Tuesday 19 July 2011

Day 7: Camooweal to Daly River

Up really early today. It was still dark with only a hint of the coming dawn in the western sky when I left. The GPS told me 450 Km then turn left. Technically it should have said turn right to get to Darwin but I had decided on a short detour to Tennant Creek. Because it was there!
I travelled across the Barkly Tablelands west of Camooweal. This is harsh country, open scrub and not much of anything else. The land supports so little here that the road was almost clear of dead kangaroos.
The sun came up and I was well on the way by that time.
Another day of setting the cruise control and just keeping the car pointed in the right direction. I drove for a long time with no music or radio, appreciating the calm, the peace the quiet the solitude. Alone with my thoughts I passed very little traffic along this stretch of road.
Eventually 450 Km became turn left and I drove the last few K’s into Tennant Creek. One may as well waste time there as anywhere, but I have no need to go back.
The only question here was how far I would travel North towards Darwin. I had an appointment in Mataranka, another 550K’s away, but not until tomorrow (Wednesday) and I simply did not want to travel that far in a day.
I cruised northwards, the speed signs indicated that I could do 130 Km/h I sat on just over a hundred and very few people passed me indicating that they weren’t speeding either. Fatigue set in and I started looking for places to stop for the night. I passed through Elliot, was stopped briefly for an RBT. Then continued on and eventually ran out of energy at Daly Waters. I could not face a further 180 Km to Mataranka. Overall I had covered about 900 Kms today I had had enough driving.
So far I have travelled about 3500 Km, the final leg to Darwin will make it basically 4000.
Daly Waters is an experience. The best bit is that I have taken a walk at night and seen the night sky in all its glory, it has been a long time since I have seen the Milky Way with such clarity. I saw fireflies and a shooting star too.
Daly Waters: the worst bit. It caters for an odd market, part hippy, part alternate and part grey nomad. The Pub serves a good meal and cold beer. However through dinner we had to endure a man on a guitar catering to those born in the 50’s and later an Australiana comedy/music show. The volume was so loud that I had to walk 50 metres away to make a phone call. The audience was basically grey nomads, the meal (Beef and Barramundi) was nice and a healthy change, but expensive. How much money do these grey nomads have? I thought that they mostly lived on baked beans and 2 minute noodles.
I am staying in pub accommodation. My room is 10 metres from the stage, I can hear everything happening without needing to be there. The show has finished.
The Bludger is stuffed after a long day, I have driven longer on several occasions, but I was younger then.

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