The Outback – Day Three

First of all – Congratulations to Robin and Garrett on their new little girl born on September 5. We were out of Internet contact for about 36 hours. We knew that Robin was in the hospital but we had no idea what was happening. It was such a relief to finally get to an area with Wi-Fi so that we could find out that Mommy and baby were both doing well!! Again, congrats!! Can’t wait to meet her!!

Day Three started much better than the last two. We were able to finish another major hike  – this time along the rim of King’s Canyon. It was 6 kms of climbing up, down and over rocks. It was well worth the effort. All various views of the canyon were magnificent. Pictures/videos to follow.

We headed off to Ayers Rock/Uluru with a short stop/hike at Kathleen’s Station – an abandoned ranch at the end of the gorge. This was a major cattle station in the area established in the late 1800’s and active until the mid 1970’s.

Richard drove the 300 kms today. He only fell off the pavement a couple of times. He conceded that the roads were much more narrow than Hwy 304!! Regardless, he did a great job and I doubt that I will get a chance behind the wheel until we are heading south again.

We arrived at the Ayers Rock Campground at about 4 PM and decided that we had done enough for one day. We had a drink, made supper and watched the sunset over Uluru. Again, not particularly impressive. The impressive part is that we are really here!! Sometimes I still can’t believe that we are travelling around in a campervan in the middle of Australia!! WOW!!

Tomorrow we head to Uluru to see what the fuss is all about!!

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The Outback – Day Two

Technically, yesterday was Day One. We landed in Alice Springs from Townsville at about 2 PM. We caught the shuttle to our Campervan rental place. By the time we finished there, it was already after 4 and we still had to grocery shop. We ended up staying in Alice Springs for the night. See, that didn’t warrant a whole title for itself!! Oh right, we almost missed our flight in Townsville. Cab came a half hour earlier than scheduled (so we missed it), no Ubers in the area (it was 4:30 AM) and we have no working phones to call another cab. Richard got the great idea to call a cab using Skype. It cost us a few bucks but we made the plane!!

 

Day Two started about the same as Day One (who didn’t get it’s own title). Richard noticed that when he was packing up the camper, that the end pieces for the water hose and the waste hose were non existent. So, we had to go back to the campervan place and get them fixed/replaced. We got off to a later start than we had hoped. However, once on the way, we started travelling down Stuart Highway South towards Uluru and King’s Canyon. The landscape is desolate, dry and very red. Desert with the odd outcropping of rocks. We saw herds of cattle that are subsisting on basically nothing. I saw a couple of cows eating the leaves from the trees. Regardless, these cows seemed to be in pretty good shape.  A couple of hours into the drive Richard noticed that the engine light is flashing. Being the mechanically inclined person that I am, I determined that it was a problem with the nitric oxide mix in the exhaust (I actually read that in the manual). “Reduce speed, drive carefully and take it to the nearest station for service”. Awesome!! We stopped at Eridunda Desert Oaks Resort. They had emus!!! While I went to visit and take pictures of emus, Richard called the Campervan Help line. From what I gather, the lady told him to take it to the nearest service station for evaluation. I think that Richard told her a couple things as well and they weren’t Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. He and the Camper Helper Lady tried a couple of refresh things and away we went again. The engine light hasn’t flashed again. Not sure what the deal was with that. So, after the emus, it was my turn to drive. They say that Northern Territory has the most accidents on its highways in all of Australia. As a result there are signs everywhere telling you to pull over and rest. Drive only two hours at a time. However, I do know the real reason for the accidents – the roads are freakin’ narrow!! It was like driving on Highway 304 (the bad part) for 2-½ hours. I did run off the pavement on a number of occasions because a) there are no shoulders b) there were big vehicles coming at me c) I was battling a wicked head/cross wind and if I didn’t already mention d) the roads are freaking narrow!!!! Poor Richard was having kittens in the passenger seat and I suspect that I won’t be driving for a while.

 

We arrived at Kings Canyon at about 3:30. We went for a short walk along the Canyon floor across the dry creek beds. Apparently, when the rains come, these creeks are overflowing. At the moment, all of Australia is in a drought so most creek beds and rivers that we have seen (even in New South Wales and Queensland) have been dry. Tomorrow, if we are up for it we want to go back and hike the Rim – about a three hour hike at the top of the canyon.

 

We are currently camped in for the night at the King’s Canyon Resort which is about 10 kms from the actual canyon. We were told to view the sunset coming down over the area so we joined a number of people with their cameras to see something spectacular. LIke the ocean sunset, it was underwhelming. We have decided that we are going to see as many “fabulous” sunsets as possible while we travel so that we can truly say that the best sunsets are still on the Prairies!!

 

Just a note about Wi-Fi in the Outback – it’s pretty sketchy. I will upload my “reports” as soon as possible but you may end up getting two or three at a time. Richard will probably not add any pictures until we are back into civilization. In the meantime, here’s hoping for a better Day Three as we head off to Uluru.