This is Recon checking in. Jessica has some business back in the caravan today so instead we have Steven Rhodes, the team’s camp manager filling in for her today. He has been in charge of making sure that the team is fed healthy food to keep us all moving, in addition to making sure everyone is up and moving in the morning, usually before sunrise.
When we last left you, we were hanging out in Alice Springs pillaging wireless access from the local McDonald’s. Leaving Alice Springs refreshed and rejuvenated from a civilization bigger than a hut, bar and gas station, we hit the road again. The destination: Tennant Creek. However, along the way the team decided it would be good to simulate a road-side campsite for when we need to pull off either due to troubles with Impulse or at the end of a race-day when a rest area cannot be found. According to the race regulations we are given a ten minute window to find a location to camp. Scout used the extra juice and acceleration in the Caddy Maxi to pull away from the rest of the team and found a location without too many prickly bushes, and biting ants, and enough space for the whole team to park safely away from the road. The simulation went well and Scout found a location six minutes into the window that was specified, although I’m told the location was lacking in some basic amenities; namely, a toilet.
That was when the fun began. During the scouting voyage, the team had passed the Devil’s Marbles. Called Karwle Karwle by the local Warumungu people and not to be confused with the slightly less impressive Devil’s Pebbles just up the road, the Marbles are a series of beautiful formations of somewhat precariously balanced stone boulders. According to the guidebook, it is also the location of the hardest ground you will ever sleep on. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to prove just how tough of a team we are, so this was our campsite for the night. The sights were phenomenal and the ground hard, but everyone awoke this morning well rested and excited for our final day on the voyage up to Darwin where we will finally begin racing, or as the locals say, “raycing”!
Now we are using the local internet in Katherine (Shout-out to our Business Lead back in Berkeley!). This morning we all hauled ourselves out of bed before sunrise and got onto the road with a breakfast of oats and yogurt. The landscape is beginning to turn a little bit greener and the straightaways seem to be shortening. The trucks are also getting bigger. Today we’ve had two sightings of E class road trains, which are pulling four trailers! I can’t imagine driving one of those vehicles.
Along the drive we passed many interesting vehicles including several small trucks carrying explosives (battery packs perhaps?) and a road train that what was swerving all over the road ( O.O ). We wisely took a lunch break instead of passing and continued forwards later. We really hope that Impulse never has to deal with anything like that! We’ll be in contact again tomorrow from Darwin!
Mike, Marc, and Steven