Days 29-30-31: William Creek to Oodnadatta
After my break at William Creek, I left and camped out some 20kms further, in a completely open spot beside the road. The ground was completely flat. There was not a tree around, not a car driving by. Even the flies had gone to bed after the sunset. Not a bird sang or a dingo howled in the distance. There was nothing at all, even the moon wasn’t here! There was just me and the stars.
I realized I never had such a quiet and peaceful time before, and I decided to take a few moments to lie down on the ground and enjoy this tranquility. I thought back of what it had taken to get to this point. 3 days of pedaling on my heavy bike on the bumpy tracks. 3 days of getting worn down by the constant bumps and roughness of the road, by the weight of Red the bicycle who wants nothing else but to fall on the ground, by the flies that swarm me relentlessly and make it close to impossible to have a quiet break, by the heat, by not being able to go any faster.
But all that was just a memory now that I could lie down on the ground and enjoy the peace. The journey, and the destination. Maybe it’s neither about the journey or the destination. It’s about both. It takes a destination to go on a journey. It takes a journey to get to your destination. I realize this as everyday I give to myself the destination of 100kms or the next town. Knowing that I’m getting there keeps me going forward.
It takes me two more days to get to Oodnadatta. More beautiful outback that I don’t tire myself of. More difficult bits with rough corrugations shaking me like a tumble-dryer. More calls for water refill and small chats with tourists. More ruins and remnants of railway. After 5 days on the tracks, I feel happy, but I feel tired. From Oodnadatta, I still have two more days of track-riding to get back to the highway in Coober Pedy.
I finally reach the township, and treat myself to the sacred ice-cold lemonade and a local burger, before I can start thinking straight again. Oodnadatta is home to an aboriginal community of around 100 people, the staff of the roadhouse mainly comprised of backpackers, and several more outback australians.
I don’t know how to sum up all I’ve experienced there. In a way it’s pretty simple. This town is full of nice people and I met a lot of them. An aboriginal lady invited me to set up my tent in her backyard and offered me a shower and laundry. The local roadhouse staff invited me to join them for a birthday party the next evening, and I decided to call the next day off and get some rest.
Chapter III coming up!