Back in the early 80s my sister, my nephew, and I did a road trip from Melbourne (Australia) across through the Grampions, to Adelaide, and then back along the coast road. It was in January, it was hot. HOT. HOT!!! I like it warm, even into hot, but this was completely into the world of pain. We, of course, chose this exact time to camp our way across Aussie. I was the driver, and I was responsible for the safe ferrying of my family in the seering Mad Max landscapes in an
oven HQ Holden with no aircon.
I have memories of an almost hallucinatory experience, going to some reptile ‘exhibit’ in some codger’s backyard – watching a psychotic snake slither around and around an old corrugated iron tank that the codger had sunk in the ground. We also visited Naracoorte Caves (in South Australia). The guide was talking about the fossils of animals that had fallen in the cave over time including marsupials. ‘Can anyone tell me some marsupials?’, the guide asked. I was numb from the heat and dehydration, and being in the bat cave the only one I could think of was a Numbat. Luckily, a young co-explorer piped up with, ‘A magpie?’
Good on ya, cobber. Cheered us up no end, as did Willie Nelson who was also getting on the road again, frequently, courtesy of rural radio. I always associate that song with the endless nothing between nowhere towns. We didn’t know it then, but when we returned to NZ, Gillian and I were about to do many hours driving here. I was reminded of that today, driving the van back and forth as we shift into our new home. Sadly, the van I’ve rented has a munted sound system, so I can’t crank it up to the point of deafening; but today, in the heat of the noon day sun, I was transported, not only across town, but across time. I was back on the road again…