Dry cured window frames did little to keep the whipper wind from gaining entry into the Mount Bryan East Schoolhouse. Wearily, I gazed out over the flat land with its slender crack of pre-dawn colour blending into a charcoal dust coloured sky.
A forecasted 35 knot front of malcontent eliminating any hope of regaining the Mawson, we chose instead to go east into the never never. It was time to get up.
Horse burst through the door in the dark, “shit, did you see the size of that!” “Of what?” I replied, myself also having not long returned from the outside lav’. He then began to regale me with the story of a spider ‘bigger than the mans fist’. It was precariously positioned under the porcelain lid of that very same… ‘outside lav’. I puckered at the realisation that my intimate privacy had been recently shared with said huntsman. Horse burst into hysterics, as I turned my back and continued to pack. Note to self: ‘take a flaming torch to the ‘lav next time Salmon’.
The wind built as we turned wheels east into gravel and dust. The road red, leading us up through green rock and gum to the top of the Tourilie Gorge.
Greeted at the summit by the sound of battered yellow tin traffic signs oscillating in the blow, slowly working at their tethered nails intent on regaining their freedom and flight. For us, our freedom lay through the unexpected to the flat red land beyond.
We were prepared for this particular ‘unexpected’ and all the wonderful potential contained within the word ‘lost’, because at last we were making up this trail as we went along.
Our red dusty road was soon replaced with a rock scree and scour trail, steep in its decent to the shadow of the valley floor. We pushed and persuaded ourselves to cross shards of rock sandwiched between narrow flanks of sun smoothed canyon walls, until eventually bursting through to the never never.
Only to discover in the still and sizzling quiet, a mob of wild goat and ‘roo converge on the only water hole in the dry.
The flat lands
Then overland. Tracking animal trails through brush for miles south to distant dust storms we hoped were roads.
Proven right, the whipper wind was now at our tail, we made good time back to the world and Burra. We shared the road with no man that day.
Two dusty men on dust covered bikes. It was over far to soon. In the setting of that days sun we knew the future had to be in crossing the never never.
Quite possibly the best bike ride ridden.