Saturday, July 12, 2008

DAY 260: Bush camp to bush camp 88 km SE of Fitzroy Crossing

180 km @ 22.1 km/hr

Thurs 10th July 2008

Sunny, 29 deg C

Elevation of /destination 198 m

Distance to date 15633 km (9771 miles)

Another quiet night in a good bush camp. It was pretty cold again outside, but I was just about warm enough all togged up in the bag, and remained there while I ate breakfast, during which the sun burst forth again.

Once on the road it was evident that it was going to be a good day - fresh easterly with me travelling SW; the return of an upgraded road with good shoulder, and mostly pancake flat. There was also a gradual descent of 200m or so, and at one point early on I was making 40 km/hr without pushing - a record!

Initial plain Savannah landscape was replaced with a stretch of weird mountains made up of large boulders, which were very photogenic, before the former returned. At noon I was pulling into Mary River rest area after a fastest-ever (on this tour) 85km in 3 hrs 45 mins. I lingered in this quite pleasant place for an hour, making tea and sandwiches, and chatting to the caravanners who passed me this morning “are you here already?”.... Mary River is just about dried out with a small billabong presumably fed by water is still running down in the sandy bed. This 80m-wide river will be a raging torrent once the Wet starts in December or so. All the creeks and rivers have been dry ever since the Ord at Kununurra.

At 1300 I set off again and did more of the same hurtling gleefully downwind with little effort. After a draggy climb from Mary River the road was flat again with long ‘vanishing point’ straits. Before I knew it I was past 160km (100 miles) and as the sun was low I started looking for a camping spot. It wasn’t easy, and I passed a rest area thinking i’d easily find somewhere as has been usual of late, but after dropping down from the beautiful red Ngumpan Cliffs the thinly-vegetated valley floor was full of tussocky Spinafex - ugh - nowhere to pitch without being in full view of the road, which I hate. At last as it was almost dark, I plumped for the side of the road, some 60m back behind a few straggly trees, ankle-deep in bulldust, and (dryish) cow poo all over the place! I had no choice; didn’t want to be looking in the dark!

Anyhow, the piece of shade cloth went down first as usual and blinded off most of the dust - If I’m careful it won’t get in the tent.

There hasn’t been much in the way of wildlife during the last few days; perhaps because of the dryness of everything. This includes ants, and also mozzies, that I haven’t seen for a fortnight; but not bush flies, who still follow me everywhere and force me to resort to the net most days when there’s a tailwind. There is the odd roadkilled Wallaby though, and plenty of cattle - this is the main industry around here.

I should make Fitzroy Crossing by midday tomorrow so being Friday I should still be able to upload if there’s an internet place, and I may stay a couple of nights and go and see Geikie Gorge.

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