More travels

The Kimberley Beckons

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Distance covered: 820 km.Distance covered: 820 km.

It’s Saturday, 7 a.m., which means that it’s time to start the car, leave the house and head towards (and beyond) more black stumps on my Australian map. Winter starts in just a few days, so I might as well spend these days travelling to the regions where summer never really ends.

The cloudy morning.The cloudy morning.

My journey north is taking me across the familiar country so far. How is the Lochiel’s pink lake doing? Not so pink at this time of year, as it turns out.

As I approach Port Augusta, I suddenly realise that I forgot to pack a bed sheet. Lucky for me, the town has plenty of shops. Which is good, because I need a car parts shop, too: my left headlight is gone. Good for me to spot all that before I leave the civilisation for the next few days.

Driving further, I see the lands becoming dryer and redder. This is one of my favourite stretches of the highway, where the real outback starts.

The trees of the outback.The trees of the outback.

Always been mesmerised by them.Always been mesmerised by them.

Together with the clouds, they make some very interesting patterns.Together with the clouds, they make some very interesting patterns.

The scenery changes slowly.The scenery changes slowly.

The orange sand dunes.The orange sand dunes.

I pass Glendambo, which is where the mobile signal disappears for the next few hundred clicks. There I also spot a couple of cyclists with two cars crawling in front and behind them. Sportsmanship? One more marathon for a noble cause? Go figure.

At the Bon Bon rest stop I see plenty of cars, too; the place is so packed that I barely manage to reach the toilet before a queue forms. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a rest stop so busy before. A toilet marathon for a noble cause?

The outback scenery slowly changes; the earth becomes redder, the plains become flatter. I stop every now and again to take pictures, and the cloudy weather helps me with that.

The trees become taller.The trees become taller.

And even taller!And even taller!

Cloudy sky, muted colours.Cloudy sky, muted colours.

Only the dirt is as red as ever.Only the dirt is as red as ever.

It goes almost completely dark after 6, but by then I finally reach my camping spot for today, which is where I've been only a month ago. I like this place: it's big and spacious, it's free, and it has mobile coverage. Which is all I need right now, really. The clouds grow thicker, and it starts to drizzle, but like I said, winter is coming. At least I’ve already gained 40 extra minutes of sunlight by travelling 800 kilometres up north. Will gain even more tomorrow.

The night is a bit wet, but surprisingly warm. It feels so good to be in a proper bed inside the car, on a brand new bed sheet, watching Legion on a laptop. I also brought a camping fridge with me as well, and it whirrs quietly beneath me every half an hour or so. Even if I'm abandoning civilisation, it doesn't mean I should abandon my creature comforts, right?

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