Nannup to Augusta 1981

Nannup to Augusta, day 3, Wednesday 25 November 1981. I had breakfast in the old dining room. I paid my bill of $19.40 for dinner, bed and breakfast. Then I got ready and set off, on a day which was to resonate down through the years of bike riding ahead.



I had decided to take the Brockman Highway to Augusta, stopping at Alexandra Bridge for a swim in the river – a pleasant memory from 1980. I had never been over this country before in any vehicle and had no idea what to expect, except of course the stretch from Alexandra Bridge to Augusta which I had done in 1980. This day was to mark the end of my lack of attention to weather forecasts on these rides.

The day was sunny and the wind was at my back as I sped down the first section of Brockman Highway, which runs almost north-south. Not knowing what the forecast was for this day, the tailwind should have warned me off this trip. After 20 km, made in good time, I stopped and sat on a big log in the sun and drank orange juice, feeling satisfied with my progress so far.

The road now gradually turned due west and stayed there until the Bussell Highway. The wind was now against me, having turned more North-west, and it freshened and the sky became gloomy, and rain started. It became heavy and the wind came in strong bursts. At one stage I remember the rain rushing into my face almost parallel to the ground and rushing at me with a spiralling motion as I laboured into it.

There was nowhere to stop and very little shelter. I had no choice but to toil on. I would stop for a rest where a tree seemed to offer a little shelter behind its trunk. At one point there was a corrugated iron structure that offered better shelter, and I thought I might stay there for a while until the weather eased, but It offered no shelter from the wind and I was wet through and began to shiver and my muscles to freeze up, and the weather showed no sign of changing. So I had to get out of there and keep going.

I thought that once I reached the Bussell Highway I would get a tailwind, because of having changed my direction by more than 90 degrees and heading now a bit east of south for the last 15 km or so to Augusta. But when I got to the junction, the cold front had passed over and the wind had swung to the south-west and was still strongly in my face, and was colder too.

I had only a few km to go now and was as wet as I could get. As in 1980, the last steep climb to the Augusta motel was too much for me so I walked it, and at last arrived at the motel and checked in. It was mid-afternoon. I didn’t keep an exact record of times in those days but I had probably been on the road for about 6 hours. I was cold and shivering and my hands were blue and it was difficult to sign the hotel register.

I got into my unit and unpacked everything and turned on the heater and hung wet stuff around and about. Then I climbed under the hot shower and actually wept as the hot water poured over me.

After that I climbed into bed and slept very well for a couple of hours.

When I got up it was too late, even had I been inclined, to do the run around to the Cape or have a swim so I just got dressed and staggered over to the hotel for dinner. The rain had passed over and it was a cold and windy but sunny evening.

Once again I had the corner table in the dining room and looked at the view down along the coast as I enjoyed a good dinner. The air was washed clear and the evening sun illuminated the coast pleasantly. Seabirds flapped and cried on the balcony outside.

I had a good night’s sleep after watching a bit of TV.

Charles A. Pierce

Other Days on this Tour:

  1. Perth to Cape Leeuwin Tour via Nannup, 1981
  2. Perth to Donnybrook 1981
  3. Donnybrook to Nannup 1981
  4. Nannup to Augusta 1981
  5. Augusta to Cape Leeuwin and Margaret River 1981
  6. Margaret River to Busselton 1981
  7. Busselton to Perth 1981

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