Day 145, Friday, 21 August 2009

Distance travelled –  92.5 km
Avg speed –  18.5 kph
Max speed –  33.1 kph

Doon Doon Roadhouse to Warmun

We left Doon Doon at 7am after a good night’s sleep and waking at 4.30am. Camping without the fly seemed to make things a lot more comfortable but we did pull a sleeping bag over us in the early morning.

We filled our water bottles with bottled water, as we were not that convinced the local bore water would work for us in the heat of the day. Given the distance and the forecast high temperatures we preferred to pay for water that had no lingering taste.

At about the 8km mark my front derailleur broke in exactly the same place that Denise’s did last year at Murray Bridge (the lug holding the spring in tension snapped off). Mine at least went a further 6500km.

We found a bit of shade in a cutting not far from where it broke and unloaded the bike and unpacked the tools and spares. I was considering replacing the derailleur there and then but as I was about to break the chain I reconsidered and decided to leave it until this evening. We had already been stopped for 45 minutes and it was getting hot and we were drinking water that we felt would be better drunk whilst riding. I therefore removed the old derailleur without breaking the chain and set the chain on the middle front chain ring. I rode the bike with only nine gears all the way to Warmun which, as it turned out, was not a great ordeal. I did find myself riding up the hills faster, which is a little odd, as for the last month or so I have only used the front middle chain ring.

As we had all the bags scattered around and halfway up a hill on a narrow shoulder, we were struck by the fact that no one stopped to ask that we were okay. This was something we would do and have even done on this trip with broken down caravans with flat tyres. It really showed that you need to be confident with your own capabilities and be self-sufficient. However I suspect that if we flagged someone down they would have stopped.

There were some very extensive roadworks for about 20km before Bow River and then a short section at the new bridge works at the river itself. There were a lot of side tracks but the dirt was good and fast and they were wide enough to allow trucks to pass us easily.

We had lunch just after crossing the Bow River and we could see mine works in the direction of Argyle Mines – not sure if this is the actual diamond mine though. After lunch the heat started to affect Denise and she found it a hard slog to Warmun. We stopped for a sit down rest about 9km from the town.

The ride today was through some marvellous and picturesque country, very unique to this part of the world and I would argue better than Monument Valley in the US. We have not seen anything similar so far on this trip. The country has a very “ancient” feel to it.

As Denise said, it’s a pity the heat took the enjoyment away as the road was not a hard road to ride along and it was very scenic. It was just hard going in the heat. We suspect it got well over 40 degrees on the road today. Until Denise slowed, I was hoping we could try and do Warmun to Halls Creek in one day, but it became clear that if it was hot, Denise could not do this although she is still able to do 120km with adequate stops in the shade.

With Denise pulling up due to the heat and the campground being very close to the bowsers and highway, we paid for a self-contained room at the Warmun Roadhouse.

For some days now we have been considering catching the Greyhound bus between Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing, as we do not think we can carry enough water to cover the distance with such unseasonably high temperatures. Given the repairs needed to Mark’s bike we have decided to make the repairs in the cool of the morning and then catch the bus from here to Fitzroy tomorrow evening. The bus leaves Warmun at the reasonable hour of 7.50pm compared to after 10.00pm at Halls Creek. We do not imagine there is much to do waiting for a bus at night in Halls Creek. The bus arrives at Fitzroy at 1.00am.

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


Breakdown on the Great Northern Highway

View from Great Northern Highway across from the spot where Mark's derailleur broke.

View from Great Northern Highway

View from Great Northern Highway

Pompey's Pillar, Great Northern Highway

Roadworks, Great Northern Highway

Looking back along the Great Northern Highway with Argy

le Diamond Mine on the skyline at top right.

View along Great Northern Highway


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