I went westwards. And I drove past canyons and fields of termite mounds taller than I stand. Past snaking rivers full of muddy water full of large leathery reptiles and dozens of dirt tracks that, in a 4wd, could take you to some of the most pristine land in the world.
It’s a long way to anywhere here.
I set up camp on the banks of a dammed river. At sunset I watched the freshwater crocs swim past. That night I went looking for them on the banks with a torch.
You can see their eyes by torchlight.
I took to a piece of bank not far from my camp. It was dark and my torch was far too weak to see more than a few feet in front of me. I realized light had fallen on a crocodile when I saw my foot was about to land on it. Quick as I blinked the crocodile had returned to the river sending a shower of water over my dumbfounded self.
I got the inkling I’d best get to bed.
I crossed into the Northern Territory and things got greener.
Fresh out of the wet. It was looking lush.
Open limits on the road had me shooting high beams as I flew down towards the next roadhouse at sunset. I prayed a roo or a cow didn’t stroll into my path. I had to get away from the flies.
So thick I was breathing them in wherever I stopped.
I’m getting used to them now.
I’d killed my radio about 5000 k’s earlier. I drove over a large boulder.
That’ll do it.
Knowing I had about 5k more of desert ahead I splashed out and got a 10 buck shower radio and tuned the ibone into that pissy little thing.
I cranked the tunes that fit into is little speakerbox. Parquet courts. Their low-fi crunch fit in well.
Do Make Say Think squeezed in. Holy Fuck were out.
Sun Kill Moon, Eddy Current Suppression Ring…
Anything that sounded like it was recorded in a bathroom really worked ok.
So I looked up north,
Then I looked down south,
Then to the east,
And the West was the best.
But I still don’t know.
Which way to go.
Hand it to me on a platter,
Gold or silver,
Hand it all over to me.
Easy as it can be.
That’s how I wanna
How I wanna go.
Tasmania was good to me but the brief Tasmanian times were over. I spent my last day drinking in a small town with a retired maths teacher who told me in his darkest times he would stroll the paddocks and talk to sheep at night.
Next evening the boat lumbered out to sea and rocked all night as it was battered by a fierce storm and an 8 meter swell.
I slept on a bench on the top deck where empty tinnies rolled around the floor and the rain leaked from the ceiling. Empty. The chairs swiveled with the rocking boat. I’d step outside for a smoke occasionally. The waves cracking into the hull would make the whole vessel shudder and soon after a rain of spray from the impact would fall on me. I didn’t get much sleep.
I had a lot to think about.
Like, where to next?