It is funny what life throws at you sometimes. I woke up in Port Pirie to strong howling winds, and thought "How great if this wind is behind me! I could be in Port Augusta by lunch time!" ...I arrived in Port Augusta three days later.
Heading out of Port Pirie I struggled to make 10km/hour. There was dust everywhere and I was getting absolutely pounded by the wind. I don't know how long exactly it took me to make the 6km back to the main highway, but I was getting blown off the road. I was going so slow that it was difficult to keep a straight line, which meant that I had to give myself plenty of space when cars drove past, and I couldn't clip into my pedals from fear of getting blown to a stop and not being able to unclip... and we all know how that ends.
(above: dust attacks!)
(above: the trees are bending with the strength of the wind)
(above: my attempts to keep the wind and dust off my face)
Once back on the Eyre Highway, the rain ganged up with the wind, and together they assaulted me. I was getting blown sideways (off the road), which humorously is the first easterly wind I have experienced on the trip so far. The only problem? On this particular day, I wasn't heading west!
I made it as far as a fruit shop along the highway before seeking shelter. The young couple inside seemed amused at my attempts to ride in the conditions, and fair enough. I bought a strawberry milk (which in consideration of the cold drinks section, I have become quite partial to), and sipped it slowly, in an attempt to prolong the inevitable onslaught that going back outside would bring. Once finished, I even considered buying a second milk, but in the end thought that might just add to the difficulties of an already tough day.
Back on the bike and struggling up the highway, I noticed that the left halves of my jacket sleeves were totally dry. The wind was so strong that the rain was actually coming in sideways! It would have been the ultimate physical and mental challenge to keep going, had I been presented with another option, but as it was I had no choice. I calculated that it would take about 10 'on bike' hours to reach Port Augusta, and that didn't appeal to me at all, so when I saw a sign for Port Germein Caravan Park in 16km, I actually 'yiiiieeewed!' out loud!
Port Germein, I discovered, is a one street, one pub town, boasting the longest wooden jetty in Australia. "Who cares right?" I do! Because in the protection of the trees and the town, everything in the world was beautiful to me.
(above: Australia's longest wooden jetty)
Mick from the caravan park very generously donated a cabin to me for the night, which kept me comfortable and out of the elements. Thanks Mick!
(above: a sign that made me very happy)
Port Germein Caravan Park also had an emergency vehicle that made me laugh. Actually, given the recent condition of my tires and tubes, I almost considered swapping: