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Day 7: Winton – Mt Isa. Wednesday 5th May 2010

The change in the terrain was very noticeable today. There is less green now as it gets drier, and there is more red in the landscape. The roadsides were dotted with pointy red ant hills and I spent some time trying to work out if they were all facing the same way.

The wind was quite strong, and on one stretch the fence running along both sides of the road had collected the dry grass at the top of every post so that it looked like rows of lollypops.
I find myself doing all types of calculations while I’m riding – like if I’m riding at 120km/h that’s 2 kms a minute, so in 10 minutes I should cover 20km, and then I watch the clock to see how close I get. Or, if we ride at 120km/h and one rider stops for 5 mins, maybe to take a photo or something, and then that rider travels 10km faster (130km/h) it will be half an hour before they catch up! Did I mention the roads are very straight and very much the same?

We had lunch at Cloncurry which has the highest recorded temperature on record of 53.1 degrees.

The road to Mt Isa was gently winding through hills – the most interesting riding in a while.
The campsite had almost no shade and was very hot. After a cold shower I rode into town in shorts and t-shirt – something I had always vowed never to do...

037_Mt_Isa.jpg
Mt Isa

A visit to the lookout gave a good view of the city. Sadly, the mine is something of an eyesore.

We walked around some of the city and found an ice cream shop :-)

We had dinner at The Overlander ($7.95 for a huge rump steak!) with Guy, a friend of Scott’s who works in the mine. It was fascinating to hear about his job. He works as charger – setting the explosives, which are detonated at ten minutes to eight every morning and evening. Apparently the resulting tremors can often be felt through Mt Isa but we couldn’t detect anything at that time. Guy works 1.2 km underground in constant 42 degree heat with 100% humidity.

Today’s distance: 475km

Posted by Jo vanEmmerik 21:41 Archived in Australia

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