Blessed be the Bikers
We woke to a blood red sunrise and set off early to explore the sights of Coober Pedy.
However being Sunday most things didn?t open until 10am. So we went for a quick cruise around the town and discovered one of the town?s many underground churches. A group known as Bush Church Aid runs this particular chapel called ?The Catacombs?. And, as luck would have it, we had arrived just in time for their weekly service.
With the minister and his wife eagerly beckoning us to join them, the driver reluctantly agreed to pull up a pew next to me.
I thoroughly enjoyed the whole shebang, despite the off-key singing of the woman with the microphone held too close to her mouth and the out of sync clapping added by a smarmy looking comb-over bloke. Unfortunately, the same can?t be said for our fearless driver who was getting very fidgety by the time we got to the bible readings.
He did cheer up somewhat when we were invited to share in their lavish morning tea spread.
In between cakes, sandwiches and slices we met several locals. There were also a few other fellow travellers, including a couple of lady bikers on their way to Alice with the rest of the Ulysses crew.
After we?d had our fill we were taken on a grand tour of the establishment. The church had originally been an old miners dugout. In the 70?s it was blasted, scraped and extended into its current form. The complex included the chapel, meeting room, kitchen, youth club recreation centre and Sunday school classroom. Later a neighbouring mine was dug through to add on the ministers? residence. Sadly, despite many fervent prayer meetings not one speck of opal was discovered during the whole process.
Next we visited the old timers mine, which a certain little fella thoroughly enjoyed. The navigator was far more interested in the miners? original underground home. The d?cor had been done in classic 70?s style complete with chenille bedspreads, bead curtains and chocolate brown bathroom fittings.
Our whistle-stop tour of Coober Pedy ended with a birds-eye view of the area from The Big Winch (an abandoned tourist attraction that sadly matched the rest of the neglected township) before we struck out on the Stuart Highway once again.
All afternoon motorbikes towing nifty camper trailers of every make, model, size and colour whizzed past us adding interest to the lunar style landscape of scrappy mullock heaps and rusted out trucks.
We pulled in for the night at a roadside stop in the middle of nowhere. Our friendly neighbourhood driver headed over to say g?day to the folks in the caravan in front of us only to discover they were from good ol? Rosebud.
Which just goes to show that no matter how far you roam, there?s no escaping the Peninsula!