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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default Grandma's Big Red Van steps out.

    [That is the name the grandchildren bestowed on her.]

    On Thursday 16th we set out on our journey to Adelaide. It was around midday when we (finally) got away, and an hour later when we finally hit the highway. The van ran beautifully and sat comfortably at the speed limit.

    It was west of Ballarat that a horrendous hail storm pummeled us. In vain I looked for shelter, but there was not even a tree around. At the (eastern) entrance to Ararat we stopped at a roadhouse, for a break and a cuppa. My last stop for the day was at the caravan park in Kaniva, western Victoria. A lovely little park with a dozen or so spots. Run completely on an honesty system, the basic facilities were neat and spotless.

    The trip however, did not go without incident. At one point a truck virtually ran us off the road, pushing past at the end of an overtaking lane. Another truck doing the same stunt, rather than run us off the road, crossed the double lines forcing on-coming traffic to take evasive action and avoid a head on collision.

    As one approaches Adelaide one travels through the Coorong. This is a spectacular bird watchers wonderland. The wetlands of the Coorong are a vital link for migratory birds from the northern hemisphere, heading further south. As we came out of the bakery a couple of pelicans flew over our heads. At that moment the whole story of (the late) Mr Percival came back to me. Of course, Storm Boy was largely set in the Coorong.

    Now that the Distric 73 Toastmasters Convention in Adelaide, is over, I will have the great pleasure of giving the VW its first workout into the Red Centre.

    Lifey

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,697

    Default Red alert.

    Hi Lifey.

    Pleased to hear that you and your new bus are on the road and things are going well.

    I'm looking forward to following your journey in the 'world down under'. Don't park that big red van to near that big red rock, you may have trouble finding it again!

    Safe travels.

    Dave.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default

    Don't think it will get lost Dave. Right now I am toying with the idea of a speed run to Uluru vs. sightseeing along the way. I think the former will win, as I hear on the radio that it is raining, and water is cascading off the rock. A rare sight, and one I'd like to see.

    But it's still two or three days away.

    Lifey

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default A Town Like Alice - Neville Shute

    That is a great novel, set in WWII and subsequently made into a movie. The book was better!

    Right now I am spending a couple of days in Alice Springs, a really lovely town.

    The previous couple of days were spent at Uluru and Kata Tjuta. The weather was perfect. Driving on the road which encircles The Rock, I was amazed at how close I got in some places. Unfortunately I missed out on most of the wet. There were still a few trickles running down the sides, but not much to be spectacular. Folk who took the 12 (or so) km walk around the base told me it was quite wet.

    Despite the fact that the indigenous people request that you respect their sacred places, and not climb The Rock, many people still insist on making that journey. It was interesting to see how so many freaked out before they were quarter the way up, and turned back. Of course, the way down is much more scary, and treacherous. No stairs, no assistance. Just a chain to hold onto on the steepest sections. And, I am told, the plagues to commemorate those who did not make it down alive.

    We were fortunate to watch the sunset with an almost full moon, over Uluru. There are designated car parks for sunset viewing, where the places are taken up early and the best spots eagerly sought. Many friendships were made in the hours leading up to sundown. I had arrived more than two hours before, and ended up spending much of my time with Rosemary and Alfred, from England. They are sailing around the world, and travelling Australia while their yacht is being cared for in Malaysia.

    On my way up the Stuart Hwy I stopped over in Coober Pedy. For the rest I decided that my sightseeing would be on the way home. Due to circumstances and time constraints, have now decided to make Alice Springs my end point, turn around and head home. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as an alternate route. Only one road up here.

    There's quite a bit to see around The Alice. Today (Sat) I spent in town and out to some nearby gaps in the ranges. There I saw my first ever ancient rock paintings. At Emily's Gap there was a wedding taking place in the great outdoors, under the ghost gums amongst the spinifex with the bright colours of the McDonnell ranges as their backdrop. A fantastic setting for a wedding. The strange contrast was that some of the males were wearing kilts, and the party was 'piped' in, and out of this beautiful nature park.

    Tomorrow I plan to go to Hermannsburg. This is the place where the famous aboriginal artist, Albert Namitjira learned to paint, and where he spent most of his time painting. That was some eight or nine decades ago. Many of the Namitjira off spring also ended up as artists, and Oscar is now said to be more sought after than his father. I have always loved their paintings of the McDonnell Ranges and the ghost gums.

    So much has happened, and so little chance to get on the internet. Incredible country. Spectacular scenery. Lovely people. What more would you want.

    Lifey

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default What more would I want?

    ..... an extension power cord, fuel for the stove, pump for the air mattress, and on it goes.... all things I left behind. Had to go on a shopping spree.

    Discovered early into the trip that I had also left my parking permit in my Subaru. Son was able to send that overnight to Adelaide.

    But there is one thing I forgot, did not realise till I was almost in Coober Pedy, and can't afford to buy another - MY CAMERA! :(

    I did throw in my old camera, just in case, but have not been able to get much in the way of good pictures. It also has a smudge on most pictures. I'm glad I have it. Furious that I left the good one behind.

    To top all that, I am spending a few days in Alice Springs because the mechanic at the VW place in town wants to have another look at the van before I head back down south. He wants to see where and how bad the oil leak is.

    Can't win 'em all.

    Lifey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,052

    Default bummer on the camera

    Bummer that your camera stayed home!

    I visited the rock many years ago -- before there was much coverage about not taking the walk to the top. (Or I didn't hear of it). Yes, going down is much more tricky than walking up. Got to keep your wits about you!

    Really enjoying this report -- brings back memories of my own trip.

    Mark

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default Things have changed..... for the better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    ... before there was much coverage about not taking the walk to the top. (Or I didn't hear of it).
    That may have been before the indigenous people were given back the whole area which is so significant to their culture. It would no doubt also have been before we got to know it by its ancient name of Uluru.

    I don't recall when that was, but I guess it was sometime in the 80s. There is now also a very informative and interesting cultural centre, which tells the story from ancient times up to today. That would not have been there either. It is absolutely beautiful.

    Lifey

    Edit:
    Oooops! did I mention the speeding ticket?????
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 05-26-2013 at 05:29 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,052

    Default speeding ticket?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    That may have been before the indigenous people were given back the whole area
    Yes, it was about 30 years ago. I stayed at the nearby resort -- although it's ALOT more developed now than it was in the 1980's!

    Mark

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,697

    Default Oh my Miss Lifey.

    Edit: Oooops! did I mention the speeding ticket?????
    Oh my !! ;-) I hope it was because you decided to 'pop home' for the camera ! [Even though it's a 3 day drive] lol

    I hope you have managed to get some images on your other camera to share.

    Happy travels !

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default No more climbing the rock.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    I visited the rock many years ago -- before there was much coverage about not taking the walk to the top. (Or I didn't hear of it). Yes, going down is much more tricky than walking up. Got to keep your wits about you!

    Really enjoying this report -- brings back memories of my own trip.Mark
    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    That may have been before the indigenous people were given back the whole area which is so significant to their culture. It would no doubt also have been before we got to know it by its ancient name of Uluru. Lifey
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    Yes, it was about 30 years ago. I stayed at the nearby resort -- although it's A LOT more developed now than it was in the 1980's!Mark

    The chain is gone!


    Lifey

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