After a big night in Richmond day six saw the Around Australia Ride for the Steven Walter Foundatation travelling to Mount Isa. It is also now a full week since I had started from Canberra – only four more weeks to go. The morning’s plan was another group start, for the camera crew, and most of the riders mustered in front of the motel for an 8am send off. It was really good to see the group in one large cluster again and it was another reminder of just how many people are doing this ride. We were also told that the view of the 40+ bikes travelling in a large group was indeed a sight to behold.
With the group shot completed we quite quickly again started to split up into our individual clusters. I found myself working through a few different groups as well as spending some time on my own. It’s great for reflection, long sraight roads, you can really get some self time, or time with an audio book. I’ve been listening to my first audio book – Stephen King’s “Bag of Bones” – and have been surprised at how much I am enjoying it.
Another sight to behold is the road trains. They are getting bigger and more frequent. Thankfully most of them have passed in the oncoming direction because at 50 metres long they can sometimes be a challange to overtake. We’re told they will be more frequent after Tennant Creek, so further challenges to come.
I also encountered an actual goods train, you know, on train tracks. I followed it for a short while marvelling at the amount of carriages it was pullng. The driver saw that I had slowed down to match his speed and gave me a few blasts on the air horn. Not long after I had pulled away back to
highway speed I saw a turnoff that I was pretty confdent would take me to a railway crossing. I wasn’t disapointed, even if I did almost drop the bike in some loose gravel. As the train went by I counted no less than 45 carriages and it took quite a few minutes to pass in front of me.
While the road for the most of the day was that same long, straight, flat, boring and lifeless highway, after Cloncurry we were in for a treat. All of a sudden the road had curves, and it undulated, and hills and craggy outcrops started appearing. The flat grey landscape morphed into interesting festures and outcroppings of green and
red and umber. In Richmond we had been told the road after the ‘Curry was pretty good and I have to say I agree.
In the early afternoon we reached Mount Isa, or The Isa as it is more locally known. After the last hour of seeing nature dressing herself in her finest outback clothes it was quite the contrast to roll into town where a very large mine looms right next to the populace, much like an overseer with a glaring eye zero’d in on its minions. At day it was quite bleak, at night it was a little different in the
glare of mercury nights, but this mine never sleeps, and they only shut down the stack when the wind blows across the town – or so we had been told.
A big day tomorrow with 670kms on the cards as we go to Tennant Creek. I hope the scenery keeps up to the same standard of that 100kms before The Isa, although somehow I don’t think it will happen. And the forecast is for rain – I wonder where I packed my wet weather gear..?