Day 8-10: Alice Springs, then the journey to Threeways & Mt Isa

Black Dog Ride 2010

Day 8: A day of Rest

This was to be our ‘rest’ day, with many of us staying a second night in the Glen Helen Resort. However, the day greeted us with rain – so much so, a number of riders were concerned about the rain setting in all day and the prospect of the road being flooded (thereby not being able to leave) did not appeal. Also, for those who were headed to Tennant Creek, having 125km less to do the next day was the big incentive! So, a number of us legged it for Alice Springs instead of staying the second night. More chaos ensued to find rooms/accommodation for people back in the Heavitree Gap lodge – it was mid-afternoon by the time everyone was settled.

One of the BEST parts of this journey has been the sharing of deeply personal stories from riders and others alike – ‘slack’ time hanging around the hotel room or on balconies, in the car park, etc, has elicited some simply amazing stories. There are some people who have been guarded about their stories or not willing to share with others and that’s OK – as long as they know there’s always someone there to listen to them when the time is right. For the East Coast crew (the majority who started in Sydney) we’ve built up a special bond, and I can see us all playing a bigger role in each others’ lives as time goes on. Watch this space!

We headed to Lasseter’s Casino for dinner, and believe we were gouged – paying $20 for a burger and chips that cost $3 at lunchtime. Are burgers at night somehow more valuable? Also, the Guinness Pie might be wonderful for those who love their Guinness, but is it really worth $21 when it’s the same size as a $4 pie from a pie shop?

Oh and this was washing day. So we no longer would lug around stinky clothes. Most if us, anyway!

Day 9: Alice Springs to Threeways

The next day we had a big brekkie meetup at the Red Dog Cafe with the intention of grabbing brekkie and running an errand or 2, then heading out at 10 am. We made it our by 10:40 pm, and quickly scoped out Anzac Hill, where you can see for 360 degrees. Happy snaps were taken, then it was time to head off up the road towards Tennant Creek. 550km was on the cards, and most of it was flat, straight and boring.

Wycliffe Well is probably worth a mention – in the atlas it has “UFO Centre” as one of its landmarks, so we had to check it out! It turns out it’s #5 on the list of  ”Top Reported UFO Activity In The World”. I didn’t see anything strange whilst there but did share a laugh with the owners about how everything was themed in aliens and UFOs

3 of the riders stayed in Tennant Creek, whilst the rest sought the solitude and (relative) peace of Threeways, just up the road and on the junction of the Stuart & Barkly Highways. Some camped, and others opted for beds – In our room, there were 3 frogs,  a Huntsman spider and a thousand insects of various sizes, colors and shapes. We had some intermittent internet access so updates were delayed.

Day 9 Pics:


Day 10: Threeways to Mt Isa

This was the day we were dreading – 640km (one of the longest) through long, straight flat roads – crossing the border into Qld. There’s not much else to do on this road except to press on – fuel’s only available in Barkly Homestead & Camooweal, so you need to make sure you plan accordingly. The terrain was flat and (for the most part, barren). After 11:30 am is started to get hot, registering 32C on my bike’s temperature gauge. And we’d only really done 200km! We packed in the choccie milk and water at every opportunity, and decided to press on as best we could, with a few stops along the way – there aren’t many stops on this journey!

We had a pitstop at ‘Soudan’ and met up with Dianne and Barry, who proceeded to tell us the good places to visit on our journeys. We’re staying in the Big 4 in Mt Isa, thanks to their recommendation! Dianne also brought out some walnut & date cake for afternoon tea! They were simply awesome to meet and shared their travel story with us.

Earlier in the day, Raz uttered the words “Look, there’s a Police station in Avon Downs, there must be fuel, too” – there is no fuel! Raz did not need it on this stretch but we had a chuckle over this later on. Camooweal was the next stop, and by this stage, lunch-time had passed us by (this is becoming a recurrent theme – when you have a big ride like this, you can’t have a typical day food-wise. The best thing is to eat smaller meals more often – each break is more of a chance to refuel for the next leg of the journey. I usually eat apples, bananas, nuts, muesli bars or flavoured milk. Unfortunately, DazzaB sat down and ordered lunch whilst the rest of us found shade outside for a quick bite. He felt abandoned. He got over it  )

The last part of any ride is always fraught with tiredness, fatigue and a general feeling of being HOT. The temperature gauge was now consistently showing 38C and 20km out of Mt Isa I’d drunk the last of my water and was sweating and hot. I am glad I made it through the mid-afternoon snoozies you can often get when you combine a boring road, hot weather and big meals (hence the need for smaller snacks more frequently).

Day 10 Pics: