[In 2013, the T-Team, next generation embarked on their pilgrimage to Central Australia. Purpose: to scatter Dad’s ashes in his beloved Central Australia, in Ormiston Gorge.
Over the next few weeks, I will take you on a virtual trip to the Centre and memories of that unforgettable holiday in 2013, with my brother and his family; the T-Team Next Generation.
This time, the T-K Team ventured out West of Hermannsburg to explore Tnorala (Gosse Bluff).]
Big Day Out West
An alarm wailed.
I sat up and nudged Anthony. ‘What’s that about?’
Anthony snorted, smacked his lips and mumbled. ‘I don’t know. An alarm, I think.’
‘Shouldn’t we tell P? It might be their shop.’
Anthony snorted, turned over and recommenced snoring.
For some time, I lay in bed. Sleepless. The alarm bleating, lights flashing through our window. I assumed that like car alarms in the city, a cat or dog had set the thing off and the owners will sort out the problem…eventually.
Eventually, the alarm stopped and somehow, I fell into a good, deep sleep.
I stretched and then yawned. ‘Good morning, Anthony, did you have a good sleep?’
‘No,’ he grumbled. ‘You snored!’
After a shower, and getting dressed while Anthony caught up on the sleep he apparently missed out on while I snored (nothing about the alarm, I might add), I chatted with K over breakfast.
‘The store was broken into last night,’ she said.
‘So, that’s what the alarm last night was all about,’ I remarked.
‘Yep, happens on a regular basis. One of the windows need replacing, again.’
P joined us. Leaning on the kitchen table, he added, ‘If you want anything at the shop, you’ll have to wait until it opens. Store was broken into.’ He chuckled. ‘One lady has tried to impress the cops with her tracking skills.’
‘Who tried to break in? Do the police have any idea?’
P shrugged. ‘Kids probably.’
After a slow morning, mooching, chatting with P (K had gone to work) bible study and then preparing some lunch, Anthony and I commenced our daytrip to the Gosse Range which is a meteorite crater formed some millennia ago. After some twenty kilometres of bitumen, we took the turn onto the Mereenie Loop and the road deteriorated. The Ford suffered the juddering of corrugations and slipping and sliding on silty red sand. Anthony slowed the car and crawled at a tense 20 km per hour.
I clutched the handhold of the door. ‘Is the car going to survive? I feel like the car’s going to fall apart.’
‘Why do you think I’m driving so slow,’ Anthony snapped.
In the distance, a truck approached us, powering up the road at speed, bull dust billowing behind it.
‘Close your windows,’ Anthony said.
‘They are,’ I replied. ‘I know what bulldust is and does.’ Didn’t fancy my nose, mouth and eyes filled with the stuff as they were in 1981.
The truck powered past, leaving us behind in a cloud of bull dust. Thankfully, the Ford, with its windows wound up, shielded us from the red menace, and we continued to judder along the corrugations for what seemed an eternity.
Then we rounded a bend in the road and, there, the Gosse Range spread out before us.
We stopped and captured the range, dressed in a soft mauve in the midday sun. As we prepared to jump in the car, another vehicle came roaring up the road towards us. This time, I caught the car with my camera as it sped up the road as if it were a racing track.
With the car disappearing in a cloud of dust behind our Ford, with us safely in it, we prepared to complete our journey to the Gosse Range.
Anthony glanced in the rear-view mirror. ‘Oh, cattle.’
‘Must get photos,’ I retrieved my camera from its bag, ‘evidence for she who does not believe that cattle exist in Central Australia.’
Anthony switched off the engine, and we piled out to take these important photos.
After the cattle were caught on camera, we crawled our way to the Gosse Range turn off. By this time, the jiggling and juggling along the route, must have rattled Anthony’s senses and he had become quite cavalier. ‘What the heck, the road doesn’t look too bad.’
I stared at the two-tyre rutted track. I knew, having been there some 36 years before, that the track would not be much of a track further on. ‘Better to park the car just off the side of the road and hike to the Gosse Range, actually.’
‘Looks alright to me.’
‘Okay, if you must. We’ll drive as far as we can and then walk the rest of the way.’
This we did. Our trusty old Ford lumped and hurumphed over the rocks and ruts until we decided to spare the Ford any further risk and indignity to its under-carriage and suspension. Then we hiked the final kilometre through the gap and into the pound.
‘I’m so glad we were able to walk through the gap,’ I said while marvelling at the cliffs and boulders on each side. ‘If we’d been able to drive through, as we did in the Rover in 1977, I would’ve missed the beauty of these formations.’
[to be continued…]
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021
Feature Photo: Racing along the Mereenie Loop © L.M. Kling 2013