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From Here, North

The numbing flatness of southern Australia and its Eyre Peninsula is beginning to get to me, not to mention the endless driving and huge distance between, well, everything. I find myself growing both more irritable and anxious to move on as I think of the mountains of New Zealand that await me in a … God, it’s sill a month away. And then I envision the mist-draped peaks of South America that are still two months (at least) away. I want mystery, wonder and a challenge to my my interior landscape. I am missing this in the settled parts of Australia.

We spent last the last two nights in Port Lincoln and Port Augusta, respectively. Nice enough small towns, but Australia Day was a complete letdown in Port Augusta. There was a brief breakfast and some awards handed out early this morning, but we unfortunately missed all that. No parades, no special events, nothing.

And so later today or tomorrow, we’ll head north into the outback. More than 500 km away lies Coober Pedy, the opal mining capital of the world. It’s an interesting-sounding place, with 40 percent of its people living underground to escape the heat.

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