Saturday – Uluru, Northern Territory
Down again, I hate soft sand! But, made it through to the pavement and civilisation :)
I did another bit of blogging this morning for one reason only. My brain was confused by the time zones and so I had woken at normal “brain” time but in actual fact it was still darkish. No wonder they don’t open the shop until nine, the sun gets up late out here! Anyway, we finally got under way around 9.30 or so after fueling up with the ever present Opal, a crap fuel and the economy goes way down when using it, but it is illegal to have anything else out here!
Our first cache to find was not that far away and all we had to do was skirt the camel bones and climb another hill, but the find was easy and once again great views.
A bit further down the road was a large lone gum tree and the location of a marker plaque put there by Len Beadell, the road builder.
A short distance from this marker, well relatively speaking, we arrived at the Northern Territory border. Here were a number of the usual welcome signs, as well as some a tad different, but highly relevant to this area of Central Australia.
We arrived a bit further on into very sandy territory and went searching for another cache up in the sand dunes, an easy find :) When I headed back to the bikes, I spotted a dingo just walking away from them, but nothing seemed to be missing, maybe not enough time for it to sniff out food! That’s the fella near the tree in the grass, easy to spot his ears :)
On the road again and this section leading into Docker River was some of the worst we had experienced so far. There was lots of sand but we survived that and managed to get into the community just on closing!!! Lucky for us we managed to get fuel, or we could have been stuck here, and I must say this place has absolutely nothing going for it. A disgusting smelly place, nowhere to sit down in any shade and the shade that was there was covered in filth, we had a quick lunch before getting the heck out of there! :(
Now we had more of those horrendous roads, soft sand and bad corrugations, a very slow exhausting time in the extremely hot afternoon sun!
We came to another cache stop and another interesting place to visit, this is called Lasseter’s cave, a nice place to scramble around the rocks and through the sandy river bed :)
More sandy roads after this and heading east with the sun behind us, well the inevitable happened, somehow I fell off again!!! I have no idea how I ended up all the way over there facing the wrong way, but I guess hanging on to a wild Vstrom may have something to do with it :)
Just for the record, I asked Derek to take the photo of me under the bike. My left leg was trapped anyway and I used the right one to hold the bike off it to lessen the pain, it was nothing major. ;) What really annoyed me about this was yet again the Happy Trail pannier ripped free of the bike which caused my leg to be trapped, not happy about that at all! The top box also came free, but that was because I did not have a proper mount, once again thanks to HT!!! Anyway, we bashed the boxes into shape again with our boots and got it all bolted back on before continuing on, we only had another 70km to go to the Olgas, where the pavement starts, I can do that, maybe, even vertically surely ;)
We started to pass some road works, some of the road was very well done but for some reason we would then hit a real bad section, like they missed a bit, so there was a lot of speed up, slow down right now style riding. We eventually saw our first good view of the Olgas and some more wild camels as well. The views would have been nice, but keeping the eyes on the road was pretty important as I did not want to spill it again and finally we arrived at the end of this section of dirt, yehaaaa!!! :)
We did a tour of the two viewing spots around here, but were not planning on doing any actual walks through the rocks, maybe tomorrow, maybe not. I had seen these before, but in the pre dawn light a few years back, so it was nice to see them with full sunlight on them.
Next stop was Uluru, or as it used to be known, Ayres Rock, this was 50km away but all paved, we took it easy as we had low pressure in the tyres and could not be bothered pumping them up at this moment, it has been a tiring day after all! We went straight to the sunset viewing area, but were not planning on staying until sunset, we needed to get the tents up in the light.
It was about 7pm by my clock’s(I have no idea what the real time was, I was confused) by the time we got into the campground at the resort, there is no free or wild camping allowed out here as it is all Aboriginal land and special rules apply. Once again it looked like I was not going to get a decent night’s sleep, two of the internal bladders in my sleep pad had broken free from the base and this meant it kept trying to throw me off, check out what it looks like when inflated!
After this we decided to go get some dinner down at one of the bars, proper food, cooked food and maybe a beer, although I knew from past experience the cost of beer was more than gold!!! We had camped next to another rider from Japan, his name is Masa and we invited him down with us. We had a couple of beers and a hamburger only, as the other food menu was a bit out of my price range, around $50!! You also have to show your room key or camping receipt before you can buy a beer at the bar, this just proves you are a guest, there is no alcohol allowed outside the resort area, as the sign earlier showed, they have a special rule for this area, because of tourists of course!
We stayed and relaxed for a while, showing Masa in his map book some good places to visit on his 6 months tour. I had decided to stay another day to relax and maybe catch up with some emails, and maybe a blog entry or two. Derek also had decided to stay another day. It was not a real late night and I missed out on getting a few takeaways, apparently you have to buy before 9pm, bummer, oh well shit happens!
Day – 388 km and 241 miles
Trip –6,859 km and 4,262 miles