Having left Coober Pedy a week ago today, we have safely arrived in Alice Springs; a relatively large town situated in the very depths of Australia’s ‘Red Centre’.
Over the past week we have continued our journey north up the Stuart Highway- As I'm sure you have gathered by now, this trip requires zero navigational skills. We haven't made a turn since leaving Port Augusta…..
We crossed the state boundary passing up into Australia’s Northern Territory, adjusting our clocks back an hour bidding a farewell to the seasonal ‘daylight savings’ of the more temperate southern Australia and looking forward to the tropical northern region ahead of us.
The terrain over the last week has remained largely unchanged. Endless expanses of dusty, arid land dominate this region of the world, punctuated only by the limited bush vegetation. And the odd cow. I particularly enjoy peddling past a cow. As we look at each other, eye to eye, I cant help but feel this common ground between us- together we’re out in the depths of nowhere, exposed to the unrelenting heat of the day, only dreaming of a fly free existence.
Pete and I continue to spend our days pedalling along, or ‘pootling’ along as we so often refer to it these days. I think this stems from our inner optimist. We have certainly mastered the art of remaining positive on this trip; Undeniably, there have been a number of tough hours, afternoons, days… battling headwinds amongst other obstacles. However, in times of ‘low’ we so often find ourselves sorting comfort in effective manipulation of the english language. Words like ‘pootle’, ‘cruise’ and ‘just’ seem to make the arduous miles ahead all that much easier. For example; “Hey Pete, lets just cruise for the next 100k”- when, quite frankly we couldn't be less comparable to any kind of ‘cruise’ liner effortlessly soaring through the ocean. No, come to think of it, we’re more like a disheveled fishing vessel, heading straight for the perfect storm and Pete’s just lost an oar.
The Caravan Club
Over the past week, Pete and I have enjoyed a few nights setting up camp in caravan parks, immersing ourselves into the luxuries of their shower, bathroom and laundry facilities. Staying in campsites also provides us with the opportunity to catch up with the ever prevalent ‘camper van gang’. Notably, our now good friends Ian and Di. Ian and Di, a 70+ Aussie couple abandoned their permanent living situation in Adelaide, instead favouring a nomadic existence in the shelter of their RV. I have to admit, I have never seen portable living quarters quite like it before. This was no ‘motorhome’. This was no ‘campervan’. This was a luxury, palatial studio apartment, complete with penthouse sleeping quarters, all on the back of ute. A fully furnished masterpiece and everything our tent wasn’t. Despite this, whilst Di willingly took me on the grand tour of this portable, Tardis like mansion, I couldn't help but find myself (positively embarrassingly so), comparing our primitive living situation to theirs. Indeed, upon Di highlighting to me how the pine oak wardrobes complimented the camel coloured shower curtain, I hastily nodded in agreement, responding that Pete and I were also fortunate enough to so often find that the green outer sheet of our tent regularly complimented the green grass below…
The Red Rock
So, no central Australian adventure would be complete without a trip to Uluru. This iconic red rock was a fine sight, rising high amongst the barren land below. Pete and I were all too happy to take the afternoon off and explore the surrounding area. A complimentary fly escort team joined us….oh good.
We have just taken a day off in Alice Springs to refuel, rest and recover before beginning the second half of our Stuart Highway adventure tomorrow, onwards towards Darwin- basically within touching distance now. ‘Just’ one little teeny, tiny ’pootle’ to go. In short, i’d say we’re cruising…