We got on the road in very good time, around 9am. Which was well and good, since we had 560km to go *sigh*.
I wish I could report anything of the trip, but really, there was very little besides refuelling and brief breaks. That is probably the main reason why two otherwise unremarkable pubs have become somewhat iconic roadside attractions. We had an ice cream at Renner Springs and a couple of cokes at the more prominent Daly Waters Pub. Filled with all sorts of memorabilia left by travellers coming through, it has sort of developed into a go-to place. As I said, in the end, what else would you do?
So we had plenty of time to talk, muse and most of all listen to audio books along the way. The landscape changed rather abruptly at Newcastle Waters. Temperatures go up again, humidity increases and all around trees and shrubs have replaced the arid plains of the centre. A more subtle change is the constant rise in height of the termite mounds, of which some are now taller than we are.
One last annoyance was a red lollypop on a construction site about an hour before our destination. We were the first to be stopped, so for the next 25 minutes we had front row seats to observe how roads are re-sealed. Thank you incompetent stick lady for no info at all and not waving past the only vehicle without AC to come through in 3 hrs …
But the light shines bright at the end of the tunnel. And it came in the form of the Bitter Springs, a ‘thermal spa’ stream in the bush. We arrived just in time for one quick swim before sunset. The perfect way to end a sweaty long day in the saddle. We swam along in the stream for a couple 100m. The water is actually ground water, leaking from an aquifer. Where the water flows, it is perfectly clear and has a lovely 34°C.