I did a couple of trips down the Tanami to Mulan, to help Tika ferry a team of boys up to Halls Creek for football, and take them back the next day. First thing I learned; these kids really like rap, really loud. Second thing; despite this, they are a great bunch of kids. I am going to enjoy this job, I think, apart from the rap. I wonder what scope there may be to introduce them to real music? Third thing; they love sport. As soon as we stop for a break, out come the balls.
We returned the kids on Saturday afternoon, which meant we arrived in Mulan just after sunset. Driving these roads in the dusk is not the best time at all. Note to self: try to avoid long trips at dusk.
Because I had plans for the next day, I decided I would not sleep overnight in Mulan but return straight away. There was a full moon and the landscape was beautiful. I had never made such a trip at night before, so I took it easy. I did not get home until 11:30. The journey took almost an hour more than it would have in daylight. Some of that was used up in rest stops which lasted a little longer than usual because I just basked in the beauty of the moonlit scenery. The brightness of the moon meant that all but the brightest stars were not visible. I want to do it again on a moonless night. Away from even the almost negligible loom of Halls Creek the sky is spectacular on a clear night.
On the road, I learned that the powerful lights from the vehicle, shining horizontally, actually made the potholes and washouts easier to spot than they are in the full light of day. They appear as black, ominous shadows on the road well before one gets near, whereas in daylight, one can be almost on top of them before one sees them. Even so, there is far more animal and bird activity along the road at night, and it pays to be very alert. Roos and wallabies are totally unpredictable and very stupid. They will actually change direction and leap in front of an approaching vehicle for no reason I can fathom. Cattle are usually much easier to deal with. Though they too can be unpredictable, I have learned that the best thing to do is to slow right down and then drive straight towards them, because the one thing you can be very sure of is that when you reach them, the only place they will NOT be, is where they are right now. This does not apply to stupid marsupials.