Thursday, July 24, 2008

DAY 268: Broome to bush camp 8km S Roebuck RH

Fri 18th July 2008
58km @ 16.5 km/hr
Sunny, 32 deg C
Elevation of /destination 18 m
Distance to date 16223 km (10139 miles)

pic of tent is Broome CP.
Last night was much quieter thankfully, and I slept OK. I took my time getting going this morning as there was no great rush, and left the site around 0930. I bought a few food essentials at Woolies and just about managed to fit this in, then cycled out the 2km to have a look at Roebuck Bay. I passed another caravan park, which was also bursting at the seams like all the others here, and didn’t fancy any more of that at all.
I had lunch at MacDonald’s, which is a very nice place to eat actually (!), an open al fresco terrace with lots of greenery, and yes, I did enjoy my chicken and cheese burger and chips and coke thank you!
I popped into the very busy tourist office and got a sheet of information about facilities between here and Port Hedland, which is the way I’m going. The staff had to handle an abusive old Aboriginal lady who insisted on getting served with a cold drink without having to queue like the whitefellas, but did it with great tact. I also checked that the roadhouses etc along my way are open to business.
I rode out of town after this, with a tinge of disappointment regarding Broome - I had high expectations of the place, and no doubt it is very pretty in (a few) parts, but the place is far too busy for my tastes, and there wasn’t that much to do or see either. It would be a great place to have a ‘proper’ holiday where you were treating yourself to nice meals out with a loved one for example, but it didn’t gel with my situation at all. I’m therefore well ahead of ‘schedule’ so look forward to finding some delightful places to linger on the way down the west coast of WA.
Around 15km east of town I came to the broome Bird Obsaervatory turnoff and taking this turn immediately hit a dusty and corrugated gravel road. It’s another 15km to the Observatory from the highway, so I gave it a km or so and then decided a hard 30km round trip didn’t match my motivation, and turned around again. I have to admit that my motivation is lower at the moment than it has been at any time over the past 9 months, but I hope it will return. Broome tired blues perhaps.
Anyway, I had a good NW tailwind so progress was good, however I decided to have a look at the Malcolm Douglas Wilderness Wildlife Park en route, and stumped up my $30 admission fee. It was really a zoo, but no-one likes to use that term any more, but it was clear that the owner takes a lot of problem and injured crocs and other animals and birds in, and is also breeding endangered species, so I can forgive him. I got bored with the man trying to goad the crocs into tearing a plastic ball to bits for the tourists cameras though, and was back on the road within a couple of hours. One thing I learnt though was the sound of the Barking Owl. I heard these at the caravan park at night, sounding exactly like a dog’s “woof woof”. The place was very clean and the animals looked in very good condition too.
By 1700 I was rolling into Roebuck Roadhouse, where it’s only $5 pppn to camp, but with daylight fading I was sure there were good bush campsites down the road - anyway it would be good to maximise km whilst the wind’s going my way. As the sun was disappearing I could see that further ahead was completely cleared, open country with little camping potential, so easily found a campsite just at the end of the wooded section. In fact it’s a cracking site - well hidden from the road, flat and smooth ground, and not tightly cramped by surrounding trees.
I just sat and had a cuppa and listened to the BBC World Service for a while as the light faded altogether, or rather, as the full moon’s light became superior to the sun’s. Bliss!

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