Friday, June 09, 2006

Driving through the Outback to Alice Springs

Didn't shower...it was too cold. We had breakfast at the lodge. It was way overpriced for the quality of the meal. In our car and driving around 0900. The late start was recommended by a local because the sun rises in the direction we'd drive and we wouldn't be able to see anything. We thought he meant scenery, but we learned that he meant kangaroos.

Now, we were maybe 20-30 minutes into the drive when I thought I saw my first kangaroo in the wild. It was over the berm beside the road, laying in the shade. I said "I think I saw one that we sleeping." Shortly after that, we passed another kangaroo that looked like it was sleeping on the shoulder of the road...until we passed it and saw that it had actually been struck by a vehicle. So, more than likely, that first one I saw was less likely to be sleeping than it was to be roadkill.

We saw over three dozen of Australia's symbolic animals scattered across the highway, decaying and being eaten by birds. Apparently, the road is warm at night and the 'roos sleep there but "road trains" (three-trailer semis) hit them. We also saw a sign that identified a floodway which someone had modified to a more appropriate "bloodway" sign. There was nowhere safe to pull over and take a picture of it, so you'll just have to imagine it.

It's about four hours between Uluru and Alice Springs. We drove through a gap in the McDonnell range and there was Alice Springs, population 200k, 25% aboriginal. The Todd river was bone dry, but it floods at times. We had lunch at the Royal Australian Flying Doctor cafe before getting out and exploring the city. ANZAC hill on the north side of town has a great view of the area, including the mountains to the south. The town is dry and dusty, kinda dirty too. Still, it seemed very nice.




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We stayed at the All Seasons Oasis (10 Gap Road 0870), but we went to feed rock wallabies at Heavitree Gap at sunset. They're timid, but fiesty. Their paws have claws that pinch if you try to take away their food pellets. There must have been 20+ of them coming down from the hills. I had three eating from the same hand.




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We met up with Kacey's grandfather's brother's granddaughter Trish who's son was playing in a band (Zenith) that planned to release its album tonight but the CDs hadn't arrived yet. The music was good, the pub was lively, pretty much what I'd expect from an Aussie pub on a Friday night. Our clothes smelled of smoke and we're running out of clean, warm clothes.
Fortunately, we're headed to sunny and warm Cairns tomorrow.

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