Thursday, May 08, 2008

DAY 197: Bush camp to Cloncurry

DAY 197: Bush camp to Cloncurry

Thurs 8th May 2008
17 km @ 14.4 km/hr
Sunny, 26 deg C
Elevation of destination 205 m
Distance to date 11828 km (7392 miles)
Last night was freezing cold - it must have been close to zero; I had to put extra clothing on around 0400 including my Assos balaclava, which I brought ‘just in case’ but had never used before. I didn’t get fully warm even then, and as dawn approached I got the billy on, had a hot cuppa, snuggled back into the sleeping bag, and waited for the sun to warm me up. I didn’t get up until around 0745 since I only had a short ride today to Cloncurry.
This has been a very good campsite - nice and flat, quiet, and easy to get into, unlike on other occasions when I’ve had to battle through scrub and brush to find as good spot.
The run into Cloncurry was uneventful, same old Savannah, same old SE wind in my face - but not for much longer, he he - I’ll hopefully have a tailwind now I’m heading west.
I passed over the utterly dried-out Cloncurry River just before hitting the town itself, where I quoffed a big iced coffee and Mrs. Mack’s Sausage Roll at the Servo. I then stumbled across the library where there’s a good internet speed and where I had no trouble updating the blog. I had 32 e-mails too, which took some time to answer properly, including some from Lyn, which I enjoyed reading. I hope we have a future together, because deep down I know we can be happy together. I have come to understand that she’s working really hard, enduring long hours, and I’m having a great time out here. I guess I’d feel a bit put out if the boot were on the other foot!
One thing I was keen to see here is the Flying Doctor museum - Cloncurry was the first base for this ground-breaking organisation, established by John Flynn in 1928. I was somewhat disappointed by the lady running the place, who rather disinterestedly trotted out the spiel about this place as quickly as possible, like an automaton; she didn’t even look at me, and did the same with the next couple that followed me in, word for word. When I asked her where the toilet was she retorted indignantly "I told you - through there!" OK, we can all have a bad day I guess. Nevertheless it’s a good exhibition, and probably worth the $9 admission fee.
I checked in at the Cloncurry CP Oasis ($10/pppn), which looks OK, and decided to eat out. The Bio Cafe provided a very good dinner of beer-battered Baramundi, chips and a big salad, and I rounded off with ice cream (4 scoops!) with chocolate and caramel sauce. It was a Bring Your Own (BYO) place so I bought a bottle of pseudo Brut and took it in with me, and supoped the lot (hic). I was probably over the limit to ride the bike back to the CP but don’t tell anyone! I thoroughly enjoyed the meal though, and said so to the folks there.
Cloncurry is a pleasant enough place; some old buildings and big rambling Queensland-style pubs (though none had tables outside, curiously), wide streets, and good supermarkets lol. Although my food supplies were completely depleted I didn’t buy too much as there will be more choice in Mount Isa, 120km west of here. I may take 2 days to get there if I find a nice wild camping spot, but I’d like to catch the post office there open to hopefully collect 2 parcels, one from Lyn and one from St.Kilda Cycles with my transmission bits. Once I get the latter I can work out how / where to get them fitted to the bike. I have ordered a special tool to remove the rear sprocket but still preferably need a chain whip to effect this. Otherwise I’ll have to use someone’s vice and bodge it that way using the old chain.
The road to Mount Isa and beyond will be a bit busier than the one from Normanton, but hopefully still relatively quiet. There should be more ‘stopping places’ to get my ‘treats’ too with a bit of luck. I may spend the long weekend in MI to get the bike and a few other things sorted out, in fact if the parcel from SKC hasn’t arrived I’ll just have to wait until it does.

NB/ 5th pic is of the dry Cloncurry River bed - now a dust bowl.

DAY 196: Kajabbi to bush camp 17km N of Cloncurry

First 3 pics are of the Kalkadoon Hotel at Kajabbi. The 6th pic is not the gravel road but a dry river bed!

Weds 7th May 2008
96 km @ 12.3 km/hr
Sunny, 26 deg C
Elevation of destination 188 m
Distance to date 11811 km (7382 miles)
I was slow to get away this morning after waking later than usual. I had breakfast of toast, cheese and honey from Pat’s fridge, which made a nice change. After goodbyes I hit the 26km of gravel road from here back to the Normanton - Cloncurry road, some 40km S of where I left it yesterday, so this detour to Kajabbi added 28km in total.
I had been told this gravel road was better than that I cycled in on yesterday, at least, less bulldust, and that was probably true for motorists, however the surface was very stony, and soft in places. But worst of all was the increased wind speed - it was probably around 40 knots / Force 6-7 at times, and it really made this hard going since I was heading right into it i.e. to the E/SE. The flies were bad again too, and I couldn’t wear the net because it stops me seeing all the obstacles in the road quickly enough. I wasn’t a happy bunny then, and this 26km took me 2 hours 50 minutes - 9.1 km/hr. There was no pleasure at all in this stretch, and the landscape is all the same - sparse trees and bare soil. The most open areas were a nightmare, allowing the full wind speed to buffet me, with just a little respite where there were a few trees.
At last I thankfully reached the bitumen, and celebrated with a cheese on toast sandwich I didn’t eat at breakfast.
Speed increased a little now I was back on the main road, but the wind was still in front of me, to the left. Again the open sections were the worst. In the first 5 hours of riding today I covered little more than 50km! I've never gone slower. This is equivalent to riding from Thurso to Wick and halfway back!!!One kind motorist slowed down to ask me if I was OK - I must have looked a bit out of it. I knew there was a hotel about halfway from the Kajabbi junction to Cloncurry, and sure enough after 52km (from the start) I reached the Quamby Hotel, a sight for sore eyes after today’s hard labour. It’s a nice-looking place, all tastefully done out with Cobb & Co. murals on the outside and rustic ironwork made from scrap cars and other junk. It was of course a former coaching station on the 19th century transport / distribution network belonging to that famous company. I had been dreaming of iced coffee but unfortunately they had none, so I plumped for a couple of cans of Coke poured into a glassfull of ice, plus a bin liner-sized bag of sea salt crisps. I also topped up on water in expectation of another bush camp tonight - I might as well just camp in the bush if I find a decent place rather than push on into Cloncurry - at least I’m guaranteed peace and quiet, and it's free AND more pleasureable! As I sat outside every driver that passed waved to me, or maybe to the Hotel too, which is quite a landmark in this deserted region.
After the stop I felt somewhat revived, and seemed to be going much better, and some 35km later, at 1730, I found a very good campsite, well hidden from the road, close by the Sedan Dip junction. I did notice some cows nearby, and I didn't want to get trampled on in the night, so I made double sure they couldn't get through the fence onto my side. In soem places I've been through the cattle just wander about on and across the unfenced road, which sometimes is the case in N Scotland too of course. I waited until nearly dark so that the flies wouldn’t trouble me before I cooked, and I set up BBC World Service with the 10m extension cable that came with the Sony SW radio, getting pretty good reception even though they aren’t supposed to broadcast to Oz (it was the Chinese transmission I was getting). I felt thoroughly tired after today’s effort and will get an early night.

DAY 195: Bush camp to Kajabbi

Tues 6th May 2008
73 km @ 12.2 km/hr
Sunny, 30 deg C
Elevation of destination 152 m
Distance to date 11715 km (7322 miles)
Awake in time to watch the dawn whilst eating muesli breakfast in bed, and away at 0810. As soon as I came out of the tent the flies descended in scores as if they'd waited just for me all night. I’d packed everything up without opening the tent flap though so with head net on I could load up the bike without them all over my face. I wonder why they always go for the face? You hardly ever see them on other parts of the body - I’ve said before, they just ignore insect repellant alltogether. There appears to be no way to deter them.
The first 25km or so consisted of a draggy uphill - by no means steep, but with a bit of a headwind it seemed a bit like it. It’s a new road too, one that you can see stretching ahead for 2km or more sometimes - not very motivating when you see an uphill ahead. I guess I’ve been spoilt with all the flat roads lately.
Very few birds to be seen other than the Apostles as usual, and 3 Wedge-Tailed Eagles, 2 of which were roadkill, but a few kangaroos thumping dementedly away from me across the open bush. Tree cover is very thin around here, so the light wind is full-on. I'm saddened by the number of dead Eagles - such a beautifil bird and lord of it's territory, but not of mans territory, which is everywhere I guess.
After 30km, as I approached the right turn for Kajabbi (I had more or less decided to go this way although longer and a gravel road) I saw again the unexpected spectacle of another cyclist, then another...then another - 12 in fact! This was a supported tour from Port Augusta to Burketown along the Birdsville Track and other gravel roads like the one from Kajabbi, where they stayed last night. Sounded pretty ########, but they weren’t carrying any weight since their stuff was in the broom wagon, however a great feat noentheless, and with respect, some of them were quite advanced in years - good on ya guys. All of them had front suspension too, and I feel that this was an omission on my part - it’s very handy indeed on this type of terrain. I was bombarded with questions and well-photographed before we parted. I was told that the gravel road I was about to turn onto was not too difficult (unless you’re carrying 40kg of baggage that is lol, as I later realised).
Undeterred I set off and was soon sliding around in deep bulldust trying not to fall off, although later on I kind of got the hang of keeping going. You also quickly get to know where it’s safe to cycle and where not. When the sand went the coarse gravel appeared, and this was very hard going for about 5km - stone size ranged from 1mm to 50mm and I was jumping and jerking and sliding all over the place. It was very hot and dusty and I drank a lot more than usual, however I was well supplied with water. A few vehicles, including road trains hauling beef cattle, passed me in a huge cloud of fine bulldust, however I was on the left and the wind was blowing to the right so I escaped the worst of it. This whole area is absolutely dry - not a trace of water anywhere. This 43km on gravel was a big effort taking around 4 hours, and I was delighted to see the 4 or 5 buildings that make up Kajabbi village.
It was straight to the pub / camp ground, and I had a beer and glass of cold water before setting up - mistake, because I then felt very tired, the effects of drinking during the day. However the landlord, Pat, 1st generation ex-Pom, was very chatty and we arranged for me to ‘raid’ his fridge for food for a small fee rather than bodge my own dwindling food supplies - nice! Also tea or coffee whenever I wanted.
The sunset was utterly amazing again tonight - long vivid bands of bright orange merging to blue, and spread halfway around the horizon; I just sat and watched it for ages. The sun disappears around 1810 at present, but the last colouring in the sky is present until 1850 or so. Quite a show.... I love the Outback.
I cooked up some sausage on the barbie and made rolls smeared with salsa, then went around to the front where several locals were sat outside in armchairs having a drink and shooting the breeze. They’re a friendly and welcoming lot here, and it was interesting to find out from Jeanie, Jack, Pat and the others all about this place over a Bundy rum ‘n coke, and how much they liked the place (unspoilt! We don’t want a bitumen road!). The village population is around a dozen, with 40 or 50 more on the surrounding cattle stations. It hasn’t rained since last December, and the local cattle stations are feling anxious - they’re not able to grow the fodder for the animals. There is no school or doctor, but the Flying Doctor Service can be out here from Cloncurry in 30 minutes. Publican Pat feels that he no longer wants to travel; he has found his El Dorado right here in remote Outback Queensland, with all his local friends as well as many more via the internet. He is right into making cash by advertising via Adsense, a Google company, and he showed me on his computer how it all works. I liked Pat a lot - unpretentious, friendly and interesting, with similar views on the world to my own as far as I had chance to observe during our brief encounter. Nice evening in good company.

DAY 194: Bang Bang Jump Up to bush camp 41.5 km S Burke & Wills Roadhouse

Mon 5th May 2008
132 km @ 16.4 km/hr
Location S 19 deg 32.781’; E 140 deg 14.400’
Sunny, mid-20’s deg C
Elevation of destination 123 m
Distance to date 11642 km (7276 miles)
Utter peace and quiet in the bush last night - and a long, long deep sleep left me feeling very fresh this morning. I awoke gently as the sky started to lighten (I was sleeping under the mesh inner only having left the outer shell in the bag as there was no chance of rain) and just lay and watched the red and orange develop until the sun finally peeped over the eastern horizon. This kind of camping beats Caravan Parks hands down; no drunken or noisy humans to spoil the peace either, and much closer to nature where I love to be.
I set off around 0750 and just a few hundred metres down the road was a rest area - this wasn’t marked on my map so it must be new - and toilets, but I would still have sooner beenwhere I was. I did hear the odd lorry stop last evening come to think of it. I was another 15km south when I saw my first vehicle, and even after that there was little traffic - what there was was mostly caravanners / tourists.
There was considerable bird and ‘Roo activity for the first hour or so - I disturbed a Wedge-Tailed Eagle devouring some roadkill, and flocks of Little Corellas, plus the usual numerous groups of Apostlebirds. Roo’s bounded away with a staccato thump of their big back legs. There are still plenty of cattle too, though what they find to eat out here I don’t know; the vegetation is sparse and thorny - lots of Spinnifex and other coarse grasses, completely devoid of moisture in this very arid region.
Again, absolutely nothing in the way of habitation / buildings. Burke and Wills Roadhouse, the midway point in the 380km stretch between Normanton and Cloncurry is the only place there is, and it’s my first target today - a great incentive / treat!
After 30km I stopped at another rest area with table and roof, and enjoyed a shady billy-boil coffee break and a couple of peanut butter and jam muffins. Thereafter the wildlife was less apparent as it heated up, well, live stuff anyway, but I was quite content and going very well. The wind was slightly behind or on my left side, coming from the east. The road heads SSW for the first 90km today then SSE thereafter.
I got lots of waves and toots from motorists probably glad of a break from the monotony in the form of a mad cyclist. It wasn’t as hot as recent days, quite a pleasant 25 or so. The kms to Burke and Wills came down pretty quickly on the 10km marker signs - 90, 80.......30, 20, 10, yesssss! Walking into the roadhouse was like stepping into another world from the solitude of the road and bush camp - music, chatter, glasses clinking, kids screaming, pots crashing....and about 20 pairs of eyes turned to scrutinise me, but nobody spoke to me at all! Anyway I was more interested in the chilled drinks cabinet, and joy! They had 750ml bottles of Dare Double Espreesso....beautiful, wonderful....

I ordered a steakburger and blueberry muffin and by the time the former had arrived 25 minutes later the coffee was just about gone. The burger bun was dry and not very nice unfortunately, but I wasn’t going to waste it. I also bought myself a rather tasty Burke and Wills Roadhouse momento sleeveless T-shirt; something else to haul lol.
I topped up all my water bottles to the max, in fact they were all empty and I am using more water than I thought I would now that I’m in the hot Outback cycling longer days - somewhere around 6 litres a day altogether, including cooking water, everything. I’ve got another couple of bottles so in future I’ll be able to carry the following:
6 litre Sea to Summit bag (rear carrier)
4 litre Sea to Summit bag (rear carrier)
1.5 litre PET bottle (cage under down tube)
0.75 litre drinking bottle (cage above down tube)
1.25 litre iced coffee bottle (rear carrier)
2 x 0.75 litre iced coffee bottles (secured on top of front pannier)
That makes 15 litres in all i.e. 15kg, but at a pinch this would just about keep me going for 2 nights / 3 days riding if need be. In fact there aren’t many stretches where I’ll need to do that so I won’t always have them all full.
I spent about an hour at B&W RH then left feeling revived. After 10 km or so the road bent to SSE and the light E-SE wind was slightly in my face, enough to slow me down a little, nevertheless I put in another 42km, riding until 1730. I scanned the side of the road for wild camping spots for a while but nothing felt right, until I came to a telecomms mast and substation, and I was able to lift the chain on the gate and go in (I found that most of the gates to these places and to field access gates were not locked; they just have a mechanism for hanging a chain to stop it opening accidentally - this is useful to know. There’s no chance of anyone complaining about accessing these points - there’s nobody out here! I just make sure I get in without being seen for security’s sake, and I never leave any mess or any trace that I’ve been there.
All day again today there have been lots of bush flies, and I have to wear the net most of the time. They were particularly bad as it approached dusk and there were thousands around me as I set up camp. Last night lots followed me into the tent and were a pain to kill / get out, so tonight I was very careful by backing into a small opening in the flap, and when it was time to get my head in (this is where most of the flies like to land) gave my head a good shake to get them off for a second as I drew my head in. I still managed to introduce half a dozen, but they soon got the chop. I didn’t start cooking until darkness fell, since the flies are in bed by then. After dinner I sat outside and watched the stars, having applied mozzie repellant first. I now know where the Southern Cross constellation is - this can’t be seen from Europe, though Orion is clearly visible here in the northern sky, except that it’s turned 90 degrees - effectively on it’s side compared to what we see in the UK, as is the crescent moon.
And now, perfect peace again....lovely.

DAY 193: Normanton to Bang Bang Jump Up bush camp

Sun 4th May 2008
109 km @ 15.5 km/hr
Location S 18 deg 31.397’; E 140 deg 39.456’
Sunny, 28 deg C
Elevation of destination 10 m
Distance to date 11510 km (7194 miles)
The good thing about travelling as I am is that if you don't like where you are you can just move on to find somewhere better / more peaceful, and after breakfast in the campers kitchen off I went at around 0715. I took a pic of Kris, a replica of the biggest croc ever caught (and he was immediately shot of course as was (is?) the way (:-<)), who is in the main street in Normanton, and also had a look at the very nice old railway station, before departing for the vast and remote wilderness of North West Queensland. There is again nothing whatsoever between here and the Burke and Wills Roadhouse 200 km south, apart from bare, cleared land and some Savannah woodland here and there. Not a building, nothing, just road and elecricity lines. I was carrying 12 litres of water because I knew I would have at least two long hot thirsty days and a night’s camping in the bush, with no water to be had for 200km. I also took a litre of milk that I bought yesterday and had not drunk, and I downed this in the first 20km. The road is pretty straight and dead flat for the most part, and is single track for about 50% of today’s ride. It soon got up into the upper 20’s, with a clear blue sky all day. There were 2 good rest stops, at 30 and 75km approx, both had one concrete table with a good-sized roof so nice and shady. I stopped at each for enforced rest; this helps me recouperate and remotivate for what is not the most exciting riding to be honest. At the second I spent almost an hour, getting the billy on for a good, strong coffee, and lying stretched out on the bench for a while. I dug out the radio and placed it in the bar bag so I could listen whilst riding - unfortunately the only station I could tune into out here was ABC Queensland, which today was wall to wall sport; however it did take my mind off the tedium of the landscape for a while. The wind was fairly strong but usually right on my left side - a SSE-er methinks. I found myself watching for the next bend in the road (which was sometimes a very long time coming) to see if it went left (bad) or right (good)! Just a small right turn meant a slight tailwind and considerable increase in speed. The cranks / bottom bracket is squeaking quite a lot, which is a bit annoying. Only significant feature was the Flinders River crossing - I was amazed how many raptors there were in this area - literally hundreds - in fact for most of the day I was ‘shadowed’ by several raptors, mostly Black Kites, which are in abundance around here. At one point they were stacked up into the air, one above the other, like planes waiting to land at Heathrow. In my case they’re probably waiting for me to peg out so they can fight over my eyes or other tasty bits. I saw a few ‘Roos this morning too, and plenty of stinking roadkill throughout the day whereupon I attempt to hold my breath until I passed. After 105 km or so there is a little hill - oooohhhh! - and I had a look a round for a likely camp site. It was pretty rocky and no good at all, however just further on, 300m from a lorry lay-by, some land had been partly cleared for mining / prospecting or something judging by the boreholes, and I pulled off to a shady spot well away from the road. No-one saw me pull in (traffic is still very light on this road) but a few thousand bush flies were on my tail and chose to join me for tea. Today was the worst day for flies for months, and I has to eventually resort to my headnet. It was virually impossible to get tent pegs in the hard ground, but this MSR Hubba Hubba can be pitched without as long as you get some weight in the tent asap when it’s windy. So after cooking pasta it went dark and I have utter, dark silence except for a magnificent display of stars with the Milky Way smeared across the heavens, and the odd wandering unseen creature rustling around in the undergrowth. Nice. The Bush.

DAY 192: Day off in Normanton

Sat 3rd May 2008
Sunny, 28 deg C
Elevation of destination 10 m
Distance to date 11401 km (7126 miles)

You'll note that this page is out of order - this is a bug in Blogger, and to correct means deleting all the other posts above it! Sorry about this. The pics are the correct ones for that day though.

Had a very restful day and probably needed it. I caught up with lots of chores, but the main thing was that I managed to get my current account topped up by phone after Lyn got me the international phone number for the bank, which I didn’t have. I then ordered new transmission from Rohloff stockists St.Kilda Cycles in Melbourne, for delivery to Mount Isa post office. Hopefully the parcel will just about be there in a weeks time when I am due to arrive there. I had to order the special sprocket removal tool also, in case the bike shop in Mt Isa doesn’t have one - in fact I’m not even sure there is a bike shop there - although one is listed in Yellow Pages when I phoned them there was no such number. I had been hoping that this bike shop would help me fit the transmission, but I’ll probably have to sort it myself the way it's looking.
I went out for a large Iced Coffee and cakes and took these to the pool where I spent most of the afternoon, in and out of the pool and spa - wonderfully indulgent and relaxing - hot/cold - hot/cold - mmmmm. I also bought meat for a barbie tonight for a change. Late afternoon 2 young German guys arrived and pitched their tent next to mine, and I went chatting to them, and I gave them some brochures about the Burketown route, but not too happy that they were pretty drunk by dinner time. I’m starting to get a sixth sense for these situations....
I went to the Purple for a couple of XXXX Golds, and met the same man as last night there - he’s got a 4x4 with caravan - and had a weird conversation. Now this guy doesn’t listen very well and keeps on pontificating about things, so he’s hard work, but I persevered, and asked him about his Oz background. "How long have you got?" he said - go on I said, alarm bells starting to ring. "Well, I’m related to the British Royal Family". "Oh, right" I said, smiling interestedly. He then told me his aunty or someone was related to Queen Victoria. He then went on to add that he has a Knighthood (it was all kept very secret at his request) for throwing himself onto a gunman who was trying to get into Princess Margaret’s car in London. Call me an old sceptic if you like, eyes glazed over at this point and I looked into my glass to see it was nearly empty and confirmed that it was time for my barbie dinner and I was very hungry. Exit stage left. I can’t think of anyone who looks less like a knighted royal than this rather obese Australian, bless ‘im. One revelation would have been enough.
The 2 German guys were chatting to an Australian woman travelling alone at the table near my tent, so when I’d cooked dinner I joined them. Unfortunately the guys were so drunk they were just rambling and slurring and any attempt at communication was futile, so after a short while I excused myself and went to the tent. I was very tired so as it was fairly quiet now and I fell asleep early, but woke at midnight to lots of talking loudly and banging of car doors. I stayed awake for quite a while until it went quiet again and I assumed they’d turned in, however at 0200 the noise started up again and I was wide awake now. After a while of this I asked them to be quiet but they just ignored me, and I lost it a bit and asked them to STFU, and they still ignored me at first, but then started deliberately making as much noise as they could, upon which I’d had enough, and packed up and took the bike and all the gear over to the pool entrance, then got in the sleeping bag on the poolside and, eventually, slept for a couple of hours, managing not to roll into the pool. I felt very angry, especially as I had decided to stay another night here as it is such a nice CP - but now I just wanted to get away.

DAY 191: Karumba to Normanton

Fri 2nd May 2008
70 km @ 13.4 km/hr
Sunny, hot, 28 deg C
Elevation of destination 10 m
Distance to date 11401 km (7126 miles)

A nice relaxing start to the day after a very quiet night. Not quite so cold last night either, perhaps due to the proximity of the sea. I had toyed with staying in Karumba another night, and I feel as though I need a day off after 7 straight days riding, but I’m not overawed with this place, nothing much of interest for my tastes - it’s OK if you’re a fishing fanatic though I guess. The camping area is dry and dusty, there are tiny ants everywhere (my food bag was full of them this morning), and it’s a long way to the loo, and the prospect of the very nice CP at Normanton calls; I’ll have my day off there instead.
I said goodbye to Dave and Lynn (lol) who have another 6 weeks here (hmmm, no accounting for taste is there?!), and hit the road warily, watching for which way the wind was blowing. As expected it was as yesterday, east with a little north, therefore it was going to be a very hard slog for the 40km to where the road bends around from east to south, especially on the 25km that is completely open with no wind breaks.
From the first few km the wind was right in my face, I’d say it was around 25 to 35 knots, and I resolved myself to a speed of 10 or 11 km/hr. It’s amazing what tricks you can play with the brain - rather than feel down about the extreme slowness I thought "well, at least I’m going faster than if walking"...and all was well. I have been spoilt these last few weeks with all the tail winds. I stopped after just 20km for a short break whilst the sun was obscured a little by high cloud, but then after another hour the thin tree cover reappeared and my speed went up miraculously from 10 to 14 km/hr, then 18 as the road bore to the south again. This is a good omen - after Normanton I have to head south for 400km down to Cloncurry - lets hope this wind direction holds for a while. I know I shouldn’t have said that!
Once back in Normanton I found a 750ml iced coffee, egg and bacon burger, and slice of Millionaire’s Shortbread, and felt somewhat revived after a hard ride today. I then tentatively visited the library for another shot at the internet - I forgot to move some more money into my current account yesterday at Karumba Library - bit I needn’t have bothered. I typed in the bank address and waited....and waited....but nothing happened. This internet system is utterly useless, and after having a moan at the librarian (she offered no answer, or expressed any need to get someone to sort it out) gave up. I think she thought this ‘city Johnny’ expects good communications everywhere - well, I have had that as it happens all over Oz, even in very remote places, but clearly not in Normanton. I tried to get across to her that it might just be a physical fault with the computer network, as the other, regular, local, user thought too, but she didn’t register any interest in that conclusion. It will be several days from now then that I can next get online unfortunately, so my groupies will just have to be patient.
So I tried to phone my bank, but the number appeared as an expensive type of call that I didn’t have enough credit for on my GoTalk cheap call card - there must be another, international number that I don’t have, so stymied again. I need to order a chain and new cogs, but I don’t think I have enough in this account at the moment to pay for them, what a drag...I have deliberately kept as little as possible in the current account so as to leave the bulk in my savings account gathering interest - not enough clearly!
So I forgot about that for a while and went for a swim in the superb pool here at the CP, and a lie in the spa for a while. Around 1730 I rode down to the Norman River 1km away to watch the sunset and see what was doing in the river. I was rewarded with the spectacle of some ‘flying fish’ that kind of skimmed on top of the water catching flies, by some Kites and Herons close-up, and finally by another nice sunset over the river. Idyllic and beautiful setting, so peaceful, and an image I will treasure after this jaunt is over. That calls for a pint, so off to the Purple Pub for that. This CP is so handy for everything, it’s just the job.
I wasn’t too hungry this evening so settled for Vegemite and tomatoes on toast. I’m looking forward to a nice relaxing day pottering around tomorrow.

The spider by the way is 75mm across.