We often used to go camping when the kids were small. The car would be packed with tents, poles, water containers, esky cooler, and, last but not least, the kids. The seventies and eighties were still relatively adventurous and one hacked the bushes to provide space for the tent and a wood-fire to cook on. Christmas time was mid summer and busy but even then it was possible to really camp under the stars and clamber down rocks to get access to the beach. Now, most of that is gone. The camping areas are properly licensed with flush toilets and bitumen driveways. Some people have put permanent caravans and mobile homes down, including dreaded lawns and petunias with mock-stone lions guarding the fly-screen entrance door.
They give names to those aluminium semi-camping residences like “As is, is”, “Braving the foaming waves” or the exotic “C’est la vie” and empty beer bottles are left outside to litter where once there would be a wood fire with family sitting around. It seems that getting away from ‘home’ now means imitating home as much as possible. Perhaps it is all too frightening to go bush in Australia. All those spiders lurking under the dunny seat ready to bite bum, snakes curled around the fire place, serpents slithering in the water. It might all be a bit too adventurous for many. The compromise might be to forego the dish washer but feel happy with washing machines and micro wave ovens on site.
Some years ago we drove from Alice Springs to Port Augusta. A trip that goes on and on for 1200km, it was very hot and nothing to break the monotony of a dry and desert like heat vibrating shimmering moonscape for most of the way. The most perplexing sights were the cars that had broken down. It would have been very common at earlier times when it was nothing more than a dirt track. A very hazardous trip. One could easily perish if wandering away from the car and got lost or overcome by heat. The broken cars were always upside down with the remnants of wheels poking upwards. Like dead animals, especially the top-heavy wombat. The cars would litter the landscape. Were the wheels stolen and how did they manage to turn those cars upside down? Is it a cultural thing in South Australia, a sign of having somehow survived. It is not easy to turn a car upside down and in the heat, why would one go through so much effort? Most had turned a red rust and melted into their background perfectly. I suppose nature finally reclaims everything, even old rusty cars. I wondered what happened to the inhabitants? Where were they now? Did they survive?
I remember ending up in a motel on the way from Port Augusta to Broken hill. This was another long trip but the upside derelict cars were absent on that trip. I had bought some salmon cutlets and thought of cooking those in the motel. On a holiday before we had frozen calamari rings and ended up cooking them in the motel’s toaster. Some motels have a restaurant but that one did not. The timing was perfect and if you put the toaster on the side it will prevent the thawed out calamari from collapsing to the bottom when cooking. It is best to shake out the toaster afterwards as a courtesy gesture for the next user.
When we arrived at the motel in Broken Hill I did the same with the salmon cutlet. This time I used the iron. You switch the iron on without steam. When the iron has reached top heat you then wedge the iron upside down between some books. ( most motels have a bible and phone directory) That’s how we cooked the salmon. The salmon was very nice and with a bottle of rough red we had a memorable little meal. We were too flaked out after driving all day to look elsewhere for a meal. We slept like angels.
Hope this helps.