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Chasing the Dirt – Mullewa to Fremantle Bicycle Touring Note

Three Springs Post Office

Three Springs Post Office

In July 2012 I had the opportunity to take three months long service leave and my plan was to use this time to challenge myself with a bicycle ride from Darwin to Perth via a mix of coastal and inland routes. Regretfully after only four days of riding through Litchfield National Park and having arrived at Adelaide River I had to bail to Darwin and eventually back to Perth as I had come down with a serious bout of influenza. It took me three weeks to recover before I was able to head out again, this time on a shortened ride of ~ 3,000 kilometres in Western Australia, the Chasing the Dirt – Out and Back to Burringurrah (Mt Augustus) by Bicycle Tour.

This page summaries fourth and final leg of the Chasing the Dirt – Out and back to Burringurrah (Mt Augustus) by Bicycle Tour, riding from Mullewa to Carnarvon via an inland route.

This leg was 521 kilometres and I took five days to return home to Fremantle. The break down of the tour is as follows. It is written in the present tense as I wrote the notes up each day in the tent using my Apple iPad 2.

Day 35 – Friday September 14, 2012 – Chasing the Dirt:  Mullewa to Morawa Mingenew

View from the Mingenew Hill lookout

View from the Mingenew Hill lookout

99 km with 389 metres of climbing at an average of @ 14.4 km/h. Total kilometres to date: 2,550 km

What a day! It started off with about five local dogs deciding to give me a send-off as I left the caravan park at Mullewa. Nothing serious thankfully; just a lot of snapping and barking.

From Mullewa I headed off down the Mullewa Wubin Road towards Morawa. That was a big mistake! The road is mainly narrow bitumen (read single lane) with a drop-off on to the dirt. Add to this mix very frequent road trains operated by Pirone’s Sand Supplies who I believe are contracted to Brookfield Rail and who seem to feel that the road was for there for their use only and everyone should get out of the way! I decided that if I spent much more time on this road I would be seriously injured or worse. Hence at the first opportunity I decided to swing west and head to Mingenew instead of Morawa. Thankfully the Wilroy-Kockatea Road was only about 19 kilometres out of Mullewa and I it gave me an option to get through to the Mullewa Mingenew Road.

A side note: I now understand that funding is being provided to upgrade a section of of the Mullewa – Wubin road between Perenjori and Morawa, however this still leaves the section between Mullewa and Morawa that I found so dangerous urgently needing upgrading.

From there and in fact all day it was just about battling a fresh south-easterly. No relief at all. Really didn’t enjoy today. Hopefully tomorrow is much better as I continue south to Carnamah.

That ends the day with a sense of déjà vu and this touring note from the tent at Mingenew Springs Caravan Park where it is fish and chips night and where you can enjoy Telstra Next G mobile phone coverage.

Day 36 – Saturday September 15, 2012 – Chasing the Dirt:  Mingenew to Carnamah

Carnamah Post Office

Carnamah Post Office

77 km with 363 metres of climbing at an average of @ 13.2 km/h. Total kilometres to date: 2,627 km

Another day of battling headwinds. Had hoped for a northeasterly change as forecasted but it did not appear, so camped at Carnamah rather than Coorow tonight.

Three Springs Post Office

Three Springs Post Office

 

Three Springs grain silo Gardens

Three Springs grain silo gardens

Three Springs grain silo mural

Three Springs grain silo mural

Three Springs grain silos

Three Springs grain silos

Three Springs grain silo train track controls

Three Springs grain silo train track controls

The ride was pretty uneventful. All bitumen with a nice chance to break for lunch at Three Springs. Three Springs has nice little areas in the main street with picnic tables. Other than that, the only other highlights are the Yarra Yarra Lakes which extend from Three Springs to Carnamah and Arrino Siding which is a nice picnic area with a flushing loo! Such luxury.

Carnamah caters for bicycles

Carnamah caters for bicycles

Carnamah show fireworks

Carnamah show fireworks

Carnamah show fireworks

Carnamah show fireworks

Carnamah show fireworks

Carnamah show fireworks

It seems that I have arrived in Carnamah on show day so will be entertained with live bands and fireworks this evening 🙂

That ends the day and this touring note from the tent at Carnamah Caravan Park where there is Telstra Next G mobile phone coverage.

Day 37 – Sunday September 16, 2012 – Chasing the Dirt:  Carnamah to Coorow

Coorow Hotel

Coorow Hotel

30 km with 91 metres of climbing at an average of @ 14 km/h. Total kilometres to date: 2,657 km

Basically treating today as a rest day, with a short ride south to Coorow to make accessing Moora or Dalwallinu tomorrow a little easier. The wind will dictate the way to go tomorrow.

Today was much the same as the last few days … moderate headwinds.

Coorow Railyards

Coorow Railyards

The nice thing today is that I caught up with Annette and Neil whom I first met at Bilung Pool awhile back. It was a nice surprise to find them at that information area in Coorow. Enjoyed a coffee with them before they headed off in search of wildflowers and I went to set up at the caravan park to have a lazy afternoon.

Looking at pushing on tomorrow with the aim of making home in about four days going via the Kep Track out of Northam.

That ends the day and this touring note from the tent at Coorow Caravan Park where there is Telstra Next G mobile phone coverage.

Day 38 – Monday September 17, 2012 – Chasing the Dirt:  Carnamah to Coorow

Watheroo Station Tarven

Watheroo Station Tarven

92 km with 291 metres of climbing at an average of @ 18 km/h. Total kilometres to date: 2,749 km

Well the day started out “interesting” with a bloke at the Coorow caravan park having talked to me briefly about himself (ex-ironman apparently) decided to come over to me in the morning whilst I was having breakfast. Without asking he started photographing the bike, then moving things about for better photos and then to cap it all off, decided to take photos of me like I was some circus show for his amusement. Not once did ask if mined, not once did he say thanks and after he had taken his photos he told me more about his Over 55 cycling group in Busellton. When he had enough, he just walked off. No have a safe/nice/whatever ride, nothing.

He passed me down the road later on, again no toot, no wave, zilch, unlike so many others who pass with a toot or wave. All up a completely rude bloke clearly only interested in himself. Seriously I don’t care if you take photos of the bike, but gee whiz if I am there at least say thanks.

Okay back to the ride. After Coorow I came across Watheroo, which turned out to a bit of a surprise and with hindsight I should have stayed here. There is a tavern, Watheroo Station Tavern with quite modern looking motel units, some powered sites and a little shop (basics only). All up a nice little place.

After Watheroo, it is plain riding on into Moora which is a fairly substantial regional town with a few facilities and a couple of supermarkets. The caravan park is okay, but charges $20 for an unpowered site.

That ends the day and this touring note from the tent at Moora Caravan Park where there is Telstra Next G mobile phone coverage.

Day 39 – Monday September 17, 2012 – Chasing the Dirt:  Moora to Back to Nature Caravan Park, West Gingin

Surly Long Haul Trucker and Extrawheel Voyager back at Back to Nature Carvan Park

Surly Long Haul Trucker and Extrawheel Voyager back at Back to Nature Carvan Park

96 km with 540 metres of climbing at an average of @ 13.4 km/h. Total kilometres to date: 2,845 km

Well having survived the thunderstorms last night; the Tarptent Scarp 1 did very well in the rain and winds to keep me nice and dry, I awoke feeling like I wanted to get home. So I made the decision this morning to head straight for Fremantle, rather than taking the longer planned route via Wongan Hills and Northam. With that decision made, I left Moora to work my way back to Regan’s Ford and south.

With the headwinds (moderate/fresh westerly/north-westerly) and the undulations I only made it back to the Back to Nature Caravan Park. I actually stayed at this park on my second night out on the Chasing the Dirt tour so it was nice to come back and catch-up with Harry.

The ride itself was not that exciting; just a lot of hard work with nearly all the climbing done in the first 60 km as I descended from Moora to Regan’s Ford. There are a lot of undulations on Rowe Road and some pretty nasty grades as well (lot 5% +).

Anyway I have knocked off a fair amount of the distance back to Fremantle and hopefully tomorrow the winds will be fair tomorrow.

I know I will regret this decision in some ways, but it is also nice to be a day out from home as well.

That ends the day and this touring note from the tent at the Back to Nature Caravan Park where there is Telstra Next G mobile phone coverage.

Day 40 – Wednesday September 19, 2012 – Chasing the Dirt:  Back to Nature Caravan Park, West Gingin to Fremantle

Back to the coast - heading south of Burns Beach on the Regional Shared Path

Back to the coast – heading south of Burns Beach on the Regional Shared Path

127 km with 780 metres of climbing at an average of @ 16.7 km/h. Total kilometres to date: 2,972 km

What a difference a day makes! Woke to little wind and a hint of rain which soon passed. The wind today was either a light sidewind or a touch from behind so completing the last leg of 128 kilometres turned out to be a relatively easy one.

On the downside it did take a bit to get used to the traffic again, particularly on the high speed Indian Ocean Drive and Marmion Avenue coming via Two Rocks. Once I got off Marmion Avenue at Burns Beach life was much more pleasant and I enjoyed the cruising along the cycle paths as I rode along the coast.

Back to the future - The view from the Old Fremantle Traffic bridge at the end of the tour

Back to the future – The view from the Old Fremantle Traffic bridge at the end of the tour

As I crossed the Old Fremantle Traffic bridge I took a photo of the same scene as the day I left … for a moment there I thought it was even the same ship but no it wasn’t.

So there ends this little ride. Thanks for reading.

Your Turn To Talk

I hope you found this bicycle touring note of ride from Fremantle to Geraldton an enjoyable read and hopefully informative as well. Please do share your thoughts on ride and/or riding this area with the rest of us by leaving a comment below 🙂

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