33 days away
663 km / 412 miles since last post
6,171 km / 3,834 miles total
We knew from the outset that today was going to be a driving day. We had to make it from Mount Isa to Tennant Creek, which is over 600km, so the long drive was essential. We could have spread it over a couple of days, but I was happy to get it all in one day and save us from having to stop over in a pretty dull and remote town along the way.
The drive, while long and pretty tiring, wasn't without event.
An hour or so after leaving Mount Isa we saw some spots on the windscreen and thought for a moment that it had started raining. However, it turned out to be bugs splatting against the window. A down pouring of insects! Most of them were small flies, but now and again you get a huge locust which makes a big bang on the window. At the next fuel stop it was a necessity to give the windscreen a much needed wash and scrub to remove the crusty corpses from our screen.
We were around 50km from a small town, Barkley Homestead, when we saw a police car parked up ahead. They put up the stop sign and pulled us over. The policeman was very friendly, asking us where we were heading etc. He just checked my licence and gave me a breathalyser test, and then sent us on our way. It's quite bizarre that you feel in the middle of the outback of Australia, and then you get stopped by a police breath test. It seems the most unlikely place in the world you'd expect to be stopped. However, I guess it makes sense because this is the main route into the Northern Territory.
Unfortunately, the landscape for much of the journey was arid and featureless, although that in itself is a feature! You really feel like you're in the middle of nowhere. We did see the odd car pass by and I'm now clued up on the drivers etiquette when you see another car in this remote area - give a little wave! Not everyone does it, but most drivers will at least raise their hand as an acknowledgement of you on the road. Even some of the truck and road train drivers do it.
Finally arriving at Tennant Creek, we quickly found our campsite and settled down.
At sunset we drove out to a nearby lookout. Just before dark we noticed a massive ominous cloud on the horizon grow larger and head towards us. We could feel the wind picking up and decided to leave. It was a good job we did because it was a beginning of a dust storm! High wind speeds and poor visibility.
It's been a long drive today, and will be nice to take it easy and relax this evening.