Duk-tales: Iron Horse Run 2015 – Day 13 – March 5, 2015
50 k’s of Carnage.
Sparks awoke at 4:bleeding30 in the morning and turned the lights on. Well it was a good sleep til now. Waited until dawn and rode with the long shadow on our backs. The first 50k was a show of absolute destruction for the Roo population. Death was scattered along the road with reckless abandon. Mostly fresh from the night before and at one point I counted 8 bods in a 20mtr space on the left and more to the right, this was the Killing Fields. Crows and Kites picked at the juicy red meat before the heat of the day cooked it at 55ºC. Note: Kangaroos are dumb animals. The view distracted me from the locus plague Sparks’ Street Glide was kicking up. Hopper guts cooled my bare fingers as we tracked east along the Highway to Longreach. Hoppers were like salt specks littering the black tar. “Smack” right below the bottom lip. Shit, that hurt but keeping my mouth shut stops the ingestion of Indonesian Crusty Chips! Ilfracombe was our first stop of the day and riding in became a game of dodge Skippy. This town has a live roo problem. Apparently the drought had brought them to town and overnight they get at anything green on the verandas, gardens & shop fronts. However, what a picture perfect little town, old farm equipment lined one side of the highway and quaint buildings the other. To top it off the café serves up the best presentation of a big breakfast and great service to boot. Stop here! It’s a must see.
The next leg to Longreach was older in it’s carcass distribution, another 50ks of skeletal remains. It would appear that the rains had shifted east so the Roo population followed. Sparks, who as a rule rides open faced, now needed a bandana as his nose was cooked through and looked like short slice of frankfurter that’s been boiled too long. Longreach didn’t have one so I lent him one of mine. Honest! I haven’t sneezed in it (much)…….. And so up the Landsborough Hwy we continue the saga. Possibly the single roughest piece of road in Australia. The bitumen vibrated the shockers with the consistency of a coke bottle full of blow flies. A couple of culverts bounced me clear off my seat. We travelled on 91 octane from Winton and Kynuna only had a sheep skin cover for the 91 pump to keep it cool and because the 98 pump goes on strike above 34ºC and it was now 55 in the shade, 91 it would have to be. Coppers don’t like to be on the road either at this temperature and sure enough one in a Troopy pulled up under a billboard as we skulled our “V” Energy drinks. How cliché. We were now in some of the flattest land in the country. A sign indicated we were in the Lake Eyre Basin which stretches over almost half the country.
It seemed that Sparks was now pre-occupied with getting to Mount Isa and so didn’t stop at Walkabout Creek Pub (used in the filming of Crocodile Dundee) and not long after we spotted a couple of bikes ahead. We’d caught up with Sandra Butler and Ray Luke from Darwin Chapter heading into Cloncurry. Sandra seemed on a mission, we passed Ray easy ‘nuff but she wasn’t having a bar of it. Now Sandra is a nicely proportioned little lady on a Fat Boy who suffers the occasional burst of heat requiring a cool down so it was real nice to pull up at the Cloncurry bowsers where she promptly poured water on herself for a wet T-Shirt display. We got to the dealer at Mt Isa before closing time to re-secure Sparks RHS exhaust and check on the compensator noise. Mark Strain the co-owner and mechanic told us he could not do anything more on the bike till Monday so the decision was made to risk running it home. After all, these motors are made right so no problem. We soaked up the atmosphere at the local Buff’s Club that evening and discussed running the full way home tomorrow.