2023 Indi-Pac Day 4 Report

Tuesday March 21, 2023: My phone alarm originally screamed at me just after midnight……….Fuck that right off!…….was my immediate response. When I had set up camp last night there had been no trucks at the truck stop, but over the subsequent 5 hours at least half a dozen had arrived and parked up. Each arrival brought with it a cacophony of rumbling diesel engine and air brakes, as well as a manic combination of high beam and strobe lights. The creaking and slamming of the nearby dunny door was also a particular highlight.

(a quick sidebar on the dunny – the grottiest set up I have ever bared my cheeks at. Kenny would have been utterly disgusted, maybe even to the point of considering a career change to accountancy).

So, long story short I barely slept a wink, ignored the first 5 alarms and eventually got up at around 1:30am.

More fun and games chasing after blown away sleeping kit (the blow up pillow is a most underrated part of the sleeping system and must be found at all costs), and then back on the road at 2:11am.

And yes, back into the easterly.

With 750ml of water to my name.

The YouTube video 4 photos below will tell the story of what happens next. If you’re sensitive to effing, jeffing and spitting, I’d suggest you scroll on by….

Tuesday March 21, 2023: Fun times packing up.

Tuesday March 21, 2023: Out into it….

Tuesday March 21, 2023: Please that be the lights of Coolgardie, not the sunrise.

Tuesday March 21, 2023: Plugging away.

Coolgardie

I finally rolled into the 1890’s gold rush town of Coolgardie just after 7:30am and exited the bizarre  place over 5 hours later. For expediencies sake I’m going to have to break down the goings on into bullet points:

  • First port of call was the Ampol Servo for long overdue supplies. Daryl Dehydration was big time knocking at the door. I was so dazed and confused that I couldn’t think outside my immediate requirements and so just bought, water, Coke and 2 pies.
  • Drank and ate all the above sitting on the concrete out the front of the servo.
  • My faculties somewhat restored I decided to find accomodation for a brief sleep and to recharge my gadgets.
  • I rode down the wide main street past an impressively green town park, and further on past some equally impressive historical buildings, including an old Pub called the Denver City Hotel.
  • I enquired at the Coolgardie Goldrush Motel on the far side of town but the last few rooms had just been reserved by some cyclists riding from Southern Cross……….Goddamn Grupetto! However, the motel owner suggested I try the Caravan Park.
  • Back from whence I had come down the main street, past the Denver City Hotel…..mmmm, I wonder why the bloke didn’t suggested trying there. There seems to be plenty of rooms.
  • The office for the Caravan Park was closed but there was a number to call. It took me a while to work out the correct order of digits to call from an international phone but finally got there. No answer was the stern reply although I could hear a phone ringing from a nearby caravan. A local kid, most probably on his way to school confirmed that the caravan was indeed that of the Manager. It was around 8:30am. I tried to call a few more times and hung out for another 10 minutes but no luck.
  • Back to the Ampol Servo for more supplies, including a tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream and then to the town park to sit in the shade and think, and of course eat ice-cream.
  • An hour later the idea was hatched to try for a room at the Denver City Hotel.
  • Rolled over to the Pub and asked a bloke out the front who was smoking a cigarette if he knew if there were any rooms available….
  • “…..no fuckin’ idea mate but come in and check out the Skimpy. We’re just about to make her quit!”…….”What’s a skimpy?”……….”What the…….Come in and find out. I’ll buy you a beer.”
  • Into the dimly lit pub I went. The stench of stale beer hit me first, and then a few seconds later after my eyes acclimatised to the dark, I was met by a very atypical scene for circa 9:30am on a Tuesday morning. There was around 10 blokes sitting at the bar, all absolutely maggoted, all shouting at a rather anxious looking, lingerie clad barmaid. Silence. All looked at me at once, incredulous, as if I had just fallen from space, which I sort of actually felt like I had.
  • “This fuckin’ (see you next Tuesday) is riding his bike across the fuckin’ country!” said my new companion. All eyes on me. The barmaid looked tangibly relieved that the attention had diverted from her. She walked over to see if I wanted anything.
  • “Fuck that for a joke” shouted one of the lads, “I couldn’t think of anything worse.”
  • I ordered a lemon squash, answered a few questions about the ride, then asked the barmaid if they had any rooms………this caused a stir of course…..Turns out they had plenty of rooms available but they wouldn’t be ready for a few hours. I was actually relieved to hear this and used it as an excuse to get out of there……..”Oh well, better get back on the road”…….I placed a few goldies on the bar, grabbed my bike and exited the building, almost knocking over a few bar stools in the process.
  • “Thank crap that’s over.”
  • (now back in the day, during my miss-spent late teens, 20’s………ok, maybe even also during my 30’s, I enjoyed the occasional all-nighter, all good fun, but there was something sinister at play in that pub. It didn’t feel right. I wasn’t surprised to hear later that that same place, the Denver City Hotel was the subject of the 2016 documentary Hotel Coolgardie:

which inspired the 2023 movie The Royal Hotel:

  • (For further info and context, this article is very informative; https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-07-22/skimpies-in-australian-bars-and-pubs-post-metoo/102559048)
  • Before I was out of dodge I popped into the Truck stop on the far end of town. The lack of sleep from last night was kicking in, so I bought a couple of Redbulls and a Coke, and forced them down, literally forced them down.
  • Right turn off the Great Eastern Highway (which bends around to the north-east towards the mining town of Kalgoorlie), onto the Coolgardie Esperance Highway. Heading South-East now.
  • Bugger this, I need to sleep………No point fighting it – best to be safe so I promptly pulled off the road, into a sort of rest-stop, lay my bike down in the shade of a gum tree, pumped up my mattress and fell dead asleep on it.

Tuesday March 21, 2023: The sign on the outskirts of Coolgardie.

Tuesday March 21, 2023: Rolling down Coolgardie’s main drag. Town park off to the left.

Tuesday March 21, 2023: Rolling down Coolgardie’s main drag. Take 2. The Denver City Hotel off to my right.

Tuesday March 21, 2023: My rather manic movements in Coolgardie.

I woke up almost 3 hours later, the shade had moved and the sun was now belting me across the chops. Just as well I had previously slip, slop, slapped.

Back into it, feeling a lot better for the snooze, and even better soon later when the quality of the road took a magnificent turn for the 21st Century…..

Tuesday March 21, 2023: Heading south-east on the Coolgardie Esperance Highway.

God Bless Sue Wellington

A few hours later I came across dot-watcher Sue Wellington who was parked up on the other side of the road. She was driving back home to Geraldton (I think this is correct??) after spending some time in Pt Lincoln, South Australia where her dear Dad had recently passed away.

We had a lovely chat. The conversation and her generously supplied food and drinks brought me back on form.

Tuesday March 21, 2023: The Pie-Muncher in the wild. Photo Credit: – Sue Wellington.

Tuesday March 21, 2023: Rummaging around in the boot of Sue’s car for the good stuff. Photo Credit: – Sue Wellington.

Tuesday March 21, 2023: The Pie-Muncher in the wild. Take 2. Photo Credit: – Sue Wellington.

That’ll Do:

I pulled into the Widgiemooltha Roadhouse at around 5pm.

It had been a long day but not a very productive one distance wise thus far. I looked at my route notes. Norseman was still about 100k’s away. I just couldn’t face another 4 to 7 hours in the saddle…..

…..so I didn’t…………I got a beer and a burger and a room instead.

Tuesday March 21, 2023: The Widgiemooltha Roadhouse.

Tuesday March 21, 2023: As a matter of fact I got it NOW!!

Tuesday March 21, 2023: Din dins at the Widgiemooltha Roadhouse.

Tuesday March 21, 2023: My digs at the Widgiemooltha Roadhouse.

Tuesday March 21, 2023: My digs at the Widgiemooltha Roadhouse. Take 2.

Tuesday March 21, 2023: Laundry day.

The Day According to Strava:

 

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