The only respite to the endless highways of the Northern Territory are the roadhouses that dot the landscape every few hundred kilometres. They’re a welcome sight for weary eyes, or for drivers with a flashing fuel light. And they’re a reminder that there is life out there after all — even if the personalities inside them are not exactly run-of-the-mill. For the past 40 years, Greg Dick has been holding the fort at Aileron Roadhouse, 200 kilometres north of Alice Springs. Asking around before we pull in, there are a few smirks — we get the feeling we don’t quite know what we’re in for. There’s no beating around the bush when it comes to “Dicky”: he’s as straight-talking as they come, and has a penchant for all things outlandish — like the giant Aboriginal warrior statue looming up on the hill that he commissioned to try to attract tourists. He doesn’t suffer fools, and love him or loathe him, he doesn’t really care either way. This is his kingdom, and it’s his way or the literal highway. “Laughter is the best medicine; some people haven’t got it in them but that’s alright, I’ve told plenty to get out of here,” he said.

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