Wednesday, February 17, 2016


A short clip with some of the highlights of the outback. Mostly sand. And flies.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Alice Springs

After 2 months, of which 44 days were skating, we rolled into Alice Springs.

A sense of achievement flushed through the body, and it almost felt unreal. Are we there yet? Yes, we are!

We stopped at the first store and bought a popsicle. It was delicious, and very cold! We bought one more.

We knew from early on that crossing the continent was out of the question in the alotted time and I might be slightly annoyed that we didn't succeed.

But the main goals always were to spend time in the outback, meet amazing people, have incredible experiences, and just have great fun.

And we succeeded.

We are also both still alive, which pleases me.

First distance sign to Alice Springs with only double digits! Almost there!

The evening before the last day of riding.

Passing The Tropic of Capricorn.

The highest point on Stuart Highway. Uphill for two months, one day of downhill. Interestingly it doesn't state the altitude.

The last 10 km and the only downhill worth mentioning in 1500 km.

Alice Springs!

Nice bike path into town.

Celebrating with a popsicle or two.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

It's not all fun and games

You might think The Outback is just an endless series of beautiful sunsets and delicious canned beans, and you'd be right.

But it's not all fun and games, there are also some downsides.

The red sand is absorbed by everything. When you clean your clothes the water becomes opaque red, and your laundry is still full of sand afterwards. Sometimes I wonder how many kilos I'm carrying that is just sand.

The flies are in your face all day long. From sunrise to sunset they do their best to get into your eyes, ears and nose. I've swallowed more flies in the past months than in my entire life up until this trip. After the sun has set they all disappear to wherever they came from and you get a few calm and quiet minutes before the mosquitos arrive.

Ants come in all sizes, the biggest almost an inch long. But it is the tinyest kind that find their way into your tent, your bag and your ziplocked food. They'll bite you too.

The Wolf spiders are everywhere. You might not always see them, but they are there. I pretend they don't exist, which solves that problem.

The sunrise is also nice.

Cooking beans.

Sofia is refilling her water bottle.

Difficult to tell from the picture, but the small ant getting murdered is a normal sized ant, about 5 mm or so.

A small Wolf spider trying to get into the tent.

A not so small Wolf spider at the toilet at Devils Marbles.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Too much water in the desert

Some years ago I was at the entrance to the infamous Area 51 in Nevada, where they experiment with alien technology. I didn't see any UFOs however, so you can imagine my excitement when we arrived at Wycliffe Well, the UFO capital of Australia. I'm pretty sure you can also imagine my utter disappointment when I didn't get to see any extraterrestrials this time either. Bad luck or false advertising?

We made good progress and the three days we had planned and stocked for to get to Barrow Creek was one day too many. At a rest area half way there the water tasted delicious so we indulged after the pretty bad water from Wycliffe Well.

Full and with quenched thirst we fell asleep surrounded by the sound of howling dingos.

With filled bottles and containers I decided to lighten my load a bit by pouring out some of the less tasty water from Wycliffe Well. Wasting perfectly good water in the desert almost made me feel like a criminal and I hoped I wouldn't regret it before we could refill in Barrow Creek. In vain, of course.

- "Our tap water isn't drinkable", the man in Barrow Creek proclaimed. "It has got too much salt in it!"

I knew I shouldn't have wasted that water I kept thinking while pushing 10 litres through our water filter. It's a slow process and in this case, unfortunately, it didn't improve the taste much. I now carried 20 litres of water mixed from two bad tasting sources, and they did not cancel each other out, but became even worse tasting. We kept drinking from Sofia's canisters, which still carried good water from the rest area.

We had already started to look for a place to camp when a car pulled up next to us and invited us into the nearby Aboriginal community of Wilora for some cold water.

Sitting in the shade drinking tasty water as cold as tapwater can get around here, mostly lukewarm but much colder than the burning hot water in our bottles, the only ones paying any attention to us were the dozens of dogs barking loudly. I tried to become their friend but they just ran away, apparently not as brave as they are loud.

We left, once again with full bottles and a quenched thirst, and set camp. Not until then I realized I just missed an opportunity to replace the 20 litres of foul water, but pouring out again never crossed my mind.

But by then I mostly hoped I was not dragging around 20 litres for no reason. In vain, of course.

The next day we didn't get further than 5 km before we were offered cold drinks, fruit and vegetables. 5 km later we got a cold soda, and another 5 we were stopped and interviewed by some newspaper, who happened to have cold beers in their van.

Right before our stop for the day a car pulls up and it's someone I know of, a fellow touring cyclist from my home town! She had her car full of candy and soda and even a bag of Ahlgrens Bilar just for me! Any Swede who's been travelling long term know how much happiness a bag of Ahlgrens Bilar brings!

This rest area weren't supposed to have water, but it did and it tasted excellent. My 20 litre container was still almost full but I poured it all out, this time with no remorse, when I noticed a green growth inside my tank. Hey, where did you come from?

I rode into Ti Tree without carrying water, and what a difference 20 kg makes.

Wycliffe Well does not discriminate!

This is not a real crashed UFO, it is actually a fake.

And this is not an alien, but a bird called "Emu". Hard to believe, I know, but I checked.

It's mostly pretty straight, but sometimes it is even straighter.

The bar in Barrow Creek.

Sunset at camp.

Leo in his bus, gave us cold water and plenty of fruit and vegetables.

Cecilia, aka, made the camp night a party.

Pushing into Ti Tree.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Devils Marbles

With 310 km to the next town with a store, Ti Tree, and 120 km to the next road house where we could get water with some degree of certainty, my trailer was heavier than ever before. 30 kg of food and water on top of 10 kg of gear made my front wheels lift from the ground by the heavy load at the rear.

But I didn't think much about it, because I was looking forward to the Devils Marbles. Long before I planned this trip, when I thought I would some day do it on a bicycle, rock formations like these had been representing a lot about the outback. Maybe more than the termite mounds and Uluru. They're exotic, far away from everything and sacred to the Aboriginals. Reading about them before this trip made me fear that they were a tourist trap and "just rocks", but I was nevertheless anxious about getting to experience them.

And I did not get disappointed. The very few other tourists at the site didn't wander far from their convenient camper wagons leaving the entire area for us to explore on our own.

We had set the alarm early to see the sunrise so we pressed the snooze button on Sofias phone at 5:30. Right after, the same melody was heard at a distance. Someone else with the same wake up song is going for the sun as well, I thought, but come on, shut it off already! Then I realized it was a bird repeating the sound it had just heard. It sounded lovely and I laid silent listening until other noises interrupted it.

On our way towards our next rest day we stopped to refill our water and had a lovely breakfast at Wauchope Hotel. The breakfast turned into lunch and the lunch turned into a couple of beers. The last 20 km to Wycliffe Well was a breeze. I think.

310 to Ti Tree makes a heavy load, tilting my board up.

Charging station.

There is something going on here but I can't figure out what.

Some of the Devils Marbles, or Karlu Karlu.

Sofia is trying, without success, to roll the boulder over. Some P90X exercise might help.

A marble with the Milky Way as backdrop.

A romantic sunrise.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

1000 km

Despite the lack of food and alcohol, Banka Banka Station turned out to be a rather nice place.

I was reading the crime stories and solving puzzles in a tabloid magazine I found, and because of that got a major deja vu from my family vacations to Spain during my teenage years, when the wind suddenly picked up.

The headwind is getting even worse I managed to think before things started flying all over the place. Within seconds we were enclosed inside a red dust storm. A large whirlwind, a dust devil or, as they say here, a whirly whirly, passed right where we were sitting, throwing chairs, our stuff and above all red sand all over the place. We'd seen several before at a distance, but never expected to be caught inside one.

We left Banka Banka although we really needed a rest day. We were tired after several hard days and it was still three days to the next town, Tennant Creek.

Then the magic happened, for the first time since Darwin we got a tail wind.

This rare, almost mythical, event for you who don't know, is when there is a wind blowing and it is coming from behind. The wind thus is actually helping you in your direction of travel instead of hitting you in your face and brutally murdering your ambitions. I know, it is hard to believe since most people never experience such luck in their lifetime. But I'm a lucky guy.

Entering Tennant Creek marked our 1000 km anniversary and it was a great feeling to celebrate with a couple of beers and gin & tonics. We were denied a glass of wine though, ridiculous local alcohol restrictions require food to be ordered with wine.

But I couldn't eat more, because I just had a massive kangaroo pizza.

Banka Banka Station. Closest towns Tennant Creek 100 km to the right and Elliott 150 km to the left.

Sofia is battling an uphill with a big whirly whirly in the distant background.

Who's Martin? Did he ever come home? Why is his name in quotes? Where is home? Is Martin a cow? Can he read signs?

A delicious orange, another gift from a passersby.

A rather nice bike path the last few km into Tennant Creek.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Into the Red Centre

We left Elliott fully stocked, enough food to get to Tennant Creek with spares left. We didn't wan't to worry about food again.

Elliott, or Idiott as some people seem to call it, is not only the half way stop between Darwin and Alice Springs, it is also the gateway to the red centre desert. The tropical north with it's lancewood trees is replaced by vast expanse of open space. Welcome to the outback.

The road became worse again. Or better, if you ask a motorist, I guess.

Also, it got windy. Headwind, of course. It always is.

The days became a long constant battle against the circumstances. Push, push, push, a few metres at a time. We progressed slowly but consumed too much water. One particulary hard day we managed to skate only 30 km in over 7 hours, and drank close to 8 litres of water. Each. I tried to keep my salt level up but I didn't feel too good.

I tried to imagine a slower way to travel but couldn't think of any. Maybe with a pogo stick? No, that would probably be faster than this. My next adventure should be by pogo stick. A pogo stick to the South Pole. There is ice there. Mmmm, ice.

We had a cup of tea that night, contemplating our water shortage, when I suddenly realized we recently passed a muddy puddle. Muddy puddles are a rare thing around here this time of year, which is why I had noticed it. Why don't we give our water filter a real challenge? So far we've used it on spring water probably safe to drink any way.

We walked back and climbed down to what was left from last years rainfall, now full of bird poo and cow shit. Yummy!

I filled a bottle and pushed the brown liquid through the filter. Out the other end came a crystal clear stream of water. I didn't hesitate to taste it, and it was the best tasting water I've had this trip. If I manage to get through the night without horrible diarrhea this filter is fantastic, I thought. And I managed.

As we approached Banka Banka Station, where we had planned for a rest day, Sofia expressed her concern about the signs not mentioning food. What if they don't have anything to eat, she asked. Do we still carry enough food? What if they don't have BEER was what I worried about. Nah, of course they have beer. I laughed at myself and ignored my silly line of thoughts.

Well, they did have beer, they just didn't feel like selling it. Their tiny bar were closed that day, a Saturday even, and I got the impression it was because something was on TV.

No rest day in Banka Banka, that's for sure.

Looking back. Bye, bye Elliott.

Oh no, it's impossible to pass!

The outback.

Sunset in the outback.

Another sunset, at camp.

Sunset over a distant Lake Woods.

Dinner time!

The night sky with its magnificent Milky Way.

Camp at night.

Lubra's Lookout.

Water. Nice!


The sound of the rising sun at Banka Banka Station.