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Around Australia 2003

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Journal for 29-Aug-2003 : Timber Creek

I woke up with the alarm at dawn. Everyone else was already awake. We gave Neil a half hour head start and met up with him after 40ks at the first truck stop. American readers should know our idea of a Truck Stop is a stretch of gravel by the main thoroughfare where a truck can stop. Luxurious ones, like this one, have garbage bins too.

From here the road plunged into the Victoria River valley, and the scenery was sensational for the next 60kms. Red hills, cliffs with palm trees fringing their base, pandanus, the first boab trees and the usual array of Australian eucalypts. And, it was rolling downhill to boot!! This was fantastic cycling, and even poor old Neil conceded that this was a bit more like what he was expecting (in between complaints about the up rolls and odd gusts of cross wind - whingeing poms!).

Stopped at Sullivan's Ck camp ground for a rest. This is a really nice pandanus fringed billabong complete with it's own crocodile where four years ago we were able to drink the water untreated. Today it was being fished illegally, urinated in (despite the newly installed toilet) and there was a sign warning suggesting drinking the water might not be a great idea.

A nice tailwind added to the fun of the magnificent scenery leading to the Victoria River Roadhouse. We left Neil to recover here and pushed on. We ate lunch a few hundred metres up the (sandy) track to Joe Ck picnic area.

In the afternoon the wind dies off (as usual) and the riding became harder. Also the road lead us onto the black soil flood plains away from the sights of the river.

The road climbed away from Skull Ck for only 30km. Both of us were very tired by the Kuwang lookout, which was nowhere near the summit.

For a few Ks near the top of the climb, the surrounding hills were lined with natural (I presumed) stone terraces. These terraces are one to two metres of neatly formed stonework every five metres or so up the hills, rather like a hundred layers of English stone fences. With only spinifex grass growing between the looks like a ruined city. No time a photo though, as we were 30km from home with less than an hour to ride.

We rode like deamons (ie downhill) to reach Timber Ck on sunset, or there abouts. We scattered the wallabies grazing by the road. In the campground we met Jochin, a tall German making his second long solo bike tour of Australia (Darwin to Perth).

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