Dirt Roads By Chris Leckonby

I’m a wimp on dirt roads. I love to be where they go, but wish I could just be dumped there. The bone-breaking, muscle-wrenching drive, smashing head against vehicle roof, every uncovered orifice full of grit, heart pounding with fear of breaking down in this isolated spot or going down in a cavern full of bulldust…

On a bus trip to Mungo National Park near Mildura, everyone else was happy, swaying with the bus, relaxed and chatting. I was holding on for dear life, relieved to arrive back alive. They all looked at me with puzzled frowns. This road’s TAME they said, you wait until…

We went to Rainbow Valley near Alice Springs, 22km of the most terrifying drive of my life, my fear proven by our friends rolling their vehicle.

Then there’s the getting-bogged option. In QLD, a ranger gave us a mudmap and turned us loose. Down, down this forest road we went, getting further into the mire, slipping and sliding. This must be right, there is no other track. It was. We emerged triumphant, kids and husband laughing, mother crying. But at the end of the day in every case, we declared we’d had a grand adventure.

I’m fine on my pushbike. A control freak? In all the above cases I was at the mercy of experienced and careful drivers. On my bike I thud and skid between rocks, through muddy creeks, down impossible inclines, with no fear. But if it’s too far to pedal, just fly me there please.


Raised in UK, married farmer, emigrated to Australia with family, now grown up, became science teacher, now writing again and travelling lots in retirement. The whole story takes 150,000 words!

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