200kms of road with no speed limit

NT is trialling a No Speed Limited section on the Stuart Highway, north of Alice Springs, for a period of one year. Good on the NT government. When I worked for Shell, Alice Springs was my base and I remember this piece of highway well. The tyranny of distance experienced by people who live in the Alice and any other satellite town where people need to drive for hours makes this trial a winner in my books. I remember marvelling at the mileage clocked up by the people I worked with. For them it was nothing to go to Adelaide for the weekend, which is a 3,000-km trip. I get all excited when I go to Wakefield and manage over 1,000kms in one month. The average person from Alice does this by Wednesday, as the saying goes. Needless to say, we will have the usual panic merchants making predictions of mass mayhem and thousands of deaths before the year is out. I just hope that this trial is not carte blanche for idiots wanting a drag race track. The NT police have a fairly short fuse when it comes to morons. Just because you are really, truly brilliant on Xbox sitting on your lounge with a toy steering wheel in your hand does not mean you know what to do when you run into trouble in a real car.

I remember one trip traveling to Yuendumu, late afternoon, brilliant clear day with the sun shining on the red sand and sky so blue it looked photo-shopped. I spotted a black kite flying very low, heading straight for the front windscreen of my car. He looked so majestic and beautiful. I am a city dweller, so common sense when driving in the country is not second nature to me. The kite was so low I could see his claws. It never occurred to me to slow down. Thankfully the bird had more sense than I did and just before bird met windscreen, he gracefully glided on the slipstream and left me in awe of his beauty and flying skills. When I relayed the story to the road train drivers back in Alice they pointed out to me that if I had hit him, the force would have driven both me and the bird into the back seat of my rental car. I stress yet again that the bird had more brains than I did. I just imagined the kite’s conversation at the next lizard lunch on the side of the road: “You should have seen this dumb blonde, eye big as plates, as I glided over her car.”