With some sadness but mostly excitement, I rolled out of Canberra before lunchtime on Wednesday afternoon to begin the long and arduous 13hr drive to Adelaide. Perhaps this isn’t fair, but as I really just wanted to get to Adelaide as soon as possible, my view of the features on the journey is usually limited and at high speed. Highlights include the Hay Plain – 400km of nothing but saltbush, heat shimmer and if you’re really lucky, a dusty whirlwind – a roadhouse mega-hamburger that I couldn’t actually fit in my mouth and pitching a tent in the dark on a patch of 4-corner jacks at a caravan park in Ouyen. Given that I’ve never actually camped before, I’m rather proud at getting that tent up! All in all though, it was a fairly long, uneventful day and a half with not much to report, though the trip was greatly improved by listening to podcasts from Radiolab and La Trobe University. Arriving in Adelaide was most welcome, as was an excessively long shower.
I’ve decided that for each blog post I’m going to include my best and worst moments of the current leg of the journey so here they are for the trip thus far.
As I left Canberra, I detoured via Poachers Pantry just outside Murrumbatemen. Poachers is a restaurant and shop that specialises in smoked meats, which are amazing and are cured on site. It is also attached to Wily Trout winery, which produces mediocre wine though the recent reds I had from there were excellent. My friends recently had their wedding reception there and it was one of the most fun weddings I’ve ever been to, so I have fond memories of this place. However, my reason for stopping by was my addiction for their smoked duck breast. I’m fairly sure they fed those ducks crack.
A number of years ago, some friends and I backpacked around South America and found ourselves preoccupied with discussing the various toilets we’d visited, usually in attempts to identify the worst ones. (In one particularly spectacular hostel, the showers were positioned directly over the toilets.) No one back home really understood why our updates continually involved toilet references and we’d forgotten that this wasn’t a normal topic of conversation. Still, we never really got over it and I still have no problems telling stories about horrific toilets in public. So .. my worst moment from the last day was the public toilets in Peake in country South Australia. Its worth noting that nothing ever happens in Peake. The (one) local cafe just closed down, possibly out of boredom and the public toilets were a pair of concrete bunkers surrounded by a field of dust, ready for when nuclear war comes to Peake. I’d heard we were having a bad season for millipedes after the particularly wet summer we’ve just had and as I crunched across the bathroom floors, I discovered that the reason I hadn’t seen any is that they are ALL living in the women’s toilets in Peake. There were thousands of them. The cubicle walls writhed in a seething black mass. I know they’re completely harmless, but they didn’t seem all that thrilled about my presence and reared up on their back legs aggressively waving their front dozen at me in challenge. Harmless but definitely creepy.