Thursday, May 08, 2008

DAY 191: Karumba to Normanton

Fri 2nd May 2008
70 km @ 13.4 km/hr
Sunny, hot, 28 deg C
Elevation of destination 10 m
Distance to date 11401 km (7126 miles)

A nice relaxing start to the day after a very quiet night. Not quite so cold last night either, perhaps due to the proximity of the sea. I had toyed with staying in Karumba another night, and I feel as though I need a day off after 7 straight days riding, but I’m not overawed with this place, nothing much of interest for my tastes - it’s OK if you’re a fishing fanatic though I guess. The camping area is dry and dusty, there are tiny ants everywhere (my food bag was full of them this morning), and it’s a long way to the loo, and the prospect of the very nice CP at Normanton calls; I’ll have my day off there instead.
I said goodbye to Dave and Lynn (lol) who have another 6 weeks here (hmmm, no accounting for taste is there?!), and hit the road warily, watching for which way the wind was blowing. As expected it was as yesterday, east with a little north, therefore it was going to be a very hard slog for the 40km to where the road bends around from east to south, especially on the 25km that is completely open with no wind breaks.
From the first few km the wind was right in my face, I’d say it was around 25 to 35 knots, and I resolved myself to a speed of 10 or 11 km/hr. It’s amazing what tricks you can play with the brain - rather than feel down about the extreme slowness I thought "well, at least I’m going faster than if walking"...and all was well. I have been spoilt these last few weeks with all the tail winds. I stopped after just 20km for a short break whilst the sun was obscured a little by high cloud, but then after another hour the thin tree cover reappeared and my speed went up miraculously from 10 to 14 km/hr, then 18 as the road bore to the south again. This is a good omen - after Normanton I have to head south for 400km down to Cloncurry - lets hope this wind direction holds for a while. I know I shouldn’t have said that!
Once back in Normanton I found a 750ml iced coffee, egg and bacon burger, and slice of Millionaire’s Shortbread, and felt somewhat revived after a hard ride today. I then tentatively visited the library for another shot at the internet - I forgot to move some more money into my current account yesterday at Karumba Library - bit I needn’t have bothered. I typed in the bank address and waited....and waited....but nothing happened. This internet system is utterly useless, and after having a moan at the librarian (she offered no answer, or expressed any need to get someone to sort it out) gave up. I think she thought this ‘city Johnny’ expects good communications everywhere - well, I have had that as it happens all over Oz, even in very remote places, but clearly not in Normanton. I tried to get across to her that it might just be a physical fault with the computer network, as the other, regular, local, user thought too, but she didn’t register any interest in that conclusion. It will be several days from now then that I can next get online unfortunately, so my groupies will just have to be patient.
So I tried to phone my bank, but the number appeared as an expensive type of call that I didn’t have enough credit for on my GoTalk cheap call card - there must be another, international number that I don’t have, so stymied again. I need to order a chain and new cogs, but I don’t think I have enough in this account at the moment to pay for them, what a drag...I have deliberately kept as little as possible in the current account so as to leave the bulk in my savings account gathering interest - not enough clearly!
So I forgot about that for a while and went for a swim in the superb pool here at the CP, and a lie in the spa for a while. Around 1730 I rode down to the Norman River 1km away to watch the sunset and see what was doing in the river. I was rewarded with the spectacle of some ‘flying fish’ that kind of skimmed on top of the water catching flies, by some Kites and Herons close-up, and finally by another nice sunset over the river. Idyllic and beautiful setting, so peaceful, and an image I will treasure after this jaunt is over. That calls for a pint, so off to the Purple Pub for that. This CP is so handy for everything, it’s just the job.
I wasn’t too hungry this evening so settled for Vegemite and tomatoes on toast. I’m looking forward to a nice relaxing day pottering around tomorrow.

The spider by the way is 75mm across.

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