Monday, November 26, 2007

Home, Home Again

The road trip is finished. We eventually covered over 5,000kms in just under twelve days, with five of those serious driving days - the rest were spent resting up at my mothers place on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland. My reputation as a storm repellent was in full flight, all week storms were predicted every evening, none eventuated. Happens every time. It was a good two weeks, much rest and much did we see, and we took photos of most of it.

Yesterday we headed out of a little town called Warren in New South Wales at about 6:30am. I can't enough about Warren as we saw all of it in about five minutes, and that included checking the map to make sure we were in the right place the night before (we covered 1,000kms in ten hours). Once we found out hotel room I spent the evening watching the election coverage (for once it was riveting!) and listening to the other half snore happily away.

This was the scenery between Warren and Broken Hill the next morning (yesterday). For 600kms I drove through landscape that resembled nothing short of the surface of Mars, only with the odd tree. Wildlife was out and about, plenty of emus, goats(!), sheep, the odd horse and cow and loads of squashed kangaroos. The emus had a tendency to wander out on the road, making us stop, and then running back and forth as if they couldn't decided to move or not. A little abuse and they soon moved. This was probably the most mentally taxing part of the drive for me as the thought of breaking down was filling me with dread. No phone coverage, no radio, nothing as far as the eye can see. To me it seemed to be the perfect place for a serial killer to be dumping bodies, which is probably why I drove at an average speed of around 145kms per hour just to get out of it and into some form of civilisation. This is the outback.

Coming into Broken Hill the landscape changed dramatically. This the area where the Mad Max films were made and as we drove along we started recognising certain parts of the roads and as we went into Silverton we really began to get a good vibe - this is where they made one of my all time favourite movies, Mad Max II. The fact that we were driving down the same roads as the characters in the movie made me drive all the faster. You can see more detailed shots here. I'm not overly surprised that they'd film such a movie here as it really does look like the end of the world, only paved. I've been to some really unusual places in Australia, the Nullabor Plains, Maralinga, the Simpson Desert, all kinds of spots that look like nothing else, but this is the only place where the road makes you confused. It's nowhere, but it leads somewhere and in a way that's very disconcerting.

Silverton itself was a bit of a disappointment. For years I've always been under the impression that Silverton is a ghost town and virtually abandoned. Well it isn't. There's not too many people, that's for sure, but those who remain have turned the place into a tourist spot. At least they're maintaining the buildings I guess. The church, seen here, is the most impressive of the lot. I got a weird feeling that I was being watched from within taking this photo which makes me believe that the church is haunted. I hope so.

We took more photos but once we passed the point of there being only 400kms to home we drove on. Still this amused me no end - this is the town centre of a little place near Yunta. This sign isn't pointing to anywhere, this is the town centre! Amazing. The food here was horrid and nearly made us both sick, but we were hungry and getting tired, so we ate all the same.

Coming home, to me, is always the best part of the trip. To be able to crash out in my own bed and take stock of all the goodies that I bought for the coming week is a highlight. All in all it was a great trip and I'll throw some more photos up as I see out the rest of my break.

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