So I have to start by saying how disappointed we are that we missed the Henley-on-Todd boat race in Alice Springs:
We did see some good things, just nothing near as hilarious as all that.
A short drive to the West Mac mountains to glimpse the escarpments and colorful hills:
An early morning visit to Simpsons Gap to look for rock wallabies:
Lots of rocks but no wallabies (that we could detect):
Fun lighting through the gap:
A rare water source in the desert; I'd hang out here too if I were a rock wallaby:
These next photos relate to the "spinifex" plant that we would encounter in the rogaine. We had been told that we should change our footwear to something that would thwart this spiny plant, otherwise our feet would be poked by a million little needles and we would be unhappy for 24 hours. We decided to take this advice seriously, so we started by ordering the canvas "bush gaiters" to protect our lower legs.
As for the shoes, I bought a pair of walking shoes that seemed pretty solid and hopefully impervious. I took them for walks/jogs in Hawaii, but it wasn't clear how they would work on my feet for a 24-hour race. John with his foot bunions had a bigger dilemma. Both of us strongly preferred to figure out an alternate solution that would let us wear our normal rogaine shoes that we were certain wouldn't cause blisters over the long haul.
Some vinyl material, biking shoe covers, velcro, and duct tape later, we had a couple possible answers. Our feet would be rather warm, and who knows how long everything would last before getting shredded to pieces. But it seemed to work - we found some spinifex bunches to test it out, and I happily tromped around with no pokies or pain.
Literally "in the bush":
John trying out his gaiters:
Pre-race work completed for the day, it was time for a bit more sightseeing. Jucy in the background at the Red Centre Way monument:
Grave of John Flynn, founder of the Royal Flying Doctor Service that created a network of doctors, airplanes, and communication to provide medical care to remote folks in the Outback. The original boulder came from The Devil's Marbles (future post!), until it was returned to the traditional aboriginal owners and replaced with one that is more appropriate:
Pretty blue, red, green colors:
Jucy at the botanical garden (where we had an excellent lunch at the Bean Tree Cafe):
Anzac Hill lookout:
A nice view of the town of Alice Springs:
We toured the Royal Flying Doctor Service center. The tour was excellent, full of inspiring info about how doctors and aviators can combine to do some great things.
Across the street, a statue of John McDouall Stuart:
We have some friends in Central Texas who might be amused that we found these in the middle of Australia:
Entertaining bit of touring around the local area before the orienteering fun began!