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Old 11-19-2012, 10:33 AM   #53
platypus121 OP
CT.110 NZ
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Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Hamilton, New Zealand
Oddometer: 106
Birtles vs Australia

ACT 20
Flinders Ranges to Murphy’s Haystacks

In which we get Grimaced at, see a Big Bird, there is Green everywhere,
we think Wattles are Over-rated, and come to believe in Fnerko and Haystacks.


Wilpena to Port Augusta is a gradual descent so Birtles seems to have more
power and has to be restrained from exceeding his speed limit. Which, after
some other much more creative and amusing interpretations, is what I eventually
figure this sign is referring to - keeping speed at a safe level. (I prefer the
interpretation that involves soft shoes, a nun, and an interestingly shaped turnip).

No turnips here, off the Eyre Highway where we take a break …

… and rescue yet another sleepy lizard from the road. Evolution has done an
exemplary job of equipping this guy with a defense mechanism against small
nervous predators that are terrified by the colour blue. Against everything else,
he’s defenseless - even his bite is like being chewed by a Gummy-bear.

The Eyre Highway is busy with trucks heading to and from Perth, and bored
drivers who are ignoring the signs about the soft shoes, nun and turnip.

Kimba is the furthermost I get before needing to set up camp. As darkness falls,
I search for Kimba’s claim to fame, the Big Galah. It is big, and it is a galah.
It also marks the half-way point between the east and west coasts - probably
the most useful thing a galah has ever done.

After weeks of red, orange and brown, the Eyre Peninsula, swathed in a blanket
of green, is both a relief and a bit disorienting. Parts of it look like I am back
in New Zealand.

When a mist rolls over the camp next morning, the illusion is complete. I have
been abducted by aliens, probed, and returned to earth in a different place -
just north of Ekatahuna, by the looks of it.

A spoil-sport crow teleports me back to Kimba.


At Wudinna I look for confirmation that it is a town with a secret as claimed
in the book Twisting Throttle. What I find is another Big Thing, one with much
more class than the usual BT’s, an eight metre, 70 tonne granite statue celebrating
the achievements of Australian farmers. Sun, wheat and sheep are represented
on this thoughtful work. John McDouall Stuart would be fulsome envious.

Much further west and we will leave the range of Australia’s floral symbol, the
Golden Wattle. It is on the coat of arms, has been on three postage stamps,
and inspired the green and gold uniform of sports teams.

I’d put money on nine out of ten people thinking that one of the gums would be
a better tree to represent the country. They grow in every state, are more useful,
and are a whole lot better looking than an unkempt acacia.

The brochure from the Port Kerry roadhouse says my next stop, Murphy's Haystacks,
are 26 km further west and have to be seen to be believed.
That puts them firmly in the same shoebox as the Yowie, UFOs, crop circles, and
honest politicians. I’m eager to see, and eager to believe.

The entrance sign at the Haystacks is a nail in my inner tube of expectation.
Geological facts strip away the suspense that has been building since I read the
brochure. They force upon me that these formations are not the work of dream
time monsters, nor are they encrypted messages of long dead civilizations, even
the possibility of landing beacons for alien spacecraft is denied me.
No, they are inselbergs. No mystery, no magic, no wonder … just your plain old
everyday inselbergs, that’s all.

I’m not going to let a scientifically accurate sign spoil my enjoyment! I will think of
Murphy’s Haystacks as I choose - free of cold logic and boring common sense.

Look! There are a couple of them now, two of Murphy’s Haystacks (or as I like
to think of them, fossilized spaceships) just to the left of Murphy’s Water Tank.

Remains of reception dishes for gamma-ray communication devices used
on the alien spacecraft.

Mooring bollard for the Giants’ ships that in ages past sailed along the
coast, trading with the aliens.

Pieces for the board game Fnerko, played by the Giant sailors, but never
mastered by the aliens. There is no modern day equivalent of Fnerko,
although some think it may have been like a cross between hockey and dominoes.

Another view of the vast array of gamma-ray aerials.

The coin makes a metallic noise as it hits the bottom of the donation tin,
its fall uncushioned by other coins, washers, bottle tops or buttons - the
current Mr Murphy isn't making much hay today.

I have seen. My step is light as I make my way back to Birtles, ready to
take on the world with confidence and conviction. I believe.

To be continued …….

BigZoner #096 (English Chapter)
"Keep brotherhood till die"

platypus121 screwed with this post 11-26-2012 at 01:48 AM
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