Chrissy and Mickey's OZ trip 2006 travel blog

Une seul route mais..

Premier repas loin de nos bases

Preparation pour notre premier dodo

Chrissy prend le premier quart de route, 120km jusqu'à Charter Tower ( ancienne mine d'or avec une architecture original et tres riche, mais de nuit c'est un peu dure de se rendre compte ;-) ) Puis je prend la suite pour 200 km direction Hughenden... de nuit! gloups, en effet ici les kangourous, les vaches et les serpents aiment bien la chaleurs de la route pendant la fraiche nuit... Pas de kangourous vivants a signaler, pas de voitures non plus, un chat sauvage perdu au milieu de nulle part... sur presque 200km. Ici les roies de la route sont de gros road train (camion train) avec 3-4 semi-remorques qui déboulent a 110 km sans s'embêter a passer de plein phare en code quand ils te croisent!!!. Une grosse frayeur quand a la suite d'un des seul virage de la route, nous debouchons sur un troupeau de vaches en ballade sur l'autoroute. Pas de soucis, nous nous arrêtons a 5 mètres... pas effrayées elles dégagent la route tranquillement... Nous nous se posons sur le cote pour les regarder un peu... 3 minutes plus tard un road train passe dans l'autre sens, il avait pas l'air de vouloir ralentir (je pense que le résultat doit être sanglant quand un camion rencontre une vache sur la route..)

Nous continuons notre chemin tranquillement, une étoile filant vient déchirer le ciel pendant quelques secondes juste assez pour qu'on se prenne la main et fasse un voeu... Nous ne partagerons pas ce voeu mais le futur nous dira si les étoiles filantes exhaussent les voeux ;-).

La fatigue commençant a m'assaillir, nous nous arrêtons dans une petit air de repos pour notre première nuit loin de tout. Chrissy transforme la voiture en chambre a coucher et moi je monte la cuisine. Bêta test réussit!!! Un premier repas excellent (guacamole, soup mexicaine spicy!, yogourt) suivi de prêt par un gros dodo bien mérite!!!

(English version)

Chrissy started the first leg of the trip-120km to Charters Towers, an old gold mining town known for its classic Queensland architecture, with deep verandahs, roofed balconies, colonnades and rich wrought-iron ornament. Many fine examples have been preserved, e.g. the Excelsior Hotel, the former Australian Bank, Pfeiffer House (which belonged to a German mine owner of that name; now a Mormon church), and above all the Stock Exchange Arcade. Of course, we were passing through at night so the beauty of the town was not all that apparent. Mickey took over driving at this point. Here is a good place to explain the hazards of driving in the Outback at night. Between dusk and dawn kangaroos, cows, and snakes love to flock to the edges of the road. It here that they find the greenest vegetation (due to run off during the rains) and the cold-blooded fellas like the warmth radiating from the bitumen. Thousands of kilometers of open plains and yet all life seems to congregate along this small patch of land resulting in frequent collisions. That is why... #1 all cars are equipped with roo bars (a batting ram attached to your bumper to ensure you are on the winning end of a battle between roo and vehicle) and #2 you see a ratio of 50 dead roos to 1 live one! Now cows and bulls are another story. A collision with these guys could be nasty. A herd of cattle stopped us dead in our tracks the first night. We were able to avoid such a disaster but I wonder about the big road trains (big semis with 3-4 trailers attached to the end) who have a greater momentum and could not brake in time to avoid colliding. Cows are less flighty as the roos but that poses another problem as they are less likely to give up their spot on the road. They will just stand there looking at you while chewing their cud.

Another complication to add to the equation of traveling on outback roads is that you often have to share one lane with cars heading in the opposite direction. If this car happens to be a road train then you don't dare share the road. Instead you make your way off to the side, hopefully in time not to be hit head on by the kings of the road that barrel through at ridiculous speeds, kicking up dirt and seemingly unaware of the disruption they cause.

As for our first night on the road...we came through unscathed. We even were lucky enough to both see the same shooting star that seemed to fall endlessly to earth, giving us enough time to make respective wishes. Mine was for continued safe travels.

By 10:30 we were both pretty exhausted so we stopped in the town of Prairie in the middle of nowhere. Prairie, as with most other towns in the outback, consisted of little more than a handful of houses, and a rest stop for motorists. Mickey worked on getting the "kitchen" set up while Chrissy organized the sleeping arrangements. After scarfing down a meal of homemade guacamole, spicy bean soup and fromage frais we hit the sac.

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