‘And the answer my friend, is blowin’ in the wind’ Bob Dylan
The day had come to leave the Red Centre. I knew I’d be back to explore Alice more, minus the kids, and do the Larapinta Trail. I also wanted to get chance to go to the East Macs as well. I had heard they were just as beautiful and amazing.
We got back on the Stuart Highway heading north, after a haircut for Charlie, a bakery run and a quick drive up to Anzac Hill Lookout (this would be especially beautiful at sunrise/sunset). I was happy to start the next chapter of our trip and hit the road with a big smile. I realised I had stopped worrying about getting to certain places ‘on time’ and took a ‘we’ll see where we get to’ approach instead. Yes we did have to be back by late July/early August as I had to get back to work, but I knew I would make that happen. Even if I had to fly back, leave the kids and fly to return to the car and drive back. There were alternate plans in place just in case. So I took to the road relaxed and chilled out, determined to stop at interesting places along the way. Today this included Aileron Roadhouse. Suddenly we were in quintessential true blue Aussie outback-ness, as shown in the sign below.
The roadhouse has a big sign as you enter from the south ‘Big Man Walk’. Toby had just started to say, ‘What does that mean?’ when a massive statue loomed over the hill behind the building. An Aboriginal man, massive in stature, sculpted into the sky, spear at the ready. It was pretty incredible. Just further on, near the Art Gallery, an Aboriginal mother, her child, and (I think) a Perentie at her feet, stood guard.
We also stopped at Barrow Creek. It was like we had stopped time. A light breeze flowed through the outdoor area as we drank our lemon lime bitters and took a rest. A little Aboriginal girl with pink and purple sprayed through her hair, eyes twinkling, smiled at me and shyly ran away to play with her bigger sister. Two older ladies read the paper. The men around the corner sat together, as if in conversation, but no words were spoken. It was totally quiet. One man came up and pretended to eat Charlie’s lolly, teasing him. The woman who had served us in the shop asked Toby what music he liked and the old, ‘We’ve got country…or western’, was thrown into the ring. Hip hop probably doesn’t fit into those categories I’m thinking.
It was about 3.30 when we pulled up at the Devil’s Marbles campground and it was already packed to the brim. We managed to find a little spot on a corner, where no caravan would have fitted in. That meant we had a bit more space to spread around and I parked the car so the tents were a bit more protected in amongst the sea of vans. We paid the princely sum of $6.60 (I tipped 40c to round it up) for myself and both boys to stay here overnight and you can’t beat that value for money. We threw up the tents to claim our spot and got on the bikes and road around the little walk trails carved out by footprints over time. The sun sank lower and lower and we watched the warm red glow over the boulders, something we had lacked at Uluru due to the cloudy weather. I was in photo heaven, snapping away furiously. There is nothing quite like watching the light change over landscapes and seeing it being captured in a still image. I have always loved it and always will. I’ve been a photographer since the age of 13 and only seem to love it more and more.
I treated the kids to two minute noodles in a ‘I can’t be arsed mothering tonight’ kind of way and fell asleep to the wind whipping the tent back and forth. I love that little tent. My sanctuary.