While the sailboats bob on anchor waiting for the starting bell of the upcoming yacht rally in which I will be a crew member, I cycle down the road to explore the outback of Australia. The outback of the northern territory is home to thousands of crazily unfamiliar critters. In the first couple hundred kilometers, the critters appear before my eyes like a fireworks display on the fourth of July. Kangaroos jump over the road in a flash as I fumble for my camera. All I could catch through the camera is a fuzzy bouncy blob followed by three other bouncing blobs. The surrounding forest noise of buzzing insects, jumping frogs and slithering snakes is loud enough to be heard by an old man with broken hearing aids. The sun continues to beat its hourly heat and glare as red sand accumulates on Pandemics squeaky chain.
A half a bottle of high end bicycle grease later I continue to peddle down the red dirt road in search of Litchfield national park. Termites on steroids eat mounds the size of small houses throughout the approach to the park. The road kill which I encounter is as constant as the flash of a paparazzi camera. A repetitive fruit salad splash of dead critters block my vision with every push of the sweaty peddles. Pandemic the Magic Bicycle slaloms through the arid mogul course of squashed cats, pancake toads and dead snakes the size of speed bumps as my skin sizzles in the outback high noon heat.
Road kill snake about 11/2 meters long, one of many on the road into the National Park
Endless litters of water are consumed as the park gate approaches in the distance. Swimming is the national park highlight. Some swimming holes are closed due to crocodiles, some our open. I ponder how accurately the crocodiles can possibly be monitored as I wet my big toe in the most refreshing water I have encountered since eating ice cubes last week.
This part of Australia is against all odds miraculously alive. Dried liked a crisp piece of wheat toast and cherry ripe with bountiful fruitful life as far as the senses will allow one to go. At the end of a long day of sun drenched peddling the spiders dangle on trees in hopeful suspense of a late evening meal.
The insects sing as I lie sticky still saturated in bug repellent with open ears in the thin protection of my little tent. My head pounds with a happy dehydrated buzz as I draw closer to a long awaited sleep. Moments before drifting off into a deep 9 hour snooze, I politely ask the universe to not give me any reason throughout the night to venture out into the darkness amongst the feral wild pigs, termites, acrobatic lizards, nocturnal snakes, huge frogs, red eyed crocodiles, flying bats, jumping kangaroos and strange dangling spiders. Oddly enough, the outback is incredibly tiresome but never sleeps.Each evening hundreds of bats fly over head