Wednesday, May 9, 2012

nullarbor plain

the other day i made a list of my travel goals. it got long real quick.
over the next couple weeks i will share them with you.
today i will tell you about my urge to cycle across the nullarbor plain in southern australia.
nullarbor derives from the latin words nullus, meaning no, and arbor, meaning trees.
at its widest the nullarbor plain is 1,100km!
in 1896 arthur charles jeston richardson became the first cyclist to cross the nullarbor plain, from coolgardie to adelaide. carrying only a small kit and a water-bag. he followed the telegraph line as he crossed the plain. arthur described the heat as "1,000 degrees in the shade"
i know this makes it sound unappealing to some. but i crave it somedays. just being out there, cycling. in a vast open nothingness.
i first heard about it in october 2010. that's when the idea was planted. i had arrived in the northern territory of australia and was couchsurfing in darwin. i was trying to find a ride out of the city and my only guideline was that i had a month and a half to get to sydney. so i was meeting people who had placed ads on backpacker boards.

1. 'SEEKING ROAD TRIP BUDDY(must know how to drive stick)'
2. We are Cara, Sven and Janno! We are going splitsies on a old school VW van and are looking for a fourth to join us?!

i ended up going with kai, a guy from northern ireland who had already bought a beast of a toyota land cruiser. we ended up doing the east coast. so no nullarbor that time.
and then when i was reading lilwall's book he talked about cycling across it. how the road stretches on forever. how somedays all you will see is kangaroos, camels and road trains*. reading and hearing stories about the nullarbor make it seem like a magical place. i want to be one of the few that has travelled across it.
ultimately i think i would like to cycle across it too. i think the average time to cross it is two-three weeks. but seeing as how my biking skill are severally lacking, i doubt that will be happening any time soon. right now i just try to avoid the CA-CHUNK CA-CHUNK sound my bike makes when shifting gears. actually today i just picked up my bike from MEC, where it got a spring tune-up. so perhaps ill get started on conquering my CA-CHUNK fears. one step at a time.

*a road train is like an 18 wheeler. except instead of just having one container on the back of the cab, they have like three. common throughout australia. 

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