Where are we?>>http://goo.gl/maps/POKtX
Friday 17 May 2013
We rode 40km to Roebourne to take an all day bus tour of the Rio Tinto ship loading facility. This huge facility was very interesting and is currently being expanded to more than double its current capacity. The tour took us right into the plant and we saw some of the huge equipment up close including the machine for picking up and emptying two x 200 tonne railway cars at a time. We lunched at the historic ghost town Cossack on the coast. There is building work going on everywhere in Karratha including three very large 10 storey apartment buildings to house “fly-in Fly-out” workers. They say it costs over $400 per week to rent a caravan site about 5k out of town and the average three bedroom house costs $850,000. The lady who was our tour guide said her whole family (5) work at the Rio plant. We are tackling the first section of the long 850 km run to Broome tomorrow and will overnight (probably in a donga) at a remote roadhouse about midway.
Saturday 20 May 2013
We set off from Karratha in cloud and some light rain but this soon fined up to be clear and sunny all day. The 400 km ride for the day was through flat and open country which is showing the effects of some recent rain. There is lots of green and the country looks great. We occasionally came upon some red rocky hills which periodically appear out of the flat countryside. We bypassed the very busy mining and ore ship loader at Port Hedland which was obviously undergoing huge expansion works much the same as Cape Lambert. The road train traffic had to be seen to be believed with dozens of huge four trailer ore carriers going in all directions. We were pulled over between Karratha and Port Hedland to allow three huge road transports past carrying mining equipment as wide as the whole road presumably destined for the port expansion at Cape Lambert. See the short Youtube clip at the end of this post to give you a flavour of the ride. We stopped off at the old mining town of Whim Creek expecting to make a comfort stop but found the place deserted and derelict. We stayed at the Pardoo Roadhouse overnight midway between Karratha and Broome in the middle of nowhere. Our “room” was a bare Donga with shared camp facilities. Not quite up to Ros’s minimum required accommodation standard but there is nowhere else!. Three days in the Mercure at Broome should offset this minor slip-up in accommodation standard.
A short Youtube clip of some of the ride >>http://youtu.be/9fkjEm1hX5Q
Sunday 21 May 2013
We got going early today for our 470 Km run into Broome. We copped a bit of light rain first up but this did not last long. The rest of the day was mostly sunny with the temperature hitting 33c most of the day which is the highest for the trip so far. The ride was uneventful with just two isolated roadhouses the only civilisation for the entire trip. The run from the Sandfire Roadhouse into Broome was over 300km and the longest non-civilisation leg so far on the whole trip. The road was mostly flat and typical low scrub but about 50 km out of Broome it opened out to cleared pasture off to the horizon. Huge herds of cattle were dotted across the landscape like ants. We reached Broome at around 3pm and just missed a heavy rain shower. The temperature was still +30c but the humidity must have been close to 100%. This is now roughly our halfway point in both time (day 40) and distance (10,243 km). We plan to stay here for 3 nights and see some of the sights tomorrow including the obligatory camel ride along Cable Beach.
Cheers for now
Ros and Dick