Thursday, July 03, 2008

DAY 248: Katherine to rest area 102km SW of Katherine

Sat 28th June 2008
102 km @ 18.4 km/hr
Sunny, 32 deg C
Elevation of /destination 194 m
Distance to date 14722 km (9201 miles)

Not the quietest of nights by any means but up at the usual time and sharing breakfast with fellow travellers. When I returned to the tent backpackers owner Coco came over to me with a worried look on his face - and told me he had just reversed his trailer onto my tent! I went over to see what damage had been done, and the outer shell was ripped and frayed for about half a metre. To be fair, Coco was very concerned and even offered to pay for a new tent, but I didn’t feel I could ask that of him, especially when the tent was a bit battered anyway. He offered to take it to the camping shop to see what could be done, and was told to take it to the upholsterer, where he left it for repair, to be collected at noon. I wasn’t too happy as I’d no idea what kind of job they would make of it, but what could I do?
In the meantime I took a parcel to the post office for sending home unneeded stuff, but they were closed all day Saturday so that was out. By the time I’d fed myself at Subway and watched the didgeridoo painters for a while Coco was back with the outer tent, and it wasn’t a bad job, except wrong colour and different material - oh well!
I finally left Katherine at 1255 and headed SW on the Victoria Highway to Kununurra, the next big town 530km away.
The road was much quieter than the Stuart Highway thankfully, without a shoulder for the most part, through the usual Savannah woodlands with gentle undulations and long straights. The first rest area was at 33km and I stopped for a little while, but a noisy group arrived and shattered the peace, so I left them to it. There was another at 56km too, which was full of caravanners setting up for the night. I had noted from my guide that there was a camping area at 90km, but it failed to materialise and I finished up riding all the way to the third area at 102km as it was just becoming completely dark. Alistair was there as expected (he said he would probably stay here) so we camped together under the roofed ‘picnic area’ straight on the concrete.
It was quite a pleasant evening until 6 rowdy young English folk arrived in a campervan and made sure everyone knew they were here. They were incredibly loud on this very quiet night - completely oblivious to the other 20 or so people staying here tonight. They were aided and abetted by some middle-aged English tourists from the same area of England - Liverpool I think - who combined with them to spoil it for everyone else. Europeans like to stay up late whereas Australians (and cyclists) like to get to sleep earlier - no chance tonight! I had looked for somewhere to camp in the bush for the last 20km, but the road was fenced and there was nowhere suitable.

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