4th September 1998
The tawny kite circles above, spiraling as it gains lift from the mild south easterly wind. Its tail fascinates me as it rotates along the plane (axis) of the body, rocking side to side to alter direction. one can imagine its relaxed body and a seemingly independent tail movement.
I can smell the wild flowers which are strongest in the morn â€“ it may be the strongly perfumed cassia plant whose bright yellow flowers appear; from a distance to be an acacia but upon close viewing are many petals folded about each other like a rose.
Michael took the turnoff to Uluru about two hours ago and Jim the sixty seven year old â€œkiwiâ€?cyclist is probably now leaving his campsite on the sandy orange banks of the Finke River, which he said is the oldest river in the world.
The wind is a barely perceptible 155Â° and the cool change has brought a pleasant 27Â° shade temperature after yesterdays sun temperature of 37.50Â°.
South Australian border(5km away).
Large areas of pink wildflowers carpet the otherwise mulga treescape. Red sandstone hills are becoming common and against the hazy blue sky give a â€œsoftâ€? diversion from the strong southerly winds.
Near Mount Howe
5th September 1998
A cold southerly persists, slowing me sown to thirteen kilometers per hour. The landscape is flat all around with the occasional butte shaped hill to divert my attention from my inertia and the 13Â° cold. I am thinking mostly of past sojourns â€“ I can see Michael clearing** the tent of snow in the mid of night, the imperceptible snowfall having reached one foot of depth. That night on the Central Plateaux dropped to minus four degrees and yet I feel colder now, having reached a latitude where the cyclone-anticyclone effects of Southern Australia are apparent. The scrub about me reaches six metres, yet the canopy sways gently giving little indication of the gusty wind.
**Tasmania March 1998
Reflections of 23rd August
5th September 1998.
â€œLooks like a bloody cow on the road..â€? I cycled closer taking one half hour to gain upon the wobbling animal. It had an orange beard and long blonde, Viking style hair. Tom was certainly was not bovine, as youâ€™d never see a cow wearing an Hawaiian shirt and German leather sandals! I greeted this fellow cyclist with much enthusiasm. Tomâ€™s story is very simple. Cycle from Bega, fall in love in Tallangatta and upon chance meet Grace Newhaven in Adelaide. Together we shared our first views of Uluru. The next day we parted ways. Since then Iâ€™ve asked many people if theyâ€™ve seen â€œa hippie on a bike?â€?
I feel refreshed although the headwind is relentless. In the distance is a line of low clay coloured hills, sparsely vegetated and perhaps one and a half hours away, (20 kilometers).
Near the new Ghan Line
5th September 1998
Hopefully there will be respite in the lee of the rises. They spread from the southeast to the south. The sky is a hazy blue and the heavy cloud cover of the early hours is now nothing but a distant line of strato-cumulus, with no threat of rain as was the situation during the night. The temperature is now a comfortable seventeen and a half degrees yet paradoxically, the day before yesterday we were truly in danger of dehydration even after drinking 15 litres between â€œThe Aliceâ€? and Erldunda.
Indulkana river near Granite Downs
5th September 1998.
I know Iâ€™m back in South Australia. On the sandy red banks of the Indulkana river a large washout with large eucalyptus lining its dry shore and the pink/grey galahs hollering away another day. It could be a delightfully noisy sleep with the nearby full moon to the east confusing the bird life. There are spinifex pigeons with their highly decorative â€œmaneâ€? and bright iridescent green parrots. A dig into the sand reveals a damp coolness, even the cattle dams have water, unlike a mere 300 kilometre northward where everything is dry. Large areas of Sturt Desert pea may have meant recent rains, as these plants grow quickly to savoir any moisture.
My day concluded with a meal of lentils, kho bho and the ever handy Maggi noodles. I can still see the exuberant hand waving as the Anangu-indulkana school bus went by â€“ I actually wish theyâ€™d have stopped for a natter. Like all children their boundless joy was quite wonderful, even as the bus sedately passed.
Wellbourne Hill(Oodnadatta Track)
7th September 1998
After 1900 kilometers thus farâ€¦â€¦.