August 15th 2016 – Outback Tour Day 6 of 10

Last night we slept in swags around the campfire. Over the last week or so I’ve been reading the book that Koop Kooper gave to me called Cocktail Nation: The Interviews 2. I finished it the previous evening by the campfire underneath the beautiful stars. You could even see the Milky Way. I’m blessed to have received this autographed book from Koop. I highly recommend it if you’re into classic retro music. Koop talks 19 different artists ranging from Jimmy Borges, to Irwin Chusid (fascinating read about Esquivel), and to Laurie Allyn. You can visit Koop’s website at https://cocktailnation.net/ and purchase his book from Amazon here:

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We woke up again at 5:30am, but someone’s phone was going off again at 5:00am. I ate some toast and cereal for breakfast, as well as had some coffee. I then washed up, packed my bags, and rolled up my swag. It’s very important to roll your swag nice and tight because if you don’t snakes could potentially get in. Simon ended up having to re-roll six swags because they were not rolled up tight enough.

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We left the camp site at 6:30am. We passed through Tennent Creek, which is the largest town in the area. The first telegraph station was built here, but the actual town site is about 8km from the telegraph station. The reason for this is that a truck with alcohol broke down about 8km from the telegraph station, and people congregated around it, and that’s where the actual town site was built.

The next stop, two hours away, was the Devil’s Marbles. Aboriginals felt a devilish creature lived in the rocks because sheep were eaten by dingo’s. Aboriginals also wore belts made of their wife’s hair. The Devil’s Marbles were formed from sedimentation from an inland sea. The marbles were originally underground, but due to erosion they have slowly shown up over time. It is said that there are more underneath and they will be exposed over the years. The marbles consist of sandstone.

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The boulders at Devil’s Marbles can crack and split completely perfectly. This occurs due to very fine secondary cracks, called joints, getting penetrated by rain water. The rain water reacts with some of the minerals in the rock, so that they decompose to clay. The weight of the two halves can cause them to split perfectly and fall apart.

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There are two species that live quite well in the desert like conditions at Devil’s Marbles; a desert frog and crab. The water-holding frog, Cyclorana australis, is known for its ability to bury itself alive in order to survive droughts. Before burrowing underground, this large frog bloats itself with water. While it is buried, the frog slowly absorbs the water through its stomach lining, thus avoiding dehydration. The drought surviving crab, Austrothelphusa transversa, grows up to 50 mm across and lives in deep burrows in the creek bank. During dry times, it blocks the entrance to its burrow and retreats to a small, moist chamber at the bottom where, like the frog, it patiently waits for rain.

The next stop, 20 minutes away, was Wycliffe Well. Wycliffe Well is the UFO capital of Australia. There is a secret army base in Alice springs called Pine Gap, and people in the area claim to have been abducted by aliens. This would be equivalent to Australia’s version of Area 51.

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After our brief stop in Wycliffe Well we continued on to Barrow Creek Pub. One the way to Barrow Creek we did a quiz. I got 11 out of 19 questions correct. Simon said the questions were a bit biased because they were more about Australian things. Luckily some of the questions were the same ones from Alex’s set of questions so I remembered what the answer’s were.

We arrived in Barrow Creek. Barrow Creek is an isolated and tiny outpost that became a piece of famous history when on July 14th 2001 it became a vital part of one of the Australian outback’s most famous horrific and mysterious crimes. On the night of July 14th, Bradley John Murdoch stopped a Volkswagen van driven by an English traveller, Peter Falconio, and persuaded Falconio to leave his vehicle. Falconio was shot, and Falconio’s girlfriend Joanne Lees was tied up. She managed to escape and hide in the bushes along the side of the highway and was eventually picked up by a road train truck driver, who took her 13 km south to the Barrow Creek Pub where the police were alerted. There is a movie based on this called Wolf Creek. I was told I should watch this movie, but it is really scary. He said be glad that you didn’t watch the movie before traveling through the area.

At the pub we ate sandwiches for lunch in a back room. One of the people on our group ate most of the tomatoes, which was fairly disrespectful. He’s done quite a few disrespectful things over the last six days and is starting to get on some of our nerves. Luckily he will not be on the last part of my tour. Simon had to dig into tomorrow’s food because of this. At the pub there is memorabilia everywhere dating back many decades. If you tell the pub owner where you are from he will point you to a section for your country and tell you facts about each piece. You can also write your name on the wall too if you would like. I didn’t write my name on the wall, but I wish I had now that I’m sitting here writing the blog.

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The next stop was Ti Tree for coffee and more fuel. We passed a man who is dying of a rare form leukemia. I was told that this is his third time traveling across the country to raise money. I couldn’t find any information by doing a Google search so if you know who this man is please let me know so I can post a link to his web page.

The next stop was Aileron to see a very odd Kangaroo, who’s name is too vulgar to repeat but we will call him “FN”, and his girlfriend pig called Apples. “FN” the kangaroo was introduced to Apples when his girlfriend passed away because he became depressed. I’m not entirely sure why, or how, but they definitely have an odd relationship. I will let you put the picture together for yourself. Aileron also has a beautiful tall statue on top of a hill.

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We learned some more interesting history as we continued another two hours towards Alice Springs. The word “selfie” is a word invented by an Australian man. The dingo isn’t native to Australia; it came from Asia. The Stewart Highway was one of the most dangerous highway in Australia until it was paved and upgraded in 1987 at a cost of approximately $200 million, as part of Australia’s bicentenary roadwork’s program. There are no police patrolling the majority of the highway, and until the end of 2006 there was no speed limit outside towns and other built-up areas on the Northern Territory part.

We arrived in Alice Springs at 5:30pm and were dropped off at our hostels. The majority of us are staying at a hostel called the Haven Backpackers Resort. I checked into my private room and was greeted by a slightly obnoxious smell of sewer gas. Other than that the room was great, spacious and roomy. I figured the smell would dissipate, but it hasn’t. Other people complained about the same smell in their room too. I did some investigating and even though that we are in the city we are still on a septic system, and it doesn’t handle it very well.

We all did our own things until about 7:00pm, when 16 of 19 people in our group walked over to The Rock Bar, which is on the main road in the city. Simon, our tour guide, even showed up which was fun. I ordered a kangaroo steak, and a pitcher of beer for dinner. Others ordered steaks, burgers, schnitzel, and salads. I had the only kangaroo steak that was left. It was pretty delicious, and didn’t have as much of a “game” taste as I thought it would. I was told it would taste similar to elk, but I wouldn’t agree. We all hung out until about 10:30pm, when we all walked back to the hostel together. This city is known to be extremely unsafe, so we were advised strongly by Simon to walk together in a group, or take a taxi. I went to sleep at about midnight, since tomorrow is a day off from traveling.

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