Friday, June 27, 2008

DAY 239: Darwin to Humptydoo

Thurs 19th June 2008
32km @ 15.2 km/hr
Sunny, 32 deg C
Elevation of destination 25 m
Distance to date 14283 km (8927 miles)

I stole another lie-in again and after breakfast packed everything up, which seemed to take ages. I was finally away around 10 for the 2-hour ride to Kingsley’s. There’s a bike path for the first 15km, mostly on the old disused railway line, which veers away from the Stuart Highway for a few km and is very pleasant and peaceful.
I was a little nervous about the botched up chain that I broke last night, and it was indeed sounding pretty rough, but it held up alright and got me to my destination. Kingsley was having lunch as I arrived so duly pointed to the food in the fridge and told me to help myself. Unfortunately I won’t be staying here tonight so will seek an alternative. After a good feed and blather I borrowed his chain whip and removed the rear sprocket fairly easily, followed by the chainring, and a few minutes later after fitting the new chain had a gleaming new transmission that will hopefully take me all the way back to Perth again. I also have a 2nd new chain that I will swop in in a few weeks time so that both chains, and hopefully sprocket and chainrings, wear more evenly and slowly.
Late in the afternoon I rode over to McMinn’s Lagoon, just down the road, which is a very pleasant 1km square billabong with plenty of birds around - all the usual candidates from what I could see. It was peaceful, and seemed a long way from the city.
I have been a bit stressed out with St Kilda Cycles and their failure to deal with my order properly, but at least I wasn’t stuck at some roadhouse far into the Outback waiting for my parcel - I have thoroughly enjoyed what this little city has to offer and have taken full advantage of it, though at a monetary cost! And I noted that I did originally forsee a long stay here, and am roughly still on ‘schedule’. I’d say that for most tastes Darwin would be somewhere to linger for a while to explore both city and surrounding area.
After another good dinner chez Kingsley I hit the road for my nocturnal base - just 5 minutes away at McMinn’s Loch - where better to see the dawn birds than right on their doorstep. There are no signs saying not to camp, and no-one will be any the wiser anyway as I will leave no trace of my presence. I didn’t bother unpacking much since I didn’t have to cook, and just had a read. Around 2230 I heard a strange noise like water running - and on going over to look I realised it was indeed water running, from a sprinkler - the type that slowly turns around in a big arc. It was well away from the tent so I didn’t worry, however half an hour later another dozen of the things started going; including one within range of my tent! And before I could do anything about it the water was squirting inside the tent since I hadn’t bothered fitting the outer, waterproof part. I then spent a few hilarious minutes dragging the tent around to where I thought it would stay dry, but it took some doing. All by moonlight so luckily I could at least see what was going on better around me.
The excitement finally subsided and I was able to dry the inside of the tent out a bit, though my silk liner that I’ve slept in lately was a bit on the damp side - luckily it’s warm at night so it’ll be OK. Not surprisingly I had trouble getting to sleep after that, plus I had a mozzie in the tent that kept buzzing around my ears and kept disturbing me - no way could I catch it (and dispatch humanely by squashing it). it’s a bit disconcerting when you squash one and get a streak of blood - I always wonder whose blood it is!

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