Alarm went off at seven thirty and after a quick shower and packing I checked out. Decided to change my front left tire - it's very bald and I've been meaning to change it for a week, but it's always been too hot or too wet. There's a piece missing from the jack (I know I'm an idiot for not trying to use it earlier - it looked Ok...), and it took me a while to improvise. Finally got the tire changed and the car put back together. My eight o'clock departure is now a nine o'clock departure. I stopped at the internet cafe to quickly post my journal entries (yesterday I didn't bring the disk) - at it's now a ten o'clock departure. Filled up with gas, got some food - my eight o'clock ended up being nearly eleven by the time I left Mt. Isa.
Another long drive with only a string up towns spaced an hour or two apart. The towns are virtually identical - two gas stations (one of which will be a BP), a butcher, a Woolworth's, and two saddle / tack shops. Just before dusk I drove through White Mountain's national Park, but I couldn't tell the difference from the previous 500 kilometers of bush. My late start meant that I ended up driving after dark. There were tons of kangaroos - both alive and road kill, and it made the drive very stressful.
Finally got to Charters Towers a couple hours after dark. I couldn't find two of the three places listed in the Lonely Planet (found the addresses, but the lodges are no longer there) and didn't feel like camping so I drove around until I found a motel. Had dinner at a nearby pub. The city is a combination of turn of the century Victorian gingerbread facade's and modern ugly. The gold rush influence is obvious and it feels a little like some of the northern Californian towns. The highlight of the day was getting waved over by the police for an "R.B.T." - when I was told this I had to ask, it's a random Breath Test. I've been hearing about these tests since I got to Australia so it was kind of fun to finally get to see one.