Tuesday, July 22, 2014

County fair...dinkum

990 km drive for a day at the fair.

True! We drove down to Tennant Creek just to go to the Show.
Sounds a bit extreme doesn't it? But it seemed like a good idea at the time. 2 weeks into a 4 week school holidays, 2 kids ratty with cabin fever and high likelihood of  a domestic dispute. Why not throw the whole circus into the car and head south?

When we first discussed the idea of going to TC I had thought this could be a chance to catch up with some of the people fighting against the nuclear waste dump at Muckaty Station... Turned out that campaign had been won just a week or so before we left Darwin! No complaints about that. There was a victory celebration but it happened before we arrived. Congratulations to all those involved in the campaign and particularly the Warlmanpa people.

Once again I'm not much in the mood for writing but thought I'd post a few photos from the trip.

We left Darwin at about 4am and made Katherine by 7:30am, had some breaky and drove on to Dunmarra roadhouse and more fuel.

Mataranka big fig... headed south

Land raper at Dunmara Roadhouse... I wonder what they're going trash with that? (Frackers?)

Made TC with plenty of daylight to spare.

Next day Friday the Tennant Creek Show. After a very cold 8 degree night we spend the morning hugging our coffee mugs and once the chill had worn off checked out the view from the lookout. We hit the show some time after 1pm. The Tennant Creek show only runs for one day and I swear if we hadn't done our research we could have spent the week there and not had any idea it was even on. There appeared to be no advertising around the town at all. The (white) locals we spoke to seemed to think there was no point holding the show since the miners had left town but judging by the amount of soft toys and show bags I saw leaving the place I doubt the rest of the mostly Aboriginal population would agree. There seemed to be enough people around to fill the showgrounds and sideshow alley was pretty lively, there were kids everywhere and the place had the feel of a fair dinkum carnival. It was quite a fun day. I'd recommend TC show to any southerners traveling north to get a sense of an Australia that exists in many of the towns they pass through but rarely allow to touch them as they pass.

At the Tennant Creek Show.

We broke camp by 9am Saturday morning and headed up to Mataranka and the Bitter Springs for three nights camping by our favorite swimming hole. The nights were mild, water clear and warm. Caught a good whip cracking show at the Homestead, swam our hearts out and generally chilled for two full days.

Big moon at Mataranka

The caravan park experience is weird. 1,000s of retired grey nomads trucking along in their new 4x4 luxury vehicles towing immaculate caravans with all the best gear. Every rig is meticulously washed once they set up camp. You don't see them at the local shops (or at the Show) they  travel from camp to camp, inspect each other's outfits then settle down for sundowners and gossip, bravado and comparing road notes. Basically which caravan park they'll stop at next, what towns they'll glide through and glance at from behind the tinted windows of their motorized isolation tanks. Hoarding their food till the next big town where supermarket rewards cards can be used, their hard earned money will never see the till of the empty stores in desolate towns they pass through...  Their sleek  aerodynamic designed rigs slip passed dusky drinkers waiting for the early openers raising silent plumes of dust from desolate gutter of towns they'll tick off on the great road trip of 2014!

I bite my tongue after trying to stop Sam from spending money in the local store... "We need our money for fuel!" Shit! Damn... Did I say that? Am I just like them? This drive will take us months to pay off but 1,000s of people pass through this town cashed up enough to leave their homes and travel around at their leisure in brand new trucks and vans but not a cent to spare for the local businesses! Hell spend up babe.
What the hell are we doing here anyway?

Home by Tuesday afternoon. 2,400 km under our belts and about 3 months worth of fuel burned! Yes it's great to get away but bothers me the amount of fuel we used. All along the road we saw road trains carrying fuel to supply the hungry tourist muticas traveling up and down that highway.

The whole time I was humming to myself County Fair by Bruce Springsteen. 4 of us in the car. Me my wife and 2 kids... In 2,400 km they only let me choose one song! I chose this one and they kicked up so much fuss I had to turn it off out of respect for the Boss! What is wrong with these people!? They wouldn't let me listen to it in the car but they can't stop me posting it here!


Chandra said...

Hey Peter,
Sorry I missed some of your earlier posts. Country Fair sounds good. The song is definitely from one of my favorite artists.

The snap of the moon is exceptional mate!

Peace :)

David J said...

Yeh Super moon. There are some really nice songs on the Essential Bruce Springsteen (CD 3)

Tennant Creek in the NT is a very interesting place. It can get quite rough at times but there's a life going on there beyond the pub.