When people including myself think of the Outback we picture a hot dry land void of life except for some Kangaroos and a few odd characters. That’s pretty much the way it is. Driving in the Outback isn’t as hard as people say it is, all you have to do is make sure you have enough food and water in case you run out of gas. There are stretches of land where the next gas stop could be 300 miles, so buying extra gas tanks and strapping them to the roof is a good idea. We bought a total of four extra cans ourselves, but unfortunately we did not to fill them up expecting to be able to fill them along the way. Our first stretch was lined with quite a few options for fueling according to the map.
We passed through a small town called Boulia, a great option for filling those extra tanks, but decided to push on to a town called Middleton. It’s just a small dot on the map miles from nowhere and local intel confirmed that we should be able to get gas there. We were still miles away from Middleton as the sun started to slip behind the burnt Australian backdrop. We were told by many different locals NOT to drive at night because of the danger of hitting a Kangaroo. At this point we had no choice, as we wanted to make it to a place that might have a TV so we could watch the footy (Rugby) match. We drove into the night with the sight of the low gas light blinking and me hanging out the window in hopes of catching us on camera running down a roo. After a bunch of close calls but no dead Roo’s, we were getting really close to running out of fuel. Before we could start to panic a small flickering light appeared over the horizon revealing that little light as Middleton. It was our lighthouse ushering us in. Once we pulled in we found that this town only consists of one house that acts as the gas station, hotel, bar, disco, restaurant, and everything else under the sun.
It’s owned by a bloke named Lester, which is the real Wally from the movie Crocodile Dundee. After spending an hour or so exchanging stories over a few beers, we found out that they were out of gas until Monday (3 days time). Low and behold Lester’s son in law Stoney, a bush cattle helicopter pilot, had some chopper fuel. Now we weren’t sure how good chopper fuel is for our trucks, but Stoney said “no worries mate” so with that we filled up our gas guzzling American trucks.
After refueling the next morning before we could leave, Stoney offered up some helicopter rides. Steve jumped in with the camera and set off for what turned out to be one hell of a ride. Stoney was showing off a little bit for the cameras as he screeched through the sky 2 feet off the ground, he would zoom right by our trucks with the blades only inches from hitting our roof racks. In the end we got some awesome footage and a taste of a real outback experience, one that you can’t find in a guidebook or tour group. This moment called “Middleton” only lasted for 12 hours but it will be with me forever. I know this journal entry doesn’t necessarily go into to much detail, as this moment was mine, and one that will never ever be able to be done justice in an email. As we drove off we all watched Middleton fade back into the Horizon just as it appeared, leaving it for someone else to discover.