This isn’t the actual road to Uluru, but this was common to see when we arrived in Alice Springs.
It was pretty obvious a minivan could not plow through the goopy, sloppy red Outback route to Uluru. Essentially, the roads were open only to the burliest of vehicles. No matter how much the Honda Odyssey believed it was a Mad Maxian four-wheel drive, there was no way we would make it. No way. It was time to find another mode of transportation to take us to the most famous monolith in the world.
Uncharacteristically heavy rains had churned and upturned the soil of Australia’s red center. Water wrecked havoc on the town of Alice Springs, and the Todd River had overtaken some of the city’s streets.
Locals said if you saw the Todd River even flow at all at three times you were a local. Considering the river’s raging water, we definitely were one-third local.
The Red Soil captivated me every time I saw photos of Central Australia. The Outback was the place I really wanted to visit in Oz during my first school holidays as an exchange teacher. Uluru, of course, was a must on the list. Just getting there, however, proved to be almost as surreal as seeing Uluru’s spiritual grounds and the monolith itself.
One minute I’d look out the car window transfixed by the soil and its various shades, and then the next I’d see some wacky vehicle that looked like it drove off the set of The Hangover 3. The Stuart Highway didn’t disappoint either since you’d definitely see the hard core, badass Road Warrioresque machines.
Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia. I’m here with my dad and a python who was getting a little too friendly at the Alice Springs Reptile Centre. For some reason, it chose my crotch and the top of my thigh as a secure anchor for its wanderings.
From the look on my face, you may think I was enjoying this a bit more than necessary. Actually, I had a lot of nervous energy going…especially since the snake decided to live up to its cousin’s name and become a boa around my neck.
Central Australia. The Outback can be a pretty desolate place. A petrol/gas station and road house are literally like an oasis. Definitely a one-stop-shop. This Road House, which did have lodging, was not advocating drinking and driving, I would like to believe, but merely efficiency.
The sculpture appeared to be on loan from the “Sanford and Son” collection. Or, it could have been something ET rigged up to “phone home.” Chains, old school TV antennas, plastic baby dolls, a wokish thing, old computer keyboards, rusty tools and vehicle parts were strung together in a very random way. “Unique,” as an adjective, did not really cover it.
We looked around at more of the offerings of the free outdoor museum in Coober Pedy, South Australia, where the works were a mixture of plain old junk and art junk. The surroundings seemed to be part of the “art rubbish movement.” The theme’s main representatives were corrugated sheet metal and rust — which actually complimented the soil, the color of ground chili pepper. It was quite beautiful — in a “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” kind of way.