Archive for November 25th, 2009

Beneath Australian Outback Skies

November 25, 2009

Upon arrival (finally) in Darwin, our first full day we headed out to the track to see the MIT kids and our son with Eleanor, their race car in the World Solar Challenge. They readied their car and drove it in scrutineering trials so the safety engineers could make sure the vehicles passed all of the tests.

Our son has completed this race as a driver of the solar car in a few previous years while he was a student. This year, now as a graduate, he drove the lead car, responsible for communicating with the solar car and the chase vehicle behind it. The drivers of the solar car this time were the small, slender girls of the team. (the lightest of all possible weight!)

I recall watching the slightly cheesy movie about the solar car experience in Australia, RACE TO THE SUN, where they showed the road trains – – those huge trucks barreling down the highway. They’d do a real number on a solar vehicle, and I’d imagine a roo or a misplaced wallabye could get in the way of the race, too. But since we didn’t actually go through the outback with the kids, and instead flew down to Adelaide to meet them at the end, we had to ask them about their journey.

Beginning in Darwin and following the Stuart Highway, through the outback to Adelaide, the group bedded down beneath the starry skies. Without the glare of cars and electric lights below to diminsh their power, the night sky’s stars really illuminated the blackness.
And their sleep “mates?”
“The kangaroos aren’t shy,” says Tofer.
They’d hop or even sit right by their heads as they slept.

Meanwhile, we toured a river via small boat to see the crocs and lovely birds near Darwin before flying to the Adelaide destination. After the cruise (47 degrees centigrade . . . we were told 37 degrees C equals 100 degrees F!) we hiked in the forest, while swatting bugs and viewing Aboriginal rock art.

Writing Exercise: Can you imagine a place you’ve never been by listening to someone else’s story? Reading a book about it? Write a scene in a place you’ve never been or in an unfamiliar time period. Discover details by reading or interviewing someone who HAS lived in this place or time era.

I apologize for the lack of pictures on this site. It is due to my lack of technological expertise!