"Open Road" is a fairly useless magazine that the NRMA sends me because I'm a member of their roadside service. It usually takes me about 30 seconds to flick through it before it goes into the recycling. The current edition is not on line, and they publish it in a format that makes it a bastard to link to. So I'm not going to bother. If you want to be bored, Google "nrma open road".
In my 30 second flick through this month, I found these two snippets:
From the editor:
"Some people hat the outback. I discovered this while talking to a journalist who had spent a night in Coober Pedy. he was the product of an inner-city upbringing and for him such a remote town was a special kind of phobic hell. No people! Nothing to do! Large men wearing bushy beards and blue singlets! Help!"
Nice to see that someone working in the media has noticed how blinkered trendy inner-city types can be about everything west of the Anzac Bridge. The further west you go, the more icky it becomes for them. And then you hit Adelaide....a special kind of hell.
Then in the letters page:
"Are there any plans to have Open road as an e-book? Us grey nomads are not home for extended periods, and return to multiple copies of Open Road. However, I have a Kindle reader and would be able to receive Open Road via the internet".
My first thought is that poor old Bruce from Doonside has lost his marbles - actually wanting to read Open Road. But then it dawned on me that about 50% of the magazine is aimed at grey nomads, so maybe Bruce is onto something.
My second thought is that it was interesting how some oldies have grabbed onto technology like the Kindle with a passion. Caravaning with a Kindle is a great idea - no more having to lug books around, and you can read it at night without having to rig up a light. Plus you can buy and download books from anywhere that has an internet signal - no more hunting for book stores in pokey little country towns.
What gets me is that so many people think that oldies are technophobic and useless at adopting new ideas. Well, in about 30 years time, I'll be an oldie, and I doubt that I'll have many problems adapting to whatever new technologies exist at that time (assuming I live that long).
My parents were born in the age of the horse and buggy, and they had no problem shifting to the motor car. And when you consider how much more difficult the cars of that era were to drive (no syncro-mesh gears, no power steering, manual chokes, under powered, crank starts, no power brakes etc etc), it makes you realise that most humans are in fact incredibly good at adopting new technologies. The cars that my parents learned to drive were low-tech by the standards of today, but the lack of technology made them much harder to master than say a current Ford Focus.
Well, most technologies. The Taliban have no problems using satellite phones and so on, but the Afghans seem to have a problem using flush toilets.
My parents were born in the age of the horse and buggy
Our children's parents were born in the 1930s; learned to hand-milk cows, learned to drive in hand-cranked, crash-boxed cars, and are now coping easily with computerised cars and GPS navigation. Learned to fly in stick-&-rag Tigermoths; but very much enjoyed flying supersonic fighters and jumbo jets. Learned to write with pens dipped in inkwells and now can touch-type at 40 wpm, but have not purchased a newspaper since 1986. Their first computers ran DOS; they now live in a house with two desktop computers, two laptops, 3 e-readers, an iPhone and a PVR, all networked by ethernet and wi-fi.
Makes you wonder why younger folk have so much trouble coping with technology.
On the topic of grey nomads, when will they learn to pull over occasionally and let faster traffic (ie everyone else on the road) get past?
As I sit trapped behind some idiot in an underpowered roadblock maundering along at 60 in a 100 zone I wonder how far the price of petrol/diesel will have to rise before the nomads can't afford to clog the roads anymore.
I watched a caravan TV show on Sunday. It covered outback NSW. The guy was talking about his rig you know: 4WD, bull bar, driving lights, satellite telephone, satellite navigation, blah, blah, blah....
It was nothing but one big ad for 4WD and caravan stuff.
I told my wife how I used to drive to Palinyewah (west of the Darling)Pooncarie and Menindee in a Govt. car a TP Magna with not so much as a bloody water bottle. Hell I even drove over all those sand hills north of Balranald to visit a school at Hatfield that is rarely on maps half way between Balranald and Ivanhoe.
My bosses in Sydney kept me on a steady diet of 4 cylinder Magnas, 4 cylinder Camrys and even a 4 cylinder Commodore (the engine blew up TWICE!!!)because Bob Carr didn't want us driving around in gas guzzlers.
It was all in a days work for me.
On reflection I must have been a hero (or a bloody idiot).
The NRMA used to be a motoring organisation of some repute, once.
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