Day 167, Saturday, 12 September, 2009

Distance travelled – 110.9 km
Avg speed – 17.0 kph
Max speed – 30.8 kph

Bush Camp to Roebourne

About 1 hour after leaving our camp this morning we reached Whim Creek and pulled into the very pink Whim Creek Hotel for morning tea. We first visited this pub in 2003 and at that time it was open to the public. In more recent times it has been purchased by Straits Copper Mine and has been used as an accommodation complex for its workers. We tried to get permission to camp here but without success, as they do not allow tents or caravans anymore. Originally built in 1898 after copper was first discovered in the area the pub is as iconic in WA as Daly Waters pub is in the NT.

When we first visited in 2003 we could go inside and look at all the old photos and memorabilia, now it is only open after 3.00pm. Straits’ have a sign welcoming you to use their facilities so we sat at one of the outside tables next to the aviaries and enjoyed a longer than normal morning tea. I got talking to one of the workers who was doing some maintenance and he told us that the hotel is up for sale again as the mine is closing. Anyone out there want to buy a bush pub?

We passed our first flowering Sturt Desert Peas this morning and just in case we did not see them in flower again we stopped next to a small patch outside Whim Creek to take some photos. We needn’t have worried, as there were many patches along the road to Roebourne.

We had a late lunch in the shade of a large gum tree beside the dry George River and were amused to watch a budgerigar land on my bike’s mirror and spend time trying to walk around the edge, slip, regain its footing and look at itself. Disappointingly both of our cameras where on our bikes so we did not get any photos. We have not seen flocks of budgies since ‘The Barkly’ and have wondered until today if they are in WA. They are obviously about but not in the screeching flocks we have observed in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

As we were having lunch the wind started to get stronger so we decided it prudent to get going before it got any worse. When we stopped for lunch the wind had already lowered our speed to less than 17 kph so with 40km to go we were a bit concerned that we would be able to make Roebourne before sunset.

There are certainly some low lifes out there on the roads. About 23 km from Roebourne a car travelling towards us slowed and the occupants threw an egg sandwich at the two of us. Unluckily for me it hit my handlebar and covered my shorts and panniers in egg. We were stunned that anyone could do such a thing and you have to wonder what went through their minds in the 15 seconds that we came into their field of view and they passed us. Without stating the obvious this was a very devastating experience. As we stopped to clean up, with the bags off my bike, it was disappointing that no one stopped to see if we were OK. Everyone likes to wave and toot their horns as they pass but no one seems to understand the origins of the wave to a fellow traveller in the bush. We have always understood it to say hello and signal that you are not alone if you need assistance.  Given this experience it is going to be hard to keep up our offers of help to caravans and truckies changing tyres. We wish the egg throwers all the bad luck in the world.

We made it to Roebourne 30 minutes before sunset after a terribly windy last 40 km.

Zoom into the map and use the 'Satellite' layer to see our new location.



Sunrise at Bush Camp 090911

Sunrise over the hill near Bush Camp 090911

Riding through the hills on our way to Whim Creek

View from road near Whim Creek

Whim Creek Hotel

Sturt Desert Peas near Whim Creek

Unknown flower

We suspect this is a St Andrew's spider

Sherlock River - we were surprised to come across this amount of water

Sherlock River

The end result of a "Low Life" throwing an egg sandwich at us. I had cleaned myself up before the thought of taking a photo came into my head.


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