Days 36 - 38 Longreach - Barcaldine

Day 36: Monday August 15th
Longreach 182kms
I left Winton at 3:45 and had a good ride out. I took a photo of Oondooroo Creek in the dawn light-- no tripod, so blurry-- and made good progress.

I lost some time talking to a bloke at Crawford and then talking to Thomas the cyclist. He was enjoying the tailwind!

Thomas' bike

Thomas taking a photo of my bike

I stopped for 10:30 lunch at Choregon because the wind had gone up to 30 kilometres an hour. It was very noisy, and I gave up on listening to music; I just couldn't hear the new Dylan albums, and didn't much like what I heard anyway.

Thomas alerted me to the presence of the CWA Hall at Morella Creek (country locked) and I nearly stayed there, 112 kilometres out. But since I couldn't ring Wendy, I had a second lunch and pushed on. I was having trouble staying alert to the traffic, but a good feed and the rest helped. Darr River was impressive, and looked good for camping, but was only 30 kilometres out so I went on to Longreach, especially as the wind began to drop. I got into Longreach about 8pm. In the dark the Thompson River seemed endless. Apparently it was 9 kilometres wide in the 2000 floods.

Darr River

Squeezed into the caravan park in Longreach

Day 37: Tuesday August 17th
Barcaldine 109kms
Horrible wind. Too tired from yesterday. Today almost defeated me with unremitting grind. Coast for 5 seconds and stop!

Old and new on the road to Barcaldine

I met a lovely Polynesian family at the last roadside stop. The parents totally got why you would ride a bike like this.The mum wished me well and safety as I left, with such genuineness and gentleness, it was like the laying on of hands. I think it was them got me here.

Day 38: Wednesday August 18th
Barcaldine Rest Day
I slept very well last night, but I'm taking a rest day here at Barcaldine today. I'm all clogged up, and my knees hurt a bit this morning, which is a sure sign the last 2 days were too heavy. For a couple of days now I will be heading almost south, so I was tempted to push on, but I thought that if the wind was south east things wouldn't be much better and have taken the rest day instead.

I met a retired teacher has been doing a teaching English as a second language (TESL) stint in the Northern Territory as a volunteer. She goes over each year. "We have to remember," she said, "English is the language of the oppresser. People need to get beyond that before it can become the language of empowerment." We need more folk like her.

The owners here have a big old Lab-Boxer cross who runs around being friendly. Last night had live entertainment, and there was one note for the mail singer which would set him off, so the vocalist would get a few bars mournful howling to assist.

I have slowly worked out some possible routes home, bought food, had a beard trim, and dozed in the shade.

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