IP Day 2 – York to Bruce Rock

Sunday 20th March
147.8km, +839m,
Moving time 7:45 elapsed 10:49 Avg 19 km/h Max 47 km/h
6:09am departure.  (not sure what we did for breakfast)

Strava comment: Last time I believe the +m in a RWGPS route 🥴… Only did about double what the route reckoned. (Not great psychologically when you’ve made a note in your head that ‘at least’ it was only 400 and something metres climbing that day and it turns out to be 800! )

Marc’s TwoUp post: A couple of tough days with headwinds and heat, not to mention climbing with the tandem but we’re still kicking. Onwards. 

Our route was taking us through the guts of WA’s ‘Wheatbelt‘:

(pinched this from somewhere – highlights are mine – we’d be heading from York through Quairading, then Bruce Rock, north to Merredin, and then through Southern Cross.

By the time we reached Quairading at about 68km, the day was well and truly warming up. The first place we came upon was the servo, so we bought a drink, and (vague memory) some kind of fried food that upon eating it you really wished you hadn’t. We sat outside there trying to make contact with accommodation options in Bruce Rock – with no success – getting cranky in the heat. I was wishing I’d booked in advance, despite it supposedly not being the ‘vibe’ of what you should be doing. And we had wasted time by stopping at the servo first. We then went one block further on to a café for more substantial food – aka lunch. Then across the road to the town hall for the loo (again), and to fill up on water. I remember Marc getting antsy about how long we were taking – and, checking back on rwgps, it looks like we were there for an hour and a half, so, yes, too long really. We still had almost 80km to go – nothing compared to what the guys ahead were doing, but already exceeding our previous ‘touring’ limits.

Quairading is … on Noongar Ballardong country just 167km east of Perth on the York-Quairading Road.

So after Quairading the day just got hotter and hotter – and we were still riding into a headwind. I was very relieved when my first choice of accommodation rang back not too far along. It was Nina from Bruce Rock Chalet and she had a room – phew! We stopped in at Kwolyin campsite about 40k on from Quairading – just next to Coarin Rock. Coarin Rock had been on my (overly ambitious) list of interesting places to see en route – one of several massive granite outcrops to be found in WA. But at that stage, still with 40km to Bruce Rock, and with the heat, all we would be doing was catching a glimpse of it through the trees and thinking ‘hmmm, looks like that could be pretty cool to check out, what a shame’. Kwolyin campsite had water (and toilets), so we made the most of it – filling up, drenching our shirts, and pouring water over our heads. Some temporary relief.

It wasn’t far on from there that some Dotwatchers with a caravan who passed us going the other way, turned around passed us and then stopped to cheer us on.  They asked if we needed water or anything, but (having just stopped) I called back “no, we’re good thanks, but can you do anything about the flies?!”  – which they, at least, seemed to find a bit amusing! I don’t know, I wasn’t at all amused by the flies!

We stopped again barely 8km further on at Shackleton, where there was water, and got ourselves wet again.

While not totally accurate, my Garmin/rwgps records of the temperature that afternoon show temperatures hitting above 40 degrees – so that gives you an idea of how hot it was.

Bruce Rock Chalet accommodation turned out to be in converted shipping containers in Nina and her husband’s yard – and really good! Our room had a Queen-size bed, ensuite, and it was equipped with pretty much everything you needed. We enjoyed chatting with Nina about how she came to have ended up all the way from Germany, marrying an Aussie, and living in the sticks here in Bruce Rock!

Friendly co-host, Buddy the dog, named for Buddy Franklin, so the RIGHT TEAM!

We walked uptown to the pub for dinner and got chatting a bit with the manager. It turns out it was recently placed under new management, and they were in the process of extensive renovations of the rooms. (So bad google reviews from the past should probably be disregarded if you’re ever travelling through there.) The renovated kitchen was not quite happening yet, so it was heated-up pre-made pizza for dinner. Pizza two nights in a row – off to a good start haha. It was ok … and any lack of quality was made up for by our chat with the manager.  It’s part of what we do enjoy about touring – and despite the ‘next-level’ pressure of Indipac, we still hoped to experience that as much as possible.

We had already heard that a few of the riders ahead of us had slept in the Bruce Rock toilet block on their first night – claiming no accommodation available in town. (The guy at the pub, when he had no rooms available, was aware they’d camped out in the public loos, and was a bit nonplussed about it!) There may not have been rooms at the pub, however, they would have been able to stay where we did. (We asked – Nina had a room available Saturday night!)  So future riders take note… Bruce Rock Chalet (on google maps) – and they’re also converting more containers into rooms.

As the sun set on Day 2 the lead rider (Otters) had just made Coolgardie – he’d covered just over 600km to our 270 – with everyone else strung out in between. Another rider – Lloydiewill – had pulled out during the day between Southern Cross and Coolgardie because he felt unsafe with the trucks, close passes and the like. This couldn’t help but play on my mind, knowing that tomorrow we would be rejoining the Great Eastern Highway. On the flip side, we also knew that he’d done two days of 14 hours riding, with only a few hours sleep – which clearly wasn’t our MO.

Our original, tentative, plans were already changing. Originally we thought we’d go for Southern Cross on Day 3, but, after the heat, and with the forecast still predicting easterly headwinds, we decided we’d split it into two shorter days before tackling the 187km from Southern Cross to Coolgardie.

5 thoughts on “IP Day 2 – York to Bruce Rock

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