Bike Odyssey
Sydney to Darwin 2001

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Journal for 30-Jul-2001 : Daly Waters
Date: 30/07/2001 (Location=Daly Waters, Dist=153km, Total=3654km)
I woke early AM. Couldn't go back to sleep (probably because I crashed outat 8pm the previous evening).

Visitors to Elliot who stop at the free picnic tables on the other side of the highway from the town comment on how rough, seedy and unkept the town looks. This stems from the fact the town is little more than three roadhouses, and certainly no council staff. The main roadhouse however offers pretty good facilities (the benefits of competition), and its not really that disconcerting that they lock the the caravan and camping ground behind a barbed wire fence at night.

Great riding this morning with good tailwinds. In fact great riding pretty much all day. There is more rain the further we head north and the trees (now bigger than mere shrubs) get taller. Across Newcastle Creek (George Redmond Crossing) offers great views of the seasonal wetlands/floodplains, where we saw some more brolgas gracefully striding through the water grass. Once the trees get above head height the surrounding scenery gets a touch bland again, because the trees are now so tall we cant see all
that far, even though the road formation is built two or three metres above the potential flood plains.

Linda and I take to trying to remember song lyrics to classics such as American Pie, Piano Man etc. Not very sucessfully.

Lots of road trains again today, but most of those we saw heading south back to Alice.

The country isnt as densly vegetated as I remember, but then there were several fires combusting the undergrowth around Dunmarra RH. The charred and smouldering remains of the undergrowth don't offer many places to stop by the road for a break.

We stayed at the camp ground at the Daly Waters Pub.

The Daly Waters pub is 4km off the Stuart Highway, and unlike all the other fine establishments on the Stuart Highway, this place has to attract patrons off the main road. At first glance it looks like a really old outback shed that sells beer, but this is a carefully cultivated image. The main building looks like a semi-random assortment of bare tree logs clad woth an odd array of windows and loose sheets of corrugated iron. The multitude of non matching tropical plants and cactuses growing from every n
ook and cranny appear to be the only thing holding the pub together. Closer inspection reveals this to be a facade, as there are some well hidden steel poles supporting the main bearers, aluminum guttering and various other modern construction features, well hidden of course. Not unlike roadhouse bars the Daly Waters public bar is encrusted with a variety of signed international currency and photo ids of the various visitors from around the world. The pub is also littered with signs, and without. It sta
rts with a sign reading "Australias Most remote Traffic Lights" beneath a curiously placed set of lights permanently asking passers by to stop. There are thousands of them, and every one has a joke of some sort (OOL- theres no P in our Pool, Credit extended only to women over 80 accompanied by their mothers,etc). The jokes wernt necessarily funny, mostly low level toilet humour, but there was nothing particularly offensive, and unlike typical roadhouses, didnt try to insult their customers. There was a g
uy sitting in the pub with two chooks and and bird cage on his head, and an old guy with a well worn slouch hat saunder up the main street (OK, only street) to lasoo his well groomed horse on the pole outside and wander in for a beer. In fact it is hard to tell where reality ends and the show begins. There genuinely nice food, pretty good amenties and evening entertainment accurately targetted (more low level toilet humour and a "chook rooting" competition - which isnt as tasteless as it sounds - and a 9p
m completion time) to the fifty or so caravans of grand parents the pub packs in every night. A lot of thought has gone into this business, much more than they would have you believe, and it was all good fun. Even Bill Bryson had trouble making fun of the place.

David F

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