From the desert to the prairies and back again.

After arriving back from Canada less than 48 hours ago I found myself wide awake at 4am this morning wondering what on earth I was going to do for the next 3 hours before the sun came up. Enjoying the fact that I could go outside in my pyjamas without freezing, I followed Chevy out and found myself standing on the front lawn in the glow of a couple of street lights down the road, the half-moon above me and a sky filled with stars. Across the road the caravan park was dark and quiet, surprisingly no dogs were barking or running the streets, and the wind almost had a warmth to it which is very odd for this time of year. Whilst out there I started thinking about the fact that in 45 days I will be starting my walk across the desert and will have the opportunity to spend every night looking up at clear skies, watching the stars pulse in the night sky, listening to the howl of the dingoes, and enjoying the solitude of being nothing more than a speck in the vastness of the Simpson Desert. That to me is pretty close to pure bliss.

What is not pure bliss is training in the cold with wind blowing into your face on a flat muddy road in the prairies of Canada. Although the place is practically my second home, and my friends and adopted families are wonderful, I am not going to pretend that walking in their weather is enjoyable. When I read Michael’s training plan for my trip over there, and read the corresponding weather forecast my jaw dropped a little wondering how my extremities would handle walking in those temperatures. Relative to their winter the weather was quite nice considering the temperatures were in the plus, and I will happily admit that when the sun did make an appearance, the 15 degrees seemed quite nice. Given the sun only came out on the day I left though, the ‘quite nice’ day was null and void to me. For the better part of my trip it was cloudy, drizzling, windy and cold. Not exactly the best weather for motivation.

On one morning I awoke from my spot on the couch, passed my friends in the kitchen, opened the front door, yelled “go away rain”, then proceeded back to my spot on the couch again.

Unfortunately this did not have the desired effect.

Realising the weather gods were not going to play nice I eventually ventured out most days, however never for as long as I was supposed to. Let’s just hope these 2 weeks weren’t “vital” for preparation.

It was a bit chilly!

The result of walking into a cold wind. Brrrr!

Speaking of preparation, given my fitness is in the hands of Michael and all I have to do is what he says, I am now focusing on pulling together the resources to ensure that not only do I make it to the other end, but that we get as much publicity for the work of the RFDS as possible. Kelly Theobald is a fantastic journalist who moved to Birdsville last year and is in the process of contacting every type of media we can think of. On top of that my sister is tweeting about the news as it arises (Karen Brook), you can like the Facebook page to keep up to date with the daily happenings, and you can also follow this blog so that whenever I write something new it will be delivered straight to your inbox (click ‘latest news’ above, and then the follow button on the right hand side of the page and follow the directions). We have just had an article published in the latest edition of the RFDS magazine (see below), as well a two page spread in the North West Star newspaper which was very exciting and a huge thanks goes to Sarah Norris for the great writing.

If anyone out there has a great idea for publicity, or works for someone who might be interested in running a story on the walk you can contact me at thelongwalkhome2012@gmail.com.

Fundraising in still going strong and we are approaching the $14,000 mark, which given the goal is $20,000 is a fantastic effort by all involved. If you would like to donate to the RFDS click ‘donate now’ at the top of the page and follow the links. This weekend Birdsville is holding its annual Bronco Branding and we will be auctioning a signed and numbered (179/250) Hugh Sawrey print titled ‘Discussing Tactics’, which was kindly donated by The Australian Stockman’s Hall Of Fame.

I have also just uploaded a couple more photos to the gallery page, and will continue to do so on a more regular occasion from now on…I promise. Although the website has been a little quiet of late, I hope to pick this up as we have a few more sponsors on board and will be releasing these details shortly. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor you still have time and can contact me on the above email address for a sponsor pack.

Thanks again to everyone for their support and kind words and if you haven’t read it or shared it with friends as of yet, check out the last post by RFDS pilot Michael Flood titled “Toilet paper to the rescue”.

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