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Old 04-26-2007, 01:31 AM   #31
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You know: you're 5000km from home and the one thing you're relying on to keep you going is busted. Crashing your bike this far from where you live is heartbreaking. I know - I've done it before (lots). But have a look at this guy. I won't give you his name because he didn't ask to be publicised in an internet forum, but I owe this guy big time. He was driving behind the road train that 'got' me and saw the whole thing in his mirror. He's mustering cattle just up the road and had to take that tyre into town for repairs. He stuck around and held things while I bashed them, provided the water pipe for the handlebar repair and generally made me feel like people are really pretty damned good after all. Mate, thanks.


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Old 04-26-2007, 01:35 AM   #32
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The 'incident' happened, appropriately enough, near a town called "Mount Surprise". But after my new mate improved my mood, the sun came out for real and I started to feel like, yeah, dammit, I'm still gonna do this. I wasn't smiling, mind - but depression had receded.


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Old 04-26-2007, 01:37 AM   #33
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Fuel stop in Georgetown. It was almost 2.00pm and I'd only done 430km, but the more miles I put down the more confident I was that, damaged bike or not, I'd keep going and see how far I'd get before things started falling off.


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Old 04-26-2007, 01:39 AM   #34
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Croydon - a real cattle town. Great pub too - I've eaten here before. Inside they have all sorts of cattle memorabilia and more Cowboys rugby team stuff than is healthy.


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Old 04-26-2007, 01:42 AM   #35
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Before refrigeration, which wasn't that long ago in some parts, meat was just hung in a shaded, nearly fly-proof room. Even Croydon has refrigerators these days, so this is no longer a working meat store.



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Old 04-26-2007, 01:49 AM   #36
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Although it wasn't really raining any more, this is right on the end of the Wet season. For you people not from here, northern Oz doesn't have the usual number of seasons. Most people reckon there's just two: the Wet which runs pretty much over the end/beginning of the year; and the Dry, which gets the leftovers. It has to be said however, that the Aboriginals in parts of the the country up here reckon there's at least 8 seasons, but them fellas are a lot more subtle than us, and they've been watching the weather up that way for 40,000 years. They probably know what's going on.



Anyway, one of the consequences of the Wet (notice the capital letter) is water. So much water in fact that much of the land is inundated and highways are cut for weeks and months at a time. This tiny little remnant hardly seems worthwhile when you realise that. But travelling in the direction I was, I knew this was just a little taste of what was to come.

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Old 04-26-2007, 02:08 AM   #37
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300km west of Croydon is the town of Normanton. In that 300km, there is not much except scrub, red earth and lots of cattle. Oddly, there's a railway line called "The GulfLander" that runs between the two towns, but it's not connected to anything at either end. Still runs apparently, though god knows why.



Anyway, this is part of Normanton, one of only four towns in over 1500km of the Gulf of Carpentaria coastline. The fish is significant, because at the end of the Wet, this country is crawling with blokes in 4X4s with fishing boats on the roof or on trailers out back. This is Barramundi country. The "Barra" is regarded by sports anglers as one of the top few fighting fish on the planet, and they grow to an enormous size over 1.5 meters and hundreds of pounds. This time of year they're in the runoff from the floods and blokes will pay big bucks to get amongst them. Hence the relatively modern motel in the middle of nowhere.

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Old 04-26-2007, 02:12 AM   #38
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I wasn't staying in Normanton this time though. I was headed to Karumba, right on the water in the very bottom corner of the gulf. Never been there before, but I've heard stories of it being the center of the prawning universe and, being a bit strong on the tooth meself, I was up for a feed (complete with cold beer, ta).

This shot is on the road to Karamba. It's really only this dark because my camera was confused by the brilliant reflection on the clouds, but I thought it looked good.


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Old 04-26-2007, 02:16 AM   #39
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This is Karumba. Paradise. I had a bit of time before the sun went down so I did a quick tour of town. This bit is the view toward the river mouth from the town launching ramp. Up here, the ramp is vastly more important than any civic building. It is the essence of the place.


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Old 04-26-2007, 02:17 AM   #40
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Looking upstream.


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Old 04-26-2007, 02:18 AM   #41
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Somebody doesn't know how to spell wanderer.


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Old 04-26-2007, 02:21 AM   #42
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Remember what I said about blokes with 4X4s and boats? This is the pub, obviously. There's no-one in the pub by the way. They're all out on their boats catching Barra. Incidentally, this is, and I quote, "The Famous Animal Bar". Never heard of it.


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Old 04-26-2007, 02:23 AM   #43
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You might surmise from my signature line that I have an opinion on the relative value of religious institutions. In my humble opinion this church is about what I'd recommend for New York City. Just kidding. A bit.


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Old 04-26-2007, 02:27 AM   #44
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So, having offended most people, I went and found somewhere to stay. "2", obviously. This form of accommodation is refered to in the civilised world as a 'cabin'. Here it is known as a 'Donga'. Which suits me fine. These tin huts have aircon, a shower (laughingly called an en-suite by the owners) and a bed. What else do you need?


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Old 04-26-2007, 02:28 AM   #45
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But you do have to share the room.


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