24 April 2019 | Erldunda
Woke up with our alarm at 6:10 am. I kept waking up thru the night. They did supply breakfast, but we stuck to our own food. Mark had cereal and I had a protein shake. Showered and got ready. Packed things up and were in the car and driving by 7:15. Temperature was only 12C when we left. The sun was shining. Not too many drivers on the road early, but then it picked up. We could see opal mining everywhere on both sides of the hiway. It lasted for a very long distance from Coober Pedy. The terrain was very flat and at times we could see some scrub brush only on top of orange sandy ground. Then there were areas with bigger bushes and some trees. We saw three emus, two on one side of the road and one on the other. We saw a few carcasses. Mark said he saw a huge eagle which was sitting on a kangaroo carcass on the side of the road. We saw a fair number of birds along the way too. Not sure how they survive in the middle of no where without water sources. We kept seeing the Cattle signs and could see some water tanks in places just off the hiway. We did not see any cattle. There were plenty of Grid signs with cattle crossing grids across the hiway. There were not that many rest areas on our morning drive. One area had a gas station with restrooms. We stopped and topped up our fuel. Along with all the other vehicles on the road. Busy place. Fuel prices were again $1.79/litre but we only needed less than half a tank. We continued on our way. This was an easy place for me to take over the driving. The sun was beating down thru my window. I put my visor over on that side and used Mark's big hat to keep the sun off me. I drove for around 1 ½ hours. Speed limit was 110 kilometers. I only had to pass two or three vehicles in that time frame. Lots of cars came from the other direction. I stopped at one of the rest stops to let Mark take over driving and almost missed the turn off. It was one area with no paved road, just a dirt strip. There was at least one or two caravans that had stayed overnight. However, there were no toilets there. I am not sure why they have these areas and do not provide restrooms. We crossed into the Northern Territory. Our speed limit went up to 130 Kilometers. We were moving. There were more hills in this area. Still very outback looking. Mark drove the rest of the way to Erldunda. This was only the second place with a gas station. There was a hotel, cafe and small grocery store. The store did not have much food. We didn't even buy anything. We had booked a room at the Erldunda Roadhouse motel but we were a little early. We headed to the cafe and had lunch. Mark ordered a pizza but they used bbq sauce instead of tomato sauce and it was not that tasty. I had a bowl of seasonal cooked vegetables which included carrots, zucchini, cauliflower and broccoli.
Then we killed some time checking out their Emu Zoo. Lots of emus there. We took a walk behind the hotel where there was a penned in area with kangaroos, camels and birds. They also have a raised area that we will head to for sunset tonight. At least we got some exercise. The flies were outrageous. We sprayed bug spray on both of us. We also found our fly nets and put them on. The many flies land on the outside of the net, or on the back of our shirts. The very dry conditions must have contributed to this. I do not like these flies. By this time our room was ready and we got a break from dealing with the flies. At least the head nets work. We unloaded the car and checked out our room. It's a good size and has everything except Kleenex. We enjoyed a short nap. Catching up on things. Our hotel internet does not work today. Or at least neither of us can see it listed on our wifi choices. Thankfully, our cell coverage is working some. We had no coverage on our drive this morning. There must not be any cell towers around. Thanks for the emails and messages received today. Great to hear from you. Our plans are to drive several hours and get to Uluru, formerly Ayers Rock. Tomorrow is the Australian holiday called Anzac which is similar to Veterans' Day in the US. We will stay overnight in a camp ground tomorrow. Then get up and do the sunrise walk before coming back here to Erldunda that night.