Father and Son Roadtrip Day 1 – heading north


Marc and Markku ready to hit the road

The boys are on the road. TRH (The Retired Husband) and son #1. The first time was 28 years ago. They travelled to Gympie to visit family, a trip of 2000+ kilometres. It’s roughly where the red dot is on the map near Brisbane. They had a ball. However, Marc was so happy to be home at the end of it he jumped on the bed and kissed his pillow.

This time, they are travelling to Darwin, a trip of 3020 km’s. Interestingly, both trips were made in a ute.

I am armchair travelling along with them from home. Marc’s ute only has room for one passenger. Besides, it’s SERIOUSLY hot up north. I am so not a hot weather person. And of course it’s a boy trip at the end of which they will be putting together some IKEA flat packs to furnish the apartment that will be Marc’s home for the next three years.

IKEA being IKEA, a cash and carry kind of place, it took us three trips to get all the items he needed. Getting 6 of the same kind of chairs proved to be incredibly difficult. In desperation I even asked if we could buy the shop floor stock. No! On the last trip were assured there were nearly 200 of the Ingolf in stock in the warehouse. By the time we got there would you believe there was only less than 20 left.  We had missed three shipments worth  within a space of three weeks. The chair Marc initially chose sells out by the end of the day new stock comes in. Who buys all these chairs?! I have images of IKEA chairs lurking in every nook and cranny in Adelaide.

Marc recently graduated from Defence Force training with a Cert. 3 in electronics    and is on his way to his first posting. New beginnings for him all round – new job, new home, new city.

This is a photo I sneaked through the kitchen window of Marc packing his ute. Included was this Lucky Bamboo gifted by a friend. I swaddled it so well I think it would survive a tropical monsoon. Lucky Bamboo has been used for the last 5,000 years as a plant that is said to bring health, love and luck to whoever possesses it.

Almost packed and ready to roll.

Last minute packing,

tarp and cargo barrier,

and the load will be ready to hit the road.

On the road to Coober Pedy









A pitstop at a little place to fill up on fuel for the car and the body.  Inner Australia has many places that are jokingly said to comprise of a police station and a pub. I think this may have been one of those judging by the sign below…

Coober Pedy proudly calls itself the Opal Capital of the World. It’s roughly where the orange dot on the map is above Adelaide. The name is Aboriginal for “white men in a hole’. It is riddled with mine shafts, some of which hide sinister secrets. There are slag heaps left behind by fossickers both serious and disillusioned. Tourists are known to pick through these left over piles, at times finding treasure.

Opal was discovered in 1915 by 14 year old Willie Hutchisona member of a gold prospecting party. After WW1 many ex-servicemen went  to the opal fields to seek their fortune. It is thought they were the ones to introduce underground living. Being in the middle of a hot and arid desert, miners discovered early on that caves and dugouts were ideal, comfortable accommodation unaffected by  extreme heat and cold. They have become very popular. Want another room? Just dig one out. Need a shelf or extra storage? Just dig. Some of them are very beautiful. Modern Coober Pedy is a multicultural place of about 45 different nationalities, producing most of the world’s white opal.

I recall overnighting in Coober Pedy on my one and only road trip to Adelaide through the dusty centre of Australia many years ago. We had a car load of people – 6 all told, including an elderly family friend. We reached Coober Pedy late at night. Desperate to stop and sleep we pulled over at what seemed to be a quiet, out of the way  spot and settled down in our sleeping bags. Herself, being a generously proportioned matron, had somehow managed to wriggle herself out of the well fitting cocoon to find a place for morning ablutions. We woke to her raucous laughter. She had discovered two things: we had camped in the middle of the local rubbish dump; when she had squatted to attend to her ‘business’ she found herself next to a $20 note!

An underground room for the night

Eight hundred and fifty odd kilometres later, the boys arrived in Coober Pedy. They booked into an underground motel for the night.

One of the walls has a seam of white opal running through it.

It must have been comfortable as they slept in late!

Today, Coober Pedy provides a range of such accommodation for tourists.

© Raili Tanska

Steps for Peace
 Family, like branches in a tree, we all grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one. Anonymous

11 thoughts on “Father and Son Roadtrip Day 1 – heading north

  1. Hei Raili,
    Mitä kuuluu?
    Just want to inform you that wordpress doesn’t let me follow any new people anymore and keeps unfolloing some of the people I’ve chosen to follow. An “error – there was a problem…” message comes up whenever I try.

    I’ll just keep on following you if it happens again.

    1. No hei! Thanks for letting me know. WP gremlins do weird things sometimes. I appreciate the follow very much. I see your posts in my reader but am still in that overwhelm phase 😦 Have you been in contact with WP Happiness Engineers? My experience with them has always been very positive, although I know that is not the case with everyone. Hope it gets resolved soon. Hymy ja halaus 🙂

    1. It was hilarious! I asked TRH if he was tempted to fossick the opal vein. He said it was covered by perspex, I guess to stop just that. Not that it was of a good colour, but you never know what lies beneath!!

      1. I’ve seen it. The thing with opal is seams that look just like poor quality ‘potch’ can also sometimes contain stunning opal if you dig around a bit.

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