So first things, first, my trip in 2016 was probably the most eventful. I decided I’d like to run a Fundraiser, and organised like minded souls to make the journey by 4wd and help raise money for the Royal Flying Doctor’s along the way.
After organising 13 teams from around Australia to come along for the fun, I’d encountered hurdle after hurdle to secure a vehicle for myself and my Wing Man, Cheryl McCarthy. Enter Team Quilly Park and Operations Manager, Mark Lee (now my partner, might save that for another blog) who secured a vehicle from his boss, Richard Anderson who was kind enough to lend a hand.
After months of planning, finally we were off, so Cheryl and I set off on the Hume. I had ONE job, NAVIGATION. Well the excitement was all too much with Cheryl and I talking a million miles an hour and as we charged towards Euroa, I had a “light bulb” moment wondering if this was in fact the way to Mildura. You could call this a “Blonde Moment” of monumental proportions. After an Almighty U Turn, we then did the “Drive of Shame” into Bendigo. After all day on the road, we’d made it as far as Bendigo (some 3 hours from home). Considering we were the team that would drive ahead first and scope road conditions, this was slightly embarrassing. I’d talked up our “outback truckers” hashtag, which had now been replaced with #BlondesOnTour.
Day Two and one valuable lesson was learned. If you lie in wet grass to capture “the shot” your pants are going to get wet. IMO the logical way to dry my pants was to remove them and hang them out the window. I didn’t count on the fact there would be roadworks some 20kms up the road, complete with Stop Signs (seems I realised this too late). So I covered myself up, kept my pants hanging out the window and hoped the road crew wouldn’t think I was travelling nude up the highway.
Day Two also saw some big improvement with the Bendigo to Packsaddle Leg and we even managed to pick up another team for the adventure, Matt, Brooke & Fox Terrier Archie who were all Birdsville Bound. Why wouldn’t they want to join Blondes on Tour? A big shout out to Mia from the Packsaddle Roadhouse who kindly offered us accommodation and a huge support to our fundraising activities. She even called ahead to the next town so a big shout out to Tibooburra Pub for their generous hospitality also.
Day Three and I spotted a herd of wild brumbies. Photography heaven doesn’t get much better and I sat with the herd while the stallion watched my every move for about an hour. Lying on my stomach ever so still, I didn’t worry about the burrs and any potential parasites that were crawling all over me, it was all about “the shot”.
It was intense, beautiful, spiritual, so incredible and humbling all at the same time.
Upon getting back into the car, I suddenly screamed to Cheryl “pull over pull over, I have to get out of the car”. At this point, I found a spider (a very scary possibly poisonous spider that was now crawling up my legs biting me as I squealed). We pulled over, and, after being quite accustomed on this trip to “getting my pants off”, I proceeded to leap out of the car, rip my pants off (which in my hurry resulted in me pulling off my underwear as well), and I then screamed at Cheryl as I stood on the side of the road, bare arsed at this stage (are there spiders on me, check me for spiders, bugs, what the hell is on me, biting me). We then found at least SIX Blue Bottle Jumping Jacks (really big mother f….##@) and no sign of the elusive spider that I’m sure was the world’s most dangerous spider.
Day Four and we had Team Archie in tow; we headed to Innamincka for the night, which resulted in me keeping my pants on for the entire day, no nasty parasites, but some very questionable roads, and potential road closures due to the recent rains.
Day Five and a visit to the Nappa Merrie Cattle Station for a photo shoot with the cowboys and cowgirl. It’s about 50 kms out of Innamincka and is around 1.9 million acres.
The rains were coming and the roads were getting rougher and rougher and wetter and wetter, but we finally dragged ourselves to Betoota – the First Leg of the Simpson Desert Carnival.
Betoota – Population – 0
Expected Race Crowd – Around 300 + 2 Blondes
So for now it’s Over and Out from Blondes On Tour. Our bed for the night, courtesy of Lorraine Kath at the Mt Leonard Cattle Station (just a stones throw up the road) and around 1.9 million acres.