After my brief rural idyll, I legged it North for a spot of barra fishing. I knew that my fishing friends were camped somewhere on the edge of a saltpan near the Gulf of Carpentaria; the idea was to make my way to Burketown and find them from there.

It was 100km of dirt road before I came out on the narrow bitumen that stretches from Longreach to Jundah. The dirt was a lot of fun in broad daylight, and Beastie ate it up.


It was hot under the midday sun, but only autumn hot – maybe 34 degrees Celsius, rather than summer’s forty-something days. Still, I made sure that I stopped, rested, and downed a fair bit of water. Wearing full protective gear – Klim jacket, Draggin jeans, knee-high Sidi adventure boots – doesn’t leave you a lot of margin for error when it comes to avoiding dehydration and heat stroke on a hot day.

I even had some of Nick Selleck’s lollies left over from the time I nearly keeled over in the heat during the KTM Adventure training in the Belanglo State Forest. See, Nick, I live and learn: I ate a couple of lollies too.

With a brief stopover in Longreach to replace another bolt, I made it to Winton before the sun went down.

I set up camp a few kilometres out of town on the edge of the Long Waterhole. It’s a water point on the stock route, which is effectively a corridor of land for the movement of stock across the country. People still use the stock routes as emergency agistment during drought, and to walk stock from one place to another. It’s also a good place for a hobo like myself to camp out for free.

That night I sat under the stupidly brilliant stars, next to my cooking fire, and was perfectly happy.


The next morning, I fuelled up in Winton and then spent a good while in the road house bathroom trying to clean my contact lenses.

This turns out to be an important problem in the great hobo life: being able to properly wash my hands so I can take my contact lenses out and clean them. I travel alone, so I don’t really care that much if I don’t smell sweet and wash every day, but being able to see is really, really important. Moreover, experience tells me several things:

  1. If I wear glasses, anything that I look at from an angle will not be exactly where I think it is. This is bad on a motorbike.
  2. If I don’t take my contacts out and clean them and let my eyes rest every day or so, soon my eyeballs will want to fall out instead.

Now, it takes quite a lot of water to wash your hands properly – by which I mean, properly enough to want to use your finger to clean a thing that’s going to sit in your eye all day – and that’s why the service station facilities were so appealing to me. Unfortunately, there was no mirror, so I ended up using my phone camera on the selfie setting to help me get the contact lens on my eyeball. This got a little hilarious because you have to compensate for the fact that the camera is off-centre to the screen you’re looking at…

The lady behind the counter gave me a sympathetic look on my way out, bless her; who knows what conclusions she’d drawn from my prolonged stay.

I got back on the road North.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *