Day 138 | Near some Red Bluff, Luritja Road: better get those wet things dry

78 km | zzOz total: 7,093 km

Those who have been attentive with my travels will note I’ve trundled round these parts before, two and a half years ago.

I remember standing in front of the Luritja Road sign with the distances reading Alice 513 km and feeling a little deflated. At that stage I’d been on the Oodnadatta Track, branched off through Finke and stood in front of the sign having made the decision not to venture to Uluru because at the time I thought, oh, I’ll see it when I come back via the Great Central Road.

Last time I had a real issue with supplies, the stores were lacking both in number and contents.

I’d really stocked up in Leigh Creek after cruising in from Arkaroola, then had top ups in Oodnadatta and Finke, reliant then on the shop indicated on the map in Kulgera, premises and business which seem never to have made it into reality. Erldunda had a bit, they nicked a loaf of frozen bread from the kitchen but I was basically on a starvation diet by the time I hit Alice. That last day was one of the longest of that trip, uphill, headwinds, no food except for one piece of excruciatingly sweet chocolate cake, great for a sugar rush but leaving my body devoid of energy after an hour.

This time round he’s much better prepared, more ambitious, wanting to head into Gosse Bluff and climb Mt Sonder a second time. Maybe spend more time in the bits and pieces of West MacDonnell National Park.

Surreal moment of today, as I approached the Luritja Road turnoff I see a small adventure camping tour herd released from the confines of their bus standing silently at the junction taking photos of the Uluru sign. As I cruise around the corner 12 cameras spread over 50 m all raise as one and focus on me as I raise my left arm with clenched fist in salute. Seconds later some moments of kindness as I’m signalled over to a stationery camper van by a Canadian mum and her two daughters, 20 and 18, I guess.

Would I like a drink?

Cappuccino, please. Don’t know where that came from I haven’t had one since I was last in Italy, ie, 20 years ago.

I declined a cool beer, I would have had to camp in those bushes over there after even a solitary stubby, but fruit juice is somewhat preferable to warm salty water.

So I’ve done quite the circuit since I was standing in front of that sign back the last time, 12,867 km on to Perth, via Darwin, GRR, Esperance, etc and now another 7065 km. That’s a total close to 20,000 km.

It’s been quite the trip.