Heading to The APY Lands. Well as far as to Cadney Park to begin with.
I had been dreading this trip, so my departure was reluctant to say the least.
I did NOT want to drive for 7 hours on this 1st leg, by myself.
The whole thing was way to remote and I DONT do remote. (Or at least didnt think I did!)
I was given an all singing, all dancing car equipped with a bull bar and 6 stack CD player.
That was meant to be a help…
I had to go. It was WORK.
The first part of the trip was to on familiar road. Just up the Stuart Highway to Pimba and the fabulous Spud’s Roadhouse. (Internet reception there and that always makes me like a place!)
The first part was uneventful really. Lots of emus, one pee stop for me and one chip in the windscreen.
The closer I got to Pimba and Spud’s however, the more I needed another pee.
I felt in my bones this was going to be the worst 3 days of my life BUT I said Id go, so I was going….and needing a pee in the ‘desert without trees’ was just the start of it…
I held on until I reached Spud’s, filled the car with diesel, checked Facebook and left.
The big part of the trip was still to be done.
As I left Pimba I spotted 7 emus crossing the highway. Sauntering across with no fear of imminent possible death. The highway to Pimba was busier than usual, road trains, caravans, motor homes, government cars and farmers. I guess that sums up the traffic.
As I drove on I wondered…
I wondered if the emus lives might be very different in they could fly or go backwards?
If they were able to do either, then they would have more escape options when transport came hurtling towards them.
A backwards manoeuvre or the chance to take fight may be just the thing they need.
Evolutionary fail, I supposed.
There I had the best burger with the lot!
I was mighty pleased to discover the burger meat was of the frozen variety.
A freshly made burger could have meant any manner of beast being served in my bun.
Saying that, the frozen burger didnt guarantee 100% Australian grown beef, but I was sure it wasnt emu or roo or camel.
The burger was huge.
The fly swarm was huge.
The noise from a crying kid was huge.
I ate, checked Facebook and left.
Next stop – COOBER PEDY!
The council have your safety covered in Coober Pedy.
As you approach you will notice signs that tell you that running is bad and walking backwards is bad too. Both are considered dangerous and for good reason.
No other place in the universe would allow this but in Coober, the council have it sorted with signs.
This concerned me. The road was so undulating that I began to wonder again.
Was the road so undulating because because it was about to cave in?
Had someone dug a hole that stretched too far and now the top of the road was at risk of collapse?
I put my foot down. I wasnt going down a hole – certainly not if I hadnt run down it or backed myself into it. Driving into a Coober Pedy hole was NOT an option.
At Coober Pedy I refuelled again and facebooked again. I loved the bits where I had internet access.
Last leg to go – TO CADNEY PARK!
I was going to sleep there.
‘Lovely’ is what I was told in the office…
Off I went.
Just out of Coober I was stopped at a random breath test road block.
No worries. I hadnt had a drink. YET!
I produced my licence at the request of the young policeman.
P: Do you still live at this address?
Me: Um where?
He flipped the licence over.
P: Where do you live?
Me: Port Augusta
P: Ah this address? Butler Crescent?
Me: Um no
I fet this wasnt going well…
P: AH CHRIST, Nevermind!! Are you heading north for work?
Me: (So happy I could say ‘Yes!’) YES!
P: Go on then, off you go
Me: (As if trying to make things worse) Dont I have to blow in the bag?
P: Ive run out of straws….!!
I couldnt believe it. A huge road block and no straws. No bag blowing. What a missed opportunity for me to have had a drink!!!
I was staying at a petrol station!!
That’s what it looked like. I got so sad.
It wasnt lovely. It was HORRID!!
I checked in.
I noticed an unpowered caravan site and a pool that looked like it would be full of bugs that go in your ears and eat your brains and that’s all I saw.
I went to my phone. NO SERVICE!
lPad. NO SERVICE!!
Why in God’s name was I here?
I dont do, NO SERVICE, NO INTERNET!!
My boss hadnt arrived yet. I was on my own. TOTALLY on my own.
I made a phone call from a PHONE BOOTH! I DONT do PHONE BOOTHS either!
I purchased a $5 card and was told to head North to the phone booth.
HOW BLOODY FAR NORTH?
Id been going north all day! NO MORE NORTH!!
I was so close to belting someone.
Luckily, it was just outside and instead of speaking like a normal human and saying turn right out of the door – the woman said head NORTH!!
Two phone booths. One worked.
I made a call – the $5 card lasted about 5 mins and I was back on my own.
I had seen some newspapers. I thought Id grab a chardy and a newspaper and wait for the boss.
I ordered the chardy and went to get a paper.
It was Wednesday. THE PAPER was last SATURDAYS!!
Now I was really going to belt someone. Anyone.
I drank the drink and got another.
I drank that and got a bottle.
Half way through the bottle, my boss arrived.
I was half plastered and eating my way through a chicken kiev – again of the frozen variety – with a side helping of packet potato, carrots and frozen beans.
Someone was onto a winner, and it wasnt me!
We ate, drank and headed to our hotel rooms.
Cadney Park had 9 hotel rooms.
The rooms were fine for the few hours we had to sleep in them.
Up at 5:30am for a 6:30am departure.
We still had to get to The APY Lands.
Sunrise was amazing. My mood lifted.
Im glad it was dark as Im pretty sure all of them had road kill hanging from their bull bars. The road was a mess. Dead animals or part thereof everywhere. Sheep, cattle, roos, emus..and eagles and crows feasting. I even saw a dingo making the most of a freshly killed roo.
Off we headed to Marla. The boss in a 4 wheel drive from Mimili and me in the all singing, all dancing Captiva with a bull bar and 6 stacker CD player.
We were to have brekkie in Marla.
Marla was fabulous – it had INTERNET access!!
I was so excited, I really didnt want to eat my breakfast. I Skyped and checked facebook. Then off again.
Onto the highway then we hooked a right.
80 kms of DIRT.
Road Art of the burnt out car variety..http://youtu.be/jHrJgGXlAKg
The drive was hard.
I dont like dirt roads at all.
Eventually we arrived. The boss a good deal of time before me.
We were there to participate in a training day with 2 schools. Mimili Anangu School and Indulkana Anangu School.
I was excited to see the teachers. They are really lovely.
The day got under way and was fabulous.
Then the journey back.
This time with the boss driving the all singing, all dancing Captiva with the bull bar and 6 stacker CD player.
TOO fast for me, driving.
TOO fast for him driving.
Around a bend we flew – then slid!!
After a brilliant day, he was going to kill us.
Id be forever out there in the beauty of The APY Lands, surrounded by road art – in fact, we were going to add to the art collection.
DEAD, with eagles sucking our eyes out first and then dingoes eating the rest of us.
I yelled at him!
We lived. He continued.
We stopped at Indulkana for a meeting.
I met dogs. More dogs. Lots in Mimili too.
Onwards we drove.
I saw more CAMELS!
I loved these camels. They didnt run away as ran into the bush to see them!
On to Coober Pedy.
We arrived at The Mud Hut Motel
Up at 5:30am and checking in to our hotel for the night at 9:45pm. I was having a day off. I knew It!
As we dragged our weary selves in to the reception we were met with, “Please tell me you are Rachel and you are Paul?”
The man at reception had been frantic because we hadnt shown up.
He had called the office in Port Augusta and left a message. He was about to call for help and get a search party out.
He was so relieved to see us that he gave us a free bottle of wine!!
I loved this place!!
We drank the wine. We went on the internet. We listened to music then we went to our beds.
The boss had to be at school at 8am. Brekkie arrangements were for 7:30am. I was to get up at 5am and go out to The Breakaways to take sunrise photos.
Didnt happen. Well my bit didnt happen! Too exhausted.
I did however, take the morning time to have a look around at take some photos.
Then finally at 11am we headed home.
That journey wasnt incident free either – a near head on and a near death experience with 2 emus – another tale.
The trip was amazing. I saw beauty I didnt know existed.
I loved it.
Would I go again?
YES! IN A 4 WHEEL DRIVE, please! In a HEARTBEAT!