I’d been trying to leave Navarra for a week, but there seemed to be a force holding me down, like extra gravity, every time I tried to pack. The cat kept sitting on my spanners so I couldn’t pack my tool roll; I succumbed to the inexplicable desire to do my tax return.

Tax cat says your deductions are invalid.

It was hard to leave a place of comfort, and good memories; I kept looking at things that had become familiar – the coffee jar in the kitchen and the pillowcases on my bed – and wondering if I’d ever see them again.

The nights had also been bitterly cold, and I wasn’t in a hurry to repeat my human icicle episode from that night in Miles a week earlier.

When I finally got my shit together and hit the road to Windorah it was a a Monday afternoon. I headed straight for Windorah, down the dirt road from Retreat Station.

It was five or five thirty by the time I got to Coopers Creek. I’d come through this way with Andy a month or so earlier, on our way to install a solar pump at a property on the Birdsville road, and the banks of the channel had been crowded with grey nomads. Caravans and pensioners as far as the eye could see.

The recent cold snap seemed to have chased them off, however. There were only a few people camped along the Cooper. I walked down to the river bank to check the softness of the sand, and then rode Beastie down and set up camp on the bank.

The full moon was coming up over a white gum as the sky faded into dark blues and pinks.

I made tea and reconstituted some curry that I’d found in the free food box at Annie and Jock’s a few months earlier. Added some dehydrated peas to keep it classy.

I sat by my fire, by my motorbike, by the banks of the Cooper, and was perfectly content.

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