Some places we've been and some places we're going.

Posts tagged ‘Northern Territory’

Day 66 Alice to Kulgera

Several people from the Caravan Park were leaving to travel south today but even though we made a call into Stumps to each have a last toastie and coffee/juice before leaving town we didn’t see a long line of vans. When we were a few kilometres short of Stuart’s Well we noticed plumes of black smoke and wondered if the place had gone up in flames. It hadn’t. I think someone’s stockpile of tyres or something similar was the cause.

When we stopped for a break at Desert Oaks picnic spot a convoy pulled in -the drivers seemed to be in uniform. Later we heard a truckie very nicely telling a convoy that though he had empty trailers there was no way of passing them. They were too close together and his rig was 50 metres long. We could only hear the truckie but he stayed cordial and positive the whole time and was eventually able to get past all of them.

After reaching Kulgera we took a short walk out the road which goes to Finke, a remote Aboriginal Community. Every year there is a Finke Desert Race for motorbikes, cars, buggies and ATVs which loops from Alice to Finke and back to Alice. Some competitors and advertisers have put stickers on the road sign. It’s not a relaxing road to travel.

The countryside looks completely dry and inhospitable but we saw small flowering plants blooming in amongst the tough, dry grasses.

We’ve seen a couple of cute vehicles today, the first at our Caravan Park in Alice and the second here.

We’re staying at Kulgera tonight expecting a SA Police email we have to respond to confirming we’ll arrive in SA tomorrow. If we move on we’ll have no internet until we reach Coober Pedy which is 392 kms into SA.

Tomorrow is going to be a long day of driving for us, over 400 kms so I hope there are some Eagles or something to make the day interesting.

Goodnight from Kulgera

Day 64 Ross River

There was no big sendoff or anything this morning, all the thanks to sponsors etc happened last night after the auction. Riders left in dribs and drabs, a small group have stayed but there’s been no entertaining bike riding today. A couple of bikes left on trailers as a result of blowing their tyres on the burnout pad. The prize for winning that competition was a new tyre. The sponsor of the burnout competition said at the prize giving, “I haven’t bought a motorcycle tyre for 30 years, on Monday I’ll find out how much they cost!”

We watched some riders go past the Homestead and a Peacock showing off to unimpressed hens.

After walking back to the campsite we went off on the Binns Track to the N’Dhala Gorge turnoff, we knew we couldn’t go into the gorge with Fergus but wanted to have a look at the area. Alex stayed at a picnic spot with Fergus while I walked 10 mins in and 10 mins out, it was too hot for me to go far. There are rock carvings along the gorge but I didn’t reach that point.

Wherever we drive around this area there are amazing rock formations.

We had some lunch back at the Homestead then I spent a quiet afternoon in the cool of the AC in the camper. Alex put out the solar blanket to top up the auxiliary battery and pottered.

A week today we plan to be back in Adelaide but only time will how that pans out.

Days 62 and 63 Ross River Homestead

On Friday we left Alice and made for Ross River Homestead, the heat basically knocked me out for the day so there’s nothing to write about. Because we were early arrivals we had plenty of sites to choose from.

We were looking forward to an interesting Saturday and it didn’t disappoint us. When we came to Ross River just short of a week ago we passed a motorcyclist’s grave and by pure coincidence a memorial day was being held this weekend. We were warned that if we came back to stay we’d have to be prepared for a wild weekend with noise until 6am and then whatever went with “recovery day” on Sunday. The owner went a step too far when he warned us of Molotov Cocktails and Indian musicians who like to set up on one section of the Campground. Of course we felt it would be an experience of a lifetime.

Parts of the wrecked bike are on the gravesite replica but recoverable parts were used to rebuild a replacement which is owned and ridden by Fish’s brother, “Beez”.

I expected the bikers to arrive enmasse after the 12:00 memorial service at the gravesite but many arrived in dribs and drabs before that. They set themselves up in clusters around the campsite, some had swags and others buses, motorhomes, caravans, camper trailers or tents. Everyone was happy to be here though the numbers were down because of border closures.

There were events planned and I was impatient for them to start but everyone seemed very laid back, ready to have lunch, afternoon snacks….drinks etc and it was quite late in the afternoon before the fun began.

There was a slow bike race,

barrel race

and a Paddymelon pitching competition where the competitors had to try and get a Paddymelon in a motobike helmet.

Later in the evening the special fundraising part started though every adult contributed because the Homestead waived the cost of sites and everyone paid $25 with the money going to “The Butterfly Connection”. That charity financially helps local families who have relatives in hospital far from Alice. Fish’s Run has always been a charity ride, until he was independent the money went to support Fish’s son.

There was a raffle, TowTruck won a prize in that, Buddha did well in the Slow Bike race and BoxHead was very generous at the auction. Bar mats raised hundreds or dollars and there were a couple of paintings which raised thousands. A prisoner made a sculpture which was auctioned, there were bread boards, mugs, clothes etc etc etc. Every year the run raises about $25 000.

I think the only disappointment for me was the band which didn’t even manage to entice people away from their campfires. There was no trouble getting to sleep though apparently the music did go on until quite late, NOT 6am though, it was definitely quieter at that time than most Caravan Parks. People we’d seen with “wobbly boots on” during the day all seemed to have recovered by morning.

Believe it or not I almost forgot, there was also a Burnout Competition and I have to admit that’s the one event I don’t understand but the Bikers seemed to enjoy it.

I think Fergus has earned his Certificate II in Camp Dogging, he’s silently watched a dingo prowling around the campground, played with bruisers and toy dogs equally well and when one biker was asked if he’d been upsetting the animals again replied, “No, we’re mates and he could teach that bruiser some manners”. His crowning achievement though was lying at our feet ignoring bikers doing burnouts!