Losing track of time here I’ll quickly get you up to date on our travels. Setting out on the Gulf Developmental road found us in The town of Croydon to see Australia’s oldest operating store since the late 1800’s. Stopping into the information center we were treated to a 18 minute movie of Croydon and all the is to see and do. When we were leaving I asked the people behind the counter where was the Oldest store at? And as their smiles faded they told us it had burnt down the day after Christmas! We stopped anyway and it was a empty lot, 150 years and we missed it by three weeks!
Back on the Gulf we ended our journey today in Normanton a small fishing town and a campground with a great pool and pizza oven! Pizza for supper a quick sleep and coffee at the bakery and we were back on the road this time southbound on the Burke.
Cloncurry our next sleep was a sleepy town with a large mining operation going on. Country music played on speakers in the streets and the Post Office was the place to be. Provisioning again for the haul across the “Barkley” we turned west and headed out into the Outback proper. Halfway across the Barkley is the Barkley Roadhouse an Oasis in the desert. Green grass long hot showers or in the Outback case cold as you can get it showers. This place was happening retired travelers, people traveling in cars sleeping in tents, some guy sleeping next to his pickup truck but with a bug screen it was a mishmash of people who came together for one night. Rise and shine early as the sun leads the way to a hot day. Our eyes glued to one spot Tennant Creek our turning point. If it’s wet up north we head south if it’s dry we head north. DRY, north it is and it’s Australia Day! Trying to keep in some kind of shape I ride my bike most mornings on vacation. This morning I came across the Australia Day Tennant Creek Triathlon! Checking things out some women asked if I was there to compete? Sure! I don’t know anyone here and if I fail I’ll just go back to camp. It was held at 6:00 am so not too hot and only 5 k total. Minutes later I was put in the pool to share a lane with what looked like Michael Phelps of Tennant Creek. And with that off we went! Michael lapped me by the time I was at one end of the pool and in the end I was the only guy left and the life guard was cheering me on. On the bikes, my strong point off I went no other bikes in site and the women behind me. Across the line drop the bike for the run, run? If I’m running there’s a swarm of bees close by. Anyway I did manage to complete then run about 40% running not bad for fat boy. And across the line everybody cheered and I yelled Team USA.
Okay now I’m sore and Joy was still asleep I shook her and said that I had just ran a Triathlon she wasn’t quite awake but gave me a high five and as we drove out of Tennant Creek I was truly happy to have done that days later when I couldn’t walk not so much but I did recover. Daley Waters Pub where else to spend Australia Day and have a drink. A heavy rain storm chased us out of the pools and into the barn, the Publican had free sausages on the Barbie and we all had a great time and got an Australia flag tattoo.
Heading out of the Pub we were back on the Stuart Highway heading towards Katherine, but not before we stopped at some mineral hot springs to treat my sore legs. Didn’t help much but break up the trip arriving Katherine for a two night rest. Our campground was all but empty. Buying some beer and visiting the local Gorges the two nights in Katherine were a great stop before we headed out into the Kimberly ranges.