Today was the last leg of the road trip from Sydney to Alice Springs–the longest by mileage (kilometerage?) and in some ways the toughest. Word was this morning the Stuart Highway was clear to Alice Springs after last night’s rain, so we got an early start from Coober Pedy. Rain showers slowed us on much of the way, though, and spray from the road trains made those frightening encounters even more intense. The scrubby brush of the outback was much less interesting to my eye, although perhaps I was already anticipating our arrival into Alice Springs.
At about 3:30, we pulled up to the new CSBF hangar at the Alice Springs airport. Some familiar faces from the New Mexico campaign were on hand to help us unload, and then Tony and I headed into town to settle in. The torrential rains–some of the heaviest in a decade–are continuing, and the Todd River–virtually always bone dry–has actually flooded. I learned that last night a man was tragically swept away by the river here. There’s a chance the flood might cut off the airport tomorrow, which would complicate matters a bit.
Our container with the rest of our equipment is still en route–ETA early next week–and the other students and engineers will be trickling in starting Monday. It feels like such an accomplishment getting the instrument here, but it’s just the beginning of our efforts! For the time being, then, I’m going to rest from the journey and get settled in here in the Alice.