Tag Archives: road

Continental crossing…some postcards from Highway 1

The jetty at Ceduna, South Australia the starting point for crossing the Nullarbor      © Rob Walls 2011

The journey begins © Rob Walls 2011

In 1200 kilometres I saw no camels, no wombats and only road kill kangaroos © Rob Walls 2011

Road train driver Faye Francis-Lewis in front of her rig with her dog Mr Twobow. With her husband Warren as co-driver,  she was driving 75 tonnes of refrigerated tomatoes from Perth to Adelaide. © Rob Walls 2011

A broken trailer axle and the belongings of someone moving their home to the east are scattered along the highway © Rob Walls 2011

Like a Roman ruin in North Africa the remnants of the old Eucla Telegraph Station are swallowed up by the sand © Rob Walls 2011

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Signs from the road…

I can rarely pass an interesting road sign without photographing it. You know the sort of thing; “Beware falling rocks”.  I ponder if the rocks are already falling, how much time do I have to react? You know how it is. Here are a few I came across this week.

And have a good day! © Rob Walls 2011

Use sunglasses? Close your eyes? © Rob Walls 2011

Beware of cameras? © Rob Walls 2011

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Some significant walking…

Robert Newport, walking to Katherine, on the outskirts of Bourke, November 4 2010 © Rob Walls

Yesterday I saw a man pushing a loaded bicycle along the highway about 30 kilometres from Bourke. Early, this morning I saw his bicycle leaning against a wall outside a cafe. Around noon I passed him again walking away from town and resolved to stop and talk to him. I made a u-turn and passing him again, parked a couple of hundred metres down the road and waited for him to approach.

As he drew near, I gave as laconic a bush-type greeting as I could muster; “G’day! You got the time to stop and talk?” “No, not really”, he replied…but he stopped anyway. I grabbed the opportunity and asked him how far he’d come. “Walked from Albury. 1000 kilometres in 25 days”.

He told me then, that not many people stopped to talk. “You get the occasional retired couple, but the grey-power mob are mostly snobs”, he said. We discussed the way the world had changed; he seemed to feel the world would be a better place if progress had halted in 1965. “All the young people today are dot.com people. Technology is everything to them”.

He told me that walking with his gear balanced on a bicycle was better than carrying it on his back. Using the bicycle he could carry much more and he wasn’t in a hurry. I told him of an exhibition of bicycles used by the Viet Cong to carry supplies on the Ho Chi Minh trail, that I had seen in Amsterdam.

I asked him why he walked. “I’m 65” he said, “I like the outback and I just want to do something significant before I die”. He was on his way to Katherine in the Northern Territory. What I liked was that his idea of “significance” involved no fanfare, no publicity, no fund-raising for worthy causes, no acknowledgment. This was significance without ego.

When I asked if I could take his photo he said, “I don’t mind, if that’s what you’d like”. I took the pictures and then reached for my wallet and asked, “Can I offer you a gift to help smooth your way?”. “No thank you. I don’t take gifts”, he said, “I get the pension. I’m OK”.

He then apologised for being an “uninteresting subject” and that he did not have a more interesting story to offer. I told him, that in stopping to talk all I had been seeking was a conversation from the heart and Robert Newport, for that was the name he gave, had given me all of that.

As I drove off I thought of a hundred questions I would have liked to ask, but felt privileged that he had given me a quality quarter-hour of his day. I’m hoping I might encounter Robert Newport, gentleman of the highway again, along the way tomorrow.

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A few from the road…

A long way from home with a long way yet to go. I’ve covered more than 2,000km and estimate it will be another 2,000 before I get home late next month. In the meantime here are a few pictures taken along the way:

Signpost, Portland, Victoria © Rob Walls 2010

Defunct business, Geelong, Victoria, 19 July 2010 © Rob Walls

Sculpture by the beach, Geelong © Rob Walls 2010

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