Monday, September 28, 2015

Daly Waters to Dunmarra

It wasn't the best of mornings. Ants had found their way into our food supply, and I didn't even know ants liked salted peanuts. We didn't have enough canned food to get to Elliott, the next town with a store and the road houses rarely had a supply other than soda and ice cream. Also, we were leaving Daly Waters Historical Pub, a magical place full of pies and pancakes.

As we dropped off the key a lady approached and presented herself as from ABC Rural Radio. She wanted an interview. I responded to her questions as well as I could possibly do and she seemed satisfied.

We had not had breakfast yet because we planned to eat at the next road house, only 8 km down the road. On our way we met an older couple walking on the road. They had their camper nearby and were just having a stroll. They offered to solve our food shortage, went to get their ride, and we met up at the road house. We bought them coffee and they gave us eggs and canned beans. Perfect! A long conversation later and we parted ways.

The clock was now way past 10 and we had hardly got anywere, but thankfully we were fully stocked with food.

The road turned out to be very nice and smooth and we just kept skating on. We arrived at the rest area which I earlier the same day had desperately been longing for. But we had plenty of energy left and pushed on. Soon we arrived at Dunmarra, 53 km from where we started that morning, with plenty of time and energy to spare. A record day and the first time we broke 50 km.

The road surface makes all the difference.

Or, more likely, it was due to proper refueling of beer in Daly Waters.

Daly Waters Historical Pub.

PIE! The apple kind.

Coffee in the outback.

Getting bearded.

Sofia is approaching Dunmarra.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Mac a duck ah

- "Allah akbar!"

The blank stare I got from Evy was more than matched by the totally lost look my face presented.

She didn't just say Allah akbar, so what did she say then? My mind raced through my mental English dictionary desperately searching for a match.

- "Mac a duck ah?"

I consider myself reasonably proficient in English, I should at least be able to hold a conversation. But I didn't have a clue about what this woman was trying to say.

- "Acka dacka, do you like them? Ayy See Dee See. Australian rock band. Acka Dacka!"

Ah, AC/DC. Acka Dacka.

- "Yes Evy. Yes, I like 'em, I like 'em a lot."

Totally irrelevant to the story, or anything.

Seems true. Stays red though.

It might be an S carved into this tree if you use your imagination, and it is believed it might just possibly be John McDouall Stuart who carved it. Instant monument and tourist attraction!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Slowly riding south

The road surface has improved a lot from a longboarder's point of view. Far from Darwin the pavement gets neglected and years of road trains have worn the rough, most likely cheap, tarmac into something smooth that is almost enjoyable to skate on.

The traffic is lighter too. It got sparse after Katherine but almost died out entirely past Mataranka. However, when two road trains meet on the road they always seem to converge at the exact point where I am at.

Due to these two factors our daily progress have advanced considerably. Nontheless, we are not even close to my naively optimistically projected daily average of 50 km, the longest day so far being 48 km, and a total average of a little past 31 km. I have coworkers running longer distances before I get up in the morning.

We are not going to make it across the continent in the alotted time, and have to settle with Alice Springs as the ultimate goal.

I think it's because I'm not drinking enough beers.

Yes, that must be it.

Finally some smooth pavement.

That's right!

Cutta cutta caves. Guided by Cam, awesomest guide ever.

Audio book next to the highway, after a nice cup of hot chocolate in 40°C.

Bitter Springs, Mataranka. Crystal clear water. Photo Sofia.

It's getting more red. Or it's exactly the same. I don't know.

You don't say?

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Katherine Gorge

"My mother-in-law is Swedish", our taxi driver Jamal proudly proclaimed as he turned on his playlist of obscure Swedish songs I've never heard.

One of the many, many downsides of travelling by longboard is the limited means to do side trips. There are no buses from Katherine to the Nitmiluk National Park during weekends, but Jamal with his taxi actually got us a better deal than two round trip bus tickets.

I like valleys, canyons and ravines, and Katherine Gorge delivered. With a bit of canoeing and hiking we we're treated with some scenic views.

I don't know when I'll have Internet next, so while you're waiting for the next blog post you should read, like her on Facebook and watch all her Instagram pictures.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A week in pictures

A week in pictures:

September 4.

September 5.

September 6.

September 7.

September 8. Notice Pine Creek.

September 9.

September 10.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Track

- How many days did it take you to get here, she asked.

- It's like Wednesday today, right?

- It's Friday.

- Oh.

The Stuart Highway, The Explorers Way, or The Track. Many names to describe the same road. And "The Same Road" is probably the best description of them all. We skate from road house to road house, from camp site to camp site, but the road pretty much look the same. It's slightly hillier now, but using any other mode of transportation, including walking, and you would hardly notice the climbs.

The vehicles passing us can be distinctly categorized. First, the road trains. We get off the road entirely when we hear them approaching. Their tinted wind shield makes it difficult to determine the mood of the driver, but they stop at nothing.

Second, the retired people in their campers. They usually smile, might wave or, if they think fast enough, take a picture.

Then the hippie vans. Young guys on a road trip. They cheer and give a thumbs up.

Forth, the women in expensive cars. They're stone faced.

The coach driver waves his hand in appreciation, happy we moved out of his way.

Those are the travellers on The Same Road. Add the odd motorcyclist and the local farmer hauling something to somewhere, and you've got the full picture.

No traffic most of the time though.

Like a big baby.

Charlie, the buffalo hypnotized by Crocodile Dundee, died and got put on display at Adelaide River Inn.

Third meeting with the law.

Road train. Photo Sofia.

Other people camping usually have cold beer. Much appreciated.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Ralph and Litchfield

We stayed at Ralphs magnificent place for two nights. You know you have found a special place in the world when your house doesn't need walls.

Ralph introduced us to her friends and way of life in the outback. Having a local as a personal guide beats organized tours every time and Ralph was no exception, going the extra mile to show us the Australian hospitality and local sights.

The glorious starry sky over Litchfield National Park almost made us regret lighting a fire at our camp site. The fire is mostly for setting the mood, we use gas for our cooking.

The Milky Way faded as the full moon rose over the horizon. But as the stars went dim, thousands of tiny lights began to sparkle on the ground around us. What might it be, I wondered, like a naive child. Maybe lightworms or some flourescent plant? I used my headlamp and took a closer look. I was met with the stares from all eight eyes of a Wolf spider, reflecting the headlamp right back at me.

The lights are spiders! They are all spiders!

Ralphs place.

Berry Springs.

Rodeo and motor show. Photo Sofia.

Second police encounter.

Magnetic termite mounds.

Big ones.

Wangi falls


Florence falls.

Tabletop walk.

Buley Rockhole


Food for kings.