People tell me I'm crazy for bicycling across Australia, but I know from experience that the things I've elected to do with my life barely scratch the surface of the truly crazy adventures in the world.
Case and point? Mrs. Molly the Shopping Trolley.
Yes, today I met an awesome man from Switzerland who, instead of driving a car or riding a bicycle (bikes are for losers), is instead walking across the Outback – from Darwin to Adelaide – pushing a shopping cart (or shopping trolley as they like to say in the Australia). A shopping cart he has named Mrs. Molly the Shopping Trolley.
In addition to a crazy person, Mr. Chris Zimmerman, the man behind this wild endeavor, is also an accomplished photographer and documentarian. I would suggest that you all take a look at his Facebook Page (German) to see more shots of him and Ms. Molly on the road.
Now the reason I think Chris is nuts is not because he's walking across Australia with a shopping cart; I think that's awesome.
No, I think Chris is nuts because there's no way he's going to outrun the horrid flies of this country whilst pushing a shopping cart.
May I remind you that I've adopted an “only stop when absolutely necessary” policy to avoid these things (eating lunch outdoors has since fallen into the category of unnecessary); this guy is just walking. He must be constantly covered.
If this way my everyday reality I would commonly be found crying on the side of the road. Crying and covered in flies crawling all over me as they lap up my sweet, salty tears with their mouthparts.
Unfortunately, the Pink Panther Roadhouse, our home for the night, takes no exception with the Outback fly lords, and we are fiercely harassed as the sun slowly sets.
On another note, and I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but Australia isn't the most not racist place in the world (I'm trying to phrase this lightly).
The Pink Panther barkeep tells me that he advises all of his friends to have three kids: one for them, one for their wife, and one for White Australia.
What's “White Australia”? Well if you're in the mood and have the time to start a long and depressing slide into Australia's more than checkered history and are prepared to have your “Australia is and always was a cheery place with kangaroos and cute (also killer) animals” paradigm rocked, then you can start here.
Fortunately, the universe brings my faith in humanity (and Australia) back out of the gutter when two Grey Nomads invite me and Chris to dine with them outside their RV.
After an incredibly satisfying meal of shrimp (or prawns as they're called here), beef, salad, and assorted bread, our hosts treat us to some custard apple (or fruta-do-conde as I grew to know it in Brazil), watermelon, and ice cream for dessert.
As the flies disappear to wherever it is they go for the night (back to Hell?) and my breath catches on the now chilly desert air, I sit back into the world's most comfortable folding chairs and am finally able to relax.
Life is good.
Again, you can check out his Facebook Page (in German, but with lots of photos) here.
- START: Newcastle Waters, Northern Territory
- END: Daly Waters, Northern Territory
- DAY'S DISTANCE: 76.13 mi / 122.49 km
- TOTAL DISTANCE: 2,053.43 mi / 3,303.97 km