Just wondering... how much time we need to complete this little roadtrip trek of ours... the million dollar question... the elephant in the room...
The pre-trip work has mostly been done over the last 12-months or so. Let's call it 'PLANNING' - the PC screen crowded with a multi-coloured, seasonal weather map, and Hema digital map awash with tagged wishlists of places we 'just might' want to visit; a commingling of the odd and the isolated, the mysterious, abstract, the scenic and beautiful. Let's call them 'known unknowns'. And yeah, there are quite a lot. But these days there is heaps of info out there too, like AUSTRALIANEXPLORER.com and BEADELLTOURS.com.au.
And there are a truck load of wild and woolly tracks - the Canning Stock Route, the Deserts Simpson, Stony and Sturt, the Gary and Gunbarrel Highways, the Gibb River Road, the Tanami, Strzelecki and Old Telegraph Tracks - anywhere our truck will go.
And then there's the weather wildcard! It's a big country, with the full gamut of weather... Tropical and wet, hot and dry - through to VERY hot and dry - with freezing winters down south.
I do a quick calculation and come up with a roadtrip of... mmmm... 2-YEARS! (All pending the generosity of seasonal and unseasonal weather gods resulting in possible unplanned flights home to Melbourne from time to time.)
And, here's another thought - do we have everything accounted for? Well... there is the early July BIRDSVILLE BIG RED BASH, and the Easter BYRON BAY BLUESFEST... and the WA whalesharks and wildflowers among other things.
... To say nothing of the 'unknown-unknowns' along the way. Like... let's say we meet 'Jack' on some far-off wayward track. He sits propped at the bar of an Outback pub, staring into his ice-cold beer, the checkered shirt smelling of cigarettes, a battered pair of cowboy boots faded and scuffed. He says we 'must see' this or that, "just a day or 2 out of our way".
I stare at the PC screen, my cluttered maps of Oz - then look across at Sue. Will we have the time?
There really is an irresistible attraction in heading off with lots to see, while blessed with an indefinite vaguery of a timeframe.