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Stuart Highway Express – Banka Banka Station to Elliot (155/4440k)

(written by Nancy (again…))

Up early at Banka Banka – pretty cold this morning – perhaps it is just the dark that makes you feel that way! There is some kind of Outback Adventure tour that stops at this place and when I went into the ‘abolution block’ early this morning it was chock-a-block with young ladies all primping and fussing in front of the mirrors. So funny as there is usually no one up when we get up and there is certainly very little work on makeup and hair amongst the caravan park set that we now travel in!

Moon in the morning at Banka Banka

We had an extra big bowl of oatmeal this morning to give us fuel for our intended 150k ride, and also to use up some of the oatmeal as Dave inadvertently bought a 1kg box at the store in Tennant Creek so now we have to pack around way more oatmeal than we need. We may start eating it for dinner shortly.

We packed up and hit the road just about 8 and it didn’t take long to warm up in the sun. We had pretty good winds all day – a couple of turns (bends really) in the road gave us some crosswinds for a bit but mostly it was tailwinds. We got lots of toots from the caravanners that passed us in the morning rush hour from the park.

We stopped at Renner Springs, about 60k into the ride. We had initially pencilled this spot as the stop for the day and it did seem to be a nice little roadhouse with a caravan park next to it. We stopped for an egg and bacon roll and coffee and debated a bit what to do. They had fresh baked bread for sale so we snatched up one of the two remaining loaves. We could not get mobile signal there so decided to push on to Elliott, another 90k up the road. I strapped the bread gently on the back of my bike, hoping it would make it to Elliott.

Straight line into Renner Springs

The 90ks seemed to go pretty quickly with the tailwinds, though it does get tiring being on the bike for that long. The road had some minor undulations, though one almost made us go in our granny gear – it’s been a long time since we had to shift down that much. It is getting warmer riding during the day now and we have to slather on the suntan lotion to prevent sunburns.

Hot and tired in red dirt

At one point I saw in the distance this long white strip on the horizon off to the left. It was Lake Woods, apparently a large salt water lake. It looked quite odd after seeing grass and scrubby trees for such a long time. Apparently you can access it from a dirt track near Elliott but we probably will pass that by.

Lake Woods (white line on the horizon)

We rode into Elliott just after 3pm. This place does not really have much – a couple of ‘stores’, a pub, a police station and a caravan park. It is apparently really essentially an aboriginal settlement. Steve had sent us an email that the first caravan park that he stayed in was not too flash. It looked like there might be two caravan parks so we rode past the first one and stopped in at the second one. No, they don’t have any sites anymore, must go to the other one. So we turned around and went back to the first one.

Steve was right, it is not too flash – no camp kitchen at all and pretty rough – Dave called it bush camping with a shower, though I think you’d probably be safer bush camping! Fortunately there are about 10 other caravans here as well and we are all camped right next to each other – a bit of circling the wagons. A police car has patrolled the park at least once so far, perhaps they will swing by a few more times during the night. Funnily enough, there is a big flock of peacocks wandering around the park. They are a bit aggressive so we are hoping they don’t take a liking to our nice shiny green tent…

We have some nice folks next to us and in addition to lending us a hammer to pound in the tent stakes into this very hard ground they ran an extension cord from their caravan so now we have power. Thankfully most caravanners are great folks like these guys, rather than loud folks last night.

We made dinner sitting out in the red dirt behind the tent – the bread made it just fine and was a welcome addition to the penne pasta with pesto, sundried tomatoes and tuna (trying to use up some food!). We will use up some more for our pb&j sandwiches tomorrow. The mosquitoes came out in full force as dusk hit so we hightailed it into the tent to get away from them. Mobile signal here seems good so we should get caught up on some things and get everything charged up. There is certainly not much reason to hang around outside the tent…

Outback vista

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2 responses to “Stuart Highway Express – Banka Banka Station to Elliot (155/4440k)

  1. Beautiful pictures! I am amazed at the ground you have covered! A little to desolate for me! Just keep the posts coming…I look forward to them every day. Pete, Mike and Hank celebrated Hank’s 50th together…I think Mike is next…then Pete will celebrate in Oregon! We are hoping to meet up with you guys somewhere in the next year or two…

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