Since I am industriously going to work every day for an interlude, I have to rely on my family to provide some adventure.
Younger daughter N (age 24) is taking a leisurely mid-summer drive through the outback of Australia. In the old days she would have set off, been chased by dingos, encountered deadly snakes and spiders, road-killed a million kangaroos, crawled over the red desert looking for water or gas, mined some opals and either be back or buried before any news reached her parents on the other side of the world.
Before her departure we had this exact email/text exchange:
Me: What is R (boyfriend)’s mother’s phone number? In case I get a 15-second phone call from you in the desert, crying for help. You might be delirious and only recognize “Mom” on your contact list. WHAT COULD I DO THEN? Actually I am serious to the extent that I would feel happier to know somebody’s phone number in Australia!
N: Very good point. XXXXXX is her mobile… 61 is country code, area code is 04, but you drop the 0.
[At this point I was worried because she AGREED with me!]
N: In the next couple days we will be leaving for a couple days into no mans land but we are telling ppl. Its just hard to give people exact times because we don’t know when we will get reception again! I am assuming the mining towns we pass will have it.
So, every couple of days I get a short email or can see the occasional photo on Facebook.
The other night as I was about to go to bed, an email with the above heading (“bit of back luck…”) arrived, with the following message:
“Two punctures and a complete blowout later we made it out. To help matters the jack wasnt jacking properly so we had to either wait an hour for someone to pass and/or hunt for rocks to prop it up with.. in 43 degrees… with no shade.. on sand dunes. In Leigh creek now, unfortunately we have to wait here a night for the mechanic to open up tmrw as one of the bolts that holds the tire on has also conveniently sheared off. We also had to stay over in another town last night to wait for that mechanic to open up to get a spare, but he couldn’t do the sheared.bolt. so we had to come here but got a flat coming here and arrived after he closed. It is a public holiday… Sooo we wait again. Not good to drive too long like that but we had to for about 300k to get here!!
Anyways that is an update, all safe, passed some ppl with bigger problems than us waiting for tow outs, phone will die soon, need to hunt down water, very hot.”
“The power is out here in Broken Hill, NSW because it is TOO HOT! The grid gets overloaded i guess.. 45 degrees tmrw.”
Can you imagine what 45 degrees C feels like with no air conditioning or fan?! We’ve been hearing about the extreme weather in Australia. It has been 42C in Melbourne, and even in Tasmania which is supposed to be positively cool and verdant!