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Heat, heat and more heat

Did 220km

Monday 23 December 2013 at 12:19 am. Used tags: , , , , ,

Bike ride was tooooo hot.  A heatwave passed through Western NSW and I was on the edge of it.  Got up to 40º and I saw 48º on the bike computer.

I got as far as the Krui River and had to stop.  Needed to re-plan a route back towards Scone.  So only made a 220km trip. Dropping 4 hours each day, sitting around sweating, cuts into riding time.  And I shortened the trip by a day.


Have way to much stuff.  But I've been collecting lots of new toys over the last couple of months and I needed to do a shake down test with them all.  So I decided to pack E V E R Y T H I N G and lump it.

The cutting Edge 90's tent at 2.5Kg and the cloth sleeping bag at 2.1Kg didn't help.


Day 1

Got into Scone about 10:30 and it was already hot.  Got on the way ½ an hour later.  10 Km outside of Scone I had to climb up into Owens Gap which tops out at 464m, not fun.  When I got to top it was to hot to do much else so I sat for a few hours to wait out the heat.  Temp was around 39º

X Marks the Spot - Darkbrook NSW

Continued on and met another cyclist coming up behind me who lived in Bannnan.  So I followed Nev to his house and he loaded me up with a fresh supply of water and gave some good info on the road ahead.

Made it to Halls Creek at around 17:30.  Looking over the side of the bridge I saw a nice flat grassy area to camp on that had an easy track to roll down and easier access to the river for a clean and water re-supply.  Made a nice dinner of pasta with salami and then made a damper as test in the Trangia oven.  A few rocks in the 1.5l pot hold up the pot with the damper mix. Turned out OK need to do a few more trys to get it right.

A 48km day.

48km Climbing +785 m / -688 m

Day 2

Woke up at Dawn.  Made breakfast, packup and got on the way to beat the heat.

Shodow selfie - Have one for every tour

Made it to Merriwa in a short time.  Stopped for a coffee, water re-supply and did some shopping.

Hot again.  No wind and humid.  Water was going to be a worry again.  Made up my mind to get to Krui River and wait out the heat and spend the night there and make up my mind what I wanted to do for the rest of my trip.

The Golden Highway out of Merriwa started out with a nice shoulder but that disappeared after 10km and I was left with no shoulder, just the white line on the side of the road.  Scary with all those trucks!

Made the Krui River by midday and sat under the bridge in the shade.  Filtered a load of water, did some washing (clothes and me) and read my book till sunset.  Which was time to setup camp and make dinner.

 Krui River - Full of BassWater filtering and sterisingVery noisy this close to Highway

A 43km day.

"43km Climbing +691 m / -679 m"

Day 3

Woke up at 7:30 so I felt I was running late to beat the heat.  So I packed up ASAP without breakfast and got on the way.  I decided to head back towards Scone as it was only getting hotter and more hot days were on the way.  So it would just be crazy to keep going West.

Back in Merriwa by 9:00 and I stopped at a café for bacon and eggs.  Re-supply of water and away into the heat heading East on the Golden Highway.  Which has a nice wide shoulder - tons of room.

Made it to Gungal rest area by 11:00 and had to stop again.  To hot again, got to 40º while I was waiting.  Found water at the RTA rest area but it was undrinkable.  So I went begging at one of the houses near by for water and got some of the rest area water to fill a bucket.  So I had water to drink and water to pour over myself to cool off.

Back on the bike by 15:30 into the heat.  Had a great ride till the headwind showed up.  I've been wanting wind so it would cool the sweat off me.  But a headwind at 10~15km/h is not fun.  Come round the corner into Sandy Hollow and saw the pub. Ripped inside and knocked over 3 schooners of coke in no time flat.  Also got a schooner of ice to put into my water bottles.

Figured I would head up the Wybong valley to get to Scone.  So I took the turn off a couple of km after Sandy Hollow.  Cranked along and found the Bicentennial Trail makers.  So I followed those till it was getting dark and I nicked into the bush off the road and set up camp.  Set up all the radio gear and had a play till it got dark.  No water here as all the creeks were dry.  So I had to be sparing with the water I had.

A 73km day.

73km Climbing +949 m / -1099 m

Day 4

Didn't want to get out of bed.  Felt very tired but got up.  Made my ½ cup of oats and a cup of tea, packed up and got on my way.  Because I hadn't planned to travel this way I didn't bring a paper map and my charging system had stopped working (needs more work....).  So I was flying blind.  I'd come up to intersections and guess!  What better way to travel?  I stopped the odd local driving by and ask for directions and was good to go.  Stopped at farms on the way for water so no worries.

Nice quiet roads with no one around.  Cruising through the vineyards with sandstone outcrops in the background.  Just great, what it's all about.  Then it got nasty!  Dirt and big climbs - up and down - up and down - up and.. well you get the picture.  But fantastic views along the way.  And again getting hotter and hotter.

Dropped down into the bottom of the valley and the heat really started to become an issue.  Up to 40º again and I was starting to get heat stoke.  Stopped in front of a farm house that had a tree that shaded the edge of the road and hyperventeraled for a while pouring water over my head till I ran out.  When I recovered a bit I called into the next dairy farm and asked for water and was given two bottle of water out the fridge straight away and hand fulls of crushed ice, that I just rubbed over my head. 

Felling a lot better and fully loaded with 8 litres of water I was on my way again to Scone.  When I got to the New England Highway the sign said "Scone 12Km"  What!  I didn't know I was that close.  So I headed back into the headwind along one of the busiest highways in the country. Reached Scone around 14:00 and found a café only to be told that they stopped serving meals 10 minutes ago.  "Arrrr for fu....."  Not happy Jan.  Same story at the bup.  Finally found a cafè still serving lunch and they made the best milkshakes - no soft serve rubbish nice big lumps of ice cream floating around.  Daggo happy.

A 57km day.

57km Climbing +760 m / -712 m


What worked and what didn't? As I said from the start I was taking to much stuff but I needed to test all that stuff.

Battery power:

The solar charger and LiPO in a box didn't keep up with energy needs. Which I knew would be the case. The 2½ Watt panel isn't enough to keep the battery topped up with continuous phone usage with the GPS on. I only had the GPS on during the day but the solar battery just didn't get enough juice in to compensate for usage. Also at night I had the phone charging for the next day and was playing with the FT-817 for a few hours. The LM2577 connected to the dynamo stopped worked at the start of day 2 from (I think) using bullet connectors for the power. So that loss of an extra 6 Watts was enough so that I couldn't run the GPS in the phone on day 3 and on day 4 the battery in the phone was flat. And no amount of sunlight was going to bring the solar/battery up enough to start recharging the phone. The charging system in the solar/battery is not smart enough to manage the LiPOs correctly, it's a very basic thing. I did take the flash LiPO changer but never got the chance to use it as the 8400AH LiPOFe battery never got below 12.3 volts over the whole trip.


After 20+ years with a Trangia 27 I replaced it with a new one. The kettle is nice but not needed. And I also got the 1.5 litre pot which can store the 27 inside it. So next time I'll remove the kettle and one of the pots to save some weight.


The little CB HT was only used on the last day when I got on the New England Highway and only because I wanted to hear what the truckies were saying about "some mug on a pushbike". It is small and lightweight and fits into one of the useless side pockets on my handlebar bag. Takes AAA batteries but since I only turn it on when I needed it, they will last a while. I'll continue to carry it.

FT-817 was good to have along. I had problems with the mic switching system I built that didn't happen before in testing. I switch the mic between the phone and radios. I have a small boom mic from a cheap PC headset glued onto my helmet.  When I use the mic with the phone it worked faultlessly but when I switched over to the 817 it generated some strange noise. I was also using VOX for PTT as I was to lazy to source a switch to mount on the handlebars somewhere. FT-817 was also handy to listen to AM at night. And the weight of the 817 is much better then when I toured Japan with my IC-706IIg (with 8AH SLAB!!). Outback Jr antenna worked OK if I didn't want to deploy the EFD when camping. On the bike I could hear well but I wasn't heard to well. But the mic problem I had could be cause of that. Needs more playing with.

Having the Outback on the back rack did make getting on the bike a bit of a pain. 12/20/40m EFD worked great. Chatting to guys on 20m and 40m was good fun. And listening to AM broadcast I could choose from a lot more radio stations (needed to avoid shitheads like Hadley and Laws). The only downside happened when I was pulling the antenna down and the flash wire I built it out of broke off at the O-terminal. Leaving the top wire and choke hanging in the tree out of reach! Which is still there now. I just couldn't get it down. Because the wire has some Kelvar threads in the mix for strength, and to solder to a connector those threads are cut out, there is no strength left with the 6 or 7 thin wires. So first lesson learnt for the antenna rebuild - don't solder! (or add some strain relief before).

Water filter:

With the amount of people around that I could just ask for a water re-supply, carrying the filter around wasn't really worth the effort. When I stopped at the Krui River, with no one near by. It was nice to be able to clean any amount of water I needed and consume what ever I wanted without worrying about running out. I would only take the filter in the future if I know that there is no one around I can scab water off and if the weather is going to be hot.

The SteriPen gave me the nice feeling of knowing I am not going to get sick in a day or two from bad water. It was nice to wave it around in the bucket, which had some disgusting water in it, that I was tipping over my head to cool off with. It is small and light weight and batteries seem to last a while. So I will be taking it on my future tours.

I have a collapsible bucket too.  I don't know how I got by without one in the past!  Just too handy, way too handy by far.  Doesn't take up much room stuffed in a pannier.  Great to be able to have a load a water close to hand.  Dip in for washing up dinner, dip in to tip over my head to cool off, dip in to wash myself, wash a load of stinking clothes, holds the water while I filter it.  Just great.


Love my new Expd UL sleeping mat. Little bit warm under me but with just a sheet on it I was good all night. Light weight, small and simple to inflate. A keeper! Also at the last minute I got a Black Wolf down filled inflatable pillow. It was OK but a little small. After saying this... I had the best, most comfortable camp sleeping conditions I have ever enjoyed.

Helnox Seat & Table:

"Sheer luxury!"  Nice to be able to sit and read with the table next to me.  Made life very pleasant.  With a combined weight of over 1.5Kg I don't think it was worth it.  I will not leave home without the chair but the table will have to be a last minute decision depending on where I'll be touring.


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