The heat had backed off to 38C as forecasted.
Alice Springs is within 50K of being half way between Adelaide and Darwin. We expected the first 1000K going north from here to be a repeat of the last half, but it wasn’t. The first 500K was grassland, possibly an extension of the Barkly tablelands to the east we’d ridden through a few months ago
The town of Aileron doesn’t have a wiki entry so we couldn’t do our usual evening read. Pop about 25 as usual we’re guessing.
Back through the grasslands. A strong side-breeze today. It’s been a concern that Lucinda overheats in a tailwind in the outback. Fortunately it’s never pushed her into the danger zone, but it’s been close a couple of times
Gassed up at the Barrow Creek roadhouse. For travellers, this is the only roadhouse we’ve seen in Australia we wouldn’t overnight at, unless we had no choice. There have been some rough places so far, but this is the roughest. Rough isn’t always bad, it’s sometimes good, and if you’re going to ride Latin America you need to enjoy it, but this pinged our keep-Lucinda-safe alarm. Secure parking is hard to find in Australia and no way will they allow you the L.A. fallback of rolling the bike into the room
A bridge, which was odd in the middle of nowhere. Then we saw the line. We had to look at the map to see where it was going: It’s also crossing the outback north/south. Probably a fast way to do this with no night stops. This is the only time our path crossed
A great Australian sign, terrific names. If you look carefully you can see our tiny new Clearwater LED lights, 4000 lumens total, so with our existing bi-xenons we’ve now got plenty. Too much unless you’re alone out there, but the Clearwaters have a ‘volume dial’ by our right thumb. Very nice
Agriculture is happening here. The road trains are limited to 3 trailers here, we’re guessing, since we don’t see any of the superb 4 trailer behemoths we saw in the west. But they’re still excellent. We looked it up and the 3’s are limited to 53.5 meters, 175′. The speed limit on this long stretch north of Alice Springs is 130 kph, so imagine how they look flying by at that speed. When they hit the kangaroos and emus at dawn and dusk, as they do with regularity, the remains are an unimaginable mess. Obviously they don’t slow down before or after. Hitting cattle is the only concern
We don’t see it at this one. But later, at another fire, we do. Back in the west we saw eagles circling above fires and thought they were circling the thermals. But actually, we found out, they’re watching for small mammals and reptiles running from the fire as it invades their homes. Once in a while a bird will stoop for a kill and eat it on the ground
One wall area had these. For the second time this trip there’s a Vancouver Police badge. The first time we saw one sewn to the jacket of a tough Peruvian, which was curious
Darwin is in a cyclone zone and the tropical storms build in the afternoon at this time of year. They’re violent. Once, when they were counting, Darwin got struck by lightning, the big type, 5000 times in one hour. It’s legendary for it. The first day we watched one build like this
And on that note: I’ll be combining my journal with this blog at the end of the month and it won’t be publicly accessible. There will be a map and some brief milestone posts on another site, so please email me on the ‘contact’ page if you would like that future address. Thank you for following along. Safe travels.