I’ve got halfway through blogging this trip without mentioning the weather, so allow me a little leeway.
When we said to people that we were going on a road trip to Broken Hill in February they all thought we were mad. “It’s hot out there now” they said. “Why are you going in summer?”
Well, that’s when Helen had time off work and wanted to do something, and it’s a great time of year to see the outback. Very few tourists or travellers so you get to camp wherever you want without hordes around you.
And the heat gives you a sense that you’re really experiencing the Australian outback. It’s that hot, dry, dusty heat, with red earth and parched gum trees. The 5 minutes of light rain we got in Cobar is the only water we’ve seen since getting out beyond the coast and the mountains. Every creek and dam we’ve passed has been as dry as a bone. Even the animals find some shade to lie in in the middle of the day and don’t come out again until late afternoon in search of water.
But not us – or the emus. There are hundreds of emus out here and they’re out all day. Maybe that phrase should be “mad emus and city girls”!
The average high temperature in Wilcannia in January was 39.7 degrees – that’s median so half of them were hotter. It’s forecast to be 38 degrees today. That’s celsius – 100 fahrenheit. Bloody hot!
And driving in the direct sun it gets even hotter. You could fry an egg on the windscreen, it’s that hot. Even I had to admit defeat and close the car windows and turn on the air conditioning – and I love driving with the windows open hearing and smelling the countryside.
Funny thing is, it gets cold at night. Not just cool – cold.
Every night I go to bed without even a sheet over me. And every morning, around 3 or so, I wake up and pull the sleeping bag over me for warmth. Every morning except that one underground that is, I started with the doona over me there.
This morning when I woke up at 3am I was determined that I didn’t need the sleeping bag, it wasn’t that cold. Or I was just too lazy to get it out and then pack it back up again in the morning. Take your pick. So I lay there.
And lay there.
After a while I got my phone out and started reading (I love technology, you can read in the dark!). I read for a while, put it away, and lay there again. Then I got the phone out and started reading again.
About 5.30 I gave up and got the sleeping bag out, and was fast asleep within 5 minutes. Then the sun came up and I had to kick it off again.
It’s going to be hot today!