Ahh, Bloody Hell! Another day of this. Tall, thick, deep and sandy corrugations, nasty corners, dust pits, crazy drivers pushing the center of the road. Kev and my determination and skills were tested to the limit! Let me just also mention that we encountered mud! I was totally sprayed with the thick, warm, red and sticky mud by oncoming traffic not once, but twice. I know the guy in the Land Cruiser, who was probably running his air conditioning and listening to his Ipod was laughing his head off, and, I guess I cracked a bit of a smile, or maybe, I was spitting the mud out.
We rode into Coen and decided to stop in at the Exchange Hotel. Ha ha ha someone has put an "S" in front of the "E" on all the signs…classy! I was able to wipe my face and clean off my glasses which was a nice thing. We decided to stick around for a light lunch before moving on. There was a group of guys there going over the Cape map…they had three 4WD's and three dirt bike riders in the group. We surely looked much dirtier and haggard than they did at the half way point!
I really have not talked much about the country side, and there is a reason for this. It is just so hard to take your eyes, focus, and concentration, off the road. Even for a second. Now it is not like Im riding with blinders on, but, I just guess the major portion of my day is viewing dirt, along with and all of it's surprises, and pretty much what is next to the road. With that being said…there is always "Santa", and when "Santa" comes it is always an absolutely fantastic thing! Santa is the bitumen! Santa appears in the most unlikely places, and it really makes you wonder at times, "Why here?" Santa can be 100 meters long, 500 meters long or 5 kilometers long!! The beauty of Santa is that you get to relax, revive and refresh…take a breather, look around, heck even take your hands off your bars!! Ahh, I love Santa!!
Now after Santa, there is Boxing Day, which is almost as good as Santa. BD, as we call it, refers to Beautiful Dirt! This is the portions of red dirt roads that have little or no corrugations. They are hard packed red clay. What I am trying to explain is, that it is at these very moments that you relax and absorb your surroundings, look far across the countryside, wonder, marvel and be amazed at what you see. It is so worth it, I eat it up!
Huge termite mounds that actually look like art sculptures are beginning to pop up alongside the road and far into the landscape. Each sculpture unique in shape, size and color! Some are pointy, jagged and angular, others are rounded, smooth and frosted looking. They come in colors of rust, tan, mustard, a tarnished green, black, brown, yellow and white. Just brilliant! Livestock roams freely out here and care needs to be taken when approaching floppy eared cows as they have a habit of darting into your line of travel, and believe me I do not want to hit one! I have not seen any live kangaroos yet, but keep a keen look out…I don't want to hit one of these either.
We rode into Archer River Roadhouse around 2pm…we were tired and very dirty. We set up our tent, and sorted ourselves out for the evening. I was even able to get some washing done! We decided to stroll down to the river and take a peek…Ahh, it is so tranquil! The water is a clear tannin color running freely over large granite boulders and around gum trees. The area is quite sandy and has a river beach feel to it. We found a spot to sit relax and enjoy the surroundings. Small indigenous groups were gathered on the other bank cooking what smelled to me like kangaroo…they waved, and we waved back! The water was so cool refreshing and inviting I quickly dipped in, fully clothed, to cool off while Kev watched for large lizard activity. Ahh, much better!