A Town Called Alice
June 30. While we waited to get our BOB trailer welded, we visited the wonderful Desert Museum in Alice Springs. It reminded us both of the Desert Museum in Tucson and the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon. Uluru (Ayers Rock) was a bit underwhelming. I think it must be an Australian patriotic thing, much like the Grand Canyon for us, wonderful, but there are much prettier and less crowded places. We were taken off the street by Paul Guerin and foisted on his wife Karen for tea. Several of their friends from Gold Coast were up for a visit and the weekend crit, they are all racers. To have a home cooked meal for a change was wonderful! Karen’s salad is the best I’ve had in Australia, by far, and the barbie was just as wonderful. Paul’s friend Grippo twisted my arm into helping him with a bottle of good rum and we chatted about racing, touring and things in general.
July 1. We missed celebrating Canada Day! The last three summers found us on tour in Canada and we loved the main Canadian holiday, talking patriotism and American/Canadian relations.
Next day, we purchased a tyre, to replace the one we destroyed on the Plenty Highway, at Penny Farthing cycles. The owner greased our pedals for no charge. We went to the velodrome for the crit. Yes, Alice Springs, population 26,000 has its own velodrome, a very nice one. Paul won his race and the Gold Coasters did well. We cheered them on and then said goodby.
Met a woman at the caravan park; late 40’s, “I decided I didn’t want to get to 50 and not have done this…” She meant traveling three months and camping throughout Queensland and Northern Territory with her two children. “So I decided to quit the job and go traveling. I grabbed these two and said, ‘You’re going with me.’” They are obviously not suffering. One laughingly said, “Mom is having her mid-life crisis.” Whatever, she is giving her kids some valuable life lessons, and lessons in the history and geography of Australia.
Back on the wide smooth bitumen again, the Stuart Highway headed north toward Darwin. We are in Tennant Creek and will probably make Darwin ahead of schedule, two weeks, rather than three, if the wind doesn’t pick up and turn against us. Lots of long straight road, roadhouses almost every day with decent meals. One spectacular bush camp we nicknamed, “Roo Poo Camp,” you can guess why. Meeting more Australians now, and consequently getting a late start. Still we are averaging nearly 130k per day. The Plenty made us strong.