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Days 8 & 9

Coober Pedy, Australia


Mike's Top Gear Challenge Days 8 & 9

Sorry to post so late- I was tired and did not feel like typing the last two days. On day 8 I went to Uluru, The Rock, which dominates the horizon from many kilometers away.

When I got up I checked all of the fluid levels and the oil was about 1/2 way to the add line so pretty good oil burn for over 2400 kilometers. Today I will officially drive more kilometers than I rode on the bike and in only 5 days of driving.

The Rock is sacred to the local tribes of aboriginals and they do not want people climbing it because of this and the fact that the water at the base has a very low replenishment rate so any urine or other waste that comes from above goes into the water below and contaminates it. So sacred reasons and practical reasons not to climb. So I won't.

I went on a ranger guided trip they call the Mala Walk and the local man in charge of that area came as well. He spoke some English and some of a native dialect. He said he spoke 11 different dialects because many of the indigenous tribes have different dialects. He walked us to different sections of the rock and explained the significance of each to us. Some ares related to creation stories and some areas are related to child to adult rituals and teaching. Men and women have segregated areas that are taboo for the other sex to enter or even look at! It was great to get the info from him and see the passion he had for the land and the teaching.

After the walk I drove around The Rock and left for the Kings Canyon. This meant driving 200 k back  towards the Stuart Highway and then 179 k northwest to the canyon. I got in there so late I decided to set up camp and go to the canyon in the morning. There was an overlook in the camp where you could view the rockwalls of the canyon from a distance and watch the colors change as the sun went down. The lodge sent a girl down with beer and wine you could purchase so I had a glass of shiraz while I watched. After I went to the BBQ Diner and had a nice rib eye with salad. Very good.

It is getting much colder a night and I was all the way in the sleeping bag deep with the hood up as well. Up early the next day to hike!

Day 9

After breaking down camp and checking the fluids I hit the road and drove 10k to the canyon. There was a 7.5 k rim walk you could do with a steep climb at the start so I did that to burn off last night's steak. My camera's batteries were dead so I got as many pics as I could before she quit. I will post all the photos when I get home- no computer to load them on on the road unfortunately.

The walk was beautiful and it as cool, sunny and windy weaherwise. About 1/2 way through there I came to a viewpoint with breathtaking views of the surrounding area and then a gradual descent into an area they call "The Garden of Eden", where it is wet and green and there are lots of birds and frogs. I saw one of the little frogs on a tree limb- it looked just like the tree!

I walked out and left the canyon driving to the Stuart Highway again. Gas was sooooo expensive out here- I paid $2.33 a liter and $1.98 a liter twice on 3/4 fill ups- ouch!

Instead of going 200+ k out of my way to go back to Alice Springs to pick up my wheel I called the bike shop and arranged for them to mail it to me- much cheaper than the gas back and forth and my time was too valuable as well. So off South again to the opal mining town of Coober Pedy 300k away. The land is much more dry and vegetation more sparse out here- oh and I forgot to mention the wild camels! 

I was following a car with a trailer when he hit his brakes and three wild camels broke out of the bush and on to the road! They were running flat out and disappeared in seconds. Cool.

OK- got to Coober Pedy and stayed in a motel room tonight because I wanted to clean up and stay warm tonight. The car ran a bit rough at the end of a long day of driving. It has gone over 3300 k now without much of a complaint but....we shall see. 

Tomorrow I will explore CP and head to Adelaide. Maybe just two more days to go on the road.

permalink written by  Mike_Veine on September 7, 2012 from Coober Pedy, Australia
from the travel blog: Mike's Top Gear Challenge
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I am a Yank retiring abroad and going a fun journey starting now and ending.....?

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