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Journal for 2-Aug-2003 : Normanton

A long distance day, exaggerated by the similarity of the scenery for most of it. There were some (very) subtle changes in the vegetation as we sped towards Normanton.

It was a very cold morning, and thanks to us using a dam alarm clock, we were out on the road wearing our arm and leg warmers wishing we had equivalents for our fingers.

Starting early there wasn't much traffic. Only the first 40ks were single track bitumen, but only one car came towards us. This guy ran us off the road because he didn't want to take his four wheel drive off the bitumen.

Tailwind kicked in after the first hour or so, but dies off a bit in the afternoon. And, there were no hills at all today.

Lunch by the Norman River on the old causeway. There were lots of Kites circling around overhead and egrets in the river. Quite a nice spot, but neither of us were too game to get too close to the croc infested water.

The road runs next to the rail line for the "Gulflander", a rather eclectic train system that still connects two of the smallest towns in the world for no particular region. It's now a tourist attraction, the sort that says "come and look how backward we are up here"! Anyway, this railroad pioneered lots of technologies that allowed it to be constructed and maintained relatively cheaply. With curiously shaped iron sleepers, the line is designed to work underwater, so no need for any of those expensive bridges or earthworks. This is just as well, as the route covers lots of low flat country that during the wet season half sits under six inches of water.

Normanton is a hard town to describe beyond it's very wide streets and lots of red dust. There are (supposedly) 1500 people living in Normanton. It looks like there have been no new buildings erected in the past fifty years. There are some quite sturdy structures (by Queensland standards) that once housed banks, corporate offices and other major institutions. The original occupants of these buildings have gone, along with the gold in the rush that brought them here in the first place.

Had the "barra with chips" for dinner at Normanton's "Purple Pub". Unfortunately this cause great confusion for the British backpacker taking the order when Linda asked for the Barramundi.

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