Ed and Rita voted for bitumen and a couple of nights in a comfy bed after we left Borroloola. We were thinking of heading to Roper Bar but the Americans were keen to get off the dust and corrugations for a while. They also had their eye on a motel in Katherine for a night or two after a couple of weeks of cramped quarters in little Thelma.
That suited us because we had an energy hiccup with Isabel. Our motor home had performed excellently over thousands of kilometres of unsealed roads and we were delighted with her sealing powers, insulation and ventilation.
Barely a speck of dust entered while we were travelling and at night the air circulated freely through the high screened windows.
At King Ash Bay we found the battery power dropped. We were happy to head for civilisation at Katherine and/or Darwin with our sleep-deprived American friends. Suspicions about a dud battery turned out to be right – we had hit the one-in-a-hundred chance of a defective deep cycle.
Back on the tarmac we visited the pink Priscilla and Elvis loos at Cape Crawford’s Heartbreak Hotel - a strangely named junction with a strange pub name. Cape Crawford is about 150km from the coast and any landmark that could be called a cape. It is a world away from Memphis and anything connected with Presley.
We swung on to the Stuart to find dressing up anthills has become more fashionable than ever. If you want to make a statement anywhere in north Australia, pack a cute costume and create the outback version of a snowman.
Roadhouses along the way make an effort to add character to their establishments. The Lavenders of Hayes Creek Inn do that. Colleen and Justin claim to have the “best barra and chips” and the best pies in the Territory. We weren’t figuring on pies that early in the day but we couldn’t resist. The claim was not in vain.
The Lavenders have gathered quirky furnishings and features to add to their establishment with the prize picture opportunity being the fuel bowser painted in Jack Daniels livery. Jack regalia bobs up throughout the inn/service station/caravan park that promotes itself as a gateway to features south of Darwin.
It’s worth a stop.