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Big Trip Blog Bigtripblog is a multimedia travel experience capturing the adventures of Kevin and Valerie during their one year trip around the world.

Journey to Alice Springs

AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 14 July 2007 | Views [1359]

Val: We drove two straight days and 1200 kms from Mt. Isa to get to Alice Springs. It was a surreal drive with no sign of life for stretches of hundreds of kilometers. Petrol was far from cheap, and one of the in-the-middle-of-nowhere petrol station/hotel/pub/restaurants had a sign explaining their expensive fuel: they generate their own electricity which needs 500 liters of diesel every single day. That's just crazy! We thought surely there's got to be a cheaper way to do it, but I guess not or else they'd have figured it out by now. When the sun went down, there weren't any places to pull over and drive off the road safely, but there were some handy, somewhat deserted rest stops that permitted overnight camping. Traffic through the outback is pretty light, so most of the time out there it was really peaceful and serene. Check out my photo of the night sky in the gallery.

We arrived in Alice Springs, a nice little town with all of the usual comforts of big grocery stores and internet cafes. It seems like it could be any suburb or town in the populated parts of Australia, so it's hard to remember it's really in the middle of the desert. Kinda like Vegas, but without all the casinos or money. Anyway, we decided to go for some steaks at a "real" outback steakhouse to compare it to the ones we used to eat at home in the US at the kitschy restaurant chain Outback Steakhouse (yeah, they don't have those here). The Overlander's Steakhouse actually may as well have been one, because the kitsch they had going on was out of control. I was loving it. They put a flag from your home country on your table (there weren't as many Aussies as tourists - go figure), the menu boasted a wide range of animals from camel to crocodile in addition to steaks, and there were all sorts of horns and hides on the walls. They even made a big group of American teenagers on a school trip get up and sing an old Australian outback song, complete with hand gestures. Many of them looked like they were hating it, but they continued to participate anyway. It was pretty hilarious. Check me out with my steak and my flag.

Tags: ambassador van, on the road


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