(written by Nancy)
Exciting time in the caravan park last night as a big 4-wheel drive bus drove in loaded with gear and mountain bikes and full of people. They pulled into several open spots just across the road from us and unloaded lots of gear. We had a chance to talk to them while they were eating in the camp kitchen (their dinner cooked by the ride leader). They are on a 12-day mountain bike tour (run by ROC Tours Australia), riding between 25-50k a day on dirt roads between Darwin and Broome and driving the rest in the vehicle. They had an unfortunate incident with the trailer hitch the first day (it sheared off) and hadn’t gotten to ride much but were going to make up for it by putting in a hard day on the bus today – driving almost 500k to Kununurra, which is west of Katherine. It was fun to chat with them a bit about cycle touring – several of them had done quite a bit.
Dave finally got a bit of a challenge playing Scrabble with Nikki – they played two nights in a row and while Dave did beat her I think a few more days and she would have got him. Now he’s back to playing with me or playing the computer (his preferred alternative, I think). In between rounds of Scrabble Dave got a good picture of the sunset – it looked like there had been some burning off yesterday and there was a great sunset as a result.
The cycle group was up and moving early this morning to get their big day on the road started so it was a bit noisy around the camp kitchen. We were slow moving after being stationary for almost 4 days, with stuff spread everywhere so we didn’t get out of camp until after 9:30. We said goodbye to Nikki, returned her tarp and left her our leftover food that we could not carry. We headed into Katherine and stopped at the camping store to pick up our own tarp – it’s good to have it to put under the tent ground cover as it does not seem like there will be much in the way of soft ground on the way up to Darwin. We also stopped by the barber to see if Dave could get a haircut but there were already two people waiting and he did not want to wait. So, we hit the road to Katherine Gorge.
The ride wasn’t long but it was heading west so we had to battle a headwind – something we haven’t had full on for quite some time. Glad it was on a short ride – it would be tough to ride into that all day, especially once the heat picks up. We rode into the park about 12 and stopped at the visitor’s centre to pay for camping. This is one of the most expensive camp spots we have had since the touristy beach areas in NSW. The spots are pretty nice and the camp kitchens are big and clean but they do not have any burners nor kettles – the price is pretty steep for these kind of amenities but oh well, we will survive.
Just after we set up the tent and Dave headed off to the shower I turned around and there was a wallaby hopping right over to me. You can see from the pictures that she has a joey in her pouch but it wasn’t going to come out for a picture. She sniffed around a bit – clearly has been fed or found nice things to eat around the camp sites. There are flying foxes here as well, chattering away in the trees (though thankfully not right above us!).
You can see from the pictures that we have used our great Hilleberg tarp again to shade the tent. We used it in Katherine too. It really does make a difference in the sun so we try to put it up whenever we are going to stay anywhere more than a day. It also gives us kind of a nice entry door to the tent. Thanks again to Mom Alice who gave it to us.
We headed up to the visitor’s centre to check it out – it has a nice display with lots of information about the area. It also has a little cafe which charged a ridiculous amount for the two ice-cream bars we bought (over $10!) – they were not fancy ones even. Well, I guess we won’t be having a meal in there….
Tomorrow we have our breakfast cruise – it starts at 7am so we will be up bright and early to get down to the dock. We will try to do some of the walks around the area after we finish the cruise. No swimming up here though – crocodile warnings everywhere so we will stay away from the water!
We’ve included the picture of the Tasty Cheese package to remind the Boehnkes (Dave’s sister, brother-in-law and niece) of their visit with us a couple of years ago. They were getting some sandwiches at a cafe and Becki asked what type of cheese was in the sandwich. The waitress told her it was tasty cheese. Becki replied that she was sure it was tasty, but what kind of cheese was it? We had a laugh about it when they relayed the story later that day over dinner. Yes, we all speak English but that doesn’t mean we will all understand each other!