Cloncurry to rest area

There is joy in knowing you only have a short distance to ride! After waking up at 6am, I packed up and was at the Cloncurry Bakery around 7.30am, where I spent over an hour drinking coffee, eating a sandwich (and maybe another lamington) and doing some writing for the blog. The bakery was busy, with people coming and going the whole time I was there. Old Tom said ‘g’day’ too. He said he had walked from Mount Isa to Townsville and various other places, but he would never ride a bike, it was too hot!The Bicycle Pedlar - Cloncurry bakery

Dawdling over, it was time to apply some zinc cream and head off. There was water in the creeks and rivers…The Bicycle Pedlar - Cloncurry to Mount Isa

Hills meant a change in scenery and it was wonderful to see; so wonderful I found myself stopping every few kilometres to take another photo.The Bicycle Pedlar - Cloncurry to Mount Isa

The Burke and Wills memorial was down near the river…The Bicycle Pedlar - Burke & Wills Memorial

The ride continued in this fashion, along with some slow 9km/hr ascents and refreshing 40km/hr descents until I reached the Fountain Springs rest stop, my camping spot for the night. Conveniently, the ‘driver reviver’ section of the rest area was not operating so I claimed this shady spot as my own for the afternoon.The Bicycle Pedlar - Fountain Springs Rest Area

Fountain Springs Rest Area is only 60kms east of Mount Isa, and is a surprisingly (for me anyway) popular place for travellers to pull up for the night. There are toilets and some sheltered tables and benches along with trees and BBQ areas, good for a campfire. The area is bordered by cattle property, with an excitable shiny black bull mingling amongst the cows.

Unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be any drinking water as at the last rest area. The wash basin tap in the toilets had a sign that grimly informed me the water was undrinkable. I realised I may have gotten a little complacent in my preparations, particularly considering the 39 degree heat.

After investigation (in-depth investigation of course, given my extremely low level of knowledge about these matters), the water appeared to come from a bore, or maybe it was just rainwater, with a tank perched high above the ground that had black pipes running down into the ground. In totally unscientific fashion, I sniffed the water, checked it looked clear, and tasted it. It seemed okay to me, with the same bore water type taste as at the various towns visited along the way. I decided the risk was worth it. If I was going to get sick from this, I would find out in a couple of hours after I had guzzled a bottle or two! The Bicycle Pedlar - Fountain Springs Rest Area

This afternoon was a fun afternoon. With plenty of hours to kill, I decided to try cooking damper, something I had been too tired to contemplate earlier in the week. Following the same principle we had written about in a previous post, I mixed together random amounts of self-raising flour, powdered milk and salt. Next step was to add just enough water to make a dryish dough…oops!…bit too much water…more flour…more water…The Bicycle Pedlar - Trangia damper

The Trangia was set up on the lowest heat possible, then I plonked the flattened dough into the bowl and cooked it over the low heat with the lid on.

Apart from the excess flour burning around the edge of the Trangia bowl (should have cooked the dough in a clean bowl), the damper turned out wonderfully! Flattening it slightly meant I could cut the damper in half and smoosh banana and drizzle honey on each of the slices. Delicious! This was a winner!The Bicycle Pedlar - Trangia cooking - damper

Throughout the afternoon, overnight campers trickled in. Daphne and Roy did an annual trek up to the Gulf to go fishing, Mark was on his way from Cairns to Mount Isa for a three month contract as a chef at the Overlander, and I chatted with a young German man who was travelling around Australia in a four wheel drive. All were friendly and full of tales of their adventures.

As darkness fell, I climbed happily into bed to escape the (not too bad) mosquitoes and went to sleep with the sound of bellowing cattle, passing roadtrains and the odd quiet laugh from a fellow camper. Tomorrow would be my final day of cycle touring for this trip…

The Bicycle Pedlar - Fountain Springs Rest Area

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