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Full Circle

Day 126: Darwin, Australia

The Stuart Highway, Australia 
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Climbing aboard the war machine.
Michael Palin - Full CircleIt's like being aboard some great mediaeval war machine. I'm in a cab perched seven feet above the road surrounded by a shining assortment of air cleaners and exhaust stacks. Below me are sixty-four tyres and two thousand litres of fuel slung in six gleaming heat-reflecting chrome tanks. Eighteen gears operate a Cummins diesel delivering 500 horsepower which rolls three Fridge-Trans trailers down the long straight highway at a maximum permitted 90 kilometres an hour. Visors protect lights and windscreens against stones and bugs, leaving the four-foot high bull bars to deal with anything bigger.

Scotty last hit a kangaroo a week back. He was quite unhappy about it, as it struck the side and damaged his wheel. 'Best place to hit them is straight on. If you see them bounce off you know you're all right.'

In front of us is a mini-flight deck of dials and gadgets, computers and radio equipment and, behind, a capacious sleeping compartment upholstered in padded and buttoned leather like a corner of a gentleman's club.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 126
  • Country/sea: Australia
  • Place: Darwin
  • Book page no: 180

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