Saturday 29th October 2011, Nyngan.
We have finally seen a decent rainfall for the first time since very early in the year roundabout when we left Melbourne to go north to Darwin. We did have a few spots while at Kakadu, but this was hardly worth mentioning. The problem with the rain last night was that it revealed a small leak around the front window, whether it is a result of the damage from hitting the Emu the other day, or from expansion and contraction from the heat we have had over the past months is a good question, I will be treating it as a result of the accident seeing that the leak is on the same side as the damage. I guess when we have the repairs done to the front of the van it shouldn’t be too hard for them to remove the front window and reinstall it with new sealant. We have been somewhat complaining about the heat we have endured of late, mainly because it has been so consistent for so long this year due to where we have been, but now after the rain it is extremely muggy and making it just that bit more intolerable, so we are now somewhat looking forward to getting closer to Melbourne to get some cooler temperatures.
Thursday 27th October 2011, Nyngan.
Half way between Bourke and Dubbo sees us at Nyngan. I have had my eye on this section of the map ever since we have been travelling because of the straight section of road from Bourke to Nyngan and then on to Dubbo. I have been wondering what is the difference with this section of road and the record long straight section on the Nullarbor Plains, and I have now found out. The section on the Nullarbor is about 140K long, but this road is about 200K, the difference is that this section of road, even though it looks like it on the map, is not a continuous straight section at all. The road constantly has ‘S bend’ dog leg bends all along the length of the road and afterward continues in the same direction, hence on the map it looks straight, but it is far from it. I wondered why there were so many bends in the road and was thinking things like: Maybe they did it deliberately to keep drivers alert, or maybe they built the road in sections from different ends and failed to meet in the middle so a dog leg from each section to make them meet, who knows, I at least now I have my answers.
We nearly didn’t get to see this section of road though as we missed the turn off at Bourke for Nyngan, the sign was behind a tree, and we ended up 20K or so on the Cobar road before realising, just as well we did otherwise we may have ended up going via Cobar and missing the straight road all together. This is what one gets for getting a little blasé with the use of the GPS and thinking one knows where he is going, oh well we did have a bit of a joy ride.
Tuesday 25th October 2011, Bourke.
We have started the NSW section of our journey with an incident on our way this morning. We have both commented since leaving Mount Isa on how much road kill there was on this trip, I guess it must be all the feed after the big wets last year, and we finally added our little bit to the count. An Emu was the culprit today after attempting to run across the road to join his mates after I obviously startled it on our arrival, trying to cross between the car and caravan he didn’t make it. The caravan suffered some damage but the extent will only be known when we arrive in Melbourne and follow up on repairs as it is mostly in the structure hidden under the surface. Hopefully we are still water proof and last until we do get to Melbourne. It has been eleven years now since we started travelling, and apart from a Kangaroo I hit near Cooktown in far north Queensland, it is the first of this kind of incident involving the caravan, so I now guess there is no Australian emblems left.
I am also quite impressed with this new VAST TV system that we have been using all year with a possible problem arising today with the change in time zones leaving Queensland and coming to NSW. It is possible to change the cards activation on-line but it all had to do with timing so we could watch Qld. times last night and NSW tonight. Knowing that the reactivation would not happen until the following day by manual means I filled out the on-line form and submitted it last night so when we arrived today all I had to do, hopefully, was to re-hit my card with another online request and Bingo, it all worked, now with NSW channels at their time zone, modern technology, amazing.
Monday 24th October 2011, Cunnamulla.
We have now moved on to Cunnamulla which will be our last stop in Queensland. We only intend stopping here overnight as we didn’t find any reason to stay very long last time we were here so we aren’t going to stay long this time. The main reason for even stopping here this time is because it would have been too far to go all the way to Bourke today, being over 400K so this stopover will break the trip in half, and Linda said it was too hot anyway.
Saturday 22nd October 2011, Charleville.
Linda has had a visit with a difference while here at Charleville with a cat, ‘Puddy’, belonging in the park somewhere, making itself at home most of the time. Signs in the amenities give everyone the warning to check their car and caravan before moving on as Puddy has a habit of stowing away and has found himself miles from home on several occasions. Linda is now getting a little reminder of what it was like to have cats before we left on our travels all those years ago. We find Puddy asleep on Linda’s chair each morning, and hangs around for a while, and does things like tries to share the spoils of his food catches of an evening by bringing it in and dropping it at ones feet for a while before going back to feeding.
Thursday 20th October 2011, Charleville.
We have mentioned before how some places we visit just give us a feeling of being a nice place to be, we stated that about Charleville last time we were here, and we do have the same feeling this visit. We don’t know what it is, we even had a day of bad little experiences the day we arrived here which would normally give the opposite feeling, but there is something about such places and we both seem to feel it. In comparison to places like Cloncurry, Longreach etc. where the towns are really no different to here in size and relationship to isolation etc. but for some reason we have that feeling that we could easily settle here for quite some time where we didn’t have that feeling at the other places mentioned. It is not even as if there is a lot more to do here than elsewhere, because there isn’t, so we will just soak up the feeling while here and hope that it returns a lot more often at other places we visit. I must admit though that this time we are parked on a site that looks like it belonged to a permanent resident that departed not long ago, with gardens surrounding the caravan that now makes us look like permanents, and as Linda said, when she returns from the amenities and such she looks at the unit and it does look like it belongs here, so she often gets the feeling that she wishes it did, and it even comes with a resident cat that attempts to share its feed catches of an evening. We must now be mindful of doing the couple of touristy things we intend doing while here before we just while away the time relaxing and enjoying the locality before the duration of our visit expires.
Monday 17th October 2011, Charleville.
A reasonably long trip of 300K plus today took us to Charleville, and we once again had a reminder of how bad the roads are in outback Queensland, they would have to be the worst in Australia. I don’t know whether they are built like this or deteriorate to what they are today, but the bitumen on the road looks in perfect good condition but sometimes it is as if we are travelling on a corrugated gravel road with bitumen on top, then it is as if we are on a BMX track with both the car and caravan getting air-born after hitting the humps that you can’t see until it is too late, and there are no warnings. We survived the roads a couple of times before, and seem to have survived them once more, although we have more to come, so if we chose to travel this way we will just have to take it as it comes I guess.
We have been in Charleville before and may have seen most to be seen so this could be another relaxing week that we find not hard to take at all.
Saturday 15th October 2011, Blackall.
We made another short trip today of only 100K to Blackall. The idea is to break up what could have been a 400K trip to two shorter ones. There are a couple of camp spots we may have a look at on the way so the next 300K leg may be even shortened a bit more if we decide to stop at them. We have been here before back in 2002 and we reckoned 5 days back then was a bit too much, so we are just going to stay for two days this time. Another reason for not staying long is the water here, being bore water, as it is in most towns around here, but here especially it has a more of a sulphur smell than anywhere we have been and Linda just cannot handle the smell, we’ll see how she handles a shower tonight. The other thing to watch as well is the water comes out of the cold tap hotter than the hot water tap, so when showering it is a matter of turn on the cold water an and adjust the temperature with the hot water.
Tuesday 11th October 2011, Barcaldine.
I mentioned in the last report that there looked like a fair bit of walking to do in the area, this has proved not to be the case as we thought. We did pick the furthest caravan park from town so this in itself will give us some walking to do, but some of the other walks turned out to be basically non-events, but with the distance into town and a walk we did find along a billabong via a detour to town will have to suffice our needs, if we can survive the heat. Yes the heat:- We, or especially Linda, are finding the heat a bit hard to handle, it being around the low 30’s in the middle of the day, but it is a different dry heat and it is certainly knocking Linda around on her walks back from town. I guess we will just have to get used to it, or spend the hottest parts of the day inside in the air-con.
The only thing we have noticed a big change in since being here last is the Tree of Knowledge in the middle of town. The tree is a monument to the formation of the labour union movement, and Labour political party back in 1891, and Back in 2002 when we were last here the tree was rather flourishing, as well as the average tree would anyway, but in the meantime somebody with some warped idea has come along and poisoned it. Now it is totally dead, but the locals have taken steps to preserve it, and its heritage by treating the tree along with the roots, after obviously digging the entire thing out of the ground, and built it into a gigantic monument type structure, quite impressive actually.
Saturday 8th October 2011, Barcaldine.
We are now at Barcaldine, 100K SE of Longreach and will be here for a week. I didn’t make any reports from Longreach because we didn’t intend doing anything while there. The main reason for this is that when we were in Longreach last time we didn’t like the place, so if it hadn’t been for the fact that we had things to do there we wouldn’t have stopped, but, it turns out that last time must have just been a bad experience, and we have learned that we can have them. The fact that we had been in the outback for a while and had had enough of the vast flat lands that were probably in drought anyway, then arrived in Longreach to find the caravan park was large un-grassed and dusty was probably the last straw. It turns out now though that we quite liked the area, although the caravan park was still all gravel, so we just enjoyed the few days there relaxing, we do find that easy enough to do.
Barcaldine: Linda has been studying the things to do here and has found several walks on offer, and as this is what we look for we are looking forward to our week long visit here, after watching Bathurst tomorrow anyway. We have arrived here a little late though, as the parks have a ‘happy hour’ each evening with Billy tea and damper, but only in peak season which finished last week, what a bummer.