Thursday, 16 June 2011

Katherine

Made it to Katherine today and am staying at Coco's. While traveling up the Stuart Highway a couple of people said to stay there. They give a discout for cyclists. Well got into town and met Garry again (met him down at Dunmarra) and he'd been staying there.. So went and checked in. Very nice place. Coco is a nice guy. Love the Bantam chooks wandering about the yard.
Shopped at Woolworths for the first time since the coast. Wow.. After the smaller stores, its soo huge. Fresh fruit!!! I'm in heaven..
Actually riding into Katherine, there is a bike path from about 10km out. Its lined with Mango trees for part of it. Pity there isn't any fruit on them at the moment.. Like all bike paths it vanishes at one point with no signs on where to go. A construction site is the cause. I rode on the dirt for a bit, then hopped onto the road. But that was the outbound two lanes from Katherine. Arrgghh.. Back on the dirt.
The ride from Tenant Creek to here has been for the most part uneventful. Highway riding - cars, caravans and trucks. (Over it for now. Looking forward to finding some dirt again.) Camping in the bush. One night, on a stretch of bush, I walked across about a km of hard clay to camp near a creek. The ground was so hard I couldn't get tent pegs in very far. That night about midnight it stormed. Wind, lightening and rain. Well the ground turned to mud. Tent pegs wouldn't stay in now.. So a long night of tent flapping. It was also cold. Being awake I started packing up early before daylight. But with the mud it was daylight before I went to lift the tent up. There was a small snake where I was sleeping. Reckon it was sleeping with me for warmth.(it didn't provide me with any!) Neither of us could get excited - it was too cold. I kept packing up and it slithered off slowly into the bushes. Since then I've been packing up later, and checking underneath earlier in the packup routine.. Oh and that km of clay, was soft as custard. It took a lot longer to get back across it with the wheels sinking to the rims..
Looking back on the Barkly Highway, when I didn't have enough food, the Stuart has been lots easier. Still got food left from Tenant Creek, so bought too much then. But I've been eating well. It certainly made the days easier. Actually some days I rode less than four hours, and spent a lot of time reading. Much better way to travel..
I have stopped at some historical sites along the way. But frankly most of them you'd never know it. World War II sites - seems to be nothing there except the sign saying its a historic site. There could be something under the thigh high grass, but I'm not tracking about in it to look. Others like the Tenant Creek telegrath station and the over land wire line did have things to look at. Actually you'd need a week at the Tenant Creek Telegraph office to read all the material there..
The Stuart Highway has a speed limit of 130km/hr. This time of year, the big migration is underway. So its busy. All the grey nomads and holidayers from down south heading north for the winter. Some of them are in such a hurry. I've heard that some of the places don't take bookings, so I guess people rush to get there in time for a space.
Me, I'm puttering along at my own pace.

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