4th September 2017
Normanton to Karumba to Normanton 156kms
Day trip! It’s a bit far to go for lunch and a beer, but we had to do it. The ride was straight forward, lots of cattle stations, lots of hawks, and then, we spotted about 50 Brolga wading in and around a dam. Wow, I’ve never seen so many at once. Then we started spotting them all over the place, like everywhere. There was a bit of traffic, so we couldn’t just pull up and get pictures, so we planned to try on the way home.
Karumba is the only town on the Southern Coast, of the Gulf of Carpentaria. What do they do here? Fish! The town is small and spread out, but has two pubs, and a rough old golf course, oh and we spotted some folks busting out some ends on the old bowling green. So plenty of options for a refreshing drink after a tough day fishing and dodging crocs.
Not the best day, a bit windy, but here is the Gulf of Carpentaria.
We parked up at Karumba Point, and had some fish for lunch (what else you gonna have?) at The Sunset Tavern. Nice views across the gulf, and the mangroves, but no crocs spotted. Phew!
On the return ride, we managed to get a couple of pics of the big Aussie Cranes, but when we pulled up they got spooked and took off pretty quick. Back at Normanton, it was time to try out the pool, it was 35C, and we were definitely hot enough. It was very cool, but easy to get used to, so I did my rehab exercises in the pool, and enjoyed my first swim of the year. I kid you not! Later on, after a bit more food shopping, I went in again.
One of the famous locals, Krys, an 8.6mtr croc shot by a woman in 1957 in the Norman river. Bloody Hell!
Another BBQ dinner, and a nice chat with Theresa and Robert, from Tasmania, who were really nice, and told us some interesting stories of their younger days. We also had a couple of drinks with Robyn and Phil, who told us some tales of other travellers they had met on their journey. One in particular, was very sad. They had parked next to another couple of a similar age, and on the second night, the husband got the hiccups, and couldn’t stop. It got so bad, his wife took him off to the hospital, and they discovered he had terminal cancer. He passed away three weeks later. Holy cow! How do you deal with that? He had never been ill, didn’t even have a family doctor. No symptoms, nothing! For me, it is just another reason you should not delay doing what makes you happy. We went to bed thinking about the possibilities.
5th September 2017
Normanton to Gregory Downs 366kms
A cooler morning, and we were up by 7am. Did a few exercises, and rolled up our stuff. Breakfast of Just Right, and for me, a Barocca instead of coffee. Making sure to start hydrated. Getting packed, and Robyn and Phil came to check out how we fit everything on the bikes, and to wish us a safe and happy journey. They are staying another day to relax around the pool. Good work. Next we rolled over to Theresa and Robs, to say see ya, only to discover they had an ant disaster in their camper. The little devils had got into all their food and even the cutlery. So they were sorting that, which would delay their departure for an hour or so. Bugger!
So we headed out of town, south along the Burke Development road to the Burke and Wills Roadhouse. Just over 200kms of that good road, single lane combo we’ll probably see a fair bit of now. It was a nice morning, but the wind was pretty strong, and blowing from the East. A strong, gusting cross wind, that was making us work pretty hard. By the time we got to the roadhouse, we were both in need of a break. I have to say, that this bit of the track, was pretty uninteresting, and the wind didn’t help. I do enjoy the ant hills, though, and there were fields of them.
After an average, home made sausage roll and a cold drink, we filled up our camel backs from the sink in the toilets (they told us there is no drinking water, you need to buy bottled water, bullshit!). It tasted fine. As we were getting ready to head off again, another motorcyclist pulled up next to us. A young guy from Denmark, Emile, who was travelling down to Cloncurry, then west to Mt Isa. He will head to the Alice, then Darwin, so maybe we will see him again.
For us, it is another 150kms to Gregory Downs, but the good news is, we are heading West, with that dreaded wind behind us. Yay, no more riding on a constant lean. It wasn’t a particularly hot day today, but Will has a cold, and I’m really not feeling it. I’ve got a headache, that doesn’t seem to be going away, and the first section of the ride was hard work, so halfway to Gregory, and I’m feeling really tired. Both of us do all the usual things to keep ourselves amused, stand up on the pegs, lay forward over the tank, sing, fidget, what ever we can do. The scenery, was actually pretty flat, grazing land, and we did feel like we were literally in the middle of nowhere.
About 20 kays from Gregory, I was really starting to fade, and it was a real relief to see the signs of the little community. They have a couple of houses, the pub, and a quaint little general store. The pub sells fuel, so we fuelled up for the third time today. Got to take it when you can. We had a couple of cold drinks in the bar, and discovered there is a free camp down by the river, which is really nice, or we could camp here at the pub. So we went for a look at both. The river, free camp, was packed with caravans, and did not look good for us, so we paid $20 and pitched our tent under the trees out the back of the pub, with toilets and a shower, and peace and quiet.
Not a bad little spot behind the pub. Shade, water and toilets close by.
My headache wasn’t going anywhere, so a couple of panadol and a nap, some dinner (lamb shanks at the pub, which were great) and a cold shower should do it. Tomorrow we’ll finish today’s proposed ride, and make our way to Lawn Hill, along the 75kms of dirt. Would not have been a good decision to push through today. Need my whits about me for that bit.
A local cockie just dropped in, bought a carton of beer, and flew home. As ya do!