Chapter Thirteen.

No superstitions, the next few months will be GOOOOD!!

Monday 29th April 2002, (Tambo).

The continuing journey through the outback, especially seeing it is the year of the outback, has now taken us to a small town called Tambo. This town boasts that is possibly the oldest Queensland outback township, and some of the houses reflect this possibly to be true The country side in this area, to be expected I suppose, is completely different than any other I, or we, have ever experienced. It is as flat as; when we approached Tambo this terrain was obviously making an impression upon us as we both commented on the mountains in the distance. These are of the size that would probably be totally ignored if in Tassie or on the east coast of the mainland.

One thing I was prepared to accept in this area was the increase in the price of fuel, and it has so far gradually progressed upward, but the surprise when reaching Tambo was, especially gas, the price is back down to almost what we were paying in Toowoomba (gas was in fact cheaper).

Although we haven’t fully discussed it yet the chances are we will stay here for 2 days. We have chosen to stay at a camping area just on the eastern edge of town on the banks of a lake, well a large pond, and according to all my documentation we would be permitted to stay here for 48 hours. Linda is already making comments on how enjoyable it is camping on the edge of the lake with the scenery being much more pleasant to the eye as it is generally missed in caravan parks.

The power system will get a full test tonight as the Northern Territory V8 car racing is on telly late and I will intend sitting up to watch it. This will mean the tellie will be running for about 5 to 6 hours instead of the usual 2 or 3 and it is the telly that uses most power.


Friday 26th April, (Charleville).

I had a very interesting day today learning some chores on the computer while Linda did her weekly shopping thing. I was intent on finding out how to transfer emails from one PC to another, by a method other that one at a time. I am committed to doing this at some time, as I intend that when I obtain a mobile phone that will connect to my new laptop I will require all my mail from the old laptop on the new one for reference. With perseverance I finally found how and where email is stored on a computer, and consequently how to transfer it from one PC to another. There is a trick to getting the files active on the new PC, but now knowing that, the procedure is relatively easy (time consuming, but easy).

Another reason for finding this out is so when I am confident that I have all I need off the old laptop I can reformat the old one and reload it from scratch to get rid of the rubbish that is still on it. Another project I intended to accomplish was to find out how to easily transfer my photo library from one to another as when I purchased my new one I had to rebuild the library from scratch manually. Another win when I did find an easy method for this transfer.

All in all a successful day was had in front of the PC, after all it is good for learning PC operations.

Touring, we did do some touristy things as well, the happy hour at 5:00pm where park guests gather together and with drinks and nibbles have a get to know each other session. Then at 6:00 pm we went to a Bilby show, what I thought would be a show demonstrating what the Bilby is, how it lives etc. The session turned out to be a seminar type session with the prime objective being to raise money for the protection of the same, they did have a tame one for display. I feel as though I was duped into going and paying what turned out to be a $10.00 donation, but it turned out that it probably was a good cause after all. I wonder how many people leave the show with the same attitude as I, as most of the attendees were from the caravan park and would have received the same spiel about it as we did. It wasn’t complete rip off though as I did leave with the idea that I had donated to a good cause.

We have decided that this being a nice place, especially to relax, that we will stay on an additional day and just leisurely see the rest of what we intend while here.

Sunday 28th April, (Charleville).

We finally attended a sky watch session last evening and it turned out to be an immensely interesting evening. It soon became aware to me that I had never before had a look at the stars through a telescope, one big enough to see them in some detail at least. I have since been almost intent on the idea of getting a large telescope and studying the stars more often, but finances and spare space are the restrictions.

A very relaxing and enjoyable week has been spent in Charleville, we were both content with our stay, and Linda even said she would like to stay here longer. This town will be remembered.

There is no particular reason other than sixteen pages, but I will call this the end to this chapter, stay tuned for the next exiting episode.


Thursday 25th April, (Charleville).

We are now at Charleville, a further 200k west, and were only going to stay for four days but may change our booking for a longer term. The town is quite a nice place and the park we are staying in is one which gives the feel of a place one could spend quite a bit of time sitting and relaxing. One thing that helps with this feeling is all the bird life that are around most of the day, they just cheer up ones day that much.

There appears to be quite a few things to do here, such as an observatory that gives a talking display as well as a look at the stars, we must check that one out. They also have a Bilby nursery so it will be no doubt interesting to visit there.

The township again has many old buildings, and big pubs, so today was spent walking around taking pictures.

Speaking of pubs; I have noticed in this area that all towns have big pubs and many of them. We noticed at Mitchell, being as small a town as it is, had about 5 pubs, most being very large giving the impression that these towns were at one stage very large townships or plenty of heavy drinkers. Even towns we pass through consisting of a shop (service station) and about two or three houses have a huge pub, some being two stories and looking as though there would be about 50 or so rooms upstairs.


Monday 22nd April, (Mitchell).

We have now moved on to Mitchell, known as the gateway to the outback and I thought we have been in it for ages. It turns out we didn’t have to stay the extra day at Roma to catch the TV shows as they have the same channels available here as they do at Roma. It seems that there have been some changes to TV transmission in the outback since my information booklet was printed. My book shows many towns only have ABC and TEN, where in fact it seems that SEVEN Central has replaced TEN, using the same channels, and Imparja, made up of a combination of NINE and TEN, have opened up transmission in towns as well. This combination generally gives us all that we prefer to watch.

One of the main reasons we stopped here, apart from the fact that it was a 90k trip to get here (about our limit), is because we heard about this caravan park that offered the first two days free. The story turned out to be true and the park is of surprisingly good condition, providing en-suites as well as normal facilities included in the 2 free days terms. If one chooses to stay for a longer term, minimal charges are applied per additional day, and these fees are very cheap compared to other parks.

The township has a few things going for it, such as Artesian pools, river rides and a few scenic walks so one could spend a few days here, but we are only staying the 2. I guess the rates provided are a temptation for travellers to spend some time, and money, in the township and it obviously works. As we heard, one has to arrive early or will miss out, and this is true as well, as the park this evening is completely full as it is apparently every day.


Tuesday 16th April, (Roma).

We had a walk around Roma today and took a heap of photos of some of the old buildings, and were quite surprised to find all the hotels are in what seems original condition of construction.

One other thing we have found different here is the water. It is artesian water that seeps through the ground from Carnarvon ranges, and is apparently that close to pure it doesn’t matter, and then they have to spoil it by adding chemicals that are mandatory as required by the powers to be. It would have to be the softest water I have ever experienced, to have a shower is an experience on its own, one lathers up much more than usual and one can feel their skin softening upon application of the water, almost like showering in oil. To clean my dentures is a new challenge as they become so slippery one has trouble holding on to them.

This area is famous for its artesian water and stories over the years of attempts to drill for it. It is quite deep in the ground and some drillings in years gone by actually came across gas and oil instead. Gas has been piped from here to Brisbane, I don’t know whether still or not but further trips around will reveal more details later.

Sunday 21st April, (Roma).

Nothing more to report to date as this past week has been one of relaxation again. I am going to give serious consideration to not staying at places such as this for longer than a few days because there really isn’t much to do and we could be looking further at different places. There is a lot to see yet.

We have heard of and investigated a place we consider is a must see while in the area called Carnarvon Gorge. It is situated about 100k north of Roma via Injune, quite spectacular apparently. We won’t be going there just yet though as we must travel via Charleville first. I have organised a retailer in Tassie to mail me some tobacco that will be there in a couple of days. This is not the only reason though as we have decided to stick to what were our original travel plans and hopefully go as far as Winton.

We do intend visiting Carnarvon on our leg toward Rockhampton in a few weeks. When we get to Emerald we will detour south and make the visit.


Sunday 14th April, (Roma).

It turned out that it didn’t rain after all, so we packed up this morning and moved on to Roma, nearly 200k from Chinchilla past Miles.

Roma, from what I have seen so far, is a very old town and has some really old buildings that I am sure will make good photos.

We chose to stay at the big4 caravan park rather than the others although it is a little dearer, and talking later to other travellers it was mentioned that the others are not the best to stop at any way. The reason wasn’t clearly given, but when a traveller makes a statement like that there is generally a very good reason, so our actions may have been the correct one. Anyway the cost turned out not to be a big factor this time as we decided to treat ourselves to an en-suite site for a change.

I think we are starting to get the realisation of what it is going to be like travelling the NT and WA later, with the countryside we are travelling now being flat, the same continuously and rather boring. I should imagine that this is what those areas are going to be like but on a larger scale.

I am having a problem with the Internet that I must sort out this week, as I am at present being denied access to my email. There seems to be problems with passwords, so I will report the problem, get a fault number and then ring a tech. that I was talking to last December about another problem. Hopefully this plan will see a remedy early rather than wait possibly weeks for them to ring me to resolve it, we will see what happens.

Monday 15th April, (Roma).

A day of difference today where my main concern was to get my email working. Surprise, surprise, things went well; after the usual wait and hassles with the first person on the phone and getting put through to the wrong department, I was actually put through to the people I would have rang after I was issued with a fault code. These people, after hearing my explanation of the problem, went in and reset my password to what I wanted and assured me that it would now work. They then gave me a logon and password for the new dialup number, #777, and said that should work.

I explained to them that I would not try it until after 7pm, when it is cheaper, so if something doesn’t work I would ring back tomorrow. The answer to this was that they work until midnight so I could ring immediately. The new access number didn’t work, but my email did, so I rang to explain this and an answer was given straight away. It seems that the # will not be accepted from some mobiles as an actual digit, the person who would know was off duty so the plan is to ask him tomorrow and ring me back with the answer. If my phone is not affected then he will work with me to try to work out the problem.

It was very enlightening to find things go my way for a change, they haven’t been lately, except for the fact that I overlooked the fact that tobacco would be difficult to obtain in this area. I have several shops in Roma seeking to find me some and I have rang Danny in Brisbane to get him to find me some and put it on the bus, so we will see what eventuates. I guess the worst thing to happen is that I will end up with 3 cartons or so.

Anyway back to travels; we have spent a fair bit of time discussing, even with friends we have met, and looking at changing our travel plans to incorporate some locations we had not earlier considered, being Carnarvon Gorge. If we choose to change our plans it will mean taking a different route to get to Barcaldine and we will have to backtrack a few hundred more kilometres than we had planned, but that’s life.


Saturday 13th April, (Chinchilla).

We moved yesterday to Chinchilla, 85k west, and decided to camp at ground 9k southwest of Chinchilla. The camping ground is set by a lake created by a weir and is in a very secluded and quiet surrounding. A very peaceful evening was spent there last evening and we were looking forward to at least another night there, but: but more about that later.

A lot of facilities are provided at the park such as toilets, water but not for drinking, picnic areas and would you believe the local council actually provides power, but the condition is that camping is restricted to 48 hours. The down side of this camp is the soil in the area. It is a very dark thickish soil that would become very muddy when wet, which brings me back to the ‘but’. On our second day, late in the afternoon it became very overcast and looked very much like rain. This little black duck was not going to get stuck there in that messy quagmire if it did rain, so we had a quick pack up and move into Chinchilla.

We have decided that if it does rain, and continues, we will stay here until it is clear enough to move on.


Wednesday 10th April, (Dalby).

I had a walk around town today taking a heap of pictures, some of which appear below. I find it hard to include photos in my memoirs as there ends up being so many I would like to include but it would be unreasonable to include them all.

One would possibly think that I am impressed with Dalby, well I am. We have had a very enjoyable week here and if we are ever back this way I am sure we will return for another visit. Unlike other places where we did not get an opportunity to see all we wanted to, Dalby is a place I would like to return to just because it is what it is.


Tuesday 9th April, (Dalby).

A trip to Lake Broadwater about 30k south was the order of the day, and turned out to be rather disappointing. Then if we had thought a little more about it, and maybe listened to the advice from the visitors centre, and made our visit at either daybreak or sunset the trip would have probably more worthwhile. The lake is apparently home to plenty of wildlife, but none are in attendance during the day and would be abundant at either end of the day when they awaken or come home to roost.

The day wasn’t a waste though, as we experienced a cotton harvest on the way. This on its own was an experience as it was only recently we actually saw a cotton crop growing. We were quite surprised by the harvest process as they pick the cotton and place it into a bale press, which compresses the cotton and they end up with one big bale that is the size of the trailer of the average semi. Then the semi comes along and picks it up by rolling it into the trailer end on. The surprising part is that there does not seem to be anything holding the bale together. We suppose that because the cotton is actually greasy when it is picked it bonds together when it is compressed.

We decided today that we had better enquire about methods and fares for Linda to return home in July, as she would like to be there for Elly and Jay’s birthdays, and we were fortunate that the local travel agent found us a cheap return fare from Brisbane to Tassie so we booked it and decided that a bus trip from wherever we are on the coast at the time to Brisbane would be suitable, and we won’t have to book that, just catch it when we need to.

After doing most of what we intended to do, including groceries, we came to the conclusion that this place is an ideal place that one can just sit around, do nothing and relax. Then neither of us find that hard to do at the best of times, do we?


Monday 8th April, (Dalby).

A day of relaxation today, but we went for a drive to Bunya Mountains yesterday. The Bunyas are very picturesque with good scenery overlooking the western flats. There are plenty of bush walks to undertake but unfortunately with Linda’s leg as it is we forfeited them. We did get to see some of the scenery so we are satisfied with what we did get to see. There is a settlement on top of the mountains in paradise valley, appropriately named, being as picturesque as one would expect.

There are a heap of holiday cottages nestled among the Bunya Pines amid some of the lushest grass one has seen for goodness how long. There is also a camping area in the valley, but unfortunately the roads up to the mountain are definitely not suitable for caravans. The valley also offered spectacular views to the east.

I had a thought over the last day or two of again following up on fitting an extra gas feed to the van for the second fridge. I also considered purchasing a new battery for the car, as the existing one has seemed to be a little sluggish the last few mornings. During my pursuing the option for purchasing these articles it was discovered that for a small town Dalby has everything on offer for the average shopper. I can’t recall another town this size having such options.

After talking to a gas fitter I think I found out why other plumbers I have approached for a quote have not returned to fulfil my request. According to this man regulations dictate that the first thing they must do before any other work can be done, is to replace the gas regulator with a double regulator if one is not already fitted. He also explained that there was not a completely suitable fitting for the other end, so with what was available, and the possible cost of the regulator, the cost of the job placed it out of the realms of being financially viable. I will have to then continue with the situation we now have.

As for the battery, after a long run yesterday without the van behind and trying to run a fridge, the battery seemed to be in good nick this morning, so my decision to replace it has also been postponed.