I'd originally thought about running from my overnight stop, particularly if I needed to give my tent time to dry out from dew (not needed because there wasn't any), but the place didn't fill me with a desire to spend any longer there than necessary (and it didn't feel like a place I wanted to leave a car unattended either), so I switched to plan B and got out pretty much as soon as it took me to have breakfast and pack up after it got light.
One of the purposes of coming this way was a site visit to Rabbit Flat. This is 2km off the main road (and 45km down the road from where I camped), so I thought it seemed a good option for a run - close to the length I was looking for, plus I wasn't sure how driveable the track in would be, and the timing meant I'd be off the road during the awkward period about an hour after sunrise/before sunset, where there are alternating long shadows and bright areas making it very hard to 'read' the road surface. (I was right to be concerned about the track - parts of it have become quite overgrown, probably because no-one much other than Bureau techs have driven in there in recent years, and I certainly didn't want my car to catch fire
It's an odd and slightly eerie place - it operated as a roadhouse for 40 years before the owners retired at the end of 2010. They lived there for a few more years before moving closer to civilisation (they'd be well into their 80s by now). No obvious signs of vandalism, it just looks very abandoned. I do wonder if it will get revived at some point if plans for the road (of which more later) come to fruition as it's a strategic location. (One interesting bit which I found when reading the site history files is that, as the only children known to have been born in the area, the owners' (white) sons are recognised under local Aboriginal custom as the traditional owners).
The run was quite reasonable for a Monday after a decent Sunday session. Did a bit on the main road at the end to make up the distance.
Then onwards and southeastwards. The road was probably more corrugated on the whole than yesterday, but still made consistent progress. Something I knew about before I arrived was that there are increasingly firm plans to seal the whole road by 2030 - it's been an idea for a while but the last couple of summers have been a bit of a wake-up call for governments about the resilience (or lack thereof) of supply lines in outback Australia and the need for some alternate options. I didn't realise that there had been so much progress already, with about 35km already done at the Yuendumu end and another 50km well under way (with a newly built sidetrack which was slow going at times but had almost no corrugations, and in the slow bits there were some nice granite hills to look at after 600km of nothing much). The abiding impression of the route is its emptiness - even Aboriginal communities are pretty much non-existent over a large area on the NT side (not sure why but I'm guessing the flatness means water sources were very limited). A couple of mines were the most noteworthy features.
The only real disappointment of the day is that my strike rate on noteworthy remote community art centres on the trip is now 0 from 3 - having already missed Warmun and Balgo because of the (extended) WA weekend, Yuendumu's was closed for no immediately obvious reason (though I saw a funeral notice on the noticeboard of the store so I'll guess it was sorry business). This, along with the early start and the better than expected road, meant I was somewhat ahead of my expected schedule so I decided to press on to Alice rather than stop at the Tilmouth Well roadhouse as I'd planned to, getting a good late-day view of the north side of the West Macdonnells (not as rocky as the south side - most of the ridges out here are steeper on their south side - but still impressively large).