Saturday 31st October 2009, Warren.
We have now moved to a small town of Warren (see map) north west of Dubbo, a small detour off the Newell highway to the west at Gilgandra. The reason for coming here was just for the sake of going somewhere different, and not wanting to stop at Dubbo, we have heard too many negative stories about Dubbo lately. We unfortunately didn’t get to do what we wanted to do at Narrabri, like going for a few bush walks in the Mt Kaputar National park, because we had too much rain and it wouldn’t have been much fun in the wet, but we did have a relaxing time while there. Once again we stayed there for a week and the time just flew so quickly. Warren: From what we have seen so far seems to be quite a nice enough little town, looks like it was quite prosperous in its time, and we could have enjoyed some time here, but we can only afford a couple of days at this time. We have had a couple of bad experiences though with the caravan park, but nothing drastic. It is quite a nice park with large lush grass sites, good clean amenities, friendly management and close to town. The thing that I overlooked though was that she parked us under a big gum tree, the thing I normally request not to do, and it turns out the gum tree is a roosting place for all the local bird life, and all we could hear during the night was all the droppings landing on the roof. There obviously doesn’t seem to be any water restrictions here, but regardless the van will be getting a wash every morning to get rid of the mess on the roof. This being one of the few sites in the park with a large tree above I am quite surprised that management would use this site as the main one, meaning when we arrived we were the only tourist van on situ, and surely management must know about the bird droppings problem. I haven’t said anything to them about it yet but I most certainly intend to. As I said apart from this problem the park is quite a nice one, and cheap enough. One other thing to look forward to is a park Bar-B-Que this evening, something we haven’t experienced in a caravan park for quite some time, and it will be nice to have a get-together with others, although in this case most of them will be permanents, so Linda is at the moment in town getting some meat for the evening, as all we have to do is provide our own meat.
Tuesday 27th October 2009, Narrabri.
Oh the fickle weather of inland NSW: When we arrived on Friday the temperatures reached the high 30’s and has been there since, well until yesterday when we had a thunder storm, rain, temps in the high 10’s and the heater on in the caravan. It is forecast for showers nearly all week so I guess if it does we will just have to extend our stay, the awning must be dry when we put it away because from here on for a while we will likely only be staying for a couple of days so it won’t be coming out for a while. We haven’t had weather like this for such a long time so we will have to take the good with the bad, but it is a little hard finding things to do if it is raining and confined to the caravan. We did have a look around yesterday at a camp site 20K west of here, Yarrie Lake, on the basis we might stay there on our way through in future, but the main reasons for the camp sit being there Is at present non-existent, no water in the lake, so hence no bird life, but it will be worth checking when back in the area.
Saturday 24th October 2009, Narrabri.
We are now back into somewhat of civilisation at Narrabri, (see map) and it has become apparent how we have become spoiled over the past few years. It must have been a different time of the year that we were out that way, April-May, or it is just unbelievably hot for this time of year. We have been putting up with temperatures in the high 30’s over the past week or so, and the air-con has been getting a fair bit of work. We didn’t have air-con on past trips to the outback areas and do not have a recollection of needing it, then all past trips have been in early months of the year. One other thing is the water: for the past couple of weeks we have been using bore water, even for drinking, it has been good compared to some outback areas, but it is very welcome to be back into an area with non bore water. We have noticed the taste difference, and it is much different to shower in. One other major thing that has happened over the past couple of days is the decision I earlier made to give up smoking when I could not buy any more. I did run out of tobacco mid week this week at Lightning Ridge and it really had an adverse effect on me this time. It must be the difference in circumstances this time, being in excessive heat conditions and having to pack up and move in the heat. Last year in WA I went for two months without a smoke, but we were settled in Carnarvon in much more acceptable heat, and It didn’t frustrate me as much as it did this time. I have been absolutely ropable over the past few days so when we arrived yesterday I sent Linda down town to buy me a pack, and she happily obliged. The pack she got was different than I normally use, and was extremely old and dry, but a bit of potato peal in it overnight and it now has recovered a bit of moisture and is more tolerable. The local tobacconist is going to order me some good stuff so I will just have to make a decision about giving it up again some time in the future. More on Lightning Ridge: We did the other couple of ‘Car Door Tours’ one of which included a tour down and old mine, so we did enjoy our time at Lightning Ridge, apart from the heat and water, and we probably will return there some day. The hammer drill I purchased there for a pilot hole for tent pegs has once again come in handy. Here at Narrabri I also had trouble getting pegs in, so the drill did make it a lot easier. Park management insists that all that is under the grass is dirt, but I assure you that whatever is under the grass is a lot harder that dirt, and seemed to be a consistent couple of inches thick about 2-3 inches down. We are now looking forward to a week here to revisit some areas, and hopefully visit some we haven’t been to.
Monday 19th October 2009, Lightning Ridge.
We had a look around the area today on what was a novel way of having local tourist drives. There are four drive yourself tours around the town and surrounding areas called self drive Door tours, each having a different colour. Each scenic point on the tours is sign posted with an old car door, painted the appropriate colour with a number for identification. Like I said: quite a novel idea, and gives a use for all those old car doors. We only did two tours today and will do the others tomorrow, but these two have already given us a very good idea of what has happened in the way of mining over the years, and more to the point what is still happening. Quite a lot of miners still live in small shanties on their mine site, and after reading a sign explaining how much money has come out of the ground around here Linda wonders why they still live this way. It was my guess that the big mining companies are the ones that have made the money, and those small miners are the ones still battling.
Saturday 17th October 2009, Lightning Ridge.
A bit on Lightning Ridge: We were told that it was a lot like Coober Pedy, but we don’t have that impression at all, it is a bit more like Andamooka, a small town near Roby Downs south of Coober Pedy. In Coober Pedy a lot of the houses are actually built under ground, but here that is not the case, well as far as we can see so far, probably because of the different soil, here it is more gravel. We will be having a few self drive tours around the area over the next few days so we may find out otherwise but I doubt it. All settled in here now, it did take us a while as the ground is all gravel with large stone within, and it made it impossible to drive pegs into. I adopted the idea I have had for a while now, but as the situation doesn’t arise very often I have left it until now. I went out and bought an impact drill and a masonry bit to drill holes into the gravel so the pegs will drive in a lot easier, we have had to do this in the past but Adrian was with us and he had a drill for the job. I may have upset Linda though, as she said she was thinking of buying me one of these drills for Xmas, now I guess she will have to think of something else, I do have some ideas for her. Seeing I now have the drill, and it was so windy yesterday, I decided to fully install the annexe for the first time since the Sunshine Coast and it does now feel a lot more like home.