A nice ride with Steve – Barkly Homestead to bushcamp 70k from 3-ways (117/4089

(written by Dave)

We had a great dinner in the roadhouse last night – the Sunday roast special. It was delicious with gravy and some good veggies too. We got some hot water to make our tea and headed back to the tent. While we were away some other folks set up their tent right near us – in fact, almost right on top of us. Very weird when there were lots of other camping spots around. Turns out they were four Chinese folks and they weren’t quite up on the camping etiquette. It would have been no problem except that they were very loud, even after they all retired to the same tent. I finally had to loudly ask them to be quiet so that we could sleep. Steve was also camping nearby and could clearly hear them as well and had a laugh when he heard me tell them to be quiet.

We planned to have breakfast at the roadhouse as we saw on the menu last night that they served pancakes. So, we packed everything up, got our extra water for tonight’s bush camp and then headed over to the restaurant with the bikes. Unfortunately it turns out that they no longer serve pancakes – quite disappointing! So, we had the usual egg and bacon roll, which came out with a side of chips! Ah, breakfast of champions. It was warm and filling so met the basic needs – but we were really looking forward to pancakes.

Not Pancakes - breakfast of champions...

We hit the road with Steve about 8:30 and had a pretty good tailwind for the first 55k, where we stopped for morning tea. Very little traffic – it is a public holiday today but not sure there is ever a lot of traffic on this road. We stopped at a roadside rest area that had gotten a lot of rain over the Christmas period and there was quite a bit of water – a little lake really. One of the other caravanners parked said that he had been there 2 years ago and that it was dry as a bone. Apparently the road had been cut off from all of the flooding. Anyway, it was a nice sight to see out in the Outback. We ate our muffins that we had picked up at the roadhouse while Steve made his usual cup (or two) of espresso.

NT flood effects

 

Outback bore

Somewhere in this next section of road, while I was on the front, we came across a snake crossing the road. I was not paying attention to the road surface, or perhaps I was just a little slow in processing something we’ve never seen before. I tried to warn the others and then avoid running over the snake myself. Both Steve and Nancy were riding off to the right of me and managed to go behind the snake. I had nowhere to go other than just inside the white line right in front of the snake. If we were startled, the snake was even more startled. It backed up a little then decided to actually strike at me. Luckily it missed. Steve recognised it as a brown snake, one of Australia’s ultra venomous varieties – I’m glad it missed. And no, we did not get a photo.

Back on the road again we got our speed up pretty high, close to 30kmh, for the next 35k. Nothing much to look at for scenery, just low scrubby brush. It did seem like we were perpetually going uphill slightly – when you looked ahead the road stretched way out in front of you and always seemed to go up to a crest, which never came! All three of us felt that way, and several of the caravanners here also mentioned that. We should eventually get to a big downhill after all of that uphill. It wasn’t hard with the tailwind but the visual effect was quite strange.

For the last 25k we had to turn slightly and had more of a crosswind, which slowed us down a bit. Still made good time to the rest area, arriving about 1:30. There were already several caravans parked near the picnic table (or nearly right on top of it) but we rode the bikes over to the table to take a rest before picking out our camping spots. The folks in both of the nearby caravans were out chatting already, and it wasn’t long before they gave us a cup of hot tea to welcome us to the spot.

We ate our lunches (PB&J again for us, Steve heated up a can of beans and ate them over a roll) and then set up our tents. A bit hard in the wind but we finally got it up. There is a water tank here with the usual sign that says ‘Water may not be suitable for drinking’. We used the water to have a sponge bath (discretely tucked into the bushes) – felt nice though it was cold. More and more caravans came into the area, which is quite large – feels like a big crowd here tonight. Lots of people come by and want to chat about cycling, where we have been and where we are headed. Nancy always tries to get more information about the road ahead and good places to see. Some will chat for ages if you let them.

Bush camp dinner spot - with picnic table!

We made dinner about 4:30 – penne pasta with pesto, sundried tomatoes and pine nuts. Tasted pretty good, though I expect anything would after the distances we have done in the last several days.

Doing dishes

The wind died down this evening and there was a nice sunset. The moon is almost full and seems like a big spotlight in the sky at the moment so we can’t see many stars yet. Off to bed now, hopefully for a quiet night.

Tomorrow we have a 70k ride to Three-Ways, where we meet up with the Stuart Highway. We will likely head south from there 23k to Tennant Creek to resupply as we do not expect the supplies at Three-Ways to be great and we have about 10 days to get to Katherine, the next town of any size.

No signal tonight again so will have to post tomorrow (hopefully).

Outback sunset

3 thoughts on “A nice ride with Steve – Barkly Homestead to bushcamp 70k from 3-ways (117/4089

    • Yow, thank goodness it wasn’t as big as that one!! It was still a bit weird – seemed out of place so the brain just wasn’t processing what it was. We’ll have to watch a bit closer from now on…

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