The sun with no clouds in the sky is melting the asphalt. It smells almost freshly laid.
The wind is blowing from the south, hard. Slowing our already slow travels down. It blows the van sideways, the hot breeze barely cooling the engine.
The kids sit strapped in the back. Hot. Tired. Bored. There is some yelling and some crying. We are all hot and bothered. We travelled more than 700km yesterday and almost 450km today, in the baking sun.
The landscape changes again. The trees disappear over a crest and open planes of the tableland are before us, around us. Hemming us in by the inescapable heat.
Down the road a little there is a herd of cattle blocking the road. Slowing us down to a standstill while they meander where they choose.
Soon the dirt isn't so red. The red tint has faded but is still there if you look hard enough. We come into a town, it is small. The weeds blow across the main street as another road train heads off in the direction we came from.
Finally a stop. Let the car and ourselves recompose ourselves. Lunch is canned tuna on rice cakes. Again.
The wind blows. The heat bears down on us, though we have kept to the shade for our lunch. The boys have played with some water from the tap. We start up again. Hawks and falcons circle in the blue sky.
The landscape changes again. More trees and the rocks and hills that surround Mt. Isa. We turn to the south, the wind blowing directly toward us and the temperature gauge drops. We put the windows down and let the breeze come in.
It is still hot. It feels like it has always been hot.
A quick stop for some food and we push on to find out camp. Past a gate and a short, twisty, dusty road is where we stop. The car has had a long day, pushing the overheating mark. We have had a long day; it was hot outside and even hotter in the car.
The ground is rock. The tent pegs bend when we hammer them in.