Duk-tales: Iron Horse Run 2015 – Day 14 – March 6, 2015
Sparks Goes Epic.
Start of the day is getting to be a bit routine, again with the 4am wake up. This time I cover my head with sheets and he gets the message, turns out the light (after a smoke) and goes back to sleep. We get up at 6:30am and it turns out the Buick is a stretch limo…. the Pizza at the buffs club musta had some bad cheese on it. At 7:30am we are back on the road again and the adventure starts early. A small mob of cattle cross the road a few K’s out of the Isa, we could just see them through the curve on the inside of the turn. Sparks is through but there is still one doe eyed white cow staring me down not yet ready to cross the road. I come alongside and she starts to walk (thankfully along the road) and I’m through. Unpredictable beasts.
The Barkley Highway rans from Mt Isa to the Stuart Highway in the NT and is notorious for very strong cross winds. Today was no exception, 30knots to be sure. Lucky it is partly a tail wind but the counter lean was in place 5º against the south as we powered west. The road is straight and quite boring with snake-like trails of black tar filling crack damage at very regular intervals. We make Camooweal in good time to find Sandra and Ray there ready to leave. Sandra is making a habit of giving us the wet T Shirt look and is once again soaked. Thanks Girl, you know how to make it a hard ride. Another big Bacon & Egg Breakfast (this keeps us going through lunch). We cross the border at 11:30am and the scenery is dead flat green grass. Still straight on the NT side but the wind has turned to be directly behind so pushing us to stretch 130kph (as said on day 1, 130kph is legal in the Northern Territory – just rubbing it in) and we make even better time to the Barkley Homestead for fuel. Again with the Wet-Look we catch the Top Enders for the last time as they head north from Threeways Roadhouse.
I don’t know if Sparks had the same inkling but getting closer to home made me think of the Missus and things not done for 2 weeks (naughty things on my mind shall not be detailed here-in) and the possibility that we can make it home today started looking real. A Hi-Ace van with a pair of good looking blondes waves at us as we overtake them but it is hard to show a smile behind a bandanna. So much for excitement to the Stuart Hwy Junction. Nigel (an Alice Chapter Member and Manager of the Roadhouse) is not at Threeways so not much point in stopping. He is a good sport though and welcomes any rider to stay the night. Sparks did indeed have a like-mind and says to me he has made it in the past from Mt Isa to the Alice in one go so we’ll have a go and turn south at 2pm. Hmmm 535k’s to home with just over 4 & a half hours of daylight, a fools folly perhaps???
The Stuart Highway is once again an open speed limit from just south of Wauchope to Alice so we could legally open up the inlets and suck fuel. Territory Roads are in good condition except the bit near the Tropic of Capricorn which is as badly corrugated as a Queensland road. A top up was required at Wauchope as I knew I would not make Ti Tree by doing 150kph…….. I was right, even with a full tank I barely made the 200k stint with less than a litre to spare (by slowing to 130kph). The Street Glide is blessed with the larger 22ltr fuel tank so Sparks was set. I can normally do 340ks at 110kph with the Heritage 18.7 litres. Still, Suuuucck Fuel and See. It’s still worth it! Oddly there is a Police blockade set up at the Harts Range turn-off and with the sun sinking low a delay is not what we need. “Breathe into this please sir!” 50kms from Alice, in the middle of bumfucknowhere they have a breathalyser station. We make the Tropic of Capricorn, 30k’s to go but need normal seeing-eye glasses to be able to see through the long shadows across the road as we make it home at 7:30pm with 1,203kms laid down in 1 day. Epic Sparks, epic! We are home safe. Thanks for coming on the Journey.