Tuesday, June 03, 2008

DAY 221: Mary River Roadhouse to Cooinda

106 km @ 16.5 km/hr
Sun 1st June 2008
Sunny, 30 deg C
Elevation of destination 14m
Distance to date 13599 km (8499 miles)

After a decent nights sleep at last I felt much fresher this morning, but my left knee/leg is still sort of ‘lame’ and stiff - don’t know what that’s about, hopefully it’ll pass soon. My saddle sores are in remission at the mo though.
Less than 1km from the CP I was entering Kakadu NP, and the next 11km is mostly draggy uphill at grades between 2% and 8%. Traffic was very light, and the scenery interesting as I passed through a little mountain range - oddly-shaped rock formations and boulder-strewn plain, and lots of very large termite mounds. After 11km the road just undulates gently, but winds continuously.
The wind was SE again so mostly on the right side, but at various times it was behind pushing me along, then in the face slowing me down. Once more there is nothing like a shop or even a building for the whole day.
For lunch I sought out a shady spot where I could lean the bike and made coffee, and peanut butter and (blueberry) jam muffins, which were very nice with the muffins I’d bought in Katherine still being very fresh. As I was eating I watched the ubiquitous ants were carrying off any dropped crumbs back to their larder.
The landscape is Savannah, thinnishly-spaced trees but now they were taller, greener, and more varied, including palms, pandanus and other tropical-looking specimens. There has been a lot of deliberate burning, and I found the odour of burnt gums quite pleasant.
The middle part of the leg today was pretty slow, with the road bending into the wind and lots of shallow draggy climbs, but the last 25km was pretty fast downwind stuff.
A 4x4 stopped about 25km into the ride, and a man got out to speak to me, and it was Bob from Ingham - I met him in Tyto Wetlands the evening I camped there. I knew he was going to tour up here for a couple of months, and he assumed it was me ahead of him, although he wasn’t sure where I’d got to. We almost missed each other.
We had a chat for a while and parted with the expectation of meeting again tonight.
I arrived in Cooinda around 1630 and checked in at the (only, $15,) caravan park, and found Bob’s tent and pitched next to it. He was off on a wetland boat cruise. I wasn’t impressed with the very high prices in the ‘Lodge’ shop and skipped the iced coffee as a minor protest lol. I rode the 1km to Yellow Water, which is just a small boat terminal for the pleasure cruisers, but is next to a large wetland area. I spent a while with the binoculars watching mostly Egrets and Pied Cormorants, but also spotted a couple of Jabiru and Jacana (lily walkers). The pleasure boats were full, and at $70 for a 2 hour trip they must be making a fortune.
I found Bob waiting for his meal in the restaurant and had a beer, but at these prices only one, before cooking for myself and spending a nice evening chatting with my refound friend. It's such a shame these friendships are being made knowing we may never meet again - I could get on very well with Bob; my kind of guy.

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