Bike Odyssey
Sydney to Darwin 2001

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Journal for 21-Jul-2001 : Mt Isa
Date: 21/07/2001 (Location=Mt Isa, Dist=126km, Total=2628km)
We thought today would be easy, so we slept in.

Road out of Cloncurry has lots of undulations. We could tell because some of the caravaners had mentions that there were a few. For a caravaner to notice a few there must have been hundreds, and there were.

Scenery absolutely brilliant. Red hills dotted with dark green shrubs sprinkled with light green spinifex. Realy very nice.

With all the hills about our usually reliable tailwind was, well, not as reliable as usual.

This road is not exactly designed for road trains, but the full class 2 triple trailer jobs are allowed here with special permission.

At half way and ??? springs we saw another cycle tourist. Darren is an Aussie who's deferred his teaching degree severeal years to cycle tour. Smart move. Hes ridden from Wollongong to Victoria, Adelaide, up the centre to Darwin, and now back across via the Crawford RH to Mt Isa heading to Normanton, Carins then back down the east coast. He occasionally stops and works, or not. Lots of photos and caravaners. He gave us an excellent tip: eat at the Mt Isa Irish club buffet !!!

Crossing the range to the Leichardt River very hairy. The road has terrible sight lines and lots of very dangerous crests. Some of the cuttings have been daylighted, some of the road has been widended, but not in quite a few rather critical points. There was quite a lot of traffic too, so no-one went too wide for us becauses of the justifiable concern there was probably something comming the other way. We got off the road for the road trains as there simple wasn't enough space on the road for the trains
, two bikes and oncomming cars, especially as the road trains trailer swayed all over the place with the breeze. Well, we got off if we could see/hear them comming, which certainly wasn't all the time. Also, only about half the road had a verge that could be escaped to, with lots of cliffs, sheer embankment dropoffs and that scourge of cyclists: guttering.

At one point, with 2 roadtrains blasting out of an obscured cutting behind us and a train of cars comming towards us we hit a rare patch of roadside dirt. Well, it looked like dirt. It was actually a patch of thorns, *very* carefully removed from the tyres.

The highway to Mt Isa is being upgraded. Most of the new surface is horribly rough coarse chip seal, alreadty deterorating under the weight of constant mine road trains. All the low level creek and river crossings are being replaced with real bridges and culvurts. They've started work on 34 of these, and finished about three.

More incredibly beautiful scenery, but all the really nice bits just too dangerous to stop and photograph.
Tour of the town trying to find a bed for the night, thanks to suspect map.

Major pigout at the Irish Club buffet. Yes !!! :-).

David F

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