11:00 - This morning we all got woken up at about 6:00, so that we could pack up all of the tents and other things in the bus. We had pulled over in a small truck parking bay, and set up camp there last night. It was about 9km South of Elliott, which is a small country town with a few service stations, small shops and an inn. We did set up in a pretty good spot, close to the road, but not too close. This had a major downside, with at least 15 or 20 Road Trains going past. For those who don't know what a road train is… Imagine a massive truck with at least three or four carriages behind it. They weigh over 130 tonnes and move at 100 – 130km/h, so they can be pretty scary.
When we arrived yesterday, everything was covered in flies. The same went for this morning. Last night though, there were no flies or cane toads, so we were all pretty happy about that. We also set up a camp fire in the middle of the parking area, between our tents and the bus, and set up our chairs around it. Sure, the fire wasn't really necessary, due to the fact we're in the Northern Territory… But in the words of Mr Beattie "It's for ambience." We also had the brothers Treen trying to make a massive fireball, but Beattie told them not to get anymore wood.
For the solar car, we charged up the battery for a little while, before we loaded it back into the trailer. We then headed off at 8:00, without the sweep car escorting us this time. Mr Beattie, a couple of students and I headed back to Elliott to discard of some rubbish, as well as to make a satellite call. The rest all went ahead. We're hoping to reach Alice Springs by the end of today, at 5, so that we may change the batteries around there. Unfortunately, this will force us to take a penalty, varying from 3 – 6 hours; depending on how good Mr Beattie's negotiation skills are.
So far, no students have really had any troubles. There have been no breakdowns, freak outs or people fainting. I'm pretty proud, considering some people were saying they wouldn't last the first day on the road, and I'm pretty sure they are too. We're also all looking forward to reaching Alice Springs, as there hasn't been a major shop like Woolworths since Katherine, nor grass for that matter.
Finally, the actual drive. The longest drive I have ever been on was 4 hours, from Perth to Albany. Most others on the trip are roughly the same as well. This means that this is the first really long car trip for most people here, on the road from 8 – 5 every day. We've been divided up into three vehicles, the troopie, the 100 series Landcruiser and the Rosa bus. This has worked out fairly well, although I've been in the 100 series both days so far. Personally, I think it's the best, as it's got really good air conditioning and Mr Beattie's driving, so we get loud decent music.
7:30 – Morgan's got tea cooking, tents are all set up and we are in Alice Springs. It beats last night, as we have toilets and laundrette, so we no longer have to go off into the bush when nature calls. This also means that we get a shower tonight. One night under those conditions didn't bother most of us at all, but it's still nice to be camping in a caravan park.
When we got into the grounds we were going to be camping in, a whole group of school kids all gathered around our trailer. They weren't little kids or anything, but we still drew a large crowd. They all watched as we pulled the car out of the trailer, and a few of the blokes stuck around afterwards to ask Mr Beattie some questions about the car. We've also been informed that a certain part we need for the car has been ordered tonight (Thanks to Mike Brand), and will be delivered at 9:00am tomorrow morning. Mr Beattie is very happy, which in turn keeps everyone else happy.
We're getting pretty spoilt tonight, in the food department. Mr Morgan's cooking chicken, peas, corn, pumpkin and potato. Who could complain?! We were supposed to have this meal last night, but the problem was that someone turned the Engel (Portable fridge) to the temperature of a freezer. This means that we couldn't defrost the chicken in time, and instead had spaghetti bolognaise as the mince was way easier to defrost.
Today was rather uneventful, and so far tonight has been as well. We don't expect it to be otherwise, and for that we're glad.
Written by Curtis Brand (Year 11)
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Wednesday, October 24, 2007