Saturday, December 7, 2002, David Ryder

Great people + great food = Great time. Some of my memories along the way:

Split bridge – my only walk in Sydney, glass of champagne on the Indian Pacific, trying to sleep on the train, seeing some sights of Adelaide, settling down on the 4WD vehicle, marveling at the expanse as we drove inland, seeing the spectacle of Wilpena Pound, pitching the tent for the first time, enjoying the first of 4 happy hours, Cam’s delicious meals, finding the tent in the wee small hours of the morning. Visiting Leigh Creek village – a modern well-laid-out town of shops and facilities (not a weed in sight), fossicking for fossicking sake, visiting the huge coal mine (162 coal trucks each 24 hours), seeing the Aroona Dam and wondering how all that water can be stored in such a dry region, listening to the group talking about previous eclipses, entering Lyndhurst – a town in the wilderness, taking a locked farm gate off its hinges, eating sausages while the sand blasted the hairs of your legs, being psyched by Stuart on what to watch out for before, during and after totality, staring at the eclipse in wonderment for 27 seconds, then the feel of amazement that I had actually seen it, experience of a bush camp (at my age!!), traveling all the way back to Port Augusta still listening to Tim’s commentary with utmost interest, actually sleeping peacefully on the train, sitting in the luxury of a big coach, knowing that I wasn’t going to pitch a tent that night, sleeping in a big bed without rocking to get to sleep, looking at miles and miles of burned out countryside and seeing the re-growth just only after a month, my first glimpse of the famous rock, the intense heat (to us NZ’er). Thanks Stuart, you make us proud.

Ayers Rock.JPG (56484 bytes)