week 37...
over bight
Finally, South Australia!

"Thank you for calling," they say. As though we've just dropped in for tea.
Blue Heelers:
Name: Sarah Marquis
Origin: Switzerland
Birthday: June 20
Age: 30

Sarah is documenting her journey throughout Australia for an adventure television series back in Switzerland. She films and narrates 2-3 hours of video a month, which she mails back to Switzerland for editting and broadcast.

She also has a website to see what else she's been up to!

Check out:

Thanks for the beer!
meet sarah marquis
Boy, just when you think you've got it tough, someone comes along and out-toughs you. Sarah's WALKING the Nullarbor. And she's not stopping there, she's walking ALL THE WAY AROUND. But unlike us, sticking to the highway, she's BUSHING IT! Let's meet someone in Australia crazier than us...

What are you doing? I've been doing this sort of thing for the past 12 years, walking around different places in the world. On my 30th birthday I started this grand trek around Australia.

Where have you been? Where are you headed? I started in Alice Springs, walked overland up to Cairns, followed the Great Dividing Range down to Sydney, and across to Port Augusta. Now I'm on the Nullarbor, and after I get to Kalgoorlie I head up the Canning Stock Route to Halls Creek, and follow the Tanami desert to finish again at Uluru.

Holy Crap! What an awesome trip! What do you carry for food? Mostly I live off the land... plants, grubs, leaves and whatever water I find. I've had a couple of days without food that were a bit of a struggle, but I always eat a lot when I get to a town.

What's been the toughest part? Actually, this. Not because it's strenuous or difficult terrain or anything. The Nullarbor's been so easy for that, and water and food. I'm just sick of talking to all the Australians who tell me I shouldn't be out here, or that I'll die, or that I'm crazy.

I know exactly what you're talking about. Even more, I hate people who don't even stop the car to talk, they just drive by, take a photo, yell 'where you going' then keep driving. But I do meet the occasional interesting people who are encouraging.

Is there anything you need? No, just earlier a car stopped and filled me up with food.

What about Joe? Is he holding up well? He's looking a little, well, dead. He's fine. He carries his own food and water on his dog backpack. He gets meat tonight, don't you Joe? Yeah, Joe.
these are the people in our neighbourhood...

The Banfields
When the Border Village guy looked up from rearranging his beer coolies long enough to tell us to piss off and find water somewhere else, Peter Banfield and family stepped up to the rescue! We got about 8L from them, and he gave us a sneak peek at the future of Formula Ford racecars. Neat!
Lee's job is to get people from Korea interested in travel to Australia. So, he and his best gal drive all over Australia looking for interesting people doing interesting things, and interviews them on his video camera. Luckily, we were nearby! We told him to hurry, and he might catch up to Park!
Sarah (the walker) told us to say hi to Gary. So, when we got to the Nullarbor Roadhouse, we asked for Gary, and met the coolest guy on the Nullarbor Plain. He bought us each a beer (Cooper's of course), and let us sleep in his room Wednesday night instead of out on the barren plain in our tent. The next morning, we found out it was actually PAUL we were supposed to say hi to at the Nullarbor, and Gary was another bike further up the road! Funny how things worked out. Thanks for the ride to the Bight!
John & Glen
It's folks like John & Glen that make a long trip like this so much more fun. They saw us fighting the wind and the hills and invited us into their van for tea. And bikkies, and sandwiches, and bananas, and more tea, and more Tim Tams, and about six cans of tuna and salmon to take with us! They're from Perth, and they've done the Nullarbor about four times. What they do is put their van on an empty roadtrain for a few hundred bucks, fly to Sydney, pick up the van and enjoy the ride back. Sounds like fun!
wally's amazin' facts!
Those crazy camels breed like rabbits, thanks to the magical space dust! Their population is up to over 400,000 running rampant throughout outback Oz! There are more camels out here than... than... than grains of sand on every beach in the world! Whoa camel!

This Week's Amazin' Fact: One of the most fantastic sights of the Eyre Highway is the view from the Bunda Cliffs. For over 100km, the road is within 600 metres of an immense drop-off straight down into the Southern Ocean! From these cliffs, you can see 50 million years of history! The whitish bottom third is made of the skeletal remains of ancient marine organisms. Above that is a dark brown layer of Nullarbor limestone up to 30 metres thick. Because of the waves pounding the base over the years, occasionally a big ol' chunk calves itself into the sea! Get too close to the edge and it's bye bye Wally!

A great place to see these cliffs is at the Head of the Great Australian Bight. Know what else you can see from there? Whales! Right whales, to be exact. Hey, anyone out there know how they got the name Right Whales?

Don't forget to look for Wally this week!
Distance this week: 577kmDistance since Day 1: 11058km

What is Bikeabout? Click here to find out!

Day 254: Four chickens, and two slices of dry white toast, please.
Distance Travelled: 79.6km Temperature: 20
Time on Trikes: 6.5h Water Left: 7.5L
Terrain: Shitumen
End Location: On the Border!
who's the boss?
Even the Food Boss can have his moment of weakness. Luckily for me it hit this morning when we arrived at the Mundrabilla Roadhouse. The result was a HUGE breakfast split between the two of us.


   In case any of you are wondering why Kev's been given the responsibility of being the Food Boss, it's because he's good at minimizing things. I, on the other hand, am the Water Boss. I am much better at excess and making sure that we keep on drinking as much water as we can. In other words, Kev's cheap and I'm wasteful. Therefore, he gives us little bites of food, where I give us huge gulps of water. The other way around, we would have been dead by Wednesday.

"I can see South Australia from here!"
- Kevin.
Day 255: Final-frickin'-ly
Distance Travelled: 89.1km Temperature: 17
Time on Trikes: 6.5h Water Left: 5.0L
Terrain: Awesome!
End Location: Lookout 75
only here for the beer
After almost six months, we've finally left this ungodly huge state of Western Australia. Day 86 we hit the border up near Kununurra, and here we are now on day 255. Look how excited we were back then. If we'd only known what we were getting into, it would have been a picture of us crying our eyes out like Dallyn being chased by a housefly.
   Just to put it into perspective, Australia is about the size of the United States. Western Australia is about the size of Western Europe. The distance we've done since entering WA is equivalent to Seattle to Miami via San Diego. That's Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. In European terms, it's the distance from Oslo, Norway to Athens, Greece, via Portugal (which, if you know Europe, isn't exactly on the way.
   And all of this time and distance in ONE STATE. And you Americans thought Texas was big.

"Do I look like I'm hitchhiking across the Nullarbor?"
- Sarah.
Day 256: The Cliffs of Insanity!
Distance Travelled: 113.2km Temperature: 14
Time on Trikes: 7.5h Water Left: 4.5L
Terrain: Excellent!
End Location: Gary's Room at the Nullarbor Roadhouse
c is for cooper's
Whoever said the Nullarbor was empty and devoid of beauty must have fallen asleep behind the wheel. The landscape out here has finally reached the nearly-amazing point. Sure, right next to the highway, it looks more sparse than Michael Bolton's forehead, but should you take the time to go 500m to the right, you would fall off a 100 metre cliff, straight down into the ocean. Where else on earth does it look like the land has been bitten off by a giant cookie monster?
  To add to the beauty of this section, we're flying today at almost 25km/h. Sure, there's a rainstorm on our heels to push us along, but who cares when we're going faster than ever before?

"Strange to see new roadkill this late in the game."
- Kevin.
Day 257: Bight me!
Distance Travelled: 76.2km Temperature: 19
Time on Trikes: 6.5h Water Left: 3.5L
Terrain: Back on the hills
End Location: Yalata
hunger pangs
Today was my day to weep. While we feel like the Nullarbor has really given us a fair go, it still isn't the easiest ride in the world. You know that car ride from your house to the Robin's Donuts around the corner? That's the easiest ride in the world. This is not that.
   The food rationing has taken its toll and I'm beginning to become just a wee bit obsessed with food. I say obsessed because I think about food every waking moment and last night I dreamt I was walking around Safeway. This is what we mean when we talk about having to overcome the mental difficulties even more than the physical on this expedition.
   But as with most things, help tends to arrive right when you need it. John and Glen (I'm sure they've heard it before, folks) stopped us today to provide us with afternoon tea and numerous cans of salmon for the road. I don't think they knew what they were getting in for when they stopped us, but all the food we ate was probably weighing them down anyway.
   Oh, amongst agonizing over food, we finally saw the truly "treeless plain" this morning. It was thirty kilometres long and we were through it in two hours. We'd like to think of it as the Nullarbor Nugget, nestled among all this normality there's this amazing landscape where nothing exists but salt bush. You've got to see it to believe it. Come on out for the drive and check it out for yourself! Whee!

"Maybe we shouldn't eat the potatoes the crows chewed up. Remember, they eat roadkill."
- Kevin.
Day 258: Hot in Herre
Distance Travelled: 89.0km Temperature: 15
Time on Trikes: 8.0h Water Left: 2.5L
Terrain: Flattening back out
End Location: Nundroo
even when i'm with my boo
Yesterday was my bad day. Today is Kev's. Lack of sleep, freezing conditions and a constant chilly mist in the air has turned my usually courageous husband into a Grumpy Gus. Note: When someone is being a Grumpy Gus, it's best not to actually call them a Grumpy Gus. Especially when they control the food.
   Little did we know that all we needed was a little Gangsta Lovin' to make us feel all warm and cozy again. Thanks to the fellas at the Nundroo Roadhouse and their video jukebox, we were serenaded into smiles by the vocal stylings of Aaliyah, Shaggy, Dr. Dre and Eminem.

"Can the Food Nazi... I mean, the Food Boss spare a carrot?"
- Aimee.
Day 259: One for you, one for me.
Distance Travelled: 70.7km Temperature: 17
Time on Trikes: 8.5h Water Left: 3.0L
Terrain: Gradual Uphill
End Location: Penong
with the lot
Those poor, poor people that start their Nullarbor cycling journey from Ceduna. I can't imagine hitting a place like Penong as the first stop, and expect to keep in good spirits all the way to Norseman. It's too horrible.
   We drove into Penong today, the last stop in our journey. Sure, it had a roadhouse like all the other stops. It also had a pub. It had a hotel. A laundromat. A General Store! Book exchange! Craft shop! And the prices are all reasonable! Horrible, I tell you!
   It's horrible because I know that by Nundroo, they'll only have a pub and a petrol station. Then by Yalata, all they'll find is a restaurant and a take-away counter. Eventually, they'll hit Mundrabilla, at which the highlight is the Truckie Breakfast Special. And it slowly gets sadder and sadder, until they pull up to one of their scheduled stops expecting a roadhouse but merely finding an old man holding a bucket of water, of which you can't have any.
   Penong? Penong's a dream. A dream that won't last. Not for the next 1100km anyway. I'm just thankful we're ending our Nullarbor trek with Penong, instead of starting with a benchmark like this. Horrible.

"Sounds like someone's mincing children nearby."
- Kevin.
Day 260: The End Is Near!
Distance Travelled: 59.3km Temperature: 14
Time on Trikes: 7.0h Water Left: 1.5L
Terrain: Slow going
End Location: 10km from the end
dream the probable dream
The end is in sight, and that's exactly what's bothering Kevin today. Not only is he having a generally grumpy day because our bitumen has suddenly gone to shitumen, but today, according to him, we don't have a goal. Kev is very goal driven. Actually, he's unrealistically goal oriented. This means that he likes to have goals that he probably can't reach, but he'll try like crazy to reach them.
   Conversely, our goal today is definitely reachable. We're just trying to get within ten kilometres of Ceduna. That makes an easily achievable sixty or so kilometres today. And this is bothering the heck out of Kev. Really. He's going nuts. The idea of reaching this goal and not being able to extend himself further to the unachievable is driving him batty. To say nothing of his cohort.
   He's a very complex man. I love him so.

"It's going to be such a pain in the ass having to use a toilet again."
- Aimee.
ocker: (adj.) fair dinkum, true blue, 100% dinky di Aussie. Four n' Twenty? That's ocker. A Holden Ute? That's ocker. A bloke eating a Four n' Twenty in the tray of a Holden Ute? Now that's 'Ocker As.'

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© 2003 Kevin & Aimee Beimers. Refusal did, in fact, offend.