Day 21 - onwards to Cloncurry - Unfinished Business - CycleBlaze

May 21, 2023

Day 21 - onwards to Cloncurry

The cool wind blew through the night and although it tapered it still helped me today. I stoked last night's fire and heated billies as I packed, before a hard push through long grass to the road. I was away by 8.15 and in McKinlay by 9.30 having seen incredible wildlife, including 8 bustards. There were so many raptores (birds of prey, including little eagle and black-breasted buzzard), huge flocks of flock-bronzewings and tens of Australian pratincoles that just seem as though they should be near water. And all of this in grasslands.

From a bicycle the country was alive, no doubt the result of several wet years
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Unlike the country, McKinley showed no sign of life. The pub that opens at random was randomly closed. The roadhouse was closed. It had not done well under Indian management and if they can't make it work then who can? I crossed the road to use Telstra's free public phone and got a message "Please hang up the phone is out of order. There's talk of an influx of ageing ornithologists boosting the fortunes of the town with a subsequent need for housing, fine wine sellers, optics dealers and prostate surgeons but it's probably better to declare the town dead.

The pub from the Crocodile Dundee film
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I hadn't gone far from McKinlay when I came across a rather large boar that took some effort to drag from the road.

Any real bushie would have cut out his tusks - they were impressive
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The boar signified a radical change in the country. Eucalypt woodland returned, huge numbers of termite mounds appeared and, to cap it off, spinifex.

Nice to be back among trees!
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Three random facts about termites: 1. Their guts contain microbes that produce cellulase. Thus they can eat your wooden house. 2. Some orientate their mounds magnetically. 3. Some birds and reptiles lay their eggs in termite mounds.
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Spinifex (Triodia sp) - grasses that are vitally important to the ecology of Central Australia
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John GrantThat's a fantastic clump !
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4 months ago

After 102 km I was ready for a long break and, leaving my bike on the road, made the effort to get down to a dry creek bed. I lit a fire for tea and coffee and sat back admiring the scenery. It had been my best day's ride in the outback - quiet roads, terrific scenery, easy cycling, and would continue this way to Cloncurry.

I turned left to Cloncurry and thus missed Julia Creek, home to a branch of the famous Australian family, the Dunnarts
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I got to Cloncurry before 4 and lobbed into a caravan park with amazing facilities and excellent company. Spent the evening yacking to Mark and Michelle, travelling on a motorcycle from Barraba.

Hills! Really!
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Welcome to Cloncurry, home of the Royal Flying Doctor Service
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Today's ride: 137 km (85 miles)
Total: 2,422 km (1,504 miles)

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Graham SmithWell ridden Ian. You’ll be sipping a craft beer in Darwin in no time at this rate.

Were those motorbikers really from Barraba? My home village.
If so, they are probably related to me. Unless they are new arrivals ie post 1900.
Did you get their surnames?

I’ll post this on the Barraba Friends FB page. Someone will know who they are.
Small world. All roads lead to Barraba.
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4 months ago
Ian WallisNo, I didn't get their names. I know that Michelle is a recent arrival. You carry on about Tamworth so much that it slipped my mind that Barraba is your place!
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4 months ago