Touring with Gibbo:
1/2 Lap of Oz: NT
Day 6: Camooweal to Wycliff Well.
Camooweal is within spitting distance of the NT border. This means the obligatory state line pictures and the move from 110kmph speed limit to 130kmph in the NT... a completely different concept. Camooweal to the Barkly Homestead Road House is 261kms and there ain't nothing in between. A combination of straight roads, the new speed limits, a rush of blood on the part of the boys meant that fuel consumption went south. This was not a problem for the three of us as we all have largish tanks (around 20lts), however, we were lucky enough to have a tailwind sometimes. If you were beating into a headwind at speed with a small tank, you will have an issue. Be warned! There are no 'get of out jail free cards here', and this is not a place you want to be stuck on the side of the road with no petrol. If in doubt, buy a 5 litre jerry can, and carry fuel. Lunch at the Barkly Homestead Road House lead to the inevitable decision about the 3 ways, Darwin or South. We were supposed to meet up with our mate Dave in Darwin, but his arrival dates were a bit late for us, and Kog did not have the time to do this. In the end Bill decided to go to Darwin on his lonesome and the 'daynamic duo' of Kog and I turned left at the 3 ways. There is something quite surreal about the Stuart Hwy. It's long and straight. There is a combination of zen, loneliness and nothing to see... nothing, I have not ever really experienced before. We ventured south to Wycliffe Well, another 600km day. Whycliffe Well is the UFO capital of Australia apparently. No, I did not see any UFO's, but there are come bloody strange people out and about there. Where they come from is anyone's guess.
Day 7: Wycliffe Well to Alice.
With above observation close at mind, we bid farewell to the 'aliens' at Whycliffe Well, and headed south. First stop for coffee was Barrow Creek. I though I had seen weird before... I was wrong. This is the area that Peter Falconio met his end traveling at night in a Combi with his English girlfriend Joanne Lees. There is not one chance on the planet I would travel this road at night. The 'Roadhouse' at Barrow Creek is truly bloody weird, and not in a good way. The locals we met there... well ugh... nah, lets move on Kog.... creepy! Southward we went arriving in Alice mid arvo. After all that 'nothing' and 'weirdness' Alice is an oasis in the desert (total for the day less than 400kms... easy). We decided to stay in Alice for two nights, have a good look round and do some much needed washing of the clothes. Alice is easy to navigate and has lots to see and do. It really is worth spending a few days there. There always seems to be something happening. It's a very kewl place.... And it has motorcycle parking bays just where you need them... why doesn't every town or city in Australia do this?
The notice... Maybe this is a warning.
Day 8: Alice to Alice via the loop.
On the basis of Bill's advice, we decided to go out to Glenn Helen and do the loop coming back via the historic mission of Hermansburg. This was our day off (we only did 420kms). There is lots to see and do on the loop, but quite a few of the sites require walking, and in leathers and motorcycle boots, this was never going to happen. Nevertheless it was a interesting day out. The McDonald Ranges are quite simply awe-inspiring, especially after all of the 'flat as a piece of paper' landscape been had been through. The very back of the loop has curves and nice ones.. I know.. We almost had forgotten how to do this... That was fun. Hermansburg is definately worth a visit. Its very interesting. Those Lutherans must have been a tough crew. We were advised by the manager of the apartment we were staying in, in Alice that the round trip would be about 300kms... Wrong! Try 420kms... Quite a difference on a bike. Before you do this make sure Hermansburg roadhouse is open. It's a long walk back.
My little green mate. Nothing strange about that!
The Western MacDonald Ranges... Truly awesome!
Hermannsburgh. Fascinating... Why would do this in the middle of a desert?
Day 9: Alice to Yulara and Uluru.
Uluru is nowhere near Alice Springs, in fact is 450kms to the campground at Yulara and then a further 20kms to 'the rock'. It's not as bad day's ride. You will probably stop at the Erldunda Roadhouse for fuel. This is where you turn off the Stuart to venture out to Yulara. Cotton Springs is worth a stop on the way between the Erldunda Roadhouse and Yulara, or back, for a bite... good food, again in the middle of nowhere. We arrived at Yulara mid arvo, after doing the paperwork, we set up the tents and then headed out to the rock. The campground for tents has real grass... who would have thought. The amenities are very good and probably should be for the $56 camping fee (though they let us share the site... ie., 2 tents on one site).
Uluru is quite simply bloody unbelieveable. Every Australia should see this. The aboriginal owners ask that you not climb Uluru, which we respected, not that 2 elderly gentlemen both with crook knees (due to motorcycle accidents) in leathers were about to take on the grade 4 climb anyway, but many people do... madness! The go is to take pics of the rock at sunset and sunrise... We did that from the Yulara. I wish we had stayed another day and gone out to the Olgas. That was a mistake!
We made it... Two ugly old men at Uluru.
Aboriginal cave art.
Uluru @ sunset.
Day 10: Yulara to Marla.
On the ride back from Yulara, we stopped at Cotton Spring. Yet another place where the petrol pumps are padlocked and a gal will come out and actually watch you fill your tank, write it down, then escort you inside to pay.... quite amazing. The food is good and mostly grown at the place. I lost my lovely 'Honda 4 Owners' cap somewhere between Cotton Spring and Erldunda Roadhouse... So it you find it, you know who owns it. Back on the Stuart we headed south to the border and down to Marla.