(written by Dave)
We survived the night in the Elliott van park (note, it would be a stretch to actually call it a caravan park). The police made no further visits that we know of. Two corners of our tent were pee’d on by one of the stray dogs wandering about (nice), but at least we survived. We had no trouble getting up and going. Nancy was fearful that all of the caravans would pull out and leave us as the only guests. She was not far off, as only one caravan was still present when we exited just after 8AM. The first crew pulled out at 7AM, interrupting the manager mid-shower to get their key deposit back. In any other caravan park, a short fat man running round in only a towel might raise an eyebrow or two. Here, it barely registered, in fact, it kind of fit it.
We had the normal oatmeal for brekkie at the park. We had to cook on the dirt and eat sitting on our camp stools. We had special guests as the 20+ local peacocks thought that we should be feeding them as well. It probably didn’t help that the neighbours were feeding them as they left. We had to keep a close eye on the tent and our bags while eating, with so many of them, there was always one making an end run.
The road out of town was a little more northerly than the last couple days and the wind was more easterly. That meant for some slow riding for the first 30k. Neither of us were felling very fresh, making morning tea and lunch stops quite early to try getting some more energy. There were a couple roadside rest areas but they were early in the day and then there was nothing until we arrived at Dunmarra.
We did cross Newcastle Creek at Redmond’s crossing. This is the creek that feeds Lake Woods (that we mentioned yesterday). It has been quite a few months since the wet season up here but there was still lots of water in the creek – in ponds really, not sure it was flowing. It must really go during the rainy season as there were three bridged sections. All of the ponds were full of bird life. Cars and road trains don’t seem to bother the birds but two cyclists in day-glow send all of them every which way. We got quite a show – not many photos as the birds move out. One nice spoonbill hung out long enough for the photo below.
We came across a new plant today as well. It seems to grow in largish clumps on the northern slopes. From a distance, if someone told you it was an azalea, you would probably believe them. I’m sure the flowers are quite different close up, we never stopped where they were close to the road. At any rate, the groups of them in full bloom were quite pretty.
After 30ish k, the road turned and we made better time. Neither of us were yet feeling flash but we kept the speed up so that we go beyond Dunmarra if we needed to. For some reason, Nancy got it in here head that Dunmarra was another Elliott – which neither of us wanted. The wind was a bit of a side-wind, but we still pushed to arrive at the Dunmarra roadhouse around 1PM. Good news, Dunmarra is not Elliott. In fact, it’s pretty nice. There is a green grassy area for us tenters and a few other caravanners already here at that early hour. Plus they make homemade steak pie so we were sold. They also have a nice collection of NT snakes right here in the dinning room. (I’m pretty sure that the steak in the pie is beef, not snake – these are clearly pampered snakes)
We set the tent up, took our showers and headed to the roadhouse for afternoon tea (yes, one of those pies). The pie was great, and iced coffee completed a fantastic meal. We both are starting to think we need to eat more. We eat all of our planned meals but with no services for such long distances, we end up only eating bars and mandarins all day. Probably ok for a day or two but long term, we need more calories. Dinner tonight is still under discussion, had we not been riding, the pie would have probably been it. Not tonight, we’ll get another meal in somehow!
Tomorrow, we are going to have a short day to Daly Waters Pub. We both know that Daly Waters is famous for something but neither of us can remember what. Everyone seems to go there so we’ll check it out as well. They are supposed to have a good evening tea, with singer/show. It’s only 50k, or so, from here so we should be there before noon. It will be nice to have a short day. Check back tomorrow for a full report on what the fuss is on Daly Waters.