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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Ngaanyatjarraku

AUSTRALIA | Sunday, 24 April 2022 | Views [25]

For two full days I waited in Laverton for a lift. How am I not frustrated? Hitchhiking, especially when undertaking extreme journeys like this one require the 4 P’s: patience, persistence, provisions, and power. Alex and Felix remarked that I’m very bold for standing out there and that I “travel with a stoicism bordering on the heroic.” Some journeys just aren’t meant to be easy. Before starting this one, just like the journey to Cape York, I had a lot of doubters. However, I was determined to pull off this quest.

Alex and Felix yesterday said they weren’t very optimistic about getting a lift over Anzac weekend but today they said they were putting out good vibes and that today’s the day. Dropped at the corner at 7:30 AM meant I had an early start and the opportunity to get out there before the swarms of flies. There have been very few trucks and most of the vehicles have either been driven by locals or the Indigenous. As an experienced hitchhiker, it’s very important to vet both the driver and the vehicle, especially in remote places. Many of the vehicles I’ve seen have broken windscreens and appear to be held together by Scotch tape. About 30 minutes into waiting this morning, a couple stopped, and they were heading to Warburton. The lady seemed a bit suspicious of me and said there wasn’t enough room. With my hand over my heart, I thanked them anyway and held out my thumb. After waiting for six hours the day before and over eight hours yesterday I knew there was the potential to be waiting for another full day. Another vehicle stopped a short time later but they were chock-a-block. Finally, at 9 AM, an Indigenous couple stopped and they were going to Warburton! Cedric and Frieda are their names, and we were immediately sitting on 140 kph flying down the dirt road. At first I wasn’t sure if they decided they were going to stay the night in Cosmo Newbery, but they sped on. Much like on the road up to Cape York, the sides of the road are littered with spent vehicles. In just over two hours we drove more than 300 kilometres and stopped at Tjukayirla Roadhouse.

Stretching my legs and getting a Red Bull, I saw the lady who stopped earlier. She seemed surprised that I got a lift, but her partner asked me to take his photo.

Alcohol isn’t officially allowed in these parts but to many of the locals, there are no rules out here. Cedric and Frieda’s car isn’t the worst I’ve seen but the back window is gone and the windscreen looks like a road map. Furthermore, my door didn’t open from the inside but at least the seat belt worked. Going what felt like the speed of light we nearly ended in a disaster. Frieda lost control of the car and I swear I thought we were going to roll over and be upside-down. By then she was scared, and I was scared, and Cedric took over the driving. Just as we pulled into Warburton Roadhouse, their front tyre blew out. For the first time ever in Australia, I was asked to pitch in for petrol. I gave Cedric and Frieda $30 and then got a selfie with them.

GoogleMaps states it’s about eight hours and 15 minutes from Laverton to Warburton, but we did it in four and a half hours. Cedric and Frieda originally planned on getting as far as Warakurna, another two hours to the east but without a spare tyre I’m guessing they aren’t getting very far until at least tomorrow. Finally, I’m in Warburton, and I’ve pulled off a good chunk of this journey already. Pitching my tent at the roadhouse, I wanted to sign a geocache in the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku, one of the remotest local government areas (LGAs) in Australia. The only cache is about 15 kilometres away from the roadhouse, and when I asked the manager if he knew someone whom I could pay like $10 to take me out there, his friend Michael offered. He said it gave him an excuse to see some of these back roads, and we drove down Connie Sue Rd. The road was originally created for the Australian military to collect pieces of rockets and missiles they tested. Connie Sue Rd. runs almost all the way to the Nullarbor. After a bit of a walk I found my first geocache in Ngaanyatjarraku.

Red sand and blue sky are most certainly iconic in the Outback. 

There are 139 LGAs in WA, and I’ve found geocaches in 102 of them; not bad for a five month stretch in WA. Tonight is one of those nights I feel content, and it feels great to be in Warburton (as well as being in one piece after today). Not surprisingly, I was treated to another jaw-dropping sunset!

At the campground, a guy named Joshua recognized me from Perth. I was planning on making some 2-minute noodles but Joshua and his friend, Archie asked me if I wanted some snags (sausages). I lightened my food bag by getting out some baked beans. Tomorrow is Anzac Day, and I’m keeping up with my tradition of having homemade Anzac biscuits to share. I made a stack of them at Rachel’s house whilst I was isolating. As not many people travel on Anzac Day, I’m prepared to spend a second night in Warburton but I’ll see what happens tomorrow. For now I’m sitting warm and toasty by the fire thinking “damn, what a day!”

 

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