Cloncurry - McKinlay

Day 31: Cloncurry to Mkinlay
This afternoon I am at McKinlay, named after an explorer who went looking for Burke and Wills, but which is famous, apparently, for having the pub in Crocodile Dundee. I was going to camp further up the road at a site listed on WikiCamps, but it turned out to be nothing but sand and snake territory, and it was only 2 p.m. when I arrived.
So here we are, on a grass tent site. In this part of Queensland this means the ground is not gravel or white-metal, and something grew here once in the last ten years. To be fair, I have been able to get my tent pegs into the ground!

They're not using it as an RMB, but it's a pretty good front gate!

Looking back, just to the south of Cloncurry

... and the road goes on...

Pink ribbons and flowers for a birthday party?

Nearing McKinlay, but all alone in the world.

It will be a short day to Kynuna tomorrow, where I have a donga booked, and then a 165km stretch to Winton.

It is hot; I'm sitting in a tin humpy with 2 galvanised iron walls and two shade cloth walls, which is labelled Camp Kitchen and Laundry. It has a table, a free! washing machine, and a trough. So my little Trangia is bubbling away on the table as a surprising number of Grey Nomads are pulling in for the night. So far at least a dozen road trains have crawled in from a local station, and headed off down the highway. These buggers pass really close on the road, and although there is not much danger of being hit, I'll be lucky not to get a cow pat behind the ear before I get to Brisbane.

Not far out of Cloncurry, I passed the Yurbi railhead, which is where all the ore road trains have been going. So I've been free off the dreadful Ostojic road trains which made yesterday quite dangerous. Ore has been coming up from the south, but these have been Linfox road trains and are absolute gentlemen towards other road users.
The country has been much flatter, with much less traffic too, so it's been a very easy 105 kilometres.

It's been a wet year; there is water everywhere. They were brolgas outside town, but they were most photo unco-operative.

It seems to be more the country that has properties rather than stations. The highway is a Three Chain Road, which makes camping difficult, and the stocking rates are quite high. I've probably seen more cattle today than for the rest of the trip. And also snakes; I've heard them skittering away from the road as I ride past.

In the wash of an ore transport which passed me today, I was instantly transported to the Port Pirie of my childhood days by the smell of the smelter. I don't know where these trucks are coming from; I've passed the turn off to the Eloise copper mine, but there is obviously at least one more to the south.

From my little table, I'm watching someone trying to back their luxury hire caravan. It's not going well. All the right country gear for the Isa rodeo counts for nothing if you can't park the van!

There is a little weatherboard Roman Catholic church down the street. It's open and I went in; lovely and cool. I could have slept in the vestry, except it's opposite the police station which has cells which are their own little Queenslander.

It's now after 6:30 here and me the sun is well down, but it's still quite warm. I had a bit of a wash but I'm still awash with sweat. Still I guess it's fresh!

Today was like this:
6 am: Breakfast of two large pieces of fruit cake, two thirds of a quarter cup of full cream milk powder, 2 quarter cups of muesli.
9 am stop: Two large handfuls of non salt peanuts. Two dried apricots, one dried fig.
12 noon lunch : A quarter of a loaf of olive sourdough batard. This is brilliant stuff which keeps for days, and goes well with water if it dries out. Two too large hadfuls of peanuts. Two handfuls of mixed nuts and dried fruit. 1 Mandarin. 1/3 of a 250 gram Rmn 'n' Raisin dark chocolate block.
Usually I would repeat the morning tea, if not the lunch, later in the day, but today was such a doddle I didn't bother.
Tea was dried mince plus my normal vegie and grain mix, to the tune of about 3 dessert bowls full.
I'm still losing weight, and have had to tighten up the shock cord I'm using for a belt after my shorts began to fall off.

All the remains now is to plug phone and GPS into the solar battery, and go to sleep.

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