Cycle days 11-13 Timber Creek to Kununurra - Far too much luggage - CycleBlaze

May 7, 2024

Cycle days 11-13 Timber Creek to Kununurra

CYCLE DAY 11 (7/5/24)– Timber Creek to Scorpion Creek bushcamp = 96km.  703km cycled so far on this tour.

Temperature is about 33 degrees with an overnight low of 21 degrees. 

Wind was light for most of the day blowing from the South East.  For the first 60km it was no wind and then just gently blew from across our shoulders and slightly behind us for the rest of the day.  I would say it is about 15km per hour.

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Had a good rest day yesterday.  When we arrived there on Sunday it was barra classic ’24 and they started to arrive after 2pm and camped all around us and basically the caravan park was full.  All the motel, dongas and cabins were all full.  Alot of people, drunk men and women, screaming kids ... but we weren't upset as we knew we would get this when we left Katherine and knew that our Sunday night would be disrupted and that we would be able to get a better nights rest on Monday night.  The people were ok, had to listen to the presentations and prize giving etc but by then I was in and out of sleep.  There was a whole heap of noise once finished and then they began to settle and you could hear just certain groups lasting longer into the night and to the wee small hours of the morning.  We just drifted in and out of sleep.  There was only 1 instance where I thought there might be a fight between 2 young brothers as they were really drunk and I could hear it just opposite our tent and boy were they drooning on like pork chops about their personal problems, crikey I was in 2 minds on whether to pop my head out of the tent to tell them to shut up and pull themselves together and get over themselves ... alas I didn't as I didn't want to scare them mentally with abuse from me – you could say that what better way for them to learn to get on with all parts of society by getting abused by a grumpy, sleep deprived, menopausal woman who doesn't tolerate people!

For dinner on our first night we did get a ‘the works hamburger’ each and shared a serve of chips, the hamburger, despite being $16 each was absolutely delicious and the chips were just a bit too much for the tummy and sat on our stomachs for a while – but I wasn't not going to eat them so I just consumed so my puku was absolutely chockas and uncomfortable!

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Anyway onto todays ride -  up again at 4.30am this morning.  Glad the caravan park had a kitchen, I was worried that the 3 workers that camp along the edge of the park there would be woken as we turned the bright kitchen light on, but they were up and about earlier than us and they all left before we did at 5.45am.

They were the only ones we thought would have to pull over for if we left before them as they are do civil work just up the road on the new defence base that is getting developed along with previously working on the solid brand spanking new bridge that is the start of the access to this incognito secret agent defence base!

Unfortunately I couldn't get photos of it all as for security purposes! Nah just joking it was still pitch black when we rode past it and we could only see the outline of the new bridge!

We encountered only 1 truck coming from Kununarra direction for the first hour and then nothing for quite a while.  It is great to cycle at that time.

We have got with us about 42 litres of water – 3 days supply as there is no where to refill between Timber Creek and Kununarra (the tank at East Baines rest area is empty and has been for a while).  We rigged up a system to carry a bottle on top of the front pannier 

I am carrying about 21 litres (2 bottles are in the food bag)
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Water bladder carries 6 litres of water
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Neils bike - alot of his bottles are actually in the black or yellow bag. He has about 22 litres
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With the 2 bikes end for end we are a cyclists version of a roadtrain!
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 As the sun begins to pop up more I can see alot of the wild flowers that are out.  Sometimes we see alot and sometimes there is hardly any alongside the road. 

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Not sure on their name but they are a pretty colour. They are also beginning to dry out now as the dry season progresses
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Bill ShaneyfeltLooks like bachelors buttons

https://inaturalist.ca/taxa/787920-Gomphrena-canescens/browse_photos?grouping=terms%3A12&place_id=9994
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1 month ago
Not a wattle but the pom poms look like one!
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Bill ShaneyfeltCertainly looks like one of the highly diverse wattles.

https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/1372662-Phyllodineae/browse_photos?place_id=9994
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1 month ago

By 8.30am we have ridden 40km and are set to have our morning tea coffee!  We have it at a driveway going into a communications tower

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At that point I still think it is only the truck that has passed us so we have the road to ourselves.  Up to here and further on for most of the day the road is flat with very little going down into creeks and coming out of them. 

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By 60km we cross the East Baines river and the Aboriginal community nearby

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Bottom left your can see the trees are almost lying down. There must have been so much water and force behind it!
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Just past the river we have come to our lunch break and it is still only about 10am.  We are at the East Baines rest area and there are 2 tanks, both empty and a table with shelter so we have our cheese (processed) and wraps there. 

There are plenty of Boab trees now and you spot them in amongst the other trees along the others.

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We are feeling both good and even though the minimum to cycle today is 80km we think if we can't find bushcamping at 80km then we would be ok to continue on until something comes up – Neil the optimist says that throughout the ride so far there has been consistently good camping spots – Janet the pessimist says that yip granted throughout the day so far there has been lots of good spots ... BUT call it the O'Brien curse or my firm belief of “expect the worse and you won't be disappointed” I bet there is nothing from now on and we will find it difficult!  Guess who was right? YUP me!

After the rest area the road goes through an area of floodways and with all the rain they have had here those flood ways have left the roadside very wet with incredibly long grass and heaps of mini creeks, streams and water holes.  So much that today we have managed to see a pair of Jabiru, a pair of Brolgas, a snake and Neil saw the tail and back end of a dingo!  It is so lush out here and teaming with wildlife that there is just no way to get of the road!

At 76km we crossed a stream/creek and the water was shallow and clear that we pulled over and could see a track off and it would have been our camp spot for the night if it wasn't for a 2 massive piles of bird feathers.  As soon as Neil saw that it felt wrong to camp there.  I suspect it was a meeting spot for maybe some of the communities nearby and recently they may have had a cook up there and I would hate for them to return and find us 2 whiteys there camping in there spot!  I felt like we were intruding their spot.  So we had a quick swim in the shallow stream and it was absolutely divine and really refreshed us.

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The water was clear – the brown you are seeing is not the water but the sand at the bottom of the stream.

From here we continue, the temperature is warm but we seem to be ok – it must have been the quick dip in the water!

There is now water lying on the side of the road so we definitely can't get off!

We are definitely in a flood plain!
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We see a communications tower in the distance so we aim for that but once there we can see there is no way into it as it is now all overgrown and we can't see a driveway in so we continue.  We come to Snake Creek and it does look promising ... alas it had shade but we think lots of cows come down to the creek to drink and there was no where to put the tent.  So off we go again and a little further on we come to Scorpio Creek and this looks really promising!  We see a way in and it is about 100m walk down to the bridge area that has a clearing for us to set up tent later and has heaps of shade for us to see out the rest of the afternoon. It is a real winner this one!

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Back in Timber Creek last night our neighbour was heading to Lake Argyle and so crossing the WA quarantine border so we scored a jar of honey (350 gram size) and only a little had been eaten.  So we have 3 whole days to consume it so we are putting it on our muesli in the morning, crackers in the arvo and wraps for sweets.  I have banned us from eating our own jam and nutella as these can pass the Quarantine border.  And if we have too we will sit at the border and drink that damn honey as I ain't handing over any food at the border!

By the time we get to the border we are going to be so 'over' honey!
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 We laugh whenever we go to eat it as we have to put it on quite liberally and Neil always chuckles and says ‘this would make your Mum get whiplash seeing how much I am putting on my cracker!’  And yes I have to agree, she wouldn't pass the opportunity to scold me too if she could see how much I was putting on my cracker!!!

 Tomorrow we will be somewhere close to the border we think, we can't remember how far Kununarra is from the actual border itself but it is about 130km from us now!

 Just going to add this here, today was a great day for seeing alot of wildlife and we assume because all the floodways were still holding water on the sides of the road.  And this wildlife is very skittish and really hard to photograph as they just take off when they see us or we actually are so quiet that when we realise they are there and they realise we are there – both parties scare the begeezes out of each other.  We did manage to watch a bird of prey chase away a solitary Jabiru just before sundown

It was being g chased by a bird of prey!
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Bill ShaneyfeltStork

https://ebird.org/species/blnsto1
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1 month ago

We also had a light arrival of a neighbour – probably not a neighbour that ANYONE wants

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Bill ShaneyfeltBlack headed python! Jealous... Generally calm and popular in the pet trades.

https://thereptarium.com/pages/crackle-black-headed-python#:~:text=The%20Black%2Dheaded%20python%20is,territory%20regions%20of%20the%20continent.
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1 month ago
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Our clearing that we are in is quite wide and we are mindful that the edges may contain the undesirables and I was on my way to the creek to rinse something out and I heard some crunching of dead branches and I look and can't see anything but the crunching is continuous and I am looking and thinking it is a lizard hunting and then I saw the stripes and OMG I nearly had a kiniption (my medical term for when something causes you to loose your bladder, bowels and have a heart attack all at once!).  Neil was in the middle of having a wash and I am saying that we have a snake and he's coming down to where I am and I have lost sight of it but can still hear the crunching of branches, meanwhile deafo Neil can't hear or see anything and I am having trouble spotting it again but can still hear it and then Neil spots it, I can't see it but I am still hearing it – so we make a right ole pair – ones deaf and the other is blind (great nature people we would make!).  Neil is watching and I am pacing about saying where is it and Neil says there (and I am getting angry and saying where the f?#k is ‘there’.)  He trying to calm me down saying it is going away from us and that it looks like a python.  I'm saying should we move as it will be dark very soon and I am cursing the snake for leaving it until now to reveal itself at such a late hour when it will be too dark to move our camp – crikey the inconsideration of that snake is just unbelievable!

So Neil is watching it and I am going to grab the camera and making sure that Neil is between me and the snake (I love Neil but my survival mode just kicked in!) and we are not sure if it knows we are there as we kept loosing sight of it was it went up and down the creek crevices.  Finally we got a good look at it when it was going over the shale and towards the bridge. 

Our estimate is that it was about 1.4m long and Neil thinks it is a Ink head python due to its' black head but we will check that out when we get the internet.

I tell you I locked myself in that tent and in the morning when it was dark I had my ears perked up the whole time.

CYCLE DAY 12 (8/5/24)– Scorpion Creek bushcamp to bushcamp just before Alan Kellet RA = 78km.  783km cycled on this tour so far.

Temperature is about 34 and about 30 in the shade.  Last nights low was a refreshing 20 degrees.

Winds were late and light again today ... you know I am still waiting for those raging tailwinds everyone said we were gonna have!

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Despite last nights scare with our inconsiderate neighbour, who by the way was quiet and did not bother us again!  All I can say is “I hate camping!”  LOL bit of an oxymoron thing to say considering our mode of travel transport!

Still up at 4.30am and we slept well.  Still warm in the tent due to the heat that is trapped in the ground from the days sun and that just radiates up through the tent floor and up through the thermarests.  It is like someone has accidently left an electric blanket on when we lay down on our thermarests!

On the road just on 6am and it is pitch black for about 30 minutes and then you can see the skyline around the sun taking shape and all you can see are the outlines of everything slowly emerging.

We could see that our floodplains were finishing as we got closer to the escarpments and just as well we get up early to do this riding as we get to see some lovely colour changes as the sun peaks over the horizon behind us.

Sunrise and/or sunset are the best times to view the escarpments
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We go around this escarpment and this is the view on the other side ... 

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As we ride along we are getting closer to the Saddle Creek RA – this is about 25km from Scorpion Creek (our bushcamp) and this is a nice Rest Area but it was crowded – probably due to the view of the escarpment as a back drop.

You can see where the calcium from all the water/rain has left the white marks

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 It must be spectacular to see when this area is in its wet season (although I think I would prefer to be in a very high clearance vehicle to see this in the wet season rather than be on a bike!)

 Moving on from the rest area, it looks like the day might be a bit cloudy for us but that wasn't the case as it soon burnt off to clear blue skies.  Another Quarantine warning sign again but they are not saying how far away it is. 

 

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We don't have a paper map of the Northern Territory and we know there is only 1 road for here and even for most of WA but  a paper map reveals dirt roads, station driveways, creeks/rivers and has a sort of topography with it which can be useful when bushcamping alot. When we get to Kununarra we will get a paper map of WA since we will be spending the next 2-3-months in that state!

Not alot happened today, it was a bit more hillier today as you weave in and around the escarpments and the wind did not pop up until after 10.30 and even then it was sporadic.  More traffic on the road today going both ways compared to yesterday which had hardly any.  Not sure why but, for those that are travelling opposite to us so going west to east) it might have something to do with the time line at the state border which is 1 ½ hours – so some are on WA time and some are already on NT time. 

We are beginning to calculate how we are going to cope/adjust with the new time zone that large.  It does feel strange such a big leap behind in time for us as you expect something that large to occur once you get of a plane in International travel but this is just a step, pedal or drive over a line!  So by our calculations if we left like we have been at 6.00am when it is dark then it is 4.30am in WA and usually the sun begins to lighten the sky at around 6.30 (NT time) so that means that by 5.00am (WA time) it will be light enough to pedal.  So our conundrum is do we sleep in or do we maintain the same time of getting up at 4.30am  and getting most of our days cycling done by 11am!  We are assuming as we move further west that the sun may get later? Not sure but we will find out soon!

 We get to the Alan Kellet RA at about 12pm and it is beginning to warm up, not alot of bushcamping choices and the RA is a concrete area with no where suited for a tent apart from in a burnt area near the shelter but Neil did spot a long driveway up to a fence/gate that is suitable for us, but it has no shade so we are hanging out here in the shelter at the RA until around 5pm and will ride back about 400m to the bushcamp site and set up tent there.

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We still have plenty of water and just under half our bottles are empty – yesterday we used about 12 litres of water for everything – drinking, washing.

Some of the water bottles we bought and alot we have found alongside the roadside!
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I think by the time we get home Leanne and Russell most of the labels would have fallen off so they will be not good for the Ruth and Freddie Fund!

 Our bush camp tonight.

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Here I was thinking these were farm gates when all along they are old mine sites!
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CYCLE DAY 13 (9/5/24) Alan Kellet RA to Kununurra = 61km.  842km cycled on this tour so far.

Todays temperature here in Kununurra is around 34 degrees, sunny and hot but this morning when we woke it was 17 degrees!  It was absolutely devine to be in that temperature.

Winds are strong and coming from the south east, although with these early morning starts our cycle day is sometimes almost over by the time the wind has an impact on us.  But for the 1 hour it was with us it was a tailwind.

Powered camping at Town Caravan Park = $45 per night (don't have unpowered and it is handy to the supermarket!)

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I warned Neil that there was no point in getting up at 4.30am as this is NT time (which is 2.30am WA time) but oh no he just loves riding in the dark for that first 30 mins and then the next 30 mins when the sun breaks over the horizon and landmarks and features take shape.  I personally wanted to have a sleep in and was happy to delay the start time by 30 mins and you will see why when you see our arrival time in the actual township of Kununurra!

So we began todays journey in the dark at 6am guestimating that the border and quarantine point was about 15km away (it was 17km!).  Just before the day broke we could smell that burning off had occured and could feel the roadside was a few degrees warmer that when there wasn't any burnoff.  And when we could see in the daylight we could see that it was done quite recently and there were still spot fires going on here and there.  

As  we approach the border we can see we are entering a valley and there is a smoke haze hanging above the station.

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gotta get a photo of this welcome board!
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Yip this is my first time in Western Australia! WA for short or as I like to think the WA stands for Wealthy Australia - this is a very wealthy state that cries poor all the time!!!
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We look like a couple that haven't had a shower in days and smell!
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sorry the photo is a bit blurry I had it on the wrong setting and I can't exactly ask Neil to ride back and do it all again!
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At this point in time it is about 5am WA time (7am NT time) and this quarantine control operates 24 hours.  He was very pleasant and just asked if we have anything that isn't allowed.  We said no we ate our last apple this morning and finished of the honey as well and put it in the bin at the last Rest Area.  We did ask if it was ok for dried fruit and nuts and he said we can keep those!  After a chat we were on our way.

The sun was just peaking over the horizon and shining on the escarpments and the smoke was still hanging around.

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There was still a fire burning along the roadside this morning 

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From here you go in amongs the escarpments and it is up and down but we had absolutely no traffic as it was far too early for people in Kununurra and too far for people from Timber Creek!  It was really pleasant and the road conditions were perfect ... ah here in WA they have shoulders - not great ones but suitable to go into when you have too.  And they also have the added bonus of wide clearances between the shoulder and the grass or tree line so we could have our coffee break on gravel well off the road and in shade - oh I tell you this WA is just so wealthy that they probably have gold leafing in the paint they use to create the lines on the road!

As we get closer and closer to Kununurra and I am looking at our speed I guestimate that we will get to the actual township of kununurra at 8.30am - now you see why I wanted NOT to start at 6am and sleep in.  Our check in is at 11am and Neil thinks that maybe we can try at that time of 8.30am and I am saying (while I have him in that headlock!!) that the people that paid and had our site last night are probably still bloody asleep!

So just for interests sake here is the cost of petrol here in Kununurra (in Timber Creek diesel was $2.35)

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So we rock up at 8.30am ourside the main drag where Coles is and we grab some bread roles and stuff for lunch and go back to the main drag as there is grass and shade for us.  Despite the actual time of the day being breakfast we have been on the road for 4 1/2 hours and have done 60km which means it is our lunchtime or distance where we eat something.  The rolls with cheese and bacon  on top go down a real treat as did the OJ!

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Yeah I am going to guzzle it down!
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I know it has been a looooooooooooooooong time since I have been to Tennant Creek and that place always had a reputation for unruly behaviour and shops and businesses tended to have metal railings outside their premises, but since that time clearly businesses and shops have really got into security and protection.  I noticed this in Katherine and at first I thought the shops were all closed down and here in Kununurra is the same- from the outside it looks like everything is shut or closed but it is not it is just the metal railings and panels to protect their premises.  Most places of business you are buzzed in and for shops it can be difficult to find the actual front door to enter!

it is unnerving to see but completely understandable.
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At 10.30am Neil could not hold himself back any longer and we checked in.  Our caravan park is the one in town and the only one that is completely fenced in and has a coded gate entrance for pedestrians and vehicles.  Our site is powered (that is all they have)

we will have dappled shade during the day. The spot is opposite the camp kitchen which we will sit at for the most of the time while we are here!
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look we have our own power point!
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It is a good spot as we are short walk to the caravan park.  We have calculated our daily water consumption and for the 2 of us it is 12 litres (yeah pick yourself up of the floor Dad! - not sure how you did it with your 3 litres! and for your information our washes per day would be about 1 litre each!) 

there are 13 bottles here and that doesn't include the ones on the bike that are there permanently
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We are in Kununurra for 2 nights and will restock and do the 5 days ride to Halls Creek.

Today's ride: 235 km (146 miles)
Total: 842 km (523 miles)

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