Friday, August 11, 2017

Normanton to Burke & Wills Roadhouse Then to Cloncurry. 10/11 Aug.

2 short days.
Normanton to Burke and Wills Roadhouse - 192km.

Lots of single lane bitumen across wide open countryside. Traffic light and fortunately no oncoming road trains.  Easy riding with time to appreciate the subtly of the slowly changing landscape. Bourke and Wills Roadhouse by lunch time, which appears to coincide with peak activity. Seek out shade to park bikes, but hold off erecting tents until later. Very dry and dusty campground. No grass here!

Apostlebirds seem to have adapted well to life in caravan parks / campgrounds. We have encountered large clans around all the places we've camped in FNQ. Burke and Wills had its own "gang" that took every opportunity to snatch anything edible left unattended.

As per usual in these remote roadhouses, Bourke and Wills is staffed by young travelers from all over the world. Friendly and curious about "old" people traveling around on motorcycles.

We sit out the afternoon heat, have a couple of beers and "treat" ourselves to dinner at the roadhouse. Not exactly gourmet, but adequate for our purposes. On sunset we finally pick out where we are going to sleep, Marco and Ursala set up their tent sans flysheet, while I abandon my tent altogether and set up my stretcher just on a groundsheet under the stars. Warm still night and the campground has filled up with the usual caravaners and camper trailers. A couple of road trains pull up for the night as well, in a cloud of dust and with much noise emitted by the air brakes. By 10 all has fallen silent and I doze off only to be roused at midnight by the sound of a lone cow passing thru the campsite. A surreal sight in the light of the still fullish moon. The temperature has also dropped to the point where I can break out my sleeping bag to use as a quilt.

Dawn chorus at Bourke and Wills is the sound of large diesel engines being started and warmed up. Early start for the short - 185km run to Cloncurry. Again easy riding. No single lane sections on this stretch. Slow climb as the savanna gives way to the more rugged terrain around Cloncurry/Mt Isa.
A brief stop at the Terry Hills Lookout rest area - about 80km short of Cloncurry - for coffee. We'd camped here back in 2012.
A gaggle of Zebra finches were taking advantage of a leaking water pipe for a drink.

Set up camp in Wal's Campground on the back streets of Cloncurry. Basic but tidy and cheap. Laundry day.

Meet up with Nick and Evette? a Sydney couple on 2 Ducati Multistrada staying here. Doing a lap of oz so naturally we tell them about all the "must see" places. To town for supplies. 
Tomorrow towards Winton.

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