The Speed of Headlights.

Two things I’m pondering this morning ,which looked like this Sunrise today over the Dam 

Firstly, why do my legs hurt?

And secondly, why does my coffee taste better with Long Life / UHT milk?T

he first, I think it has to do with my overnight activities.A

nd it’s not NEARLY as exciting as that sounds.

I left Darwin (Tb1) at just at 1930. I refuelled, stopped at McDonalds (Teh!) for dinner and then made space tracks in the dark along the Stuart Highway. I’ve found a serious problem with trying to do the speed limit (130km) in the Dark. I feel like I’m driving through my headlight beams as opposed to them being out in front of me. 

 And so I have a lovely light patch and then.. darkness.. and light… and darkness.


My way around this is to do two things.I have to drive at 115km at night – it’s the perfect speed versus headlights.Secondly, I try to find another car, or better yet – a road train and sit about 500m behind them. That way I can “see” what the road is doing way ahead of me and the added bonus is that if a 5 dog Road train (we’re talking 164 wheels moving in very close formation) is moving in front of me,  it lessens the chances of there being anything left standing in the middle of the road for me to hit….

Ok – so I was driving.. and listening to a CD I’d made of non-depression inducing songs, considering whether I should enter Queanbeyan Show, thinking about the conversation I’d had with my mother (a psychic has indicated that the choice my mother and her brothers & sisters made regarding where my grandmother’s ashes should be laid has made my grandmother very happy) and I noticed that whilst I was still on the Stuart Highway.. I suddenly had no idea where I was.

 Using the tripmeter I knew I was 180 km into a 280km journey and my fuel gauge and the time certainly bore that out but all the landmarks – even those I would see at night, such as the marker posts for Kakadu National Park…. nothing to reference on. 

More importantly I didn’t know if I’d gone through the bit I hate (where the road drops OFF to the ground 3m below either side) and just not noticed.


 Its 2115. I’m driving at 115kmph with about  100kms still to go.. which means I’m going at not quite 2 kms per minute. I’ll be there in 55minutes but right now I’m not sure that’s a good option. Add to that I’ve had so much caffeine that my eyelashes are moving independently and that’s heading into the not good territory.

Ok.. Little Green Car – we’re stopping. 

We pulled under the darkness of some trees. The ones that weren’t on fire (this was also adding to the challenge – bush fires). I did some more mental calculations – I now had 85km to go, which was about 40minutes at 115kmph which meant.. if I set my alarm for 0400 I could do that, be at the Camp (Tb3) in time to have a shower and then pick up my “other” Landcruiser and go to work..

Plan:  Snooze time.



It’s a good thing I’m small and can sleep really well in either the front seat or across the back seat of a Prado.



2310. I wake up dripping wet. The bushfire had caught up with my trees, the humidity had caught up with me and I was sweating and thirsty.Only thing I have close to hand is medium warm Pepsi. (I have plenty of water on board but that meant moving more than an arm). Drink Pepsi. Wipe face. Realise the chances of me getting back to sleep are negligible….

 Time to Drive on.So, Green Car and I roll – back at 115km.

I realise where I am with a bit more clarity – I’m well into Kakadu National Park,  and shortly,  am nearly at South Alligator. I’m tired of my CD so I turn on ABC Radio National and get “See you later Alligator”… can you define “Irony”?

Anyway.. I know this bit of road, it’s such that I feel confident enough to notch the autopilot up to 120km.. so now we’re travelling at 2 kms per minute through the dark.

 About Midnight – we arrived at a very quiet TB 3 Camp.  The stars were out and there is always a million more to see here. Orion leaps out of the sky and the Southern Cross is so clear.

Bed time for this bonzo.



0400 – i forgot to alter my alarm..

Ok – I’m awake.Time to go to work.

Which brings me to Coffee, made with UHT milk.  I used to be big on milk. I’d drink 2 litres of “unleaded” milk a day (1% fat) but then I cut right back. Milk doesn’t like the heat here so you have to have the Long-life type (you know those little tubs you get?). but for some reason – it tastes good in Coffee. I also was never a big Coffee drinker (I hated Coffee snobbery) but now I’m beginning to develop preferences. And I never thought UHT milk would be involved.

So – I think the reason coffee tastes better with UHT milk is that its thicker… and makesthe coffee more syrupy and less bitter. I also think my legs are sore has something to do with sleeping cured up on the front seat of the car and getting sweaty and thus a bit salt depleted.. Its that sort of post cramp soreness.

What makes it all worse is I have to do that drive twice today – at least, our Production manager will be driving, I’m going to be crocheting or sleeping..

 We’re heading out to the funeral in about half an hour.

Thank you to all who have taken the trouble to email me with messages of support this past week. It’s very much appreciated, I have passed it on to his family…


~ by SB&C on October 8, 2007.

5 Responses to “The Speed of Headlights.”

  1. Hi
    This is a test as well – it seems that replies I leave disappear – probably because I forget to hit a button somewhere.

    Iam now trying to block out the image of you alone and asleep in the middle of nowhere in the vicinity of bushfires (and have you had the locks on your car fixed yet…hmmmmm????) Eeek. I’ll trust that some small god is on duty all the way between toothbrushes – or some grandmother.

  2. ok i am with mother figure on this one! the idea of a smalll you ALONE on a dark highway – near brushfires….hmmmm i don’t like it either!!!!!! please be safe!!!!! feel me holding your hand today!

  3. I feel Mother figures anxiety and have decided when my daughter leaves the nest that it would be best the less I read/know the better..

    Ignorance will be bliss for me 🙂

    thinking of you Manda xo

  4. Its ok.. I may be small but I’m armed with a 1mm crochet hook. They’re dangerous, you know – I’m not allowed to take them on planes >:)

    And the bush fire wasnt that bad…. toasty… but not raging…

    And the car still *locks* you just have to use the clicker… cant use the key to get in. So if anything – I am safe from people getting into the car!

    Alone… well.. isnt hat a good thing? that means the monsters arent getting me!

    Love you all…

  5. hmm Manda I find you quite brave, which led me to thinking, I think it would be a wonderful idea for me to send my teenage daughter to Camp Manda for a month or so..

    think of all the fun, the mood swings alone are like being on a roller coaster 24 hours a day!

    You wouldn’t even know she was around until you go to take a shower and there’s no hot water left, because she washed her hair three times, only because she didn’t like the style the first two times.

    Really she’d be no bother O.O

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