Ray….Ray… Did you hear that!?!?
….oh the visions that you create in your mind at 3am in a small littlevulnerabletent in the middle of the outback….
Poor Ray is startled as I dig my nails into his arm and shove him back and forth to wake him up- "Lyssssrrr– its probably just an iguana– go back to bed…" he says…. "But Raaaaay– what if its a dingo!?! Oh do you think it could be a DINGO!?"
"Lyssrrrrrr….. what do you think its going to do– unzip the tent and come in?"
As I laid there my eyes grew larger as sounds from the bush came from all directions- I was certain they were surrounding us. I have never wished those stars away so hard to help bring up that sun faster. At least then I could see what I was dealing with, which in part- turned out only to be a couple of wallabys as they had left a few of their "droppings" as a present the next morning. Never the less- I am quite certain that Ray will get awoken by my "outback imagination" all over again tonight…. Who knows what the mind can conjure up when theresnothing but big ol‘ open space all around you.
Have you ever seen the moon so illuminecent that the trees around you cast dark shadows? Or awoken by the stars as they shine so brilliant above you? Or have you ever stopped along the road to take a picture of a kangaroo- to only find yourself suddnely face to face with wild horses….
Welcome to the outback- and with about 3500 KM still left to be discovered on our way to Perth, well- we’ve only just scratched the surface.
We just pulled out of our campsite in Victoria River Crossing- where it will forever remind us of the "great night picnic." With torches illuminating our make shift picnic blanket (the flysheet for our tent) we cooked (ahem, Ray cooked) Ginger and Chili Burgers while we drank wine in our posh tin cups and listened to music under the enormous starlit sky. Yup- we be livin‘ like Aussie kings and queens out here!
….now, if only they could turn down the head a titch? (110 degrees) and these flies…. zeeeoinks!
But before I get too ahead of myself– Saturday late afternoon we arrived @ Kakadu National Park – one of the few World Heritage areas that have been listed for both their cultural and natural heritage. Its most known for their extensive collections of rock art by the Aboriginal people. I think it should be most known for its most colorful and obnoxiously loud and massive amounts of birds…. but then, what do I know?
Although it hadn’t rained in the park for over 5 months– (we are smack dab in the middle of the wet/dry season– not to mention miserably bloody HOT season) but still there was quite a bit of beautiful lush and green areas– and surprisingly many of the billabongs (large ponds) still had enough water to create that perfect outback setting…. minus thoseeery crocs that you always have to be on the lookout for. Not a fan.
Oh but those adorable wallabys (miniature kangaroos) that stop just long enough to give you a quick stare down– can’t get enough of them! I also had the opportunity to see my first dingo- which frighteningly walked within metres of our campsite. Now do you understand my fear of "the dreaded dingo" at night? For some reason the howling dingos we heard the first night in the tent didn’t affect me- though’ it wasn’t until I actually saw one the next day that they all the sudden became– well– "Real."
*****Sidenote….Oh– and I must share one "very real" night timeexperience as I wasn’t quite ready to see a big ol‘ froggy fighting for its life out of the toilet as I got up and flushed….. and you should have seen me fighting my way out of that stall. Yes– I totally peed on a frog. I hope thats not going to bring me bad luck….
Ahhh… but camping does reap to many rewards. From the beans on toast (toasted on the fire pit) for our breakfast in the morning to the incredible feeling of such purity- of massive freedome— and getting down and dirty with nature. (like I am now as I type this as we haven’t showered for 2 days) Even Ray has tried to get back to fishing basics with his "VERY" basic mark twain style plastic real twig and pullysystem. Its hysterical really- but bless him and his determination to catch one. And it will happen– and it will be quite a celebration when he does.
But from the spectacular view of Nawarlandja to our bush walking treks in Kakadu– it was well worth using up our 700 Bonus KM as they have restricted us to 5000 KM total to get us to Perth. Unfortunately with the 4298 KM it takes to get there directly, that doesn’t leave us much room to explore. But we’ll cross that $.25 per every extra KM bridge when we come to it. For now there is nothing but open road ahead– and wow, if only you could see how large the road kill is on the side of this highway….CRIKEY!
10/24- Wednesday…. Its another sizzling day with temps reaching 110+– unfortunately we are now aware of the true temps as the news last night on TV supplied us with facts we rather had not known– sometimes you are better off not having a clue how hot it is– because as soon as you know, I swear it only feels HOTTER! We packed up early this morning as the hour and a half time difference we went through yesterday coming into the The Kimberlys, Western Australia from the Northern Territory pushed us back- So its light out at 4:30am, BUT that also means it now get dark out at 5:30pm… Talk about some short day daylight hours! And if that doesn’t screw us up- on Oct. 28thdaylight savings begins then pushing us forward. Its all a little cooky if you ask me…. But at least it keeps us on our toes.
We stayed at, what I reckon, the best campsite so far on our little world trip last night in Kununurra. For about $26 we had amazing facilities to use- and right on our little area of green grass (which they water like mad to keep that way) they had a covered little kitchen with picnic tables, stoves, ovens and a microwave… and EVEN a TV! Talk about POSH, aye!? The bathrooms are scrubbed down by the every few hours and they even had a lovely pool that was very welcomed after a pit stop at beautiful lake Argyle where Ray stopped coming out of the car as it truly was just too hot to play. Yesterday we just bummed around the town picking up a few supplies for our stir fry chicken dinner (we had to make the most of the classy stove tops) at the campsite– checked out the celebrity tree park (where Ray had to track down one of the celebs that he had grown up with Rolph Harris) and then checked out the beautiful sunset ontop of Kelly’s Knob. At 5:15pm. UNBELIEVABLE. Where did the SUN GO!?
That evening we hung out with some of the other campers/caravaners. There were 2 Aussies from Perth that had just decided to up and drive around the country as both their "mrs." had just left them. They were hysterical!
Right now we are making the rek through the Kimberlys as mountain ranges rise above us in the distance and the dry bush quickly passes us as the road is flat and straight and the speed limit it 130 KM. (80 miles per hour– woo hoo!) You have to be so careful to gas up in every little town (and we are talking TEENSY towns) as it could be 300 KMinbetween.
***Sidenote…. We horrifically found out last night that there are NO restrictions on how much petrol stations can charge. One could be 1.29 per liter or another 1.71… (thats about 5-7 $’s per GALLON!) I don’t think I will ever again complain about the gas costs in the states. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW LUCKY WE ARE!
So our plan stands right now that we are going to drive our butts off today and tomorrow to make it to Broome by Thursday night. (1063 KM) This country is bloody big– and I feel like a hamster on a wheel getting absolutely NO where fast.
*Sidenote…. As we crossed the territorial line yesterday into Western Australia you have to stop at a quarantine station and get rid of any fruit or veg. It came up a little quicker then we anticipated and as we pulled in I was still stuffing a banana in my face that a REFUSED to let it go to waste. Though’ somehow it got stuck and I couldn’t swallow- then I started laughing and oh you should have seen me at that bordercontrol with banana almost coming out of my nose with tears coming down my cheeks I couldn’t control myself! Needless to say– I guess I won’t be signing up for any banana eating contests in the near future!
P.S. Australia is still bloody expensive. I don’t think we have made our daily $120 budget yet. (petrol on average a DAY is about 70-90 buckaroos for the distance we cover… and campites are about 20-26 a day) But we are shooting for today… wish us luck!
10/25 Thursday…. Hoooo-RAY! We made our budget yesterday– only barely as petrol cost us about $100 (650 or so KM- we stopped counting after 500…) and then our accommodation cost us $20 for the tent site. But in the up side (or down side, however you look at it.) we went to bed at 930pm as #1– it was dark and #2 we couldn’t afford to do anything else) BUT that meant Ray was staring at me this morning above the tent at 530am ready to start the day. SUPER.
So with squinty eyes here I sit in the car at 6:30am setting off forBroome. Though’ we should be there by 10am latest– which will mean we will have 2 full days– looking forward to the boooo–tiful beaches… Said to be some of the most perfect in Australia.
Yesterday we arrived in the late afternoon and quickly put down our tent and set off toward the gorges to make the most of any last bit of sunlight we had left. (lord– it seriously is worse then winter in MN) But found the hike we did much needed after a lazy day in the car.
We just can’t help but try to imagine what this area must look like in the wet as the bridges we cross have no rivers underneath them and where there are lakes there only stand small ponds. It must appear to all contrast so much with how the day looks now. A completely different countryside, that we are sure of. But flooding is a guarantee in the wet– making many roads impassible. Many areas unreachable. So we are truly lucky- even if these flies are the death of us.
That end my lil‘ passage for today as I must get to rubbingMagnoplasm on my boil under my arm from the heat… Ahhhh… the pleasures of backpacking.
10/27– And we are off…. FARE-THE-WELL to beautiful Broome. With its white sand beaches, turquoise waters and rusty orange red dramaticcliffs….but not before we are pulled over for a routine car check, alcohol "blow-test" and ALL. Um, its 930am folks…. Even the Wyattsdon’t start drinking until at LEAST 10am. Oh… you know we’re justjokin‘.
These last 2 days were as Ray described "living in a Coronacommerical." (just without the Coronoa as its too bloody expensive to drink) But with its heaven like beachy blue sky backdrop with the palmtrees swaying in the sea breeze and the waves creating that "oh so perfect" lapping sound… well, it truly doesn’t get much better then this.
On Thursday we lazed by the beach- with FULL 30 sunblock AND under and umbrella…. Don’t you worry HOLL! The sun is CRAZY fierce here… and with the malaria tablets we still have to take for a full month AFTER we depart Asia– the sun bites us in our arse as it makes our skin REALLY fragile.
That night we got to know a few of our fellow tent neighbs as we all sat around picnic tables in the "campers kitchen." Something that is apart of most Caravan/campsites in W. Australia. Though’ lights are out by 930pm, its such a nice central social oasis when it gets dark by 6pm. The one we stayed at in Broome off of Cable Beach (voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world) even had fridges…. Saved us HEAPS on ice for our esky! (cooler)
And to all my Land of Oz full blown wackaloooos out there… how much do you miss "how ya goin‘?!" This country has such a rugged magical quality about it– its fantastic. Yesterday we were up and at em’ by 6am and running along the beach (first time for me since Greece… heee) and with Ray coaxing me on it feels so good to get the sand inbetweenmy toes and my lungs STRAINING for air…. Zee– oinks I am out of shape! Nothing like Brother Bear that just ran a half marathon– goon on ya!
After a quick dip in the ocean we then had a full on English Breaky and then motivated ourselves to catch up on some emails and picture uploading.
We rented oursleves a car for the East Coast which turned out to be FAR less then that of what we are finding to be the "we wanna work your pockets over West Coast…"
***24 Days from Darwin to Perth car rental= $1300
***18 Day rental for East Coast WITH unlimited mileage=$650
This way we will be able to pick up our long awaiting and VERY anticipated guests… Brother and Kristi! And then we can go wherever our hearts desire….
Yesterday afternoon we explored Gantheaume Point where the lighthouse stands and the spectacular cliffs jet out in all peculiar shapes into the sea. Because the tide gets so low right now with the full moon you can see actual dinosaur footprints that are embedded in the sandstone on the base of the cliff. Oh and what a game that was for Ray and I to find the prints– it was quite hysterical as we started believing that we were just entertainment for the locals as there really wasn’t any prints at all– They just liked to watch us and humor us on. Although we did find one, we think… and felt we had met our challenge and drove back to watch the camels walk along Cable Beach at sunset. Yup– thats right… Camels. Apparently Broomes known for this little attraction. But I admit, I am a suck for the photo-op.
****Sidenote…. Just to clear up a misunderstanding that we have realized some have had…. Ahem, Jen Marshall….. in a last blog we mentioned that we hadn’t washed our OWN clothes since Italy. Meaning that "OTHERS" have done it for us as the hotel/hostal/camping services in those other countries are fab– and just take your sweaty stank clothes for you and hours later they are FRESH and clean again. My gawd– I can’t imagine what some of you must have been thinking! HA!
10/28- After one last peak at 80 mile beach we are on the road again– almost at 3000 KM its hard to believe that we have finally made a dent in our journey from Darwin to Perth. And this last stop will forever be a memorable one as I have never seen an ocean so BLUE its near impossible to know where the sky begins or the sea end… or have been apart of such a strong tide that the sea recedes SO FAR out that all you can see is sand in the light of the full moon.
But what will forever be the most memorable of all is that we witnessed something truly extraordinary. Between October and March on this very beach Flatback turtles (and these suckers are massive) nest along the banks. Ray and I just decided to try our luck last night and see if we could spot any by the light of the full moon. Almost within minutes we saw a turtle slowly slip from the sea onto the beach and miraculously started "breast stroking" with its flippers all the way until it reached the dunes. Then dug a 2-3 ft hole in which she then deposited about 40 or so eggs into. I was, of course, amazed…. who gets to see this!? Where is my Beckey… she would LOVE THIS! They are said to only breed after about 50 years– and their life span is crazy long.
This was a once in a lifetime moment…. as I took it all in, marvelling at this turtles strength… its courage… its… "Lyserrrrr, can we gonoooow?!" Yah— I guess not completely mesmerizing for all… but he did last longer then I had expected.
Before we left 80 mile beach yesterday- Ray, what I am now calling "the little fisherman that could" gave another try with his little plastichandline. Oh you should have seen the determination…..just picture Ray as he would fight the break with his right hand as high in the air as possible so the sea doesn’t knock off his bait before he is able to throw it in and work his way back to the shore…. to usually find that moments later his bate fell off his hook anyway. Over and over again he tried. And all the while he does this the– "proper fisherman" as he calls them are catching fish with their "proper poles" all around him. Imagine the frustration….
****Well… EEEEnough of that rubbish we said– its time to make John Marshall & Matt Hammer proud….. At precisely 12:30pm today Ray became a proud owner of a PROPER fishing pole, so that HE TOO can join the ranks of the "proper fisherman." Hoooo ray. Its a very special day- lets all take a moment to take all the excitement in… DEEP BREATHE… Ahh… its almost overwhelming, isn’t it!?
With his chest puffed out (literally) and his new sparkly pole in hand I couldn’t help but smile…. Hey, at least this will keep him busy while I can finally relax in the sun, right?!
We spend the night last night at a small caravan park in Pt. Samson– a very cozy little town whcih after taking in some "people watching" (our new fave "free" entertainment) reminded us a tad bit of theShakopee mentality. Everyone knows EVERYONE else and their business– never a lack of drama. We met some other travellers in the "social oasis" at the campsite and spent the night drinking boxed wine (goon) and sharing stories. It was daylight savings yesterday which we may have lost an hour- but we gained a LOT more light at night. WOOWEEE! No mo’ goin‘ to bed at 9pm!
We spent the morning checking out the town and waving goodbye to our newly purchased volleyball as the wind swept it into the cove we were in. Bugga‘! (not without a fight though‘ as Ray tried to jump in and save it)
***Sidenote: Now, I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard as when I was teaching Ray the skills of playing volleyball. In order to play the "bump set spike" game you obviously have to know how to bump, set and spike. Ray, lets just say, may never be a professional volleyball player– but by gawd…. hes got quite a technique…. That afternoon on the beach playing (or attempting) volleyball as tears rolled down my cheeks I was laughing so hard– well, its always going to make me smile.
10/30— Tuesday…. I’m thinkin‘ throw a little Wolf Creek together with a dash of Chainsaw Massacre and maybe a pinch of Hills have Eyes…. and what does that make? Oh– just the Caravan Park (if you can even CALL it that) that was linked onto the truck stop (or they like to call them "Roadhouses") that we stayed at last night.
Remember that fishing pole that Ray bought yesterday? Yaaaah….. Itsilke a kid with a new bike and no where to ride it– we were in no wheres ville. Straight up. As we paid $20.00 for our little spot of green grass that was just meters away from the gas pump we had asked the chap checking us in– "so, is there any fishing to be had around here?" He just looked up at us with this crazy grin and said… "nope, rivers dried out– but I can show ya’s a dead snake?!" Wow. Fruitloop central, folks.
As we pitched our tent with the sounds of the chainsaw in the background and smells of petrol in the air…. we were certain that the prize for the WORST campsite was quickly awarded to– youbetchya…. "Nowheresville" Australia. Ahhh… but it will forever to a darn good story as we wallowed the hours away (more like wished the hours away) with the truckers and the full blown wackaloooo roadhouse staff. What a riot. AND we even came out alive.
10/30- Happy HALLLOOOWEEEEEN!
Oh who are we kidding… Its just like every other day here– well, if you can count camping in the Cape Range National Park alongside turquoise waters and spectacular reefs, the "norm." Yah– but that’ll console our Halloween HUGE withdrawel for now….But we still had to sigh as this day usually means ALMOST more then world to the Wyatts. But since we have the world for right now– the white sandy beaches and burning sun will have to do.
***Thanks to all of you that sent us your Halloweeeen love…. We needed it!!
As Ray is out trying his luck at ocean fishing off of the shore I am sitting tight on a picnic table at our campsite and trying not to blow away… Its CRAZY windy here. It feels so good to slow down and take it all in. We will be here for 2 WHOLE nights and then just over 1000 KM’s to Perth… And there lies my very anticipated reunion with Sarah and Mike. I have worked with Sarah for over 5 years and I cannot tell you how much you miss that person when she is in your life each and everday. She has been my rock on so many occasions… And I can’t tell you how much it means to me that they have chosen to take the journey to the land of Oz to come see us. ooooh! I can hardly wait!
Yesterday we arrived in Exmouth– a small little town at the end of a Peninsula that is the gateway to the Cape Range National Park we are in now.
No sooner did we put up our tent at the closest caravan park then we were off to get Ray’s new fishing pole wet for the first time. Lets just say we are so grateful for the "passerbys’" that always seem to know when we are looking a little confused. A kind man helped Ray get it started and with a few helpful "fishing" hints he was well on his way…. Oh how it warmed my heart to watch him so happy– You should have seen him! To think of what it will be like when he finally CATCHES something!? Oh… PICTURES WILL BE TAKEN!
He just keeps telling me that they its just one more day to get fatter– as he still hasn’t caught a one. Though’ I promise YOU WILL BE THE FIRST ones to find out when he catches his first fish on the trip!
….. And that leaves me here, right now… with you…. typing away…. We JUST came back from from the National Park this morning straight here—and for SOME reason there isn’t anyone at the computers next to us. Could that be the fact that we haven’t showered for almost 3 days? (no showers or running water at the park)
Wowza…. we need to bathe.
11/2… Friday…. With sand still sticking to our back… blisters on our lips…. and sunburned, well…. everywhere…. we feel a bit beaten up. With very little shade and temps extreme— you do all you can do protect yourselves. Fully Clothed with 30+ sublock on every piece of skin and all…. but still, it manages to get atch’ya.
….QUICK UPDATE AS I WRITE THIS TO YOU… HUGE NEWS!! The company that we dwelt with to get our rental car (we have been trying to negotiate through email/phonecalls the last few days to get MORE mileage as think 5000 KM to cover what we are doing is NOT RIGHT….) has just informed us that if Europcar does not give us umlimeted mileage, well– they WILL. HOOOO RAAAAH! This will have us WELL over $300+!!! AND this means that we can explore more throughout Perth! Saving grace….. And tip of me’ hat goes to the good ol’ industry of TV Commercial Sales…. I learned everything I know about the fine "art" of negotiating at Continental Sales.
….. So with a bit of umph now to my step– we press on towards Perth– with unlimited MILEAGE, mind you…. 3 more days and about 1250 more KM’s. Can’t wait to share with you the journeys to come~ but before I end this– I need to make a few shout outs….
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY MAGGIE MIGGINS AND LELS!! Hope you both had a FANTASTIC day…. I was thinking about you!!! ….And Mags— So glad you are okay after the earthquake! WOWZA!! Thats nutters… I can only imagine what you must have been thinking! Don’t have too many of those in good ol’ Minnesoterrr!
If Ray got his dates correct, its Sarah from England’s birthday tooooo! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!…
Karrie… OH GIRL, you did me proud with your Halloween Party… AND 3 costume changes! A girl after my own heart, you are! Thanks for all the details…. Miss you!
Holl… I will call you soon! So much to talk about! Thanks for keeping me in the loop… I miss you so much!! The bachy bach is just over a week away! OOOOOH… I so wish I could be there! Maybe my mum can figure out a way to get "the laminate" over to you for the shower– we can just "blindfold" Ray. Aye?
Still so fabbergasted that we now have a party of "4" in Tahiti meeting us….Just found out that our dear friends Danielle and Scott are meeting us along with Stacy Sue and Steph! You are all legends…. OH MY what a rockin’ New Years Eve we will have.
…..I have loved getting the emails from my Uncle Sandi and the "mini" blogs from Gramps… you both make me smile so very hard.
…And of course, as always– keep the comments comin’…. You know how much we love hearing from you!! Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts.
I think that does it for now….. Until next time….
TAKE CARE AND WE MISS YOU!!
–Lysssrr’ and Ray