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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Oz: Road Warrior Entertainment

Well beyond Australia's usual basic cow, sheep, kangaroo, emu, wombat, and camel crossing road warning signs, this one caught our attention!  Indeed, we had to watch out far more for cows crossing the roads in our travels than any of the other animals --
including the more prolific but primarily nocturnal kangaroos.  Queensland, Australia.
Traveling 10,000+ miles (nearly 17,000 kilometers) just a few days short of 3 months we can attest that there are large, relatively featureless and sparsely populated of portions Australia. Australia's unique road signs often constituted our biggest excitement of the day.

We were also amused by some of the differences as we traveled from state to state, especially when it comes to warnings and rest stops.  

While South and Western Australia's Nullarbor was characterized by kitsch signs, New South Wales (NSW - aka "the Nanny State") and Victoria's signs tended to be much more heavy-handed.  "Drowsy Drivers Die!" proclaimed one rest stop sign.  "Fatigue Is Fatal" another admonished.  "High There? Time's Up for Drug Drivers," another warned almost playfully.
Australia's Northern Territory.  Rugged.  Open.  130 km speed limit.
Northern territory, rest stop signs were more beseeching, even using "please" and "Relax, Refresh, Revive" when encouraging fatigued drivers to stop.  Did the Northern politeness have something to do with the 130 km speed limit - the highest in the country?  Or was it more a sense or evidence that a stick rather than a carrot approach was more likely to be considered in this wide open territory?  We didn't understand why the "x km to Next Rest Stop" signs were posted after we passed the rest stop in Northern Territory, rather than before arriving at them.   Then again, there wasn't much road traffic there to avoid if a driver chose to hang a u-turn.
Northern Territory termite mound dressed as a "Tradee."
We dubbed this the best-dressed among the Australia's termite mounds.

For the Record
For us, the most boring stretch of road was between Broome and the Kimberleys - far more so than the Nullarbor.  Much of the Northern Territory stretch we passed through qualifies for a close second.
Technically Not a Sign, But...
As we left Katherine, Australia very Outback Northern territory, to our amusement we noticed many of the termite mounds, which regularly dotted the barren landscape like some alien life commune, began sporting clothing.  Typically they were faded t-shirts, some in tatters from the harsh sun.  Some mounds had their noggin protected with hats, too.  This went on for many miles (or kilometers); we saw them for a few full days worth of driving. 
NW Queensland, where the "normal" max 110 speed limit resumes upon exit from the Australia's Northern Territory.
Location Location
We're currently at a friend's in Brisbane, Queensland Australia. 

Up Next
We're currently tying up some loose ends before we fly back to the US, including selling our Landcruiser.  We leave May 6, 2017.  After that there will be lots of catch-up and summary and better organization of posts and maps of our travels, and a bit on "re-entry."  While initially we land in Portland Oregon, we are not yet sure where we'll settle.  We do expect to return to boat travel in a few years, after we've caught up with stateside friends and family and replenish our "cruising kitty."
Suggestions on "fill-in" topic preferences and content organization are welcome!