Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Coober Pedy - Alice Springs: Screw the desert, let it rain

So a long drive today, all the way from Coober Pedy to Alice Springs was the plan. Nearly 700km of driving and it would take a while as I sit at 80km/h to save fuel. I left Coober after getting some money out of the bank and refilling my car and both jerry cans. Julius and Andi had left earlier to use the cooler part of the day before the potential 40°C hit. After a breakfast of porridge I was off on the long road north. Passed a lot of holes dug in the ground by miners, looking for the elusive opals. After just a few kilometres I met up with Julius and Andi again, who were just in the process of building up their kite. They have got three kites with them. A small four meter one, a medium seven metre one and a large 12 metre one for when there is near to no wind. As I had come along they wanted to get some video material with them and the kite for their sponsor (kites cost something around 2000$). Spent a while playing photographer as they tried to keep the kite under control in a gust heavy crosswind. Some road trains passed us (three trailers, over 50 metres long, some have told stories of trains up to five trailers long) and splattered us in stones and gravel they had picked up with their high number of tires. After getting as much footage as possible they packed up the kite and where looking forward (not) to a day of strong head-/crosswind. I said my goodbyes and will try to met up with them somewhere on the way/way back from Uluru (Ayers Rock) to get some more footage.
Next stop after that was Marla, the town where the Oodnadatta Track officially ends and I bought myself a cold drink for the journey. The woman behind the counter was lamenting that they were running out of water. It had rained all around Marla (Coober Pedy, Kulgera,...) but just not there and if it doesn't rain soon their tanks will be empty and they'll have to import the water. In that time I also got a message from Danielle, one of the English girls I met in Coober and was planning to met in Alice for the remaining days until mum comes. They had spent the night in Yulara and got hit by storms and small bush fires ignited bye the lightning bolts. They had just left and hadn't booked anything in Alice yet. Driving across the border to the Northern Territorys I was hit by the mother of all storms. Any blacker and that thing would have had a tornado come out of it. My car was dirty from the Oodnadatta Track (covered in yellowish mud/dust), after that storm and a few smaller ones afterwards I don't need a wash anymore. I was worried about driving along with only 50 metres of view and finding a road train turned over, the wind was that strong (it blasted rain water down my exhaust pipe). Luckily they seem to know what their trucks can handle and I didn't find any
 catastrophic condition. It actually surprised me how much was chucked down, I'll have to check the road conditions for the McDonnell ranges outside of Alice, if I plan to drive there. Coming out of that I passed in to Erlunda, the town where the turn of is from the Stuart highway to Uluru. Then it was driving through the red sand section with rock formations here and there. Another rain storm hit, you realise they are coming because the sand being sucked towards the storm suddenly changes direction an goes all erratic. I did get a few pictures I hope showed it well, how the sand is dragged high along the desert and then sucked up. This rain storm saw bushes and at one point a small tree being blown over the road. Passed a road train standing on the side of the road after the worst had passed and the driver was checking something. Signalled him if he was ok, but he waved it of so I carried on. About 120km before Alice my low fuel warning came on, so I filled the jerry cans in and carried on. Ended up coming all the way to Alice with only about 65litres, something most four wheel drives won't manage. Danielle sent another message that they where in the YHA in Alice as everything else seemed to be full. Getting there there were some weird cars driving along the road. One van especially came wobbling down the road and when it passed me black smoke was coming out of the back. Driven by two Aboriginals, but hey, it still does the job of driving.
Once in Alice I went to the Youth Hostel and booked a dorm room for a few night. Woke up a guy who was working night shift and was in bed, so he wasn't happy. Got talking to another two German guys coming down from the top and are on their way down to Melbourne. It seems completely normal to met Germans everywhere. Till now I am the youngest I have found, I guess most my age will just go along the east coast and party nearly all the time.
We all went out in the evening to a pup and had a few drinks. We all ended up going to McDonalds in a taxi. I hadn't eaten anything since the morning and noticed after just a few beers. After that episode back to the hostel and some sleep. Tomorrow will likely be a day of rest, as mum is coming the following day.

Track at GPSies.

1 comment:

  1. I think you're doing so well Max, it's lovely reading your blog, take care x