Several months ago we went to Mataranka for a week of camping. I got so busy sharing posts about some 20 year old whipcracker who put me on the cold pavement beneath him and did Guinness World record whip cracking over me, that I never actually posted anything of substance. I also categorically painted myself as a desperate housewife of Karama. I would like to put on the record that I am no such thing. I am only a housewife 3 days a week. Sometimes even less when I volunteer my services for the company I am employed by, on my days off. And I am also a terrible wife, but I fare ok as a “house mother.”
To the point, we went camping and it was incredible. Mataranka is a real life paradise. Steaming hot springs in unbelievable hues, towering palm forests, paper bark swamps, falls, shady camp sites, and crispy cold Dry Season mornings. For those Territorians trying not to breathe through their nose as they think about Mataranka, note that there are no more bats!
It was an excellent camp. But I won’t brag about it. Instead. I will regale you with unnecessary detail about the trip home. The kids were so exhausted when we finally got in the car that I elected not to stop at either Katherine OR Pine Creek for fuel, petrified of them waking when the car became stationary. A highway sign boldly promoted fuel at Emerald Springs, and continued to keep me optimistic with little fuel emblems on highway signs along the route. Yet when we arrived, THIS WASNT TRUE AT ALL.
So we continued to Hayes Creek, and pulled into an eerie desertedness; the sinking preminition confirmed with A4 notebook paper taped on the fuel bowsers stating “tech problems.” Newspapers were literally blowing in the breeze and I DO NOT EVEN EXAGGERATE that a little dust whirly wind thing taunted me by dancing across the escarpment. Road trains barrelled down the highway not giving a second of consideration to stopping. How long had this place been abandoned, and how did I not know? Was I even a Territorian?
An old guy appeared from nowhere; coming to guard the growing collection of NT News deliveries that were creating a fortress at the entry to the pub. The door was boarded up with a sign stating “Closed. Gone *somewhere I can’t remember*” What the actual fuck. Technical problems or road trip? Make up your mind. The dude was no help because he was obviously becoming delusional from the lack of service and didn’t seem to be inhabiting this planet any longer - or be able to speak the same dialect of English that I was familiar with. It was an excellent setting for a murder and I could have staged a great photo with my mother and children if I wasn’t so distracted thinking about the 65km to Adelaide river and the 18km of fuel left in the tank. We also had no water for the kids. Good times.
So I rang Karl and told him I was going to be using the sediment on the bottom of his fuel tank to get us to Adelaide River, and ask if he knew the quantity of the reserve. He didn’t. I barely breathed the entire trip, not wanting to weigh the car down with any extra carbon dioxide. I also made everyone wind up their windows as I didn’t want any extra friction affecting the fuel economy. Ironically, I was creating a lot in the actual car by taking this course of action. Laugh it up. But we made it, and no one will ever know if that was the saving grace. AND any engineers prepared to weigh into the debate might want to consider factoring some emotional intelligence into their response.
The end. And some of the photos.