Their route at the mercy  of Google Map’s accuracy,  the Queensland kids could sleep easy, bellies full of wood fired  pizza, ready for tomorrow’s  long day of driving. Destination? SOS2010 on Kaurna Land, rAdelaide. As  the sun rose on a  chilly South-East Queensland morning early in  July, the first wave of Brisbane kids  busied themselves preparing for their 2000 km  drive across three Australian states.

"In the beginning, there was buttercup"

Their transport? An ex-chip-shop-oil-powered 4x called Buttercup, and a shiny new V6, aptly daubed the horse-powered speed machine. As HPSM zoomed off at the speed of light, Buttercup decided ‘trouble’ was her  middle name; not even  an hour out of Brisbane, she was rattling and spluttering, belching green sludge from her bonnet.  However, with some TLC from a new-found mono-legged friend , Buttercup was happy and back on the road. For now.

Welcome to Goondiwindi!

While half the Queensland crew sped on, stopping and languishing in ‘sunny’, ‘tropical’ Goondiwindi, the other half could but crochet,  as Buttercup spluttered along, careening ahead 100 kilometres behind HPSM. Finally they met in darkness in Moree, land of Australia’s largest ‘Pecan-nut crop’. Buggered if they saw any pecans, but my did Moree have a massive… rocket-slide!

Carnage and bedazzlement at the orgasmic rocket slide

Entering Day  2 of ‘road trip to rAdelaide, the Queensland kids had to make up  for lost time.  Day two  saw  crops and towering silos melt into the the renowned  red earth and low-clinging vegetation of the so-called ‘outback’.  This you gotta expect when you’re heading out the the back of Bourke. Chips and nutmeat by the choking  river, Darling.  That turbid, regulated MDB tributary, is badly in need of some TLC  (ie. RESPECT, fenced, reveged riparian  zones, and moderated flow  extraction, please).

Pushing Buttercup to rAdelaide

By nightfall of the second day, they were determined to get themselves to rAdelaide, even  if it meant foot-power style. Handstands, circusing, and RSL timewarping. Resolves made to travel  into the night were put to the test,  however, when the HPSM ran out of black gold, and flintstones feet blistered. Wilcannia would be their home for the night. They huddled in tents, awaiting the dawn.

2am. Splash.

Teabag: What the…?

Sophie: The townspeople are evicting us, Wilcannia  style!

Amy: It’s  a town drunk, relieving himself…

Teabag: The police are dousing us with petrol?

Steve: Erm … sprinklers?

Here comes the sun!

Ridiculous broken  sleep was blown  from the minds of the Brisbane Crew, however, with the near-indescribable beauty  of a reddening, endless  horizon. They cruised on  ahead, bound for South Australia…

“Amber skies, black tarmac, red earth. Patches of aqua in the desert after rain. The yellow of euphoria, the violet of inspiration. The spectral swirls of swift dancing to a burning sun, the dark shades of late night camping. A spark of icy blue at early morning sprinklers! Infinite rainbows of SoS experiences, melding and bringing forth new, unknown palettes to dazzle the eye and touch deep the soul. Stepping beyond the grey into a coloured reality!” – Skitmore, 2010

Food Zombies at the Fruit Fly Exclusion Zone

It is suggested that the crew dispose of their precious fruit. A nightmare for those who  loathe rampant food waste! All put their digestive tracts to the ultimate test, stuffing in 3 avos each, whole pomelos, apples, zucchinis, capsicum, all down the hatch! They  refrain from garlic shots,  for the nasal sanity of all involved.

Off the rails.

The call of nature fortuitously lands our travelers on the ‘Great Southern Railway’.

Someone: Hey, it’s deserted! Lets take pictures!

10 mins later, safely inside Buttercup  and HPSM, one giant speeding piece of steam-powered iron careens along train tracks at 1000km/hr. Lesson: you  cannot see your reflection in disused train-tracks.

All this and SOS hadn’t even started.

Finally, the Queensland crew reached their destination…

A family of multicoloured tents -Kaurna Land, location Flinders University, rAdelaide

To  learn to show respect…

Warriparinga

To be enlightened …

The famous SOS conversations

To speak up…

CEASE EARTH-DEATH BY MINING URANIUM, DAMNIT!

To f*ck with gender binaries…

To  meet like and new minds.

As the narrator of this story it is my job to chose highlights from a trip that was not only epic in terms of distance, but in depth of experience. As a personal reflection all I can say is that SOS was priceless:

I brought along a mind I thought was open, and found it to be narrow,

I bought a set of ideas I thought were obscure, I found rang true with other minds,

I was exposed to old ideas that I could contemplate in a brand new light.

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