Wave Rock and World Water Speed Records in small towns

Riding along for hour after hour we got quite cold. If you’re just walking about a warm jumper would be fine. But the air stream had us chilled to the bones and jeans and jacket just weren’t enough. We puled over and got out the scarves and winter gloves. It was sunny but I put on my rain gear too to keep the wind out. The Michelin-man look isn’t particularly sexy but at least now I was warm.

The landscape remained pretty. Rolling hills were covered in yellow and green patches of rape seed flowers and wheat fields. It all looked so fresh and lush. Hard to believe we had been in barren dry red bush land only a few days ago.

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Riding into Hyden for lunch we watched a train being filled with grain from massive silos. We’d seen lots of these great big grain stores all over the area.

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From Hyden it is only a couple of kilometres to Wave Rock. I peeled myself out of all my layers while Aidan bought a ticket and then we joined the many tourists. They were posing all over the rock for photos looking like they are surfing the wave. I’d seen those pictures before and liked them. But now that we realised everyone was doing it, Skunk and I refused.

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It wasn’t too bad. We managed to get a couple of snaps without anyone else in them and climbing the rock the crowds diffused. Up here there are lots of clear little rock pools with tiny creatures swimming about in them. It’s like looking into a natural aquarium. And there are wickid plants, too, that I’d never seen before.

You get an excellent panoramic view of the surrounding area. Wave rock is not the only rock in the area. Here and there there are patches of rock surfaces randomly among the fields in the landscape. And there are heaps of little lakes too. At least in winter. I have no idea how dry it gets around here in summer.

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Back in the car park a lady came over for a chat. Wasn’t it uncomfortable and hard work how we were traveling? I guess so. A little bit. But the freedom and fun it afforded us was priceless. It was this that had drawn her to us. She had been to Australia in her twenties traveling around like most backpackers in a converted mini van and knew what I was talking about. Now she had returned to see Western Australia, which she had missed out on last time. But much to her surprise the coach holiday she was on wasn’t nearly as much fun for her.

I wasn’t quite sure what to say to that. How could she not have known it would be different in so many ways? Luckily I was spared the need to answer. The others called her back, it was time to go and the driver was just waiting for her. I felt sorry for her that she had tarnished her wickid earlier memories of Australia with this disappointing new one. Shame!

It was still early but the sun was nearing the horizon and soon it would be damp and cold again. We found a nice hidden spot among some tall bushes next to a dirt track and settled in. By the time dinner was cooked eaten the sun was down and it was really cold. Nothing left but to turn in and crawl into the warm sleeping bags.

Of course we woke before sunrise once more, far too cold to sleep. Eventually I dared leave the tent for a quick pee. There was frost on the bikes and it was freezing despite the first sun rays. So  crawled straight back in for a relaxed breakfast. We poured over the map and checked the weather forecast.

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We still had a couple of weeks till we needed to be in Perth to prepare the bikes for shipping. Originally the plan had been to ride in a loop and explore the coastal regions in the south of Western Australia. It was almost whale season and maybe we’d spot one or two early ones.

But the forecast was of heavy winds, temperatures below 15 degrees and rain, rain and more rain. With all the holes in our tarps and tent we would be sodden and cold for an entire two weeks! Really cold. Not something we fancied. Then we remembered Ben and Rhiannon whom we’d met in Tassie. They had invited us to stay with them if we ever made it to Western Australia and they didn’t live far from here. A quick text message confirmed that they were free and we were welcome.

Yay! We decided to visit them first and see what the weather forecast had to say afterwards. For now the sunshine prevailed and we took a less busy road through the farmlands.

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They took us past Lake Grace. Looks like this might also be a dry salt lake in summer but now it had plenty of water in it.

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Stopping for lunch in Dumbleyung we stumbled across the Bluebird in which Donald Campbell famously set the world water speed record on the local lakes in 1964.

Another text message confirmed that Ben would be meeting us in Collie for the last bit of the ride to their home in Australind. Sweet 🙂

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