Hopping Down the Stuart Highway

After breaking my ankle in Katherine we decide to head for home (3,440kms). Straight down the Stuart Highway which traverses Australia north to south right down the middle. I shouldn’t complain about being on crutches poor old John MacDouall Stuart marked out this route for the overland telegraph line in 1862 with little more than a few camels – 8 months of trudging through the desert without Google maps, now that takes guts.

Tennant Creek, NT

It is a cool but muggy morning and on my crutches I hop gingerly across the service station forecourt to the loos around the side of the building. There is a large German Shepherd eyeing me off not sure if I’m friendly or not. I just have to hope that he can sense that I’m an animal lover because I can’t run that’s for sure. As I push my way through the heavy toilet the attendant shouts “I’ve just hosed it out.”

Too late. Rubber crutch stoppers and water don’t mix and I do some sort of splits across the dunny floor.

Erldunda, NT

Yesterday I counted 40 crutch hops each way to the loos. I figured that I must build up my strength so did it twice (160 hops) ended up buggered and strained a stomach muscle. Optimism can be a problem.

After enjoying another superb desert sunrise at breakfast I surprised myself by hopping the wrong way and ending up flat on my back on the van floor. Cross ways across the van. Now how the hell did that happen?

Marla Road house (Oodnadatta Track junction)

Still on my crutches I hop to the loos only to find a busload of school girls ahead of me. They kindly let me go in first but then I get stuck in the narrow door. Have you ever noticed how narrow toilet doors are? Thankful that I haven’t fallen on the floor I tell them it’s just that my boobs are too big for the doorway. Do I hear tittering?

Stuart Highway, Three Ways
Stuart Highway at Three Ways

4 thoughts on “Hopping Down the Stuart Highway

  1. I feel for you! I pulled an achilles tendon when I was a student and had to use crutches for several weeks, trouble was I lived 4 flights up and the lift was the other side of the building so unable to face the long walk to and from the lift I would more often than not take a deep breath and take my life in my hands with the stairs – both up and down. I shudder to think of it now.


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