From the Blue Mountains to Dubbo

or: Catch 22 on March 22

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img0008.jpg (41714 bytes) Definitely not Kookaburras. When I woke up there were many birds - one tiny grayish bird was the screamer, and then there were also white cockatoo. What some people have in cages at home is happily flying around here. Much better so.

img0009.jpg (94246 bytes)After about two hours of unpacking and early morning photography I decided to head northwest, to the red sands. This is not the first time that I am driving on the left side of the road, but there are some peculiarities with a car that has right side steering. For instance, you look into the rear view mirror and you see the door. Or you signal and the wipers go on; if at least the washers worked so that one could get rid of the resulting mess. With the occasional confusion about which button does what, I realized what I knew long ago, just didn't want to believe: this place is BIG. Oh boy am I gonna get the frequent flyer miles through my gas bill! This may be even more so if I continue assuming the Sun in the South at noon, as I did today, until I realized that the only thing still valid here was that it rises in the East. This way I drove through vast grassy plains that make Illinois look like the Himalayas, and then again over hills. On the map it looks like 5cm or so, but it was a whole day's trip; relaxed, sure, but you have to flip the map twice to see Alice Springs on the same scale. I think I must increase my 3-Mt "real" trip to at least 6-Mt.

NNimg0005.jpg (116445 bytes)The scenery was remarkably changing. Mostly dry in the best California style, so from this point nothing to make me happy; but I am not planning on moving over here. The trees are interesting and the overall look is like nothing I have seen before. Minutes later you find yourself climbing up hills on roads that made me feel really homey. Only a thousand words could describe a picture, and you sure don't want to read that much.

NNimg0006.jpg (119725 bytes)At a gas station I was brought back to reality: 11L/100km on average, and that by what I would consider tickling the gas pedal. Admittedly my Accord does not accelerate as well between 1000 and 1500rpm (it much rather stands still), but I can get 7L/100km (if I want, but usually I don't). Once I even drove 1250km on one gas tank of an Audi 100. Here it seems I am being punished for my earlier sins. Another reason not to go crazy and to nicely stay at the east coast instead.

img0010.jpg (104088 bytes)Following the advice of a friend I visited the Parkes radio telescope, with its 200ft diameter quite a landmark in the fields. I arrived just 5 minutes before the visitor center closed so I didn't get that much to see, but I found another car unable to stop from 140km/h as I was trying to make it in time. I had a brief chat with the lady at the center - she explained that the differently heavy Coke cans were put on display by 10-yr. old students to demonstrate how heavy a can would be on Jupiter, Pluto etc. She pointed out that one should not be able to lift the Sun Coke, but I guess they didn't want to fill it with Plutonium to make it even heavier than with Lead.

My camp for the night is just a railroad across the main highway 32 (on which you count 0.0457 cars per minute at this time). I shot my first 4*5 exposures, which made me realize that my camera was a bit broken. It spontaneously changes focus and tilt & shift, i.e. pretty much everything. Where to get spare parts for a 4*5 in the middle of nowhere is questionable, but at least I had something to blame :-)

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