Well, OK, not really, I am staying on the main highway, but still, the land has changed dramatically since about Elliot. Instead of trees and long grass, now it’s huge expanses of flat land, with a few trees and scrub struggling through. The views are fantastic really, and it would be great riding – except that flat land means no shelter from the wind, and I’m riding right into the prevailing wind. It’s made for very heavy going, and I’m just concentrating on my pedals, turning the cranks, counting down the kilometres on my GPS.
At Banka Banka, they told me that the wind should drop down a bit once I get south of Tennant Creek, where I’m having a rest day now. Looking at the forecasts, it doesn’t look like things will get any better for a couple of days, and Tennant isn’t really the sort of place you want to hang around in, so I’ll be back on the bike tomorrow.
Each day we pick a place to aim for, with a camp ground, and then select distances to stop for breaks during the day. Sometimes there are well placed rest areas, say 40km between roadhouses, but other times there is nothing for 90km or more. The rest areas are getting better though, even having toilets now. We make it to a proper campsite each night, which usually has a bar, restaurant, and ablutions facilities. The campgrounds aren’t too full yet, as the season is just kicking off, but there’s usually a few people around. The typical NT man is quite reserved though, so you might be better off getting conversation from other tourists.
Speaking to some English tourists the other night, they seemed impressed by what I was doing, and thought I was very understated about it. I guess when it’s what you’ve been doing for a long time, and you meet other cyclists doing similar things, it doesn’t seem quite so unreal. But yeah, it’s a hell of a trip. Still got some long hot days to do here though – the drop in humidity has made for pleasant enough conditions, with pretty much no chance of rain.
Lew’s been providing support vehicle services for the last 10 days, but his last day with me is Thursday, then he needs to push on to Alice Springs, to catch a flight out. I’ll take 3-4 more days to reach Alice. I would like to note that the team member average daily beer consumption has increased by at least 84% since his arrival, but I do not think that I can be blamed for it. Perhaps I could compile some graphs showing average daily can consumption before, during, and after his time with me?