The first day’s track of three
Out of Windjana, we head northeast. Mostly the colours as we ride are unreal feeling. In one stretch there can be a bright orange road, the vast blue plains sky, clean white eucalyptus trunks, mid-green foliage and flashes of bright yellow from the tall shrub in bloom, all together.
But all is not completely well and we have a decision to make, as usual. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
The ride to Mount Barnett (the first gas stop at about 220 miles, after going into Windana Gorge) should be more than the rest of the tankful. We have two 5 liter gas containers, one in each pannier for reserve. Which took a bit of organizing a while back, moving light stuff up to make room for heavy gas lower down.
An average corrugated bit looks like this, but not as loose as this shot, and no matter how you’re riding it’s lousy
Once in a while, maybe 10 or 15% of the time the dirt is nearly white. This felt less predictable
We ride over a low range, but the only one we’ve seen so far
Avoiding cattle, though not many
And through a single craggy section
Before Mount Barnett is Galvans Gorge which is not only supposed to be beautiful but also has crocodile-free swimming. We could use it. When I check this 60’s clunker (which I bought at a hardware store back in Broome) it’s 104F
After parking only a K from the road, halfway between nowhere and nowhere, we walk through towards trees and are soon in a low gully. A little further and there’s a series of small ponds and a stream, barely moving
There’s a small waterfall at the back and steep walls.
We strip and jump in and can’t ever ever remember being more refreshed. Cool and deep.
Selfie. In an effort to fit in better with my long-distance-riding peer group, I’m trying to embrace narcissism
We saw some small fish in the waterlily pond earlier and wonder if there are fish here. So we go to the edge, get still, and wait. Then
We crop our best shot to see what they look like
Well you can imagine how surreal all this was, out in the Australian outback
Up in a wall in the shade, this. We checked the wiki and it’s aboriginal, dating back unspecified thousands of years
After a too-short hour or so we head back. In the stream on the way I spot something moving in the water
Then, after about 20 photos, out of the water
It’s a huge lizard. The body is about 18 inches, the tail 2 feet. A monster, a monitor lizard/guanna. They grow to 5 feet and in places eat 90% of a crocodile area egg lay, or however you say that.
An hour later we were in Mount Barnett. As I mentioned earlier there’s a glitch in our program, heat and corrugation related. Ahead it’s hotter and maybe more corrugated. We have a very difficult time deciding what to do. Rule #3 of Lucinda’s Ride Rules states that in doubt, take the most conservative option.
So, and details will be made clear down the road a bit, we decide to reverse course, even though we’re 220 miles / 365K into a 700K ride, and race into Darwin via the long route.
We head back quickly the next morning. A short ride but the pool at Galvans Gorge keeps getting in the way
After staying beside a river near the Imintji Roadhouse
Then blast back to Derby the next day. Hot
The view going the other way, er.
Outside of Derby is a famous boab tree, called the Prisoner Tree. I’ve heard two stories but the official one is that aboriginals that had been kidnapped to work the pearling industry were kept here in transit
The tree is alive and well, the fence is to stop the soil being compacted over the roots.
Today we’re working on Lucinda and writing these last two posts, then getting to Darwin as quickly as possible. There are many more beautiful Kimberley photos but this will have to do, and there’s more to come up here.
I just read about a German kid who came to Australia recently to ride for a year. My reaction was to think he was crazy – a year? Now I understand better, even though we have less than half of that.
Maybe the world’s most hard-core school bus, outside Imintji
Great Pictures. Have a safe ride.
Thanks Fred, see you soon.