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The Old Wolf Express - Down Under 5

Arose early and spent a part of the morning reading "Paladin of Souls" on Batty's back porch, while a cute lop-eared bunny with a dark nose came lippety-lipping around my feet to see what this strange creature was. It was a pleasant morning, but I could tell it was going to be hot.

When Batty awoke, I got ready to head East, and we parted ways with many compliments passing between us. He is a most delightful chap, and I hope to be able to visit him again in the near future. Stephan will have the pleasure of his company for the week-end.

Drove to Parkes and by the time I got to the observatory it was scorching. It must have been over 40, but fortunately the humidity out here is quite low, so it wasn't unbearable. Batty recommended I have a meat pie in the cafe there, and I took his advice, to my credit. The experience surpassed the expectation. The pie was divine, and eating it with this huge radio antenna just outside the window, with air conditioning to boot, was as pleasant a brunch as ever I have had elsewhere.

The Dish itself is very impressive. While not quite as large as the one we saw during PonyCon III at the NRAO, it seems bigger just because you can get so close to it. When I got there it was doing quite a bit of moving, which was interesting to see. In the visitor's center there are three little 3D movie clips which I watched, one about Mars, another about the telescope itself, and the third about relative scales in the universe - "Bigger than Big". All very interesting.

Left Parkes and drove back to Newcastle via Sydney, and over the Blue Mountain range, where the climate and the landscape changed from arid plains to bush-laden mountains and hills. Arrived at SteamWolf's place around 9:30, and after spending some time catching up, headed for bed.

The next morning we spent visiting while a workman put some stairs in SteamWolf's backyard down to his lower level, and then his girlfriend came over and I was feted with a fantabulous kangaroo steak lunch with roasted veggies and fried mushrooms, followed by homemade bread for dessert. After lunch, SteamWolf took me out to some amazing sand dunes at Stockton Beach for some 4X4 fun, during which we rescued some poor yob who had gotten stuck in the sand with his trailer. He was lucky that SteamWolf had a snatch strap in his 4X4, and that we were able to get him out without his trailer rolling. We had borrowed his dad's vehicle - I got to meet his parents and his sister, lovely people and I can see where he gets his odd sense of humor - but the vehicle was having a bit of trouble overheating so we didn't do a lot of dune running. But it was great to be there, and spent a bit of time on the seashore gathering the cutest little whelk shells.

It was a blistering hot day, and his parents' thermometer was registering 43 in the shade - not to mention the fact that a brush fire had come very, very close to their home yesterday and there was a hot, dry wind blowing. We got to watch helicopters shuttling water to the hillside behind the folks' house for a while - they have this great 5-acre spread surrounded by bush, and they're very fortunate the fire didn't come closer.

By the time we left the beach, a cool front had moved through, with some concomitant cloudiness, and the temperature dropped at least 15 degrees making it much more bearable. Got back to SteamWolf's place and spent the rest of the evening exploring stuff on the internet. He introduced me to The Dresden Files - show and books - which I had never heard of. Sigh - another series to read, but it will have to wait until I'm done with Chalion. Got some laundry done, and now it's time to climb the wooden hill. It's been a great day!


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Comments

alaskawolf
Jan. 23rd, 2010 12:25 pm (UTC)
your a hot and busy wolf down there but its awesome to experience all the things your doing :)
dewhitton
Jan. 23rd, 2010 12:39 pm (UTC)
Trust me, I know meat pies.

And that bakery I showed you here in Town? The pies are better. We'll have to go there next time.
ccdesan
Jan. 23rd, 2010 10:05 pm (UTC)
So let it be written.
So let it be done!

kelloggs2066
Jan. 23rd, 2010 04:06 pm (UTC)
Have you seen "The Dish"?

Good film about Parkes.

(And it's surrounded by sheep!)
deckardcanine
Jan. 23rd, 2010 08:02 pm (UTC)
I found that movie twice as watchable when I turned on the Spanish subtitles. Helped me parse the accents.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 23rd, 2010 10:02 pm (UTC)
Have indeed. And, I was suprised to see how loosely on reality the film was based. At the observatory they give you a list of at least a dozen points where the film took significant creative liberties, but it was still a great film.

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