Cramped, the snack was a joke, no proper entertainment system, and I had to sit next to Mr Bobby.
Soon after we got home from Brisbane we got our new bed… King size, and nice and firm but soft at the same time.
Looking forward to it again… I’ve slept very badly here in the hotel.
This is my 2nd visit in 3 weeks – working on a little gig for SA Water – checking out their disaster recovery environment.
Weather good, not that I’ve been able to look around much – way too much work on. When I’m not sick, I’m working in the hotel room. 🙁
It’s OK though – a few months ago I was kinda wondering where the work would be coming from… not a good thing approaching hte company’s end of FY – need to avoid the growing target on my back.
Now there’s about 5 things in the pipeline.
Today was a lot easier… slightly shorter distance and the temp was only a top of 30.
I was intending to stay with JK on the Sunny Coast but Grace managed to arrange the keys early for me.
So, I’m in her flat and have emptied her stuff onto the loungeroom floor. Getting the keys early makes it a lot easier as I don’t have to worry about dumping it somewhere when I grab the gals from the airport in a few days.
I’m without power and therefore there’s no aircon. However, I’ve had a nice long dip in their very nice pool, showered, and am now sitting in the gentle breeze on the balcony with no bugs.
I’m thinking I might move the camping mattress out here for the night… lovely!
I’ll post up some piccies of the place tomorrow when I have daylight.
I’m at the end of day 3, and won’t need day 5… arriving in Brissie tomorrow. I must admit – while there’s been a lot of driving – it hasn’t been that hard.
Plans being plans – real life didn’t follow…
Grace’s little Suzuki Swift was packed to the ceiling – with my stuff taking up the front seat. I’d taken a minimal selection of camping kit to keep the cost down, but I only need it for 5 days (I thought) and I’d have to bring it back on the plane so it was only the bare essentials.
I left home on Friday (Australia Day) at around 5:45 – so pretty much on time… heading out of Perth via Roe Hwy. As I took the exit for Great Eastern Hwy I found myself 6 cars and 2 semis back from a train taking up 2.5 lanes… yes – a train. Doing around 30kph I thought 5 days may not have been enough.
We all crawled along for about 20 mins when they finally pulled over and let the hundred or so of us by. Brisbane here I come.
I was aiming for camping around Balladonia (around 900km). It didn’t take long to realise that I’d be there way before dark so I figured I’d go as far as possible… probably Caiguna (Halls Creek’s close relative). I got there, with still more time to come.
After doing a few calculations to allow for Central Western Timezone, my weather app’s sunset times for Eucla, and also a phone call to the motel in Madura I decided it would be worth the extra drive to get ahead. Unfortunately, I didn’t allow for the roadworks along the way. Work crews seem to like closing the entire road at the end of the day so they can put away their trucks, etc. In the end, I arrived well into dusk – a big no-no for me in the countryside due to the wildlife. I was only doing around 80kph on arrival.
Not a great motel, but for $50 I wasn’t complaining. With nearly 1400km completed on the first day I immediatley started to think that a 5th day may not be necessary.
Up bright and early I aimed for Port Augusta. At one of the fuel stops along the way I checked the tyres. The rear left was nearing its end-of-life (having been left on the front too long for Fangio’s driving style). Like my recent lap of Oz on the bike, I started to worry about it – needing a new one in the middle of nowhere is one thing – blowing it out is another. It was Saturday, so I was hoping a tyre shop in Ceduna would be open (it’s a common size). Nope. Hmmm – this might be fun.
On to Port Augsta. Problem is I’d be there on Saturday night/Sunday morning and it’d be unlikely that a tyre shop would be open – I didn’t want to waste a day, but I may have no choice.
Hot, hot, hot! Soon after I left Madura the temp climbed and sat at around 40 for most of the trip, hitting 43 for quite a bit – with humidity climing too. However, Grace’s aircon worked a treat… quite possibly since 75% of the cabin space was taken up with her crap so it didn’t have much air to move around. I refuelled in Kimba: under cover I honestly felt like I was getting burnt it was that hot.
Another motel in Port Augusta – better, and more pricey ($90). Before I left Perth I was worried about the heatwave striking south-east Oz at the moment. There was no way I was going to be able to sleep in a tent and drive the distances I need to drive. So – hotels were required (and the camping gear wasn’t).
I woke on Sunday morning early, checked the internet for tyre shops that might be open in Broken Hill (maybe 1), then I checked the forecast for Port Augusta – 46 today. Time to get outta Dodge. It was only going to be 42 in Broken Hill (!).
The road from Port Augusta to Broken Hill must be Australia’s kangaroo graveyard – hundreds (literally) of fresh meat along the way. At one point I felt like I was on the Esses at Bathurst – the little Swift wasn’t going to go over many of them, so I had to go around.
In Broken Hill I checked for the tyres shop whose Google page suggested it might be open – nope. However, the tread on the rear tyre was OK so I was confident I’d make the whole trip without any problem (but will keep checking).
Hot, hot, hot still – and I was looking for longer times in the car so no touring of Broken Hill (Mr OzFox will have to come back some other time).
As I was leaving – about 1 block from the central/main intersection in town I passed a herd of goats just roaming the streets…. never seen anything like it.
The road from Broken Hill to Nyngan (where I am now) had fewer kangaroos, but loads of sheep, goats and emus. Here’s a little family:
The temp sat at around 42 for most of the day – and at around 21 inside the car. The Suzuki Swift is a brilliant little car. It’s only a 1.4L auto, but it hums along at 110 very easily. I’m 186cm and there’s plenty of room for me. The cruise control tries to kick it down a gear (where it screams) going up some hills so I had to keep on top of that. As a form of transport it does have 2 wheels more than it really needs, but airconditioning is a nice accessory.
On to Brissie tomorrow.
OK, to help Grace relocate to Brisbane for her studies in musical theatre, I’m driving her car across from Perth. It’s actually cheaper that putting it on a truck/train cos: I have to fly across anyway (so I save an airfare) for registration in QLD (cos it’s a lease it has to stay in my name, and I have to be there); being a novated lease the fuel is tax deductible, etc.
So, roughly 4,500km in 5 days is the target – no night-time driving. My only fear is the hot weather experienced in south-east Oz at the moment.
When I arrive, it’s: new tyres, service/safety inspection, rego.
I’ll be packing a cordless screw driver to help with assembly of flat-pack furniture.
Wish me luck.
Follow me on Spot here.
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.