21 August

Yesterday was a day off and we visited Katherine Gorge. Wonderful trip.
Today left Katherine at 7.45am. Wonderful day, beautiful scenery, interesting company. We are now in Kakadu. Sorry guys – I’ll write about this later. Just enjoying the company as our trip nears its end. I know you’ll understand.
Just one more thing – the temp was 32 celsius when we arrived. It’s hot but that’s not a complaint!!

AND most importantly – the Olds was purring wonderfully today over some fairly steep climbs. I was told I would have to change down a gear to get up but Hey – I didn’t – she pulled wonderfully just dropping to 18 mph.

19 August

Today was to be the longest day – almost 180 miles. The intention was to leave early but it was 7.45 before we managed to set off.
It became obvious before long that we were emerging from the drier terrain to the northern part of Australia where more rainfall falls. The most disturbing part is the amount of road kill which is indicative that now there are kangaroos and wallabies about. During the dry season the wild-life travels to where there is water and return when the wet season arrives. I have been amazed at the lack of wild-life for the last couple of weeks but now with so much road-kill it is stressful – wish we could teach kangaroos some road sense.
At one point we could see smoke in the distance and then we came upon a fire burning by the road-side which stretched for miles. This was a control fire, lit to get rid of the undergrowth before the really hot weather begins and to minimize the risk of serious bush fires that spread so rapidly.
At Mataranka, the setting of “We of the Never Never”, Jeannie Gunn’s autobiographical account of 1902, we stopped under the trees to check oil and petrol in the Olds as well as lunch for the Team, when the local police pulled up and came to check my car as they had heard that the Olds was the oldest car on the Run. That of course attracted a large audience with cameras. One of the other participants said that quite a few people at Elliott the previous day were breathalysed then I chipped in and said, “We missed out on that”. The policeman then said, “We’ll soon fix that” as he rushed off to the car to get the breathalyser kit. I was then breathalysed, but he was just playing to the cameras as we were all laughing our heads off. In case you are wondering, the result was negative.
It seemed a long day but we arrived at Katherine at 4.10pm ahead of schedule. The Olds never missed a beat and is enjoying the attention she gets.

18 August

Today was shorter than yesterday only 151 miles yet we set off early at 7.30 AND for the first time the temperature was slightly higher than previous mornings and I discarded one layer. By lunch-time when I took over driving I was down to short sleeves and no hat, gloves etc.
The roads were no less exciting than previous days with vegetation varying as we drove along.
There was just one town, Elliott, that we passed through with just one shop and quite a few abandoned houses. The town began at the site of Number 8 bore on Newcastle Waters Station as an Australian Army camp during World War 2.
A really good day and we arrived at Daly Waters our destination at 3.30.
No network connection! Tomorrow definitely.

17 August

Long run today – 171 miles. The longest so far on this event and the greatest distance the Oldsmobile has travelled in one day, at least since she has been in my ownership.
We left at 7am suitably rugged up and called into look at Karlu Karlu Desert Marbles. The rock formations looked spectacular as the sun rose in the sky.
The Devils Marbles are large granitic boulders that form the exposed top layer of an extensive and mostly underground granite formation. The natural processes of weathering and erosion have created the various shapes of the boulders. Some of the boulders are naturally but precariously balanced atop one another or on larger rock formations, while others have been split cleanly down the middle by natural forces.
We spent about half an hour photographing the Olds then continued on our way.
Lorraine spent the day with another couple who were going to take her into Tennant Creek where she used to live back in the seventies. Bruce took over the catering and we had a good Aussie ‘pie and sauce’ for lunch and Lorraine enjoyed looking for the house she used to live in.
The road dipped and rose all day through stunning countryside with rock formations.
The Olds didn’t miss a beat arriving at Renners Springs at 4pm
Barrow Creek Telegraphic Station

16 August

An 8am start from Ti-Tree Camping Complex and our very basic accommodation we continued on the quiet Stuart Highway, heading north.
I had been told that the scenery today was much the same without variety but that was far from the truth. There were mountain ranges in the distance, mulga bushes and more rock formations as we progressed.
We called into Barrow Creek where the only, original Overland Telegraphic Station was still intact and preserved.
Barrow Creek was chosen as a site for an Overland Telegraph morse repeater station in 1871. It was one of 15 such repeater stations on a network traversing Australia and linking to Europe, providing essential communication services.
The Olds kept chuff, chuffing away, very healthily, all day and we arrived at our next destination, Wauchope at 3pm. We were expecting even more basic accommodation but it is an improvement of last night.
Avery long day tomorrow and there is no network here hence no posting of blog. Sorry!!!

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