Normal routine, pack up the tent and go; this time we travelled almost due west and just below the Tropic of Capricorn on Route 66. Nothing like the American one I shouldn’t wonder. This is a long dry road with towns spread sparsely along the way. As we turned onto route 66 pacing us, running along side the highway was an emu and I wondered if he was following us. After Anakie you start heading into true outback Australia and it becomes more obvious as you travel west, as bush areas become few and far between. We stopped for a few photos and crossed the Great Dividing Range again, a notice told us we were in the Lake Eyre catchment area. I found this amazing, as we were many hundreds of Kilometres from Lake Eyre in South Australia.
We travelled a further 350 kms. We stopped at Alpha hoping to buy some ice, it’s closed. We headed into Jericho even though it was out of our way, but they didn’t have any ice anyway, so we went on to Barcaldine where they did have ice. What a performance, if you can’t get something in one town, it could be over an hour to the next one. It took us half the day to get our day’s ice supply.
We were about to shoot through Ilfracombe, not far from Longreach, population 160, when we noticed it had a line-up of old trucks and machinery along the side of the road, set out like a museum. There was about a kilometre of this ironmongery, right through the length of the town. We had to stop and take the tourist picture, this was a wonderful find, there were several sheds of old equipment, museums of old household stuff etc. It was great and it was all free viewing, well, a donation tin was attached to one doorway. We stayed at Ilfracombe for about an hour wandering up and down the line of trucks, bulldozers, graders, carts and steam engines. It was really interesting but the flies were thick and the heat was oppressive. We finally retreated to the car where the air conditioning cooled us down and we could get away from the constant flies in our eyes, ears nose and mouths.
It was early afternoon when we arrived in Longreach, and very hot, close to 45 degrees Celsius, putting the tent up was an experience with the heat, the sweat and the flies. While we were getting ourselves organised in the campgrounds our old friend the Emu turned up again, were we really being followed? This time he had some friends with him; a pair of Brolgas, which are large crane-like birds.
After the tent was up and established, we headed into town and found a pub for a cold beer. That was so refreshing, we went on to another pub for another cold beer, that one was good too.
We had noticed in some of these outback towns a large number of police around.