ok, here's a few light notes and pictures from our recent trip up through the centre of Australia to Darwin.. Saturday, June 20, 2009 Start â€“ 25,872 Finish â€“ 26,108 Trip â€“ 240km Headed off at around 1.30pm for our trip to Darwin. The bike and trailer were fully loaded for the first time and boy, I felt it straight away. The trailer seemed to be a bit unstable this time than others but off we went to see how things settled out. The other side of Port Fairy when passing a car the trailer started wagging, which came all the way through to the steering. We stopped up the road a bit and pushed the weight further forward in the trailer â€“ ah, that was better straight awayâ€¦. We pushed through to Heywood, then North to Casterton. There were no signs to Casterton so I was just going to push north, but WHOA!, Samantha the TomTom was telling be to go west. Say what? So I went with the TomTom. Turns out I had to go west for 6.6kms before we turned north. So within the first 101kms the TomTom had paid for itself already, not to mention that Mrs Blue didnâ€™t want me to get one, but it has proved itâ€™s worthâ€¦ Pushed onto Penola to camp the night. Fuel up first and I notice the jerry can/spare wheel bracket is coming loose.. Grrr. â€¦.The bracket isnâ€™t strong enough so we have to get it strengthened. We just catch a welder who will fix it for us tomorrow (we hope). Itâ€™s Sunday tomorrowâ€¦. We make it to the camp grounds but thereâ€™s no unpowered sites so we have to take an â€œensuiteâ€ camp site. I reckon heâ€™s lying, he needs a shave too, the bumâ€¦. So we go to our â€œensuiteâ€ camp site No. 10, boy, the ensuite is a fair sizeâ€¦. Rain and wind coming in, why not? Weâ€™ll camp up in the ensuiteâ€¦ Kettle on, nice light, but a pity we canâ€™t turn it on without the fan. DOH!.. Sunday, June 21, 2009 Start â€“ 26,108 Finish â€“ 26,835 Trip â€“ 727km Up at 5.30am and around to the welders shed before 7am to make sure we are there for when the welder turns up. Itâ€™s Sunday â€“ hmm â€“ if he turns upâ€¦. 7.05am and Peter drives up â€“ thank Godâ€¦ He welds on a strong bracing bracket for me which works a treatâ€¦ Solid as a rock... Peter is a great bloke. He tells me about how heâ€™s building up his business... Heâ€™s done an excellent job over the past 7 years. He only wants 50 bucks for the job but I give him the extra notes that are loose in the wallet â€“ 65 bucks all up â€“ and I consider I got off cheap. Great bloke, excellent tradesman and business manâ€¦. We head off up the road. Itâ€™s 8am and only 7 degrees but it seems like â€“7degrees with the wind whistling past. Lucky we have a screen!.... We decide to head inland to go around Adelaideâ€¦.. Initially this seems to be a good idea. We cut across to Mannum and when in town a little boat pops up on the TomTomâ€¦. I shade the TomTom as I think Iâ€™m seeing thingsâ€¦.. Nope. Itâ€™s a boat alrightâ€¦. As we turn right towards the river, thereâ€™s no bridge but a ferry instead!!! Ahh, hence the boat on the navsatâ€¦. We drive straight on and away we go, across the might Murray Riverâ€¦â€¦ On the other side itâ€™s so nice beside the river we decide to stop for lunch. Thereâ€™s a big boat there called The Murray Princess which has a paddle wheel out back. Pelicans join us for lunch too! After a quick lunch we push off, but hell, if we through one small town we went through 300 of themâ€¦. Not to mention the Sunday drivers!!! We finally get some clear road and open space and we make good timeâ€¦ The sun is out so we push on to Port Augusta instead of staying at Port Pirie. â€¦ The temp is 20deg, the warmest itâ€™s been in 2 days! We camp up, a bit tiredâ€¦ It was a fairly big day for the 2nd day, but a shorter day tomorrow to make up for it Flinders Ranges look spectacular on the way in to Port Augusta by the way.â€¦ Monday, June 22, 2009 Start â€“ 26,835 Finish â€“ 27,412 Trip â€“ 567km Started out today at around 8.10am. Cool start again at 7deg. And we pushed through to Woomera where we saw rockets and missiles from back in the dayâ€¦. Saw some fashions from late 60â€™s to early 70â€™s from pics in the museum. Boy, the women wore mini skirts up to their belly buttons back then and those long cfm boots, lolâ€¦. From there we pushed into a head wind towards Coober Pedyâ€¦. The fuel economy went out the window so we drafted a truck (raod train) and 4x4 for an hour to stop the fuel gauge from plummetingâ€¦. Some nice outback scrub today but as we got closer to Coober Pedy the plains went bare. Made it into Coober and camped upâ€¦. Fuel is dear out this way which is to be expected... Went by the bottleo to get a few light Cascades only to see a â€œbrotherâ€ stumble through the door making a jackass of himselfâ€¦. Couldnâ€™t understand a word he was saying. Outside there was a couple of gins blabbing on about something. Yabba, yabba, yabba!!! Itâ€™s a nice park with good fences. Cold again tonight. Tea in a can at $2 each. Premium mince and vegetables â€“ yum yum! Why would you go out and spend $40 when you can spend $4 for something this good??? Tuesday, June 23, 2009 Start â€“ 27,412 Finish â€“ 27,522 Trip â€“ 110km Stayed in Coober Pedy today for a look around. What a dump! Not sure what I was expecting but not this dirty, grotty little placeâ€¦. It was hard just to get a coffee and when we did the only other thing we could get was a biscuit. The guy coughed and spluttered while making our coffee, I nearly walked out of the place as it just made me feel ill listening to him, and the place stunk of smoke!! Went on an underground tourâ€¦. That was good. There were a lot of businesses in town that had closed down and others up for sale. Aboâ€™s hanging around the pubs, bottle shops and service stations. We went out of town after lunchâ€¦. There are literally millions of diggings in this place by miners looking for opals. This is the real Coober Pedy. Spectacular to see thousands of mounds of dirt in one glance, with the odd old truck thatâ€™s been converted into a giant vacuum cleaners to such the dirt out of the ground from tunnels, after being reduced to rubble via pick or explosion! I think the people next to us in the camp ground had sex last night. Either that or they had a very rhythmic squeaky bed. More than my ears wanted to hear anyways! OMG!!! :| Wednesday, June 24, 2009 Start â€“ 27,522 Finish â€“ 28,256 Trip â€“ 734 Early start today as we pushed forward to Uluru. It was a little dark as there was cloud cover. As the sun came up the sky was a deep red colour, the air temp was 10deg for the first hour but then suddenly it dropped to 5deg for the next hour. It was freezing!!! The landscape continued to change throughout the day and for the first time we saw a number of wedge tailed eagles. Before today only saw 1 or 2â€¦.. After losing fuel economy in the run to Coober Pedy it was found again with a drop of speed down to 105kmh. Hardly anyone seemed to be doing the limit of 130km. We still made good timeâ€¦. Mt. Connor on the way to Uluru is huge as are The Olgas off in the distance past Uluruâ€¦.. Weâ€™ll have to go have a look at these formations as wellâ€¦. Camped up around 4 to 5 pm. Found the bottle shop and omg!! $5.80 for each stubbie of light beer.!! Heavy beer was dearer and spirits were $9.50 per can. Needless to say, there werenâ€™t many in the pub, filthy ripoffs! Just as well I had a few left over from the other day : Itâ€™s nice to get here. Uluru â€“ we are actually here â€“ me and my ever faithfull sidekick, Mrs Blue Thursday, June 25, 2009 Start â€“ Finish â€“ Trip â€“ Raining this morning. Weâ€™d hoped to get out to Uluru then the Olgas in the afternoon but in the end we were only able to get out to Uluru in the afternoon. So â€“ weâ€™ll stay here at uluru for an extra dayâ€¦. Got some nice snaps of the rock. Went for a walk around the base on the northern side then rode around the entire rock. We had one incident while pulling off the side of the road, we hit some mud and dropped the bikeâ€¦. We were almost stopped, so just as well. Another rider, who was Japanese, came help us, nice chapâ€¦. Went back to the rock at dusk but cloud cover was against us .. but stillâ€¦ not every day you can get pictures of Uluru while rainingâ€¦ quite something to see actually See if the sun is out tomorow Friday, June 26, 2009 Start â€“ 28,256 (2 days) Finish â€“ 28, 502 Trip â€“ 246km A chilly but fine morning for a sunrise viewing of the rockâ€¦. Got some good snapsâ€¦ On the way back to base we noticed that the climb to the top of Uluru was open,!!! so away I wentâ€¦ The â€˜trouble and strifeâ€™ stayed down at the bottom and waited (due to health reasons). The climb was fairly strenuous, in fact, I thought I was going to have heart failure on the first third of the ascentâ€¦. lol After that it got a bit easier but my legs were sore for two days!! But, I made it all the way up and back which was well worthwhile. Once here at the top of the chains, you are one third of the way to the Compase thatâ€™s up on top.. A puddle on top of the rocks King of the Rock Itâ€™s a long way to the top Some people found it harder than others.. lol.. but at least she was there giving it a go! South and east top sides In the afternoon we headed out to the Olgaâ€™s and went on a walk into one of the canyons there. There were huge bolders that were made up of smaller rocks â€“ very interesting. The ground that we walked on was made the same way.. all these small rocks joined up together by lava Saturday, June 27, 2009 Start â€“ 28,502 Finish â€“ 28,805 Trip â€“ 303km Packed up today and headed for Kings Canyon.,â€¦ We stopped down the road a bit at a place called Curtin Springs for some breakfastâ€¦. As we rode in I could see a mean looking EMU behind a fence looking agitated when it saw usâ€¦. It ran around the fence and straight at us, all puffed up and standing tall. I had to stop the bike because it came right up to the screen of the bikeâ€¦ I tried to shoo it away but he wasnâ€™t going anywhereâ€¦ So I rolled the bike forward and itâ€™s foot got caught under the fron wheelâ€¦lol, omgâ€¦ He pulled his foot out and ran for it. Thatâ€™ll teach him, lol. We rode on and made it to Kings Canyon early afternoon and camped up. Then a while later this German guy (Bjorn) pulled up on his motorbike â€“ we met him the day before at the Uluru sunrise. That evening we went out to a â€œBush Showâ€ at the pub with our new mate, Bjorn. When we got there we saw our other mate that helped us pick up the bike when we dropped it in the mud at Uluru, so we invited him to our table as wellâ€¦. I canâ€™t remember his name so we just called him Tokyo because thatâ€™s where he was from. It was a good night, but expensive at $6.60 a beer â€¦ still.. we had a great night â€¦. Sunday, June 28, 2009 Start â€“ 28,805 Finish â€“ 28,903 Trip â€“ 98km I got up early this morning and headed for Kings Canyon to do the rim walk. Mind you, my legs were a little stiff from climbing the rock, but they loosened up quickly from the sharp ascent to get to the top of the canyonâ€¦. I met some more people on the walk that I had already bumped into at Uluru. At one point, when over looking the canyon I saw this guy further up, posing for a pictureâ€¦. on the edge of a cliff faceâ€¦ I had to look twice â€“ a double take â€“ as he had all of his clothes off!! Some school girls that were near me at the time thought it was hilarious after their initial shock :| The walk around the rim was stunningâ€¦. Some fossilised sand from an inlad sea that was here millions of years agoâ€¦ I was a little tired after the 3.5hr hike but was back at the canyon in the afternoon to do the walk at the bottom of the canyon. Took some sunset snaps this evening and that finishes this part of the trip. Heading for Alice Springs tomorrowâ€¦ . Monday, June 29, 2009 Start â€“ 28,903 Finish â€“ 29,598 Trip â€“ 695km Headed out of Kings Canyon this morning bright and early. It was the first time we saw any substantial wildlifeâ€¦. We had seen signs of camels before with the droppings they leave on the road but, not the camel itself. In fact, they seem to use the road as a toiletâ€¦ If we saw one pile of poop, we saw hundreds!! But, this morning there they were, camels!! We saw a number of them over the first 200km along with wild horses roaming around on the roads. Also saw Wedge Tailed Eagles and Hawks, and also a dead cow that just got hit and killed. :| After we went through Alice Springs we started to see heaps of termite mounds, up to 2 feed high or more some of them. Oh, we also saw some dingoâ€™s at our camp site last night. They started howling at one stageâ€¦. Yikes!!! Anyway, we made it to a place called Ti Tree today. After we filled the bike up and paid for a camp site, all hell broke loose with the local abo communityâ€¦. Couldnâ€™t understand a word of it but they were going bananas!!! The cops had to come and move them on. Just as well the camp grounds are behind a high, barbed wire fence and closed gates!! I donâ€™t think I saw one teenager without a baby and they seem to hang around the pubâ€¦. They are a disgrace and an embarrassment to Australiaâ€¦. Anyway, the sun is going down and the galahâ€™s are settling in to the trees around usâ€¦ thereâ€™s also some peacocks haning around tooâ€¦ and they seem to like roosting up on the tanks beside the windmill Oh, thatâ€™s the other bird we saw today, Major Mitchell cockatoos. Tuesday, June 30, 2009 Start â€“ 29,598 Finish â€“ 30, 293 Trip â€“ 695km Headed off early for Dunmara today as we push towarts Litchfield National Park. It was the hottest day yet with temps of 33deg all afternoon. Our first stop was at Wycliffe Wells. This is supposed to be the Alien capital of Australia, where all of these alien sightings took placeâ€¦and Oh boy, I was looking forward to getting probed, but guess what? No aliens â€“ boooo!!!! Non the less, it was an interesting little pkace and good for a refuel and breakfast. There were pictures of aliens, etc. painted all over the inside and outside of the building, plus a lot of newspaper articles about the sightings for visitors to read etcâ€¦. Next stop was the Devils Marbles. Very interesting rock formations, it was starting to get hot too! The rocks werent that heavy either.. We refueled at Tennant Creek. Good fuel prices for the outback here. Lots of aboâ€™s hanging around the place, like in most of the outback towns in NTâ€¦. It was a fair slog after that to Dunmara but, we made it!! No abo community either. â€¦Excellent ovenight stop with good beer and fuel prices. Got a chicken burger and chips for $9 too!!!!