The second and third leg of our adventure took us from Coober Pedy to Port Augusta (540km) and then a 333km trip to Adelaide (Capital City of South Australia).
After driving in a flat, desolate wasteland, we arrived in Port Augusta to find wonderful, blue ocean water. The drive itself conjured up feelings of excitement, but also fear. What if we get stuck? Or blow a tyre? Breakdown? How long before we get some help? We drove at least 1 hour without seeing another vehicle in one stretch. The most exciting thing we encountered was 6 emus running at full stretch along the road…it was just enough excitement to draw my sons' eyes away from the DVD playing in the car.
I recounted to the boys a very brief history of Maralinga (nuclear bomb testing area by Britain in the 50s), somewhere to the right of the car, and the current missile testing area of Woomera, somewhere to the left. Again, just enough to take their headphones off for a moment.
Despite the complete joy we had when we arrived in Port Augusta, we didn't find much to do in Port Augusta, a real disappointment because we had pinned our hopes on diving in somewhere to mark our return to the coast of Australia.
333km to Adelaide. A Capital City. Traffic, road works, people everywhere. And it is Christmas as well. We settled in and headed to the shops for some supplies and Christmas shopping. We stayed 2 days in Adelaide and braved public transport. We caught the bus to Westfield Marion and the tram to Glenelg. Again we found the beach. I have a wonderful photo of myself and my three sons with arms outstretched in worship and adulation at the sight of the beach.
A road trip, quite like life, can be dry, boring and filled with disappointment. It can also be filled with incredible moments of joy and exhilaration. Even when the good times come, they can often not be long enough to provide any real satisfaction as you journey through life; it may last just as long as the dry, desolate and disappointing times.
My 23 year journey and road trip with God continues. My devotion to Him and wanting my thoughts, actions and responses to line up with His has become a far greater challenge than the dark times, and far more exciting than the good times. I don't think He even wants to know about my plans, the "stuff" I want, resolutions or promises to try harder- He just wants me. God is part of all my good and bad experiences, but in the end - He just wants me.
Russell Modlin teaches English and Physical Education at a Christian School on the Sunshine Coast. He is married to Belinda and they have three children.
Russell Modlin's archive of previous article can be found at www.pressserviceinternational.org/russell-modlin.html