Cummulative totals = 6152km and 26,153km)
Alice Springs Showgrounds = $20 unpowered
Woo Hoo we passed the 6,000km mark today!
We woke early this morning to do some kilometers before the wind picked up ... it was forecasted at an east south easterly at 15km per hour which isn't too bad. We were on the road at 7.45am and it was slightly chilly so I think I might have to get my socks out and wear them for the first hour or so.
Now as some of you may have read that I have a real bee in my bonnet about the openly racial comments we get from white Australians well here is one that openly refutes what they all think of Aboriginals ...
riding along this morning there is no one about and alongside this highway is a dirt track (you know the one we often camp on where they have laid a cable and it is relatively clear) well quite often we see Aboriginals driving along here to get to their communities well we saw one this morning and thought nothing of it ... well further up ahead on the highway on the opposite side to us we see a bus has pulled over and we think yep the Bush Bus is dropping off Aborignals and the car we just saw on the track is coming to meet them and pick them up. We are approaching them and I see the car again and I think wow that was quick and then I look at the people coming off the bus and there is a few of them and think that it is strange that they are milling about. We are approaching them and I say to Neil that I don't think they are Aborignal as they are wearing funny hats and dressed in light coloured clothing (Aboriginals tend to dress in very dark colours - just an observation I have noted!). So we both agree that it is a tourist bus and as we get closer they see us and start to hollar and wave and begin to cross the highway and to my horror they are young Australian men and they are yelling and hollaring and line up on our side of the road in a guard of honour style and I say to Neil what do I do and Neil just said slow down and go thru it. As I approached they begin to heckle us and I think by crikey it is 8.36am in the morning they are drunk and what is worse they are still drinking at this time of the morning ... I think anyone that is drinking at that time of the morning has problems ... somehow I think the racial metho and orange juice comments should be aimed at these men. Once we passed through and put up with the heckling, one even started to chase after us! I say to Neil later that lucky we didn't mention we had metho with us or else I think they would have mugged us for it! So I think that these men definitely have a drinking problem. Funny enough we have come across the drunken groups of Aboriginals but not one has heckled, hassled or abused us like this bunch of (and I am going to have to put this in a nice way but for those that know me you know what I REALLY mean!) young Austrailan men!
So with that over and done with I can begin todays ride. We are still in an open speed zone and you constantly come across this sign ...but what we like is one of the conditions
LOL there is another sign that singles this condition out
At 47km we reached Prowse Gap rest area - it has water and a toilet so we filled up the bladders and had a cuppa there. Initially it looks small but there is a legitimate gateway to go through to an area that can fit more caravans.
A further 13km on is Aileron which is a roadhouse and next to it is an Art Gallery. Aileron is probably famous for the Aboriginal man on the hill which can be seen from the main highway
As you turn off to Aileron and you head towards the hill with the man on it you see a woman and child statue as well
here is a close up of the man on the hill
as you can see Ray Jones they have decided to turn the Alice Springs to Darwin railway line into a Rail Trail since they no longer use this line anymore!It will be over 1400km long - fantastic for cycle touring ... can't wait for this to open!
From Aileron we rode for another 20km to our bush camp which is about 30m from the highway but no one can see us as we are behind some scrubby trees. We are in an opening so there was no clearing away the ground for the tentWe were here early at around 2pm. Tomorrow we will try to do another 75-80km and that will make it a short day to Alice Springs on Monday.
Neil forgot to turn the phone on last night (as this is our alarm) and so we overslept - didn't crawl out of bed until 7.15am! It was 3 degrees this morning and this is the norm for around the Alice Springs area although a little colder around Uluru!
Koutas' key words for this trip are soft and warm that is what he seeks first thing in the morning and the only thing he can find is one of our laps and he just plonks himself on one of our laps and we have to get our breakfast around him!So on the road at 8.45am this morning and we cycle for 22km to Connors Well rest area where we pick up water and have another cuppa. We got chatting to a couple that live in East Ringwood which is the suburb near us ... small world!
So we didn't get back on the road until 11am so that was a longer break than normal. We decided to have an easy day today and make it so we have 40km to Alice Springs and then another 8km out to the Showgrounds camp ground tomorrow.
The road is very uneven and very lumpy and bumpy as they have used large gravel ... I think one more season of hot weather where the bitumen will melt and the cars will push the gravel into the bitumen and make it alot smoother ... will have to return next year for that! Todays wind is very light but it is a headwind - south easterly. But we can sit on around 16km per hour so the going is good.
He is bit of an odd one but clearly is okay and surviving - he has a backpack that can be extended with a handle and has wheels on it. As well as you can see he has an umbrella, and thermarest and tent which are carried in the other hand - personally I would try to attach it all to the backpack/trolley. It must be pretty hard going on this highway as the shoulder is either not there or very narrow so his backpack/trolley is always one wheel on the road and one on the dirt. Exceptional effort on his part and we certainly rode on admiring his courage and effort.
We had a quick break late in the afternoon where Neil could have a look at his new road kill - just before we came across Nicolas he pulled over and found a helmet camera exactly like the one that you have Dad, it was still in its' waterproof casing (with a little crack on the casing wherer the camera lense is) and the bracket is a bit worse for wear. But the small camera inside is perfect. So he is charging it up at the moment and it has a 32gb card inside which we tried to view but we think the card is too large to be read on our little tablets. When we get to Alice we will look it up on the internet all the specs for it.
Anyway at this little spot off the road I notice that we can see a range to the East and I think this is Harts Ranges
It is a goods train
I have just told Neil to turn the phone on so we have they alarm for tomorrow morning! An early start to get to Alice before lunch so we can pick up a few bits and pieces of food and dinner - I think something fresh like salads! No steak as we will be at the showgrounds and it doesn't really have facilities to cook!
The alarm was on this morning so we got up early ... it is still dark at 6am and we always begin brekky with the torches and solar lights on.
On the road at 7.45am and 11km up the road we dumped our rubbish at the tropic of capricorn rest area - it has water and toilet, there is a statue signifying the tropic of capricorn
Another 10km up the road is a memorial for the highest point along this Stuart Highway which is about 710m above sea level ... funny as you don't realise that you are climbing ...we also think part of the memorial is missing ... somehow it doesn't quite look right!
Then we stopped off at Coles to pick up some fresh food for lunch and dinner and then off through Heavitree gap to the showgrounds.
As we went through the gap there was some pet camels being walked along the Todd River ...
You can camp anywhere in the showgrounds so everyone is spread out and we are in amongst some trees and under a peppercorn tree so we get shade for most of the day. We are next to a table and a short walk to the Country Liberal showground shed that has a sink with water so that is handy, although they must all be midgets as you really have to bend over when doing the dishes. Lucky this is here (I don't think the other campers know it is here) as there are laundry facilities so this will come in handy to do my handwashing.
So lunch was cheese, lettuce and ham on a sour dough vienna loaf and the cheese comes from Victoria ... this ones for you Heather and Anthony ..
It is also sandwiched between the sewage farm to the west (lucky not too many westerly winds!) and the RSPCA to the East - alot of barking dogs.
It is such a great place and we are booked in for 3 nights but strong southerlies are coming this weekend so we may sit them out here since it is a good spot for us.
Happy to be here in Alice Springs and I really like this town, I always have and this is my 4th time here ... It has changed a bit with the town being presented a lot neater than when last here ... especially the main road they have a nature strip that is quite good considering the dry climate here and also we saw a bike path all the way into town from the gap. Will have a look around tomorrow and check out when I can get a badly needed haircut!