Spent yesterday driving from the Gold Cost to Coonabarabran, and apparently I was a bit too anxious to get there. I had a conversation with one of New South Wales' finest along the way. A very expensive conversation. Spent the next two hours in Resistance, Resentment and Revenge, and said a lot more than "hqiz". Yarg
These people are insanely anal about their speed laws.
Well, that's over - I parked the car at a truck stop just outside of Coona and was able to get some acceptable shots of the Southern Cross, even with my dinky little camera. The Magellanic clouds are spectacular to contemplate, but too faint to photograph. Still, it was the first time I had seen them clearly.
Drove into Coona and from thence to Warrumbungles National Monument, where I camped in the car until 6:00 AM. Walked up the White Gum overlook for some sunrise shots of the volcanic valley, and then found the trailhead and started off at 7:00. It was still cool and I was glad I had begun early. At 9:10 I found myself at 910 meters above Sea Level, overlooking the Breadknife and with a magnificent 360-degree panorama of some incredible volcanic remnangs. Many pictures and videos taken. Got back down via a back route at 11:00, so the 16-odd kilometers and very steep rise took me just 4 hours. I was glad I had been in training, because it was quite a strenuous hike to the top - but the views were so worth it.
From there I drove to visit the Anglo-Autralian Telescope (http://www.aao.gov.au/about/abouttheaao.html
) which also provided beautiful views of the valley. Amazing instrument... I had never been in an observatory before. I was interested to know that they remove the mirror, and strip and re-aluminize it each year. What an undertaking that must be...
Drove the 158 Km to Dubbo, where I met dewhitton
and was treated to a sumptuous banquet at a chinese all-you-can-eat buffet/private club. And we did... oh, yes, we did. *urp* It was interesting that we had to sign in as "temporary members" to get in, and they were quite insistent that I remove my hat. Odd dress code...
Afterward he took me to see some aboriginal grinding grooves, where the natives would grind grains, and sharpen axes or spear points in the rock. He also showed me some interesting pylons under a bridge which were decorated beautifully in the aboriginal style. Apparently when they catch a tagger, they take him to one of the local artists and teach him how to do wall art properly, and then turh him loose on ugly pylons or other surfaces that need decorating. If he's intractable and won't learn, he gets turned over to the constable. The work they do is impressive, and the program is quite imaginitive.
Dubbo is less humid than the Gold Coast, but today was 38C and tomorrow is slated to be warmer yet. Uff!
Tomorrow I want to drive to Parkes to see "The Dish", and then head back for Newcastle to return the Wolfmobile to its rightful owner. Slowly.