast for Eucla, which is near the SA border, is 42 degrees. We know of at least one cyclist planning to leave Esperance the same day we will so it may be a more social ride east than we had anticipated.
Wednesday, 18 November
We have had a most pleasant stay in Esperance. Last Sunday we went out to dinner at Taylor Street Jetty Restaurant. The food was magnificent but unfortunately the service from the front of house staff did not come up to the same standard as that coming out of the kitchen.
On Monday we hired a car and drove out to Cape Le Grand National Park. We shared the expenses with Uwe, a Dutch fellow, who is also touring on a bicycle. His journey takes him from Perth to Port Augusta, Darwin and then back to Perth. The amazing thing about Uwe is that he only had ridden 10km on his bike before leaving for Australia. He is getting sponsored for every kilo he looses before his return to Holland.
Cape Le Grand was well worth the trip. We visited most of the beaches in the park and also climbed Frenchman Peak. Esperance uses a photograph of a kangaroo lying on a white beach in its marketing collateral. When we first saw the image we thought it was a ‘photoshop job’ but at Lucky Bay we were lucky enough to see a number of kangaroos on the beach. They seem to be drawn to the fresh water that seeps out and pools just above the high water mark. So it is possible that the marketing image is a real after all.
Tuesday afternoon we went to the cinema to see ‘Mao’s Last Dancer’. As we were cycling into Kulin I was listening to a podcast ‘Conversation Hour with Richard Fidler’ between Li Cunxin and Mary McKendry. As the story finished on my iPod I found myself stopped next to a ‘Tin Horse Highway’ sculpture of a ballerina, so when we saw that the movie was on here in Esperance we thought we should go and finish the loop. We both enjoyed the film and recommend it.
We spent Wednesday afternoon trying to get Denise’s new wheel here on time. Unfortunately the wheel did not leave Canberra as planned and couriers were now asking up to $2000.00 (that is not a typo) to get it to us on Friday. We have learnt this week that many businesses treat Esperance as ‘remote’ which surprises us given its proximity to Perth. However, our experience today with couriers does confirm this ‘remote’ view. Even though there is an airport here we suspect it would be quicker and easier to get a parcel to Port Hedland or Kununurra. Hopefully all our phone calls today pay off and the wheel will arrive on time for a far more reasonable fee.
We leave Esperance tomorrow.
Zoom into the map and use the 'Satellite' layer
to see our new location.
091112 - Taylor Street Jetty Cafe
091112 - View from Taylor Street Jetty Cafe
091113 - Esperance Harbor from the Old Cannery lookout
091113 - Esperance sewage works ;-)
091113 - Esperance Tanker Jetty