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June 2011 Club News

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Weather Chasers - Half-way Around Oz on the Guzzi

Go back to Part 1 | This is Part 2

Pics and story Antoinet

We were now in Alice Springs and had decided to stay for a couple of days. Andrew and Wendy had gone to Kings Canyon & Ayers Rock and were going to catch up with us in Alice or in Katherine. During the day we had beautiful weather but at night it was pretty cold. Lucky I had my hot water bottle, I used this when I first went to bed to get warm. The expensive sleeping bags we bought for this trip did a good job once I was warm.

Bit damp for
          the Guzzi
We went for a ride to the East Macdonnell Ranges and had a look at Jessie and Emily Gap. Everything was full with water after the recent rains. When we wanted to go a bit further to the east we got stuck again, the road was totally flooded so we had to turn around and go back to Alice.                                                      

The next day we decided to go to Hermannsburg, it is about 126 km one way from Alice and we had never been there before. We filled the bike up with petrol and stopped to have a look at Simpsons Gap, amazing rock formations and very cold in the shade of the rocks.

There were helicopters flying over with tourists who had enough money to do this or maybe they didn’t have enough time to explore the wonders of nature by themselves.

There isn’t much on the way to Hermannsburg and we were happy to see it was only another 10 km. Suddenly after a bend in the road we saw heaps of water in front of us. There was no way we wanted to go through this amount of water on a bike. We had some lunch on the side of the road when we heard a car coming. It was going very fast but we couldn’t see it.

We said to each other that they probably had to slow down now. Before we realized the car had hit the flooded bit of road with at least 80 km/hour. There was an almighty bang from the car hitting the water at that speed, Ronnie and I both held our breath and were ready to come into action. The car just kept going though, we couldn’t believe it hadn’t crashed or at least stalled. Lucky for them and for us.

We rode all the way back to Alice without visiting Hermannsburg, next time… (we said to same thing in 2002) That night we watched the sunset from Anzac Hill in town.

          re-arranging Devil's boondies
We had seen enough in Alice and we were really looking forward to some nice warm weather so we decided to head north. The next night we stayed at the Devils Marbles, an amazing camping spot. Very busy though but still stunning with all those big rocks. We had happy hour with the people who gave me a lift when we had to cross the water south of Alice.

Checking the ant hill
          airconditioningThe next day we rode to Daly Waters where we paid $10 for a campsite at the famous Daly Waters pub. It was very hot by now and we couldn’t wait to order a nice cold beer. The girl behind the bar asked heads or tail? Ronnie said heads and she tossed the coin. It was heads and we got the beer for free. We finished that first beer pretty quickly and now it was my turn; tail: another 2 beers for free. The Daly Waters pub is so much fun, there is memorabilia everywhere and everybody is happy and cheery.

Our next stop for 2 days was Mataranka. We stayed at the caravan park close to the hot springs and enjoyed the warm weather. The tent was put up near a river and we headed to the thermal pools. We went to Bitter Springs, a small stream with beautiful warm water. The current takes you to the end and you can swim or walk back. Pretty hard work to swim against the current. Again we met some great people with amazing stories.

The next day we headed to Mataranka Falls. A pretty hard walk in the heat and through the soft sand. Still it was worth the walk and it is good to get some exercise.

The following 4 nights we stayed in Katherine. It was great to be back after 8 years. We had lived here for 3 months back then and we were keen to get back in touch with our old colleagues. Ronnie had worked as a mechanic at  Katherine Toyota and I had done motel cleaning and relief work in 2 childcare centers.

We caught up with 2 old workmates of Ronnie but everybody else had left the town to go and live in other parts of Australia. We also checked out my old workplaces. One daycare centre had shut down and all my colleagues had left the other centre.

We went to Katherine Gorge and went for a long walk, it is busy time of year, lots of tourists. On our last day in Katherine Andrew and Wendy arrived, we went for a swim in the thermal hot springs and had a nice roo steak on the barbeque that night telling each other stories about our travels.

The next day we took off to go to Kakadu. We stayed there for 3 nights. It was great to see the amazing rock art, the bird life, crocodiles and other wonders again. In 2002 we had stayed in Kakadu for 8 nights and loved every minute of it. This time it was great again but the weather was absolutely hot and humid.

Ronnie and not-so-snappy crocI don’t cope very well in that kind of weather so the nights were not very pleasant in a 1½-person tent with 29 degrees at night. The days made it all worthwhile though. We did lots of walking, did a Yellow Waters cruise and saw heaps.

On our way to Darwin a bee stung me on my wrist, I had taken off my gloves because it was so absolutely hot and there was the bee. Ronnie and I both have problems with bee stings and carry tablets with us in our motorbike jackets.

My arm was pretty sore the next day and we didn’t do anything, just sat near the swimming pool reading and relaxing. We stayed in Darwin for 5 nights and went to the Mindil beach markets, to the museum, Fogg dam and Lee point.

We saw a ranger walking up and down the beach with a stick in his hand. Ronnie had to investigate and asked what he was doing. Somebody had rang the ranger and told him about turtle tracks on the beach. The turtle had laid eggs and the eggs often get dug up by people who will eat them. The ranger had to find them and dig the eggs up and bury them somewhere else.

Ronnie asked if we could come with him, which we did. 54 eggs Ronnie and the ranger dug up. Amazing, they had to be put in a bucket exactly the way the ranger had found them under the sand to keep the temperature of the eggs right. It was so hot, the rangers clothes were absolutely drenched.

What a great experience it was for us. After Darwin we went to Litchfield national park where we stayed for one night. We went to Wangi falls and had a swim in the pool near our campsite: Florence falls.

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