(written by Dave – 3 June, posted 4 June)
We both had a great sleep in the tent. There were not nearly as many road trains as we had feared. We got up in the middle of the night for the call of nature and wow, the stars were amazing. There were no lights at the park and not many in what there is of a town. The Milky Way was pure white – not something we’ve seen in Sydney for sure. We’ll have to try a proper bush camp to do better than that view.
We were not moving fast in the morning due to our relatively shorter day. After dinner last night, we decided to try our own oatmeal and coffee this morning rather than chance the roadhouse. We watched the local brolgas wander the campsites for free food as we ate our oatmeal. We were ready to ride by 9AM but bumped into Larry and Hannah as they returned from a local bike ride themselves. Eventually we got rolling and almost had to stop right away to strip off all the extra clothes. It was quite warm today and starting riding after 9AM meant we missed whatever cold there was early in the morning.
The scenery was unvaried for the entire day. Lots of wide open plains with the occasional scattering of trees. At one point my map indicated “Mt Wilson” was just off to our left. As far as either of us could tell, there was no mountain to be seen, just more flat and then more flat. The wind was at our backs again so we made good time to McKinlay, arriving just after noon. We considered going further but the next town is 100+ks up the road and no rest stops with water along the way, and a warm shower sounded good.
McKinlay is home of the pub from the famous movie Crocodile Dundee – Walkabout Creek Hotel. I’m not sure why a big Hollywood studio would come all the way out here for a pub – even a nice one like this. Seems that they could just build something on a studio lot. The pub is in pretty good nic – it appears that it’s been painted recently and there are a few of the movie signs/props sitting about. We are sitting here now on the veranda overlooking the Matilda Highway contemplating dinner. They serve meals in the kitchen – but it doesn’t look too big. We may just do our own thing again as we have plenty of supplies.
Sorry this post is coming at least a day after it was written. This is the second town/night in a row where we have no mobile signal. There are lots of trucks here and like last night, there is a Telstra phone booth in clear view of our tent sight. But still there is no mobile signal. We’ve seen some of the truckies using satellite phones. Not sure what folks do for internet. It would be really hard to live here, very isolated and long ways from Kynuna, which itself is small and a long ways from nowhere.
Tomorrow we head 110ish ks to Cloncurry – there are supposed to be some 3000 folks there so I hope we get phone signal. We need to do some planning for beyond Mt Isa but can’t really do much now without the internet. This may be a sign of the weeks ahead – we’ll see how it goes.