Today was going to be just another long day on the bike – not much to see out here really. The same longs roads, the same mud-people waiting to strike, the same high temps. I have to keep telling myself that I’m just on my way to the Daintree. Don’t get me wrong – it’s still interesting, but 1000s of kilometres of it does get a bit tiring.
That said, approaching Moutn Isa the scenery started to change, with a lot of hill/ranges appearing. The last stretch was quite nice.
On arrival at Mount Isa I immediately located their Bunnings – the place that had the DIY steel I’d used to make the brackets for the mudguard. In I went. Crap! They’d run out ☹ . Nevermind, I just grabbed one twice the width it needed to be, but with added strength – so good result in the end. I’d discovered one of the screws I’d used had snapped off at the head, leaving the the shaft still in the hole. I didn’t want to buy a drill (a. cos I have 2 already, and b. I didn’t want to lug it around with me) so again I asked nicely, and they brought their own out for me to use.
One broken drill bit and a bit of lost skin and I was done. Kinda good as new. Luckily there was shade nearby:
With the trailer fixed, I could have a scout around Mount Isa and still make it to Cloncurry. Mount Isa really is a mining town, or rather – it’s almost a town within the mine.
The road to Cloncurry (only 100-ish km) continued the nice scenery as before. Arriving at around 5, I quickly setup camp, cooked an early dinner, showered, and got inside the tent before the mozzies carried me away. The appearance of more work crews drew my attention – so I took a sedative.
Smart move to stay with family – they had an air-conditioner – a thunderstorm came through and dumped quite heavily (for Perth standards) on an off for most of the evening. The bike got a good wash, but I’m glad I wasn’t in a tent… way to humid for that. My host for the evening was the lovely Chloe – daughter of the sister of my brother-in-law. She even provided my first home-cooked meal for the trip – yum.
As I have been doing, while I have planned the trip down to the last millimeter, it is just a plan and will change. I looked again at the next few days and confirmed an earlier departure from Katherine.
I went to Mitre 10 first to grab some brackets, but they didn’t have anything that would do (small shop) – and with no Bunnings (my other family) I just stocked up on cable-ties and magic tape. It has to hold until Mount Isa where there is a Bunnings and I can perform proper repairs. It was only a short hop today, but no dramas with the trailer it seems.
On the way down I stopped in at Mataranka (100km south of Katherine) where they have their famous “Hot Springs”. I headed there first, changed from sweaty riding clothes into bathers, and took a dip. It was good to clean the sweat off, but it was a little to warm for what I was after – nice though. Unfortunately, by the time I’d donned the riding gear again I needed another swim. Back to the main townsite for a quick bite, then on I went.
The scenery was as usual – so I didn’t bother to stop for photos. The roads are still crap.
I’m camped in Daly Waters in an unpowered caravan park, for a total cost of $7. It’s adjacent to some farm animals: horse, birds, and a pig, with the promise of wallabies later this evening. I can’t complain about the cost, but the showers look “interesting” and there’s a similarly “interesting” odor coming from the pig-sty depending on the wind direction. I may end up eating at the pub tonight.
Tomorrow’s destination is Tablelands (still NT).
ps. total distance travelled (by ODO) for the trip so far is 4,504 km… 25% on distance, 10% on time.
Hole was dug yesterday, and the pool craned in today. It was quite windy so a little nervous. However, my nerves were more related to the crane-driver’s comment that the crane was at its limit for reach….