Day 139, Saturday, 15 August 2009

Distance travelled – 119.8 km
Avg speed – 20.5 kph
Max speed – 31.8 kph

Timber Creek to Saddle Creek Rest Area

We left at 8.30 and stopped for photos across the Victoria River on Bradshaw Bridge, which gives the Australian Defence Forces access to the Bradshaw Field Training Area. We were told yesterday on the cruise that after it was built someone discovered it was too narrow to get the Army’s Leopard tanks across.

We have a story about Leopard tanks we do not think we have told. As we rode up the Stuart Highway south of Larrimah we were passed by pairs of large semi trailers carrying a leopard tank each. These trailers are about 1.5 lanes wide so each pair of semi trailers is preceded by a pilot vehicle, which was about 400 metres in front.  On one occasion after riding out of a bend we noted another pilot vehicle close behind us. As it passed we prepared to get off the road but did not have the opportunity to do this gracefully as the first truck and its tank was immediately behind the pilot. Denise luckily slowed enough to be able to step off her bike as she left the bitumen and just balance the bike and trailer before it dropped to the ground. At the time we thought no one would believe us that we had nearly been run over by a tank, however, Peter and Barbara were to tell us that evening that they had a similar experience further down the road. Perhaps someone in the Army should have their knuckles rapped.

As we sat and had morning tea, Geoff who we met a couple of days earlier pulled up. We last saw him at the intersection with the Buntine Highway where he was talking about going to the Keep River National Park, however, as he pulled out he turned down the Buntine Highway to Top Springs. We were to later learn that his route was vaguer than ours and changed at the slightest whim. As he talked to us over morning tea he told us this whim turned out to be a very disappointing drive over 200km of corrugations. Geoff’s plan for today was to stop at the same rest area we were heading for which was only 70km down the road. 

At lunch we met a young fellow from Canberra travelling with his girlfriend to get away from the cold. In Canberra he worked as a concreter. He told us that he did a bit of concreting in Cairns but found it equally as difficult in the summer as he did in Canberra in winter. He seemed to now be searching for the ultimate place to live and work.

It was very hot again today and as has been the case over the last few days the sun was extremely intense after 3.00pm so we adopted the approach of lots of stops in the shade. When we arrived at the Saddle Creek Rest Area we must have looked extremely hot as we had two offers of water as well as the offer to use showers. I think many of the caravans are surprised to discover we are self sufficient with regards to water and that we also have our own shower with us. However, on this occasion we could not pass up Geoff’s generous offer of a shower in his motor home and he was also insistent about providing fresh towels. There are definitely some very generous people travelling the roads.

The heat today, however, has raised a problem for us as we are now using more water than we had anticipated and can carry for a three day ride. Today we averaged, included cooking and washing up, 10 litres each. If the temperature continues to rise we will have a potential problem riding the approx 300 km between Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing in the weeks to come. We have ridden 150 km in a day previously but not in this heat where 120 km seems to be our limit. This will mean a three day ride, which is potentially beyond our water carrying capacity of 39 litres.

Zoom into the map and use the 'Satellite' layer to see our new location.


Bradshaw Bridge over the Victoria River

Bradshaw Bridge over the Victoria River

Boab trees have a personality about them and if you look closely you can ususally see a person in them. I think the small tree has just been scared by the big one.

More snoozing in the shade

The scene behind our camp site

Sunset on the rocks behind our camp site

Sunset on the rocks behind our camp site

Putting up the tent


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