Day 117 : The Don

12 November 2010

High Point : Meeting a comedy legend

Low Point : Exploring an Opal Mine (only low because it was underground, it was awesome)

Auction Gift of the Day : Opal jewellery kindly donated by the Old Timers Mine

Underground Town of the Day : Coober Pedy

Mining panic of the day : getting thrown down a mining hole if you find Opal and are silly enough to tell anyone

Best accommodation of stage 5 so far : underground quarters

Quote of the day from Don : Disco Steve don’t advertise

Early days in the preparation of the expedition, Fuad and I would change our minds many many times on our route across Australia. Nullarbor the Red Centre. What an error the Nullarbor would have been, a complete shocker. For the real Australia you need to travel through the very heart and this is exactly what we have done. Laverton to Coober Peady is right up there with any the places I have travelled on our big red truck. Vast, remote and fascinating. 500km between towns (with populations often under 50) and red dirt tracks all the way, dream stuff for FollowThatFireEngine!   Each of these tiny towns (well truck stops) have their own personality and so do the people. Tonight we were privileged to meet the ultimate character from these parts. A true truck stop Australia and a comedy legend, Don. We were guests of Don at the “Radeka Downunder Underground Motel” and went for fish & chips with him. It was story after story about the outback and these funky little towns. Don sports a classic mullet haircut (business up front, party at the back, as he described) and voiced how hungry he was by stating he “could eat the ass off a low flying duck”!  His lovely fiancée Tegan did however warn us that the longer the night crept on, the longer and more nonsense his stories would become. This proved very true when we were given a very long midnight guide of the town’s “big winch” (large metal sculpture over looking the town) at midnight.

Coober Pedy is awesome. It is nearly all underground which is a crazy concept in itself. To roll into a town and have no idea what is happening below the surface is strange. Not only do they mine underground, they live, drink and eat underground. For the lucky few that find Opal, instant wealth is there’s. For the many others it seems a scratch card existence, just hoping that tomorrow will bring the long shot big win.

Rock on


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