June 6 – I arrived in Darwin yesterday, well almost Darwin, the “top end”, as they say in Oz. I’m in a campground in a southern suburb near Palmerston. I’ll head into Darwin in a day or so after I do some clean-up chores.
I covered some territory getting here, almost 1,900k’s in 5 days. May not sound like much to you drivers out there, but having to make camp and break camp every day, get your meals, find a site, blah, blah, blah turns it into a mini marathon.
I drove through some wild, scenic country along the way, stopping for the night at Fitzroy Crossing, Turkey Creek, Timber Creek, Pine Creek (lots of creeks without water) and finally Darwin (close enough). I could have spent more time at several of these places, but I wanted to get to Darwin. Tedium is setting in – maybe I’ll get re-energized like the ever-ready bunny up here. I’m beginning my 8th month in the caravan. The walls are beginning to close in and some of the routine is getting just a little tiresome – I’ll spare the details. Not complaining, just ‘listening’ to my feelings.
There’s a cool pub at Fitzroy Crossing, owned by aborigines and staffed with Kiwi and Irish ‘kids’. I bought a Baobab seed from my buddy Kenneth – hand carved flowers, birds and mating snakes – he told me that snakes get angry and will chase you if you disturb then when they’re mating – wouldn’t you? I mean get angry if disturbed when mating?
I was driving through cattle country, where the live overseas cattle shipments originate. I passed a round-up (drovers) in progress where I saw probably ~200 Brahma cattle being herded up a dirt track that ran parallel to the road. Behind it all was a cowboy (drover) sitting tall and lean in the saddle under his cowboy hat, leaning lazily on his pommel in a cloud of dust – probably had a Marlborough hanging from his lips, but I couldn’t see that as he was facing the other way. 40 years in a small office or cubicle with a keyboard in your hands and a computer screen in front of you doesn’t stack up to this somehow.
Driving hard late one afternoon, trying to make it to Turkey Creek Roadhouse (TCR) before dark, I rounded a bend to almost run into the fresh carcass of a huge Brahma, smack in the middle of my lane – luckily nothing coming from the opposite direction, so I could swerve around the body – beautiful in life, grotesque in death. I think a big truck that overtook me a few k’s back had done the deed – nothing they can do to avoid the cattle as they roam freely. The TCR guy said he’d tell the council, as they usually send some ‘lucky’ guy out to get the carcass off the road before an accident happens – hope they did.
This is the road in/out of a rest area in WA, probably between Turkey Creek and Timber Creek. The causeway crossed the river with deep water on the right. There were warning signs around about crocs, cautioning people to stay away from the water … well, I watched this guy stroll leisurely across the causeway beside the deep water and asked him if he wasn’t concerned about crocs – “no” he said, “I’ve been here about 6 times and never seen one” – daaa!
This is civilization for at least a couple of hours in either direction and its a beautiful drive into here from the south-west – winding roads, red/orange rock hills, dry, dry, dry and blue sky with a setting sun!
I had that fuel challenge again driving to Halls’ Creek (another dry creek), a stretch of about 300k without a petrol station – had to use my 10 liter can (gets me about 50k’s) again and practically coasted into Hall’s creek on empty with the fuel gauge ‘fuel low’ warning light on and the computer reading 15k’s to empty! Time to get a 2nd can!
Darwin’s over the horizon!
Good-bye WA – lots of k’s here and great roads (though 2 lane)!
It’s hot and HUMID here! The forecast for the next 5 days in Darwin is low 23, high 32 and sun, sun, sun, sun, sun. I just heard some good news on the radio that said it’s more humid than normal, so hopefully there will be some dry air soon!
Laundry’s done, folded, put away and it’s time to rest up for my Darwin experience and re-energize! Alice is next. The nights down there are getting down to 8c – the fan is running now and the heater will be on soon, merde!