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13 August

We decided on a later start this morning from Uluru. We were travelling the same road back to Erldunda (it’s the only road) where we spent Sunday night. Uluru is 163 miles west of the northern route to Darwin we are travelling on and we could notice as the sun was in a different position.
The diversion was worthwhile as all of us were enthralled with the changing colours of Uluru throughout the day. It was such an unique experience to drive the Oldsmobile five miles round the base of the rock. Lorraines’s husband John had flown over from Melbourne to spend a couple of days with us and he was suitably impressed with the Oldsmobile when I drove him back from the the Uluru photoshoot.
Some of the participants chose not to go to Uluru and some trailered their cars but the Oldsmobile drove every inch of the way without missing a beat.
The wind was rather strong today and it took some effort to control the tiller with the sudden gusts. Worst of all the wind chill factor made it feel below freezing. Usually throughout the day I start shedding layers but not today. Even after an hour and a half of arriving at Erldunda I’m still wearing four thick layers and the forecast is more of the same.
I must admit the conditions are really suiting the Oldsmobile – a plug ckeck after the run today revealed a perfect colour. It’s just the driver that the weather conditions don’t suit! By the way – Mark was in the support car this afternoon and was wearing shorts and sandals; but then again the vehicle has a heater.

12 August

What a big rockA day off today. From the Motel we drove the Olds to Uluru to take photos, This one we are posing with Russell’s Fish and Chips, Broadway T-Shirts given to us by Andrew Riley. It was so cold we had to put our extra layers on after the picture. That certainly deserves a free fish and chip meal back in the UK!!!Uluru and Russells fish and chips

11 August

I still can’t get used to the extreme cold weather every morning and dressing in five or six layers of clothing then by midday the layers start coming off. By 3pm I’m down to just one layer when the temperature has risen dramatically.
Today’s run of 163 miles started at 7.15am. The terrain varied all day with a diverse range of vegetation set off by the bright ochre coloured sandy soil. The road dipped and rose all day and provided us with a most spectacular day. The Olds behaved remarkably well; she seems to thrive on the cold conditions.
There was great excitement when everyone thought they could see Uluru on the horizon – I remember experiencing those same emotions 10 years ago when driving on the London to Sydney Marathon. It wasn’t Uluru but Mount Conner – still spectacular 2 hours after sunriselooking.
When Mark dozed off last year in America on the passenger seat of the Olds I haven’t stopped ribbing him now and again – how could anyone possibly go to sleep seated in a veteran car? Well…..as a passenger every morning I start dozing off after about an hour of driving. I spend about an hour fighting it but the head usually drops giving Mark a scare. I’m really open to long term ribbing now.
Lorraine travelled with me as passenger in the afternoon and with The Olgas and Uluru in the distance it was an unique experience.

10 August

As we pulled away from Marla at 7.15am, the sun was just making its first appearance and caste some interesting shadows as the Olds chugged along.
The scenery as usual varied throughout the day from desolate looking parched terrain to a diverse variety of coloured flowers – pink, mauve and the striking red of the Sturt Desert Pea.
This morning during Mark’s drive we heard a twang sound and found that the front mudguard bracket had broken. This was no surprise as the mudguards always vibrate quite a bit.
As the afternoon progressed we started to see very interesting rock formations which reminded me of New Mexico. This desert area is far from boring and the Olds is enjoying the conditions.
Today she purred along as usual and although it was a long day – 163 miles – we arrived at 3.45pm.
When we arrived at our outback accommodation I wandered about the motor-cycle participants and found one with welding equipment stashed away in his trailer and he happily welded the Olds bracket. She is looking intact again.
This is a wonderful event. The other participants are really enjoying the adventure just like us.

9 August

An early start at 7.30 am from Coober Pedy found the roads relatively quiet with the occasional road-train whizzing past. The sun was rising fast and we could see mile after mile of pinky grey, conical mounds of waste from the opal mines – small ones, big ones – apart from those, the terrain looked very desolate. It most likely had seen some individuals making a fortune but mostly not, never finding that rich vein of opal to change their lifestyle.
The mounds lasted for about 18 miles and the landscape started to change colour and we started to see desert type scrub bushes. Later on we started to travel up rises and saw a variety of desert flowers – white, yellow and then in just one part in a dry creek we saw gum trees for the first time for days.
The Olds suddenly cut out momentarily when Mark was driving but soon righted itself. I took over the driving at our lunch break, the half way distance of our 142 mile trek accompanied by Lorraine. About 15 minutes after the Mark and Bruce overtook took us the Olds completely cut out and I couldn’t get her to run. I coasted onto the verge. By then the sun was blazing strongly and there were no trees to shelter under. One of the participants turned up in a Model T Ford and we asked him to let Mark and Bruce know that we were stranded. About 20 minutes later they turned up and Mark found that the trembler coil had dust and much around it and wasn’t doing its job.
We were soon on our way again and the Olds didn’t miss a beat again. The delay cost us 40 minutes but we still arrived at our destination at 4.30.
I’m still very impressed with my 110 year old Oldsmobile. She just purrs along on those wide open Australian roads and keeping up with the schedule with ease.

Shadow of Olds near Coober Pedy

Shadow of Olds near Coober Pedy

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