Friday, 30 August 2013

Setting myself to drive home. This my last sunrise as I leave Batchelor.
Little did I know how the day would end as I left. Driving South down the Stuart Highway, the landscape rapidly changed. I left the cycads and palm trees in the bush at Katherine. The tall trees of the North also disappeared as I break out into wide plains heading toward Tenant Creek, planning to camp at Elliot. At 4pm at Eliot, looking for the caravan park, I was pulled over by police at the side of the road. Breath  test. I am tired, but confident its the usual routine. Not so. A very officious young woman declared my alcohol reading was 0.66. Surrender your keys, out of the car, into the paddy wagon and locked in and taken post haste to the police station at Elliot. I said all the things all the drunks say. This is impossible, I haven't had a drink all day, all week even. All to no avail. She just got angrier. Luckily, at the police station, the Sergeant recognised, I wouldn't be behaving, talking and walking so lucidly at 0,66 as I was and did his best to allay my fears.  I felt sick, life had suddenly careered out of control and what made matters worse, the you beaut super testing machine at the station wouldn't come on after a half an hour. Finally, the sergeant went and got the roadside testing unit, tested himself and then tested me again. 0.00. I was shaking with relief. Profuse apologies by the Sergeant but not the stroppy young constable. Years off my life. All in a moment the NT became the wild west!  I put another 120 klms between me and Elliot and stayed at Rinner Springs, a mosquito infested camping ground with peacocks and geese of all things.
Fog at Batchelor in the Exotic tree farm.

Magnetic termite mounds outside of Katherine.
The trusty Rav taking the shade at Taylor;s Creek roadside rest. I stopped to use the eco toilets as you are not allowed to use the toilets at Barrow Creek unless you buy petrol. Never mind its the only toilet stop over 100klms.
My first tent hills on my way south , outside of Barrow Creek.


  1. What a dreadful experience - although I'm sure you'll have us in stitches by the time you get home! Hopefully she got a good kick up the backside from the boss even if she was too gutless to apologise. Take care on the remainder of the trip & no solo bush camping on that road!!

    1. I am now safely in Adelaide. Away from the red neck constables. I kept looking over my shoulders as I roared up the road. It was probably one of the worst experiences of my life. I have quite lost my faith in the police force and even feel shaky thinking about it again now! Not much to laugh about really.

  2. A fantastic trip Viv, but you'll be glad to get home, I think! See you at quilting!

  3. Dear Liz, I am in Adelaide at the moment and the weather is beautiful. I am really looking forward to be getting home. I haven't had any sewing time for the last 3 months. Can you imagine how bad that is?

  4. What a scary experience for you, Viv! Look forward to seeing you back home soon :) Weather is beautiful here this week - low to mid 20's, though back to cold weather for the weekend - just in time for your return :(

  5. Dear Helen, Scary just doesn't do it really. It was like being locked into some B grade movie script. I kept saying to the police, I cant believe this is happening. He probably thought it was a strange line. I am in Adelaide now and really wanting to get home and mow my grass etc. I climbed Mt Lofty today with my sister and we are both stuffed. The weather here is beautiful. I am still in my shorts! See you soon Viv

  6. Viv, I have enjoyed every bit of your trip. Shame the gendarmes were so overzealous. I look forward to catching up with you in the next couple of weeks. I bet Blue will be beside himself when you get back. Take care and try and stay out of trouble.

  7. Dear Sue, Unbelievable huh!? This has made the website much more interesting. I am really ready to come home now. I have to visit a couple of rellies first then home next Saturday so I will miss sewing in September. I haven't sewed at all while I have been away so I am really strung out. See you the week after voting Saturday. Viv