Three Ways, NT to Mt Isa, QLD
This journey was to take us along the Barkly Highway, which from memory was one of the most boring parts of our journey last year. The road is fairly straight, it’s hot (36C in 2010, 32C in 2011), and windy – there are no trees, bushes, hills or anything to stop the wind, so you end up being battered around for a few hours. The last fuel stop before the NT/QLD border is tshe Barkly Homestead, which is a great little place out in the middle of the Barkly Highway. If I’m ever out this way again, I’ll probably choose to stay here rather than at the Three Ways!
Once we filled up and headed towards the Queensland border, James pulled over and decided to fill up from the jerry can in the car rather than risk running out somewhere along the ride. It’s one thing to run out of fuel if you’re the only person on the bike, but since Sharon is a pillion, there’s an extra person to think about, too. My bike’s been even more brilliant this trip fuel economy wise, as it’s been using 5.5L per 100km (or about 17km per litre), good enough for approx 260km per tank. So far, the largest fill I’ve done is 18L, meaning I could still travel for another 50-odd km! The longest part of the trip with no fuel was between the Barkly Homestead and Camooweal, the first town across the QLD border.
We had a quick stop in Camooweal as we were running later than we wanted, and had to be in Mt Isa by 6pm before the Caravan Park closed. We made it as far as the next rest stop before needing to pull over and stave off the waves of tiredness. There are many ways in which riders will try and stave off tiredness: some of these methods work well, some do not, but the results will depend on each individual. James has been scoffing jelly snakes (which Sharon has been hand delivering to him whilst riding), whereas I’ve required a VRedBullMonsterMother energy hit sometime in the afternoon to help me get through. Fatigue is something to be managed by whichever means possible. Starting earlier in the day is usually the best method for not having to ride so much in the late afternoon/early evening. Unfortunately we’ve had many late starts on this trip, necessitating resorting to other means for energy…
The moment we reachd the outskirts of Mt Isa our phones went crazy with SMS messages and missed calls. I finally linked my phone to the headset on my helmet and made a call to the Caravan Park, then to the family, and held the conversation whilst trundling through Mt Isa to our destination! I have yet to master the making/taking calls hands-free so not likely to try it anytime soon.
Once we pitched the tents, it was time to head over to the Overlander Hotel for dinner – we came here last year and had a decent meal for $8 and gave it another go. None of our meals were good – the lamb roast looked less like ‘lamb roast’ and more like ‘chunks of old meat’ with some sad looking tinned/frozen veges. The crumbed barramundi looked like deep fried chicken, and the cannelloni was overcooked and had gone hard on the top. The dessert order took 6 goes to get it right, but at least they looked OK. A number of the other riders had gone to a pub for early birthday celebrations for Mick from Port Macquarie. We should have joined them, I think their meals were pretty good!