Luxury for skaters

October 24, 2015 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments

Wild camp   (Photo: Anders Karlsson)

We set camp for the last time for this   skating adventure. The day had been a fight towards a bad temper and tired legs and we had had two choices, to split the distance in three days instead of two and drink crappy water the last day or to push ourselves to exhaustion, have fresh water all the time but be in terrible moods. Both of us. The flies were in hundreds and all we wished for was to be in Alice Springs already, hopefully with less insects.

We took a paus in the shade of Warburton    memorial's stone, tried to cheer each other up and decided to skate just a little bit more. Off we went and on surprisingly smooth pavement for the first time of the day we could feel a tiny little descend.

Moods changed to happy, we were flying for several kilometres. On top of that a man stopped and gave us a litre of ice in a bottle which slowly turned into the coldest and greatest water ever.

All this lasted only for half an hour or so,  but the luxury of a stretch of smooth downhill and a friendly man with ice made the difference. On rough asphalt we skated the rest of the day, picked a lovely camping spot in the golden afternoon light which I adore so much. The sun gave color to the sand, the trees and to the two of us. The last piece of melted water was shared in a joined toast for the last wild camp and for 43 days of hard skating days, one to go, and a lot of fun in between. Shared with tons of flies, but anyway.

If that's not luxury, what is!?

Another kind of luxury along Stuart Highway

Tropic of Capricorn

Stuart Highway

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Where are all the kangaroos and where the hell is Alice?

October 19, 2015 Sofia Nordlander 2 Comments

Where are all the kangaroos?

Six weeks ago we had our first experience of the outback, if you can call it "outback" only 43 kilometres away from Darwin. We did. Noonamah had a roadhouse, a gas station, a pub/restaurant, a camping and not much more to brag about. We were exhausted but thrilled, everything was new and we had a serious laugh at the stickers you could buy at the gas station. They said "Where the Hell is Noonamah" and we couldn't do more than agree. Where the hell had we ended up?

Several weeks later, and with a lot more confidence and experience of the outback and the roadhouses, we've learned that those stickers are everywhere. "Where the hell is Hayes Creek/Emerald Springs/Dunmarra/Wycliffe Well/...". Not so funny anymore even if we still wonder where the hell we are sometimes.

As we continue travelling we meet a lot of friendly people. Some of them stop to take photos, some of them are just curious or want to give us something cold. A few stop because they assume we are hitchhiking, I presume we sometimes look like that when we're waiting for cars to pass by. Anyway, we tell our story and lately people have started to say, "Aah, you're only going to Alice." Well, in my opinion it's not like skating to the neighbour. For your information it's still almost 300 kilometres away and the asphalt doesn't seem to get better. You're welcome to join if you like and if you're unsure of the map I can point Alice Springs out for you and explain how far "almost/only/just" is . ;-)

So, we're "almost" there according to a bunch of people but still we haven't seen an alive kangaroo. A dead one, yes. But that doesn't count.

We fall asleep to the strange sounds of howling dingoes and wake up to a lovely bird song in the dawn. We've seen more wallabies, dead and alive, than we thought were possible and the parrots are making us crazy with their noise. Their colours are beautiful though. Ants, frogs, toads, spiders, lizards, emus, peacocks, unfenced cows and fenced camels. Even a group of wild donkeys.

But where are the roos? Can't leave Australia without having seen one, can we!?

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Therapy, wanderlust and exhaustion

October 08, 2015 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments

Stuart Highway

I arrived at the Stuart Memorial rest area in tears, tried to hide them from Anders but it might have been them who made him say, "Let's stay here, it's great!". Or maybe he just thought the place was great, when I had a look around it suited our purpose quite well. Toilets, water and the possibility to have a cold one if we had company. The pain in my right thigh didn't go away at once but I certainly felt relieved and one of the least effective days for me had an end.

We didn't have to wait long until a caravan with a fridge turned up. Cold drinks for dinner, more than appreciated. So was the wine we shared with the owners later on. When the sun almost touched the horizon I zoomed out from the conversation for a while, the bushes behind the small gathering looked like they were on fire... I didn't mention it to the others, just enjoyed the colours of the nature by myself.

We've had some "killer days", the wind made it into our minds and the pavement absorbed all energy from both of us, sucking it out through heels and toes, leaving nothing but cruel exhaustion. Together in misery we tried to encourage each other but I guess I wasn't the only one falling asleep with a silent wish on my lips, "Please, let it be less demanding tomorrow, let the wind ease or turn into a tail wind. Please!"

Then one day the wind just turned. The rough asphalt became smoother too and with a silly smile and reasonable fresh and cold water we took off for the two best skating days ever. No pain, and Tennant Creek, the next town was getting closer fast. I mean in longdistance skating terms. We also had a few people stopping, some offering fruit and cold drinks and one couple was actually already fans of Longboard Lady. That's cool!

Skate on
"One, two, three, four, five... one, two, three..." Pushing, thinking or emptying your brain. Sometimes it's a total and perceptive presence where every thought is clear and vivid. Other times it's more like meditation, where every time you push and put a number to it becomes a kind of mantra. Stuart Highway gives me the opportunity to have the thinking, the meditative moments and of course the admiration of this magnificent landscape.

Tennant Creek
It is what I expected. A small mining town without anything really exciting to explore for us. Lovely rest days though at the only hostel in town. Reading, cooking, drinking a bottle of wine. That's a lovely life for a tired skater.

We've been here, in Tennant Creek, for two days now, plan to leave tomorrow morning but who knows... It's not a big city but they have a food store where I could find coconut oil, chia seeds and 100% peanut butter. We all have our needs and I'm lucky I found these luxury things of mine.

We have actually spent a lot of time trying to find out how to make it possible to transport all the food we'll need for the rest of our trip. We have one third left to skate before Alice Springs, where we plan to stop this adventure, but only one opportunity to buy food once we've left Tennant Creek. Thankfully there are a couple of roadhouses along the way. They won't offer any food to bring but I guess they have exactly the same menu as the other roadhouses and we will gratefully accept it for refuelling. Still, we will be overloaded with cans and water when we're slowly moving to our final skating destination.

Let's see if we find internet along the way, otherwise Alice Springs will be the next place for updates a couple of weeks from now.

So long!

Stuart Highway on a longboard


Me and Anders having a lovely stay at Three Ways

Fans stopping for a chat and some cold drinks. I hope you are OK with me posting this picture!

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