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Day 87 | even more civilisation at Oodnadatta: and I check out the road for the next day's ride

Rest day

The Oodnadatta Pink Roadhouse has informative signs all up and down the Oodnadatta Track.

It’s a surprise to get there and discover that everything at the south end of town is painted pink. Lots of pink. Over the years out here in the wild west where there is no local council to monitor the building regulations Adam and Lynnie have just added bits, decks, verandahs to the roadhouse and picked up adjacent land until the whole enterprise takes up a fair hunk of that end of town.

I asked Adam what the road was like on the way to Finke: his answer was that the first person to ride a bike through here did it in 1896 so it can’t be too bad. Fair point. I more or less resolved to leave tomorrow and head up that way. It’s going to mean I don’t have to spend much time on the Stuart Highway at all and that has to be worth something.

Later on I amble over to the roadhouse to get today’s steak sanger for dinner and Lynnie asks me if I want to go with Adam on a mail run up to a couple of stations and check out the road for myself. He’s leaving in 3 minutes. The person supposed to do the run today had some issue and the mail must get through.

Well, why not, might be interesting to have a sense of what the road is like: Hamilton Station is 120km away but Mt Sarah is a bit off the road. The only real issue is that the sun has just gone down and it is rapidly getting dark. We both munch on our sangers as we leave in a cloud of dust.

I can report that the road seems better than the main Oodnadatta Track. At least for the first 120km, (Adam says it’s not as good subsequently.) Adam had a leaden foot and he knew that road very well. At times we were progressing at 150km/ hour on the gravel road. We stopped in at Mt Sarah Station for 15 minutes and then for a similar time at Hamilton. One roo was skittled by the bullbar but we slowed sufficiently not to hit the stray cow standing in the middle of the road: Adam knew where the waterholes were and where the cattle were likely to be on the road. We did the 260km including the stops in less than 3 hours: I think we averaged about 120km/ hour.

The first time in a car for months and here I was in this big 4WD going sideways around corners on two wheels. Total exhilaration with that blast of speed. It got the adrenaline going more than any hill climb on the bike.

The Finke Road?

No worries.