five days to Broome

The Mac power cable is up and running, so

To save time we’re going to combine the five days from Coral Bay to Broome, they look like this
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Total Oz ride so far, 400 miles more than total NZ
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So we left Coral Bay
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Lucinda’s new life for a while
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Immediately we’re in open grassland (not sure if it’s what they call spinifex yet) and huge termite mounds
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Surface detail
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As far as we can see. Hot
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A pretty plant in bloom in large patches
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Up close
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A good shrub
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Up close
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Lucinda isn’t sure what my bike friends make of the flower shots, but she doesn’t complain when we stop for pics. She doesn’t complain about anything really. Except when this happens, which she hates
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Then drama: ow! stop! Jeremy there’s something in my eye!

We decide not to go to Exmouth. More temptation to dive and best to be pressing on, so we head east and spend the night at Nanutarra roadhouse.

The next day we head to Tom Price, a mining town. Flat and hot
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A few features but not much in a couple of hundred miles
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We cross a dry riverbed
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And see this sign, Wyloo
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It looks interesting so we ride down the road. To this
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It looks like a village made up of ATCO trailers. Then we guess that it’s an aboriginal town and we shouldn’t be here by law. So back we go.

Shards
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A single-lane sunfried bridge
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A nice big shade tree and rest stop
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Then the landscape changes to rolling hills and finally we ride some corners. Not many
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Then into Tom Price. Made lush and tidy by the mining community we’re guessing, but not sure
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Outside of town there’s a golf course. Anyone who knows me and Lucinda knows that we think golf is an odd way to spend valuable time, but here they look like normal people
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It’s a dirt course. The ‘green’ below is raked dirt. Aussie golf. Not so bad then
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Then two things happen. Firstly, one of the reasons we came this way was to cross more outback and then ride a dirt road back from here to Karratha. We learn the night before we need a permit which we can get at the Tom Price information office. Which opens at 9:30, late. So we head off and not only find we need a permit, but the road is owned by a mining company and we have to watch a safety movie, about 20 minutes long, after the crowd of tourists in front of me have watched their tourist movie, which won’t leave us enough time for the route.

So we check the map and head off in a more N than NE direction to Port Hedland on the coast.

The second thing that happens is that we find out we’re passing the Karajini Gorges and we don’t stop. Aussies reading this are going to say what?! but anyway we zoom by motivated by things ahead and just wanting to ride. Hard to explain but it sometimes happens. Other long-distance riders have talked about this: for a successful long ride, recognizing the benefit to the ride of doing the things you want to do at any given moment, not should or must do. Not hard to figure out why this is. Sayonara Karajini
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On the next plain, more termite mounds. Lucinda went over and parked for scale
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Another excellent roadhouse for lunch and shade
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More of this
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Then we bump into a rider from Hobart. He’s on a DR 650. This is interesting because the two Aussies we met in South America were on DR’s. We get in a weird sync taking the customary photo
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He’s made a custom dash. Various light controls, a feed to a beautiful lithium ion cell in his tank bag for his laptop, cool switches just for cool switches sake. Lucinda wants a custom dash to relocate various things and to look cool too, so we will, and I know where and when. Melborne, 3 to 4 months
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He’s just done the big route that’s a bit ahead of us. He tells me some stories we’ll tell you when we get there.

Fire aheadDSC04904

Burning happily
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Birds overhead circling in the fire thermal
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They look like this. Hawks of some kind
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Into Port Hedland for the night.

Back on the road a road train is coming. This isn’t a nickname, it’s the official name of giant 4 box trucks. They’re the same as Canadian LCV’s but longer (no mountain corners here) and the Aussies are very proud of them and love to talk about them. Aussies are motorheads. It’s nice. I’m told the maximum truck length is 180 feet/55 meters. Anyway, here comes one
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Aussies favorite subject, after football, so far
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Much more of this. I’m pointed the wrong way because I’ve done a u-ey
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To look at this
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Incredible blooms. The most exotic-looking yet here. Once again, haven’t looked it up yet, but will. Maybe cousin Nicky in the UK can tell me
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Over a river. Looking at a detailed map there aren’t a lot of river systems draining off the NE corner of Australia. Because it’s a desert
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Looking downstream
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A huge flock of cockatoos follow the shoreline towards the sea
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They’re making a huge noise
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Later, a few of these. We remember the huge road cattle of El Salvador, massive and interesting, as much as cattle can be
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Stayed at 80 mile beach for the night. It’s actually 80 miles, not like the whopping exaggeration of 90 mile beach in NZ. The red dirt road in
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There were trucks along the beach and people fishing. But not swimming. I asked why not, keen to jump in the water. Sharks
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The next day was the most featureless and straightest road we’ve ridden in 2 years. But still a wonderful experience as it all is here. So Australian
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Lunch was like the event aberration of the day. Another terrific roadhouse
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Then into BroomeDSC05065

Which has a large aboriginal population and is the first time we can watch and think about this.

Broome is a pearling town. Also a tourist town for the hardier caravan travellers from the south. I read in the paper that for some city people ‘going to Broome’ is a retirement ambition.

And we have a small problem: this has happened again
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Down in tread by 60% in the center, again. No way will we make it to Darwin at this rate on this one week old tire. And we need all the tread we can get a few days out. Oh well.

It’s the road surface, the heat, knobbies on slab, and Lucinda’s torquey rubber greed. The surface has been super aggressive since Perth. Cut rock, like in southern Texas in stretches.

This isn’t loose gravel, it’s the tarred-in surface, and very sharp
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We order a new tire from Perth to Broome. Australians are the fast shipping masters, at no special cost, so just a few days, which means it’s travelling without a significant stop around the clock, by road, door-to-door. Impressive.

So we wait and explore around Broome
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Comments

6 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Liz,

    The little red flowers are Sturt’s Desert Pea, (Swainsona formosa) and are the floral emblem for South Australia. Glad to see you have reached Broome.
    Regards,
    Liz @ The Chart & Map Shop.

  2. Anonymous,

    JG
    To me this is all fascinating, having heard about the outback for so long and now “watching” someone roll through it.
    More curiosity: what are the road houses like? I assume the customers are mostly travellers, but what about the people running them? Must be a very different way of life…

    • The road houses have a few things in common: gas, hot food in a glass display (sausages, pies, chicken strips, fries) canned food, cold drinks and souvenirs. Also a few auto parts and oil. Most double as camp sites. I’ve camped at three so far. They’re very simple, no frills and mostly extremely friendly. The people running them vary, so tough to answer that.

      About half of the people through hang around and chill out for a while, talking to fellow travellers. The travellers further north here are mostly an experienced group and travel to a similar system as you’d expect.

      The whole thing is pretty wonderful actually. At risk of pissing someone off, it’s not unlike back-country Texas. Generous and skilled people who would do anything for you at the drop of a hat, hot and tough environment, no-one stressing anything at all.

  3. Anonymous,

    The bird is a wedge tail eagle–says the Aussie on our ride.
    TH

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