19th July 1999
It is now 15th July and we have made good
progress. Since leaving Daly Waters with it's population of just 14
people, a 'pub', a garage and a campsite in the middle of
nowhere, (they did have a purpose built toilet
/shower facility for the
disabled though) we have travelled on through the towns of
Elliot, Renner Springs, Threeways, Tennant Creek, Wauchope (pronounced
War-kup), Barrow Creek (passed through) and onto Ti Tree, where we are
staying for the night. All these camps have given us free hitch -up
sites for the night (or two when in between places).
Friday 9th July.
We covered 68.04 miles in 6 hrs.06 mins. 29
secs. averaging 10.9 mph to finish 19n miles North of Elliot. The day
was quite a difficult one due to the wind and the road conditions
and was probably the hardest so far. Elliot is mainly an Aboriginal
community and the local school came out to greet us when we passed
back through the town.
miles were covered in very strong head winds causing the average mph
to drop to 10.4 in the time of 6hrs.38 mins.10 secs. This left us
12.6 miles north of Renner Springs. Renner Springs, as with most of
the other places we have been was basically a roadhouse come diner
come campsite. Here though they gave me a complimentary room , which
was very well received.
Sunday 11th July
We had to travel back up the
road some way to start at the position where we finished the
previous evening. When we finally went back to Renner Springs the
owner came out to film us passing by, long with a coach full of
tourists who we managed to stop and collect a few dollars from. The
first 13 miles was fine in comparison to the previous days but as we
passed through Renner the wind was to pick up, even stronger than any
other day before ,creating almost a brick wall of headwind. At one
point it began to look as if we would struggle to make twenty miles
, let alone the 43.84 that we finally covered at an average 11.2 mph
to finish 31 miles short of Threeways, where we stayed for the
night. Threeways was literally a roadhouse cafe with camping
Monday 12th July.
Again we had to travel back
up the highway to begin where we had stopped the previous night.
This made today more of a mental challenge ,having to travel 31
miles to pass the place that we had stopped the night before. We
continued on towards Tennant Creek, where we were going to stop to
take a rest and to stock up the cupboards and try to get access to
the web site temporarily sorted out. We covered a total of 46.5
miles today at an average speed of 11.2 mph.
Tuesday 13th July.
Today was a day off and it
was much needed, although we had quite a few things to do. We met
with Darrell who got us back on line to the web by utilising his own
server. Tennant Creek is the largest town we have seen since leaving
Katherine with it's population of 3,500. We arrived in town and had
the book signed by the local police. We were interviewed by the
Tennant News, which covered an area as far as Alice Springs, this
should give us advanced publicity.
Wednesday 14th July
We headed out from Tennant
Creek on one of the coldest mornings we had yet had to contend with.
The day was much better all round, we were refreshed from our rest
day, the hills had levelled out and we hoped that this would
continue . We also took a slight diversion to see the Devils
Marbles, which are a natural granite phenomenon started some
170,000,000 years ago.
We were heading for Wachope, which although was like most
of the other camps had a co-owner called Lee who not only gave us
free camping but a cheque for A$100 for the charity. We had covered
72.24 miles at an average speed of 13.2 mph.
Thursday 15th July
After yesterday's cold start
, we were all a bit sluggish to get out of bed, hoping that the
morning chill would disappear before we set out. We started later
than usual at 9:45 after saying farewell to Lee, who asked were we
keeping office hours. Our intention was to make Barrow Creek ,some
64 miles down the road but Lee told us that Barrow Creek was nothing
great, but that the next place It Tree would be better. We covered
100 miles today the most I had covered in one day, at an average
speed of 13 mph taking 7 hrs.39 mins.41secs. This took us passed
Barrow Creek and within 24.3 miles of Ti Tree where we would spend
the next two nights. We also saw our first Kangaroos and wild cattle
since being on the road, other than road kill that is.
Friday 16th July
After yesterdays 100 miler, it left us with a nice 24.3
miles to do to reach Ti Tree, this allowed us to sleep in. After the
drive back to our starting place, we got going at midday, Simon for
some strange reason decided to go the wrong way up the highway. He
claimed that the heat had got to him! Although the majority of the
route was up hill we finished it in 1 hour 41 mins. at an average
speed of 14.1 mph and this left us time to rest in readiness for the
drive forward to Alice Springs .Here we are going to be met by the
BBC who are going to do some filming. The local Lions Club was also
going to meet us and we had we were going to carry out PR work here
for the Foundation.
We left T
Tree at 9 'o' clock this morning heading for Aileron, after carrying
out the comparison test which have become part of our normal
routine. It was very cold overnight and stayed that way for day
break. This was probably the best day for terrain that I had had
since we began as it was quite 'flat' by comparison to previous
days, although the last ten miles were very rough and caused some
discomfort to my back for a short while and aggravated spasms.
Suspension at this stage would have been more than
covered 63.8 miles in just 4 hrs.4 mins. 54 secs at an average speed
of 15.6 mph to finish 90 kms short of Alice Springs, which we will
cover tomorrow. We will spend four days in Alice to carry out PR
work and to do some filming ,we are hoping that the Australian ABC
Network will catch up with us while we are here. All in all we will
Sunday 18th July
We were up early today in the
hope that we would be able to repeat the outstanding efforts of
yesterday. We started off from Aileron and had the pleasant task of
driving 35 miles south down the Sturt Highway to the spot where we
yesterday, knowing that we had to cover just 58.83 miles
to reach the MacDonnell Range campsite, here we would meet the BBC
,the Lion Club and replenish our food stocks.
Since leaving Darwin we have
had to face a variety of problems and we have conquered them. These
have ranged from the everlasting hills, (we still keep being told
that it is flat), poor road conditions and the strong winds coming
from the South.But
today we were to face everyone of them, which blew all
plans of the copying yesterdays time/distance ratio right out of the
started reasonable enough ..for the first 2/4 of a mile and then
once again the uphill gradient started and continued for most of the
first 35 miles, the road conditions were poor and the wind was right
in our faces.
this point we decide to break for lunch and as were about to pull in
we just crossed the Tropic of Capricorn, which was an ideal time for
a team photo shoot.
The road continued to rise for the next 12 miles or so
but the road improved, which in turn allowed us to cope with the wind
much better, until we had a good run through the MacDonnell Mountain
Ranges to drop into Alice Springs. We had covered the 58.8 miles in
4 hrs.41 mins.24 secs at an average speed of 12.3 mph ,much slower
The terrain changed today, the trees were mingled with
shrubs and more sparse allowing the barren and rocky landscape to be
seen. This is more like I anticipate the land to be like further