Stage 59: Australia / NT

Barrow Creek to  Aileron
Date: 11-04-2014 Time: 06:01 h Σ Time: 332:12 h
Distance: 151 km Σ km: 6949 km Temp: 21/44°C
Up: 276 m Σ Up: 71056 m Down: 120 m
Calories: 2538 kcal Σ kcal: 152787 kcal  
Conditions: Hot, wind changed from tail- to cross- and headwind before lunch. Thereafter coming from all directions.

It was a quick start from Barrow Springs. I guess nobody wanted to stay there longer as necessary. For the first 30 km we were actually heading west, so we got good tailwind that let us cruise at 30km/h or higher. Conditions changed once we turned back into southern direction. The tailwind turned into a nasty crosswind slowing us down substantial. Right after camp I took some sunrise photos with riders passing by the rising sun, thus I lost contact to all riding groups as they were flying by to fast. Therefore I was on my own again for most of the day. Unfortunately my DLR stopped working after a few more photos – the shutter did not open anymore. I tried to reset the camera several times to correct the error, but no success. Thus I was left with my GoPro and Samsung phone for the rest of the day. There wasn’t much to see anyhow this day, except once in camp, thus not a big problem. I already planned to buy a new body in Alice Spring the next day to have  a good camera for the Uluru (Ayers Rock) trip. Surprisingly the cam worked again in camp. Must have been one of the bumps when riding over the cattle grates that cleared the malfunction. The highlight of the day was definitely the mango ice cream at the mango farm at 104 km (TdA must add this stop to their ‘bible’ for future tours – however, the farm is on sale, hope the new owner will continue the business). Todays camp is a paradise compared to last nights. There is an art gallery associated with it, with two huge human sculptures on the ground and the hill, next to it (photos to follow). A not very happy locking kangaroo is in one of the paddocks with some sheep, with a strange name (‘phuku’ or alike). Some riders told me they have seen 2 wild camels as well. I decided to climb the nearby hill with the ‘Big Man’ sculpture, after stopping at the ‘Big Women with child and lizard’. Their size is impressive. Unfortunately the gallery was closed, so I need to find out later what the meaning of the giants is.

Tomorrow is the final riding day to Alice Springs. Three rest days allow us to visit the Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kings Canyon and other sites, for which I have signed in.