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Abandoned Town - Suffering From Elation
A Survivor's Tale
Abandoned Town
Travel plans have changed slightly - we're cutting out the glacier due to weather/flight concerns, and in Wyoming, we're doing Yellowstone only, then flying straight from there (must check if Wyoming has an airport and if so, where) straight down to New Orleans.

Also, I did mis-mark a couple of things on the map; will fix that!

ANYWAY. It was a long weekend here downunder, and we blew all our energy on the first day with a mammoth expedition, along with niaid's cousin Nikhi, out to the flatlands behind Toowoomba. Basically, most of the way down the east coast of Australia, there's this chain of mountains inland and most of the population sticks to the coastal side of those mountains, because behind them is a whole lotta nothing.

So we went to see the whole lotta nothing, and thanks to a great tipoff from Nikhi's dad, we found a town that had been built on top of coal seams, and subsequently abandoned when the coal mine bought it all out so they can do as they please with what lies beneath.

A whole TOWN of abandoned houses.

Actually, that's not entirely true. One or two residents were hanging in there. We think some of them might have been squatters.

Livejournal, meet Acland. Acland, Livejournal.

It was a boiling hot, humid day. The insides of these old houses were like ovens. A storm was brewing on the horizon, something I first noticed when we were wandering in the trashed, overgrown backyard of one place and the rusty old windmill came to life above me. (Creeeepy...) We climbed on and under things. Peeked in water tanks, opened old ovens. Found a sad pile of feathers that had once been a bird. Found plants growing from the gutters. Found a couple of perfect little mouse skeletons. Found a house that had been owned by hippies, where one wall of the little girl's room was devoted to a giant mural of a unicorn, and the other wall was covered in pentagrams.

It was extremely easy, wandering through this town, to imagine that we were picking our way through the world post-zombie-apocalypse. The silence was deafening.

I don't have Joe's photos from the day yet (foolishly, I didn't bring my camera - we didn't know when we set out for the day that we'd wind up here!) so in the meantime, here are some shots from Nikhi.

In the left of this shot you can see the windmill that started turning as I stood beneath it. It made a wonderful, creaking, snapping sound with each turn and the pipe beneath it gurgled. We thought perhaps it was still operational, drawing water from deep underground.

This was the place with the crazy murals in the bedroom. 'Whispering Winds' was pretty much all we could hear in the town; that, and the distant thunder of the approaching storm. We were pouring with sweat and actually hoping the storm would hit us while we were there. No such luck.

We think this place was made of maple wood. It was gorgeous inside - wooden floors, wooden walls, wooden ceiling, wooden doors. It smelled of pancakes.

Oh, and we had another friend along for the ride - Nikhi's bearded dragon, Kali. Yes, that is a tiny harness. As we wandered around, Kali rode on Nikhi's shoulder and was lucky enough to score any bugs that we noticed along the way.

Like at Alkira (god, I STILL have to upload those photos... slack!) we found the sure signs of military exercises- swept-up glass piles mixed with spent paint bullets. Those military lads love abandoned places more than we do!

We weren't the first ones to come through. Most of the houses had been stripped; some had been trashed. We found a calendar and figured the place has been mostly-abandoned for at least four years.

...which is long enough for nature to take over. Nature both big...

...and small. We found this guy in a fuse box.

Storms chased us home.

Kali had a temper tantrum in the car on the way home and turned bright orange. Compare her colours here to the earlier photo.

I'll have more extensive photos soon, of both this place and, of course, the long-promised Alkira photos. Speaking of Alkira (which was an abandoned nursing home near where we live), the keyword there is "was" - a construction company moved in and razed it to the ground. There is literally nothing left; just a field of flat, freshly turned earth.
10 have fought ~ fight the power!
(Deleted comment)
tania From: tania Date: January 27th, 2009 04:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Not that I want to put Wacky Ideas in your head, or give your parents a reason to come after me with knives, but it's not hard or expensive to get your reptile license, and it's not hard or expensive to get a bearded dragon either. Nikhi tells me they're dead easy to look after, too - very low maintenance, just about bulletproof.

Of course, you have to be OK with handling grubs and bugs and other horrible wriggly things. ;) But yeah, Kali was neat to be out and about with... we took her to a cafe and the waitstaff nearly fainted. Good way to meet people!
From: ex_avianity Date: January 26th, 2009 10:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
tania From: tania Date: January 27th, 2009 04:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooooo, thank you!
(Deleted comment)
tania From: tania Date: January 27th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Unusually for us, no jumping at all! I blame the humidity. Just WALKING was stressful enough. We were all bright red in the face by 5pm. D:
stokerbramwell From: stokerbramwell Date: January 26th, 2009 11:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Exploring an abandoned town with a bearded dragon = the coolest outing I've heard about for a long time.


Also: I'm glad New Orleans is still on your travel plan. Remind me again: You're doing this trip this coming December, right?
tania From: tania Date: January 27th, 2009 04:17 am (UTC) (Link)
It WAS pretty cool, all the cooler for the fact that it was entirely unplanned. We set out that morning with our plan being "Go to Toowoomba, see what happens" - this turned out infinitely cooler. :D
alby_lion From: alby_lion Date: January 27th, 2009 01:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Wyoming is the least-populous state and thus doesn't really have much in the way of airports. There are small ones around, but you're not likely to get a decent price (or scheduled flight) from anywhere in WY. Most flights are regional and only serve to transfer to bigger airports. The nearest real hub is Salt Lake City, which is an international airport. Most folks drive in from Wyoming or Idaho (for six hours or so) and fly out of SLC.

=P If you find a good flight to New Orleans from Wyoming, great! But if not, check from SLC. (Wouldn't hurt my feelings at all to show you around the Salt Lake canyons or caves either.) http://www.nps.gov/tica/ <--pretty easy hike.
tania From: tania Date: January 27th, 2009 04:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Blast, I really don't want to cross Yellowstone off my list (supervolcano geek) but it seems a shame to drive all the way up into Wyoming only to turn around and go back to Salt Lake City. Clearly I shall have to do some flight research and see if it's worth our time to go to Yellowstone at all this trip.

After all, we're hoping to move to Canada sometime in the next few years, and from there it'll be easy for us to fly or even drive down into the US and check out all the things we missed this time 'round.

I'm shortly going to enlist the help of a travel agent... that should simplify things nicely!
c_eagle From: c_eagle Date: January 29th, 2009 09:46 am (UTC) (Link)
wow... bizarre! What an adventure though... neat posting!!
10 have fought ~ fight the power!