Thursday, December 17, 2009

Trip from Alice Springs to Melbourne

I made it all the way to Melbourne and picked up Josh from the airport Yesterday!! Wahoo!! It is funny how time apart can make relationships better. You realize how much you love being together. We are about to head down to Wilson's Promontory, which is on the beach on the south east peninsula of Australia. It will be nice to share all my experiences with Josh. He loves and appreciates all the same things I do.

I had a adventure packed trip from Alice Springs to Melbourne. First I stopped in Coober Pedy, the opal mining town of the world. It is the first real ‘town’ on the Stuart Highway when heading south from Alice Springs. I went to some underground opal shops and got some advice that 'The Breakaways' were a good place to see the sun set and camp. I drove out to The Breakaways that afternoon taking this dirt/muddy track that I had to be careful on not to get stuck or hit a big rock. This was challenging because the sun was going down right in from of me so I was blinded. I made it to the lookouts just in time for sunset. The Breakaways look like you are on Mars or some foreign planet. Some movies have been filmed there that were set on extra terrestrial planets. I ran around the big mounds for a while then found a good place to camp that would allow me to see the glow on the ‘rocks’ from the sunrise. I made dinner and fell asleep counting shooting stars.

The morning sunrise wasn’t as pretty as the sunset but it was still nice. That day got to be pretty hot but I still hiked around for a while and looked at the dirt specimen under my hand lens. I started to make my way back to Coober Peddy, stopping at interesting looking places along the way. One place there was a hill and the color of the dirt changed from reddish to greenish. I got out of my car and walked around or this ‘green’ colored earth. The cracked ground was sparkling. It was covered with slivers of this clear rock similar to mica. As I walked my feet left deep imprints on the ground because under the cracked layer of dirt and shimmering rock the ground was moist from the rain two weeks prior. I got out my hand lens and looked at the rocks and dirt. Then dug up some of the top layer of dirt to find this moldable greenish clay. If felt really nice in my hands and I imagined Josh sculpting something from it. After playing in the dirt for a while I gathered a large chunk of the clay for Josh to experiment with then headed back to Coober Pedy. I drove around the town. Snooped through the neighbourhoods of underground houses, and went in a few shops. This Chinese man strongly urged that I come in and check out his opal shop when I drove into his driveway. I was just checking out the the old film props he had around his yard from a movie filmed in The Breakaways. But he seemed friendly so I came in. I told him I was not going to buy anything but he kept saying ‘do you like this?’ I finally said I had to have something to eat and was in my car when he insisted that I sit with him and have a cup of tea. I thought, well this spot was better than any other spot to eat my cheese and crackers. He had a great view overlooking the town and tea from Chinese is hard to turn down. I made cheese and crackers and drank tea at a table outside his shop. He had lived in Coober Pedy for over 30 years but still spoke very poor English. He got out some of his English books and I started helping him with his English. He was an interesting Character. I had a nice time there but thought I should probably hit the road soon, it was getting late. When I tried to leave he tried offering me to stay for dinner but I said sorry I had to hit the road. After leaving the Chinese man I stoped at that same art gallery/opal shop I had the day before to thank the man for his help the other day, and that I enjoyed the Breakaways. His name was Andy. He was really helpful before so I thought he would be helpful again in guiding me to another cool place to go. I asked him about this road called the Oodenadatta Track which I was thinking about taking to get to The Flinders Ranges. Andy was helpful again. I asked him lots of questions about opal. He could since my strong interest in Rocks and Art so he taught me how to cut opal and then started giving me opal. I was like really that's OK but he gave it to me anyways. I ended up eating pizza with him and he offered me a place to stay in his underground house. It was cool being underground!! I felt like the Flintstones. He showed me this old documentary on Coober Pedy. And then we went to bed.

The next morning we had Weet Bix (Aussy Cereal) then I hit the road. I decided to take the 'outback' track to the Flinder's Ranges. It’s called "The Oodenadatta Track". It follows where the old Ghan railway was. You can see the old trail tracks and bridges that go across creeks. There was actually tons of water along the track since it rained two weeks before. They purposely made the old railroad follow all the water holes so they had good access to water all along the way. Anyways, the first "town" I hit, population three, was called William Creek and I stopped for gas and checked out the pub because I was told it was a sight to see. It is full of random articles hanging all over the walls and ceilings. I decided I would stay for a Cooper's beer. It was around noon, still early in the day and I was planning on driving much further before stopping to camp. But I don’t call my car 'Wait" for nothin’. I met this nice young fellow, only a year older than me. He is the Pilot of William Creek. The main reason people stop in William Creek is for tour plane rides over the famous salt lake "Lake Erye". During the tourist season there are like 10 pilots and lots of people coming through but right now it is pretty dead around there and Rick is the only pilot. After talking with him a while at the bar and then him showing me around the "town" he offered to take me on a "free flight" in the morning. They had plenty of extra space in the pilot’s house. It was surrounded by all sorts of trees and grass, like a little oasis in the middle of the dessert. Rick taught me how to shoot a 222 rifle. We practiced shooting a target and I got the bull’s eye on my third and fourth try! I have never shot a gun before, besides a BB gun once. After shooting for a lil’ while we drove the quad bike to the nearby creek where there was an old railroad bridge and WATER!! So of course we went swimming! Then we drove to the dam where there is a wind mill and more water! We sat and watched the sunset and the full moon rise at the same time. Then ate dinner with the bar man and cook. It was an amazing evening. The next day we hopped on the small plane (a cessna210). And flew around searching for ferrel cats with this Scientist girl who was really cool as well and around my age as well.
Then I got to take the wheel and learned how to do some arobatics, including the negative ‘g’ where you fly up real fast and the swoop down like you are falling!! Suppa cool!

Oh my gosh I have done so much I don’t I have time right now to write it all!! Me and Josh are about to hit the road. But I will tell you that I ended up staying in William Creek for five days and now I am a professional pilot and rabbit hunter! I learned what it is like to live in the "outback". I did make it to the Flinders Ranges as well and it was well worth it! Did some hikes and camped. I made it to Adelaide and played volleyball almost non stop!! It was great!! I drove all day Tuesday to Melbourne. I made it just in time to go to a concert with my cousins and to pick up Josh in the morning. I love him so much, it is so great to touch him and see him and hear him and 'taste' him!! really all the senses!! Even smell him!! Well gotta go spend time with my man as I am talking about him!!

1 comment:

  1. WOW! Thanks for starting the blogging back again. I'm glad you two are finally back together again. :-)
    Mal, you sure do have some interesting people you come across during your travels. You are a magnet! And a very trusting soul. I look forward to the next episode. Even though I know most of this from phone and emails, this fills in more details and refreshes my memory of what you have done. Some tmi as well but that's ok, too. Have you ever listened to John Denver's "Annie's song"? ...."You fill up my senses..." It was one of my favs back in the day ('70's). Check it out sometime. <3