And...We're Back!

Written by Crystal Burke




AND... WE'RE BACK!
How many massages will it take to clear out the dust?


To Birdsville, QLD and Back

As we left our home at dawn on a Tuesday morning I felt the Blues Brother's "Peter Gunn Theme" was most appropriate.  We had everything we needed and most of what we did Not need, but who has time to pack for these things, right?  Sometimes, taking one step at a time means throw in the whole lot and make sure there's air in the spare 'cause we are riding on high spirits and other people's itinerary.  Excited for what lay ahead, we enjoyed the scenery and eased into the drive. Our first stop, Pooginook, just across the SA border.  How amazing to sleep outside this time of year!  I absolutely loved it.  Until I awoke in the morning...

It was as if my body was rebelling against me.  All the stress and anxiety stored in my arms, shoulders, and neck were trying to escape at once and I have obviously forgotten how to let go.  Sleep was my only friend on this part of the 16 day tour.  So much so, that I nearly missed the Midnight Oil "Diesel and Dust" cover album photo opt. 


...keep your muscles soft and stretchy when traveling...

Moving right along, with the help of a couple campside yoga sessions (or just stretching for non-yogies), I felt better every day.  By day four, the aches and pains I had been living with for months (despite my occasional massages, strength training, cardio, and healthy eating) had become non-existent.  I felt amazing!  


I feel relaxed; mind, body, and spirit.

My husband, on the other hand, was starting to crash, as many people do about day 3-4 into a holiday.  So I gave him a stretchy, over the clothes compression Thai massage (lazy man's yoga) and reminded him to relax...we're on vacation.  I cannot stress this enough...keep your muscles soft and stretchy when traveling.  Especially those of you sleeping in swags and tents.  The body will except the ground much better if it is soft and supple.  Of course, an air mattress helps too.

Who knew Bedourie has a festival day with piglet racing (they wear tiny sequence jackets), Camel racing, log cutting, and damper cooking competitions?  Do you know the best part of camel racing?  They do not run in straight lines!  Sometimes, they don't even run in the correct direction.  It was so fun!  We needed the break from traveling too.  By the time we got into Birdsville we were all feeling the need for some alone time.

Now 8 days into travel, my kids are going feral from so much car time and are taking advantage of nearby mud puddles...you know, the kind that keeps your shoes.  This is giving my husband an excuse to loose his mind (don't worry, he found it in the Birdsville Pub), and I'm not sure where my kids learned their manners, but someone should speak to their mother.  My new theme song is R.E.S.P.E.C.T.  Unfortunately, the little guy can't spell yet.  "Ah, the serenity."  By the end of that day, at least we are at the concert destination and have a huge sand dune to conquer.

I have to give a quick mention to this "dune, 'Big Red'."  It is huge!  Cars are tiny on this pile of sand which during most of the year is open to drive up.  Concert week though, climbing is a necessity.  Thank goodness too, because my body loved the exercise.  Sandboarding is a perfect excuse to climb and climb again, but the morning sun rises will stay with me forever.  One lucky morning I even woke early and had the chance to see a lunar eclipse occur on one side of Big Red whilst the sun rose on the other side.  All while a bagpiper played.  Lucky!

At night, after the concert finished, the masses of people treading back to their camp spots kicked up a fierce dust.  

I wish I would have taken a handkerchief or even a PPE mask because my lungs were no match for the dust.  I started to have fevers in the night because of it.  Thank goodness for our next stops, Innamincka, and Arkaroola.  

For Innamincka I was equipped with a fly net (I know, tourist).  The tiny monsters were trying to ruin my life.  Despite them, we made it to the historical Dig Tree of Burke and Wills as well as Burke's original resting place.  I have heard so much of these explorers it was wonderful to finally understand their location and the topography they walked through.


For those of you who love Aussie folk, rock, and little bit of country this is the place to be!  For a sample, check out the Spotify playlist of the Big Red Bash 2019.

As an avid lover of the stars, Arkaroola was beautiful.  I will definitely be returning to the state-of-art observatory to get a closer look at what was one of the most abundant displays of stars I have ever seen.  Also, it was time for me to take care of myself and my family.  We were spent and very thankful for the available room to sleep in.  Now day 14, we needed a dust free zone with a shower. Never be afraid to stop and take care of yourself as needed.  Often times people go on these amazing trips and forget that it's ok to be nice to yourself, even when your already on holiday.  I'm glad we did, because in our little room of luxury I was reminded that I do have great kids, a wonderful husband, and my sanity. 

As we made our way back south toward the Parachilna Gorge, I started to wonder how many massages will it take to shake the dust out?  No time for such thoughts now, though, we are on the road again.  I mean, how lucky are we?  So much diversity in topography, animals, and lifestyles.  We saw freshly hatched emus in the wild, we had dingos so close to our tent we could smell them, and we learned that little piglets look quite smart in sequence jackets.  I was given an opportunity to listen to great musicians I previously did not know (but most of you probably do).  Wow, words just can't explain what we have experienced.



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