Nobody said it would be easy, except that lady at the Tjukayirla
roadhouse who swore the road was in excellent condition all the way to
Warburton without any construction or bad stretches...
Most of the road may have been ok for cars, but it was over-maintained
with tons of loose gravel formind a carpet over the sand. This, in
itself is negotiable on a bike, but combine this with the many hills
and a head wind, and it makes for difficult riding conditions. But just
when you think you're going to make it, there is a 15km stretch of road
construction. They are straightening the road you see, so the old road
bed isn't maintained anymore, you get heavy trucks on it, and it
criss-crosses the new "straight" roadbed. Hell when you're 35km away
from town, 1.5 hours to go before sunset and best you can hope is a
15km/h speed whenever the construction zone ends.
I made it to Warburton all-right. But the last half hour was in
darkness. Of course, the road house was already closed. And I had been
told many negative stories about that roadhouse and its fenced-in
camping area with aborigines trying to steal petrol from tourists.
Interesting how I had been told many good stories about Tjukayirla, but
it ended up being a real dud. But here, the manager saw me, told me "no
worries", opened the shop for me, gave me the keys to washrooms etc.
The camping area was much nicer that at Tjukayirla. And while it is
true that there is a fence, it is around the whole compound which also
includes individual bungalows (motel rooms) etc etc. So there isn't
that fenced in feeling. And there were no abos trying to steal stuff
either. Interesting how the road is setup to avoid contact between
aboriginals and whites.
There is radio here. Heard on the news that Gwenda is 400km fro
Karatha. It is another category 5 cyclone. The radio here broadcasts to
remote area of western australia, so in Warburton you get the same
cyclone warnings as on the northwest coast. It is very strange to hear
these warnings again as they are the same as in '96 when Karatha was
hit by Olivia when I was there.
The further I move north-east, the farther I get from the path of
cyclones once they hit the land (they tend to move south midway and
then south east to the southern coast and then east). However, being on
a dirt road, any rain is of major concern as I could get stranded for a
couple of days.
There are 2 mining road trains parked at the roadhouse.
I was told that road conditions deteriorate from now on. I will try to
make Warakurna (Giles) in 2 days (115km each day), but must be ready
for 3 days (water/food wise).
This is the second difficult stretch with water points being far apart.
From Giles to Yulara, water is easier to get.
Even though I am only halfway across the Great Central Road, and even
though they keep telling me the worse road conditions are yet to come,
I feel that the worse is over. Perhaps it is because there are more
features along the road from now on and I am getting closer to Yulara.
I have to start planning distances so that I make it to about 40km from
Yulara on the last day so that on the following day, I can be a tourist
and visit the Olgas and Ayers Rock and come nightfall, get to the small
If I can send from Warburton, it probably means that I will be able to
send from Warakurna as well, and possible from Docker River. I expect
it will be at least 6 days before I get to Yulara.
Saw camel tracks on the road, but no camels yet. (there are wild camels