The Road to Darwin Part 4 – Coober Pedi to Alice Springs

On the road again, nothing to see, not even a tree. Came across this old fella in the middle of nowhere. he looked a bit bemused and befuddled so we pulled over and asked if he was OK. He was pretty keen to know how the war was going. We asked him: “The war in Syria?” “No, the great war, the war to end all wars’. We had to tell him we’ve had quite a few wars since ‘the war to end all wars.’ He looked even more befuddled than before. He scratched his head and walked back into the scrub. Weird huh?

 

We got sick of the highway after that and decided to take the scenic route. You don’t need to follow the road, it’s open country. We just set the compass on North, put the car on cruise control, told Alexa to look out for obstacles, laid back and had a nap. We woke up when we heard Alexa chatting away to a human being. It was that camel lady who crossed the country from Alice Springs to Carnarvon. Turns out Channel 7 asked her to do it again for a TV special. The crew were pretty pissed off to see us ruining the shot, but we had a good chat to the nice lady. Turns out she lives in Castlemaine. Small world eh?

To read the full story go HERE

We kept our eyes peeled after that. Soon enough we come across another loner: No car, no bike, no woman, just a dog and a gun. He claimed he was going to be the first person to cross the country from north to south, on foot, and live to tell the tale. We offered him a Vegemite sandwich but he eschewed it. He said it would corrupt the integrity of the enterprise. Then he just called his dog, pulled up his trousers and headed back to the middle of nowhere without so much as a backward glance. Wierd huh?

To read the full story go HERE

Decide to stick to the main road after that freakish experience. Didn’t bump into any more oddbods for a couple of hundred Ks. Then what do you know, we encounter a couple of grey nomads trotting along. We offered them a glass of milk as a way of introduction, but they eschewed it, pointing out they were raw vegans and ate nothing but uncooked food. Turns out they were running right around Australia, every day, for a whole year. Wow! They said they were really enjoying it, except for the dead kangaroos and the blow flies and the running bit, which takes 4 hours a day, and the eating bit, which takes even longer. Starting with six bananas for entre and ending with six bananas for dessert. But they said they slept really well every night. This grueling regime would be hard enough for a normal person on a diet of meat pies and Chico rolls, let alone a couple of old fogies on a diet of lettuce leaves and tofu.

But they did it. 366 days straight (1 year approximately) Fifteen thousand Ks, a forty kilometre marathon every single day, including weekends, destroying every misinformed myth about vegans along the way.

Definitely made me feel a bit lazy, sitting on my arse in the car for four days straight, and another couple of weeks in the saddle to go, but then I’m not a vegan.

For the full story go HERE

 

The Road to Darwin

Left Castlemaine: Tuesday 30th July

Destination: Darwin, for the annual Darwin Awards

We have made it as far as Whyalla, where there is a big factory for making steel.

We are going to visit the cuddlefish today. They have been gathering for months but they will be going home soon. They come here every year to mate, 150 thousand of them, I guess that’s why they are called Cuddlefish.

On the first day we saw a lot of dirty sheep. I told the farmer I was not impressed.

“It’s a disgrace”, I said, “you should be ashamed of yourself. When we go to the country we like to see nice white sheep surrounded by nice green grass.”

The farmer comes over to the fence, wipes the sweat from her brow, takes off her Akubra,  swats a blowfly, lets out a loud fart, sticks her thumbs in her braces, spits out her chewing tobacco, scratches her croth laconically, and launches into a long and sibilant solilique. (due to her missing teeth, no doubt) Something about the drought, the wool price, the wheat board, the water board, the mouse plague, the dust storm and so on and so on.

“That’s all very well,” I said, “But what about our visual amenity?”

He just walked off shaking his head.

We got as far as Hattah Lakes on the first night., where we camped with the curious emus. They scared Gunyarr a bit, but I didn’t complain to management because it is a National Park afterall.

It was great to sit by a log fire again, I hadn’t done that since the night before.

Next day we got sprung with a shit load of fruit and vegetables. They all got confiscated and we will have to pay a hefty fine. It’s all a big scam of course, just so you are forced to buy local produce. I told them they should at least give all the confiscated fruit to the poor, or at least send it back to Melbourne to be resold.

We camped at Morgan on the Murray, just before it turns south. It was really hard to find a camp on the river because it is all privately owned. It seems Victoria is the only state where the beaches and rivers belong to the people. You can camp anywhere along the entire length of the Murrray till you get to S.A.

In Morgan they have a pump that pumps water to Whyalla. Unbelievable. It is 5 hours away. Some of the water we are drinking here in Whyalla is from North Queensland.

We passed a shit load of those ugly wind towers. They are everywhere. I was so glad to get to Whyalla and see the lovely steel plant:much pretier!

I asked a local why it is called Whyalla. He said an Afghan Cameleer once built a statue of the Muslim god up on the hill here and everyone would ask: “Why Alla?”. It is apparently the only statue of Alla in the whole world because whenever anyone built one they got their head chopped off.