(Written by Dave)
Traffic overnight on the Capricorn highway was almost non-existent – either that or we were both pretty tired and we didn’t hear the trucks. We were warned by a couple guys staying in our park that the trucks would start running around midnight (the road trains here carry cattle and cows travel better out of the heat of day). Well, if they travelled last night, we missed it.
We decided to splurge and go out for brekkie today. There was a cafe only 500 meters from the park that the information folks had mentioned. We had no wind and clear skies as we headed for the cafe but it was only 6 degrees overnight (burr). The cafe was ok but not really much of menu – we were hoping for pancakes but it was not to be. I settled for the traditional egg and bacon roll, while Nancy splashed out and had eggs on toast. While waiting for our order I found a copy of “Big Rigs” to read. Quite interesting to see what these trucks are all about. Don’t worry, I’m not thinking of buying one and giving up the bike.
We were on the road before 9AM and made our first turn out of the cafe parking lot. As it worked out, it was not for another 28k that we had to make our next turn. When I say “turn”, I am not talking about junctions in the road, rather, the road was 100% straight for 28 ks. There was a rise about half way through the length where you could see both ends. I’m sure we’ll see more of this further west.
We are starting to see a lot more termite mounds – now they are starting to be red, the colour of the dirt more regularly now. The mounds are quite prolific, not sure if the rains have help termites or not. We’ve been noticing these weird “growths” on the side of the road the last few days. Sort of cross between a mushroom and a cow dropping. We finally stopped today to see what they were and to get a picture – they look as though they may be some sort of fungus that is coming up through the red dirt that lines the side of the roads. In some places they even seem to be coming up through the edge of the pavement. They start of white when they are small but get brown from the blown dirt as they get bigger. We knocked one over and it was full of very fine green particles – looks like it must be some kind of fungus. Any clues out there what these are?
We only had a relatively short ride today but we did go over the dividing range again. Out here it is only about 440 metres – nothing like it was when we first crossed over in NSW. No hard climbs today, just gentle rises. We didn’t pass any towns but did go by lots of roads with signs for properties so there appear to be lots of farms out here. We saw quite a few cows too – they get spooked by us when we pass. Nancy had them running for quite some time at one point until she rode a bit faster to get by them so they would stop thinking we were trying to muster them!
We had a head/cross wind again today. The last 15ks or so it started to get hard. We are going to try for an early start tomorrow as we have a longer day. It is also nice to have an iPhone and the weather so readily at hand. It shows that the winds will more cross wind tomorrow. Not sure how we survived on past tours without all of this technology. I think it makes things better – though perhaps it just gives us more things to worry about.
We arrived in Jericho in time to stop at the information centre. We got the skinny on camping and then headed to the pub for one of their famous pies. The pies were home made, including a logo of the pub. Pretty good actually. There are some more curious things here in Jericho. They have the world’s only known Crystal Trumpeters. Even though we stopped to see them and read the brochure, I’m still not really sure what it was. The theory goes something like this: Jericho, Queensland is on the Jordan river, south of lake Galilee, so some townsfolk decided to build this monument that represented the biblical story of Jericho (found in the book of Joshua). I won’t begin to pretend to be a theologian, but I am still at a complete loss how this odd collection of fabricated concrete forms in a rough circle represented anything. I was never able to find any trumpets, much less any crystal. Huh, pretty much summed it up for both of us.
Jericho is also “famous” for the smallest drive-in theatre in the southern hemisphere. I have no idea where you look these things up but again, one of the townsfolk must have come up with the bright idea and it stuck. The theatre is small and unfortunately tonight is not the one night per month that it runs movies. I’m quite certain that the whole town shows up when a movie is on.
After such fun packed sightseeing, we hit the grocery store and headed off to check out camping. There are two camps in Jericho. The $5 per night show ground (with $2 hot showers) and the free Riverside park (with toilet and good water). We came to the Riverside park first and was quite nice. Right on the river with a number of caravaners with which we have spent previous nights – they come out to say hello when we show up now. No showers but with such a short ride day, we didn’t mind. This is home for the night. The wind seems to be turning as we sit here so maybe tomorrow we’ll be back in with the tailwinds. Either way, we’ll be up early – on to “Barcy” tomorrow.