Wednesday, April 15

More Reminiscing

I often get asked, when folk here about my adventures around Australia - Did I get bored?  Did I feel safe? Driving so long on your own, how could you do it etc.  Read another post about Lake Argyle.

Let me explain what I planned, and for the most part did.  I had quite a few rules for myself.  I had daily limits of driving.  I didn't rush to leave in the morning - 9 am or thereabouts was fine by me, as I figured then that most of the kangaroos might have left the side of the roads by then, and as I didn't rush I could be, would be, more relaxed.

I had my laptop with me, and most nights I'd download some radio talks onto a USB, to listen to in the car.  I'd also select a few CD's.  I'd do any washing I needed to do soon after I arrived at the caravan park, (often around 3 pm), giving it plenty of time to dry late in the hot afternoon.  I would also organise my snacks.  I would nibble on nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit - and always bottled water.  I would buy my drinking water, not always sure that I could trust the local water.  In any case I felt that with bottled water, I was drinking "fresh" spring water.  My favourite radio interviewers were Richard Fidler and Margaret Throsby - both ABC folk.

Each night I would study the map, and made rough decisions about the distance I would travel, and where I might plan to stay.  I seldom phoned ahead to book accommodation, and I knew that calling into the local Visitor Information Centre, they could always help me find accommodation. That system only failed once, when I was in Carnarvon.  There was a major event on in town, and the only accommodation was in a crappy room in an old hotel.  Still, it was a bed, relatively clean and safe.

I didn't drive at night (except locally in the town, and rarely did that).- other than the night I returned from a sunset cruise.    I did not go to hotels etc at night for a drink, and I was careful who I befriended.  Single blokes in an adjacent cabin at Denham were friendly and gave me some fresh fish, but I refused to go drinking with them when they knocked on my door after 10 pm!!!

I stopped frequently to take photos - sometimes adding an hour or so to my day's travel.  Just awesome photography!!!

As I drove I would (a) listen to the local and international news on the ABC first thing in the morning, listen to one of the interviews, and often put on a CD with great old time music when I would sing and "dance".  Dance, you might ask?  I do this when driving - moving my upper body around and "singing" along with the music.  It somehow brightens me up, and after 30 minutes or so of crazy movements I feel refreshed.

I also stopped frequently.  Often pulling into roadside parking areas, just to get out and walk - after taking great care to see if anyone or anything is there.  Snakes?  Strange men?  I'd often grab the camera and take a short walk (not into the bush) and take a few photos.

Never at any time did I suffer from driving fatigue - except on my very last day when I overdid it to get back to Brisbane!!!

Arriving at my destination around mid afternoon was my goal most days - sometimes though I did have a longer drive and didn't get there until late afternoon.   I'd visit the Visitor Information Centres, to get local maps and information.

I had a rule that I would not stop for anyone - not an accident, or anything.  I had learned that some nasty people create "accidents" to get people to stop - and the helpers would then become the victims.  I did stop at an accident once.  As I passed a quadbike with two young boys on it, in a paddock a short distance from the road, I did do a "u turn" and go back to see if they were all right after it flipped!!!  I saw it happen so it wasn't contrived and they were two teens.  Luckily we were all safe and uninjured!!

I did carry a two-way radio, (which I seldom used and only then to listen in to truckies so that I had some idea of the road ahead), I did have a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, and a visi vest.  None of the latter did I have to use.  I of course had a mobile phone and a dongle, so that most nights I could access the Internet.

I also carried a cooler - with ice bricks that I froze each night - to keep fruit, milk, water etc cold for the day.

I knew  when I set off that there was an element of vulnerability with doing what I had planned, but I took great care.  I did stop and get my car checked occasionally too, and always carried water, just in case.

Though, I can confess, that I did have a great sense of relief when I arrived back in Brisbane safely - even to buying a bottle of champagne some 150 kms from home, as I was determined to celebrate.

Silverton, New South Wales

Vineyard at McLaren Vale, South Australia

Old building at Gladstone, South Australia (I spent holidays in Gladstone when I was younger)

The Great Australian Bight

Walking above the treetops in WA.

Pinnacles in WA.

Would I do it again?   In a heartbeat!!!

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