The Northern Territory, 650kms without a turn and 'Northern Territory prices'

Tuesday morning after ringing my dad to mark his 70th birthday - it was off to the shopping center. We had to go to the Commonwealth, the supermarket and the petrol station.

To the Commonwealth because we had a problem with our credit card. There was a transaction that we and the bank had thought was suspicious meaning they put a stop on our card. This has been tricky driving around the country for almost a month without a credit card. But they arranged for a new card for us to be available to be picked up in Mount Isa.

Then we headed down the supermarket. Everyone says the prices go up dramatically as we head into the Northern Territory because of the high cost of freight. So we stocked up on as much as we can store. We particularly bought lots of meat. This is cattle country and meat is really cheap. And the cuts taste really nice.

The kids were very patient waiting in the car while Cathie and I shopped together.

A final stop off at the petrol to check the petrol, air and water and we were off. We had to cut the air pressure in the tyres because of the hot country we are driving in.

Driving out of town we typed the address of the outback caravan park at Tennant Creek into the NAVMAN. It gave us the message 650 kilometers till the left turn onto the Stuart Highway. We turned the sound down so we wouldn't have to be reminded every ten kilometers of the distance to the turn.

It also simplified the issue in the car of what we would plug into the cigarette lighter/power supply. A bonus with the jeep that Peter and Vini have lent us is that it has two supplies. We've been juggling the portable fridge that we are using as a freezer in one, the NAVMAN in the other and what is called an inverter (something that turns 12v DC into 240v AC). We are using the inverter so that the laptop can be plugged in the back seat and the kids can watch movies/write their blogs etc.

We started the drive listening to the range of John Williamson songs that related to Queensland for the last time. By now the kids have started to sing along to 'Cape York Peninsular,' 'Charters Towers,' and 'Crocodile Roll.' So that was fun.

Then the kids in the back seat watched and we in the front seat listened to another Bible talk - and then we discussed - Jesus' high priestly prayer in John 17. Abraham fell asleep but we had good discussion with the others. For Cathie most challenging is the view that God is her father who has an intimate relationship with her. Cathie's dad died when she was eight and she said she could not remember sitting down for a regular family meal with him. They had a kids meal with her mum earlier and then her parents ate together when dad got home. Cathie and I have really enjoyed discussing deeper Bible concepts with our kids this trip.

There wasn't much to Camooweal. I can't remember anything else except the petrol station in fact. The price of petrol was a $1.80 per litre. But the thing that hit me was that someone just before me had paid $200+ for fuel. I've never seen this amount on a bowser before.

We had lunch while we drove and the kids watched Superman Returns in the back seat. (It was only later I realised it was rated M. Oh well!).

Next stop was the Barley Homestead. Again it wasn't much more than a petrol station. We had to stop and refill because there wasn't another one until we got to Tennant Creek. They are open six till midnight. If you come out of hours there's $20 opening charge (we were there at about 5pm). Fuel cost $2.09 per litre. We filled up.

I was struck by the toilet signs and so took photos of Solomon and Hannah outside their respective doors.

The journey to the Three Rivers Roadhouse - the junction between the Stuart Highway heading north to Darwin and south to the Alice and the road we were on from the west was pretty uneventful. There were no where near as many kangaroos or cattle on the side of the road.

We had rung ahead to book in at the Tennant Creek caravan park. They told us just find a spot and we would sort out the money in the morning.