Friday, 20 July 2012

Friday 20th.

Happy birthday Matilda.

Got time for a short post so here we go.

Left Port Augusta this morning and about 1 hr into the trip we noticed another crack in the windscreen.

So third time lucky it was decided to replace the patched screen with a new one. Bit difficult here in the wilds of SA. Make me wonder if they have plastic buckets yet.

One stop no good so off to the destination for the day Burra.

Lovely old mining town governed by the National Trust. All buildings being kept as was the case way back in the 1800's. Copper was the main ore here.

Booked into the camp and off to the telephone and located a repairer for the screen in Renmark. That was to be tomorrow's target but we will not get there in time on the Saturday to get the screen fixed. SO we may stay here another day and get to Renmark Sunday afternoon ready for Monday.

Puts us back a few days but should see the travellers home by mid to late next week.

Should show you some of the goodies they have out this way.

Too late for Queens birthday so it must be Guy Fawkes Day in November.
The crackers over here are great look at these sky rockets.

I bet they go a mile in the sky and must have big stars at the end burst.  And you do not need a milk bottle to hold them up when you light the wick.

And the big cannon, that must shoot huge penny bungers a mile.

Will have to find out the date of cracker night and try to get here.

Received an email yesterday. It was the local newsletter of the Woomera Village, which gets sent all over the world to many nations who have taken part in activities in the Woomera rocket range.

They sent me a digital copy and guess who stars in the publication with a fair picture of himself.
 Autographs available if anyone wants to keep one as a keepsake.
Do not have the software to clip the pic out of the email so all will have to wait for a hard copy.

 Just had roast in the pub here for dinner and now to plan what to do for three days.

A bit of scenery on the way out of Port Augusta... The bottom end of the Flinders Ranges I think.


Thursday, 19 July 2012

July 19th.

Having left Alice Springs and the pancake breakfast,

the travellers drove down the Stuart Hwy to Marla, which is advertised as the gateway to the painted desset. The night was spent here ready for the next day. On the way some more cloud pics were added to the vast volume of pics collected already.

                                             That is one pic not two joined together

On the move earlyish next day we had to throw out some good fruit and vegs due to more quarantine regulations. The possibility of an on the spot fine further down the highway if stopped by the road blocks also helped this decision. Talking to a fellow traveller after we tossed our vegs and she had the same problem but cooked her vegs first so she could put them in the fridge and use them later. Remember this for next time. After enquiring at the local police station regarding the road conditions we were all systems go. We had heard that the Oodnadatta area had had a lot of rain and we did not want to get bogged and have to wait for summer to get out.

The road in was a bit rough but there was some interesting views as we passed onwards. ABOUT 40 KM in the trevellers detoured off the main road to read a sign some 100 yards in and found that there was a look out further in on the detour. If we had not gone to read this sign we would have missed the best views in the desert. This area of the desert is on Arkaringa Station and these hills are the Arckaringa Hills.

At the look out we met some other travellers who informed us about a walking track to the top of the hills and heard that a tour guide had said that this view of the hills was the only place in the desert worth looking at. Being doubting Thomas's we thought we would find out for ourselves and press on through the desert.

He was right.

You can judge for yourself on the views, if my pics do the real thing justice. Having been there helps/.

                         The perspective alters the impact of the size of the hills but still great.  Or I think so.

                                 We were climbing one hill when this was taken.

Having gone right through the desert the travellers turned South onto the Oodnadatta Track 190 km South. Half way there and it became a race to see if the travellers could make Coober Pedy before dark as while the road was good, there were rocks and floodways that were best done in daylight.

Incidentally, the Oodnadatta Track is now a three lane great dirt road apart from the above hiccups.
It's not the track that books are written about.

   About 5.00pm it was clear we would not make it through in daylight so we looked for a place to camp. The first was not really good so we pressed on to another and that was where we stayed for the night. About 35km from Coober Pedy and in the middle of nowhere. A flat area just off the road with not a tree, bush or anything in sight for 360 degrees. Only sand and rocks just like the moon with out the craters.
Although there were a few craters when we left after taking a shovel for a walk.

Hard to find a tree to hide behind way out here,  Just have to wait for dark.

Beaten by about half an hour.

Up went the tent and down went some dinner. Sausages and eggs. We had thrown out our vegs and had not filled the food box. Possibly here I could mention my two souvenirs for the trip , both cook books. First was the No 2 Leggo's cook book full of yummy pasta dishes and the second is a collection of recipes from people on cattle stations across the top end. Put together for the McGrath foundation and breast cancer this book is full of yummies like sticky date pudding, great stews, risottos etc etc. All of which the travellers have not yet tried. They will have to wait. Also a lot of gluten free dishes for those who require these meals.

The night was closing in and so was the cold. A quick wash of the essentials and into the thermals and into the sleeping bags.

Some time about 3.00 I got a dig in the ribs and woke to noises At first it appeared to be some thing digging at something near or in the tent. On with the torches and it was discovered that a wind had come up and blowing the sides of the tent which in turn was moving and crackling a plastic bag we packed gear in. 2 minutes later and the wind was gone.

Off with the light and back to sleep to awake again about 7.00am. Waiting for the sun to come up above the horizon it was noticed how cold it was. The first rays of sun started so we arose to take pics of the sunrise. Boy was it CCCCCCCOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLDDDDDDDDDDDDD.

Probably about 1 degree.

So cold the gas burner would not function correctly and it was out with the Metho Trangia stove from bush walking days.

The sun could wait as we retired to the tent to get warm and have some breakfast to help us move our fingers etc. After some muesli and porridge washed down with hot tea we were warm enough to pack and hit the road further South towards home.

       This is where we camped.  You can get an idea of the landscape of the country. We are about 35km North of Coober Pedy.

We got as far as Woomera and decided to make that do for the day and set up in the camp spot. Tomorrow on to Port Augusta and washing clothes, self and trying to look nothing like some thing that just blew in from the desert..

Woomera is very interesting with the historical society having displays of artifacts and rockets, aeroplanes, and the history of the place.  It is a village in the middle of nowhere and where millions must have been spent over time.    The place is still in use and at the moment the Army are there doing some testing of something that the residents know nothing of and there is a "Scram Jet" firing listed for January 2013.    When these get going you will get to the USA in a couple of hours.

Just so they can save meals on the flights.  Quantas are cutting every where.

The lack of good scenery in the painted desert has put us forward in our timings which could now see the travellers home about the 24h. Then it will be trying to get rid of the red and brown dust, haircuts to help not look like something the cat dragged in and processing over 2000 pictures into what could be printed etc. Washing everything that was coloured other than reddish brown to get it back to what is was.

Bookings have already started for future baby sittings and transport of family here and there so if you are one you had better book soon or miss out. Then there are alterations to camping gear to make extras to obtain and planning for the next trip......... If there is to be a next trip????????/


Saturday, 14 July 2012

Kununurra return.
                                        A couple of travellers from long ago arriving in Kununurra.

                                               Camp site on shore of Lake Kununurra where we stayed as the local show was on and we could not get back where we were last time.

The day before we left Kununurra the travellers visited the Sandlewood factory and found these flowers growing over a stretch of about 200 metres of the road verge.   Sturt Desset Pea for those who do not know.    I think the floral emblem of WA???

Having filled the fridge in Kununurra the travellers headed towards Katherine in the NT.

Before we left, being good travellers we contacted the quarantine people to see if we could cross the border with our vegetables. Only to be told we could not take any fruit and vegs into the Territory.

This was contrary to the guidebook we had obtained from the information places.

The guidebook is way out of date we were informed.

The night before we had a big meal of vegetables and fruit. With larger then normal salad sandwiches we headed off to find that the Quarantine people only checked the people coming into WA and not the NT.

                                                             On the road into the NT

The border is only 30km from Kununurra and we had not long crossed it when we remembered that we had just lost 1.5 hours by crossing the state line. This did not matter until later when it occurred to us that we would not make it to Katherine in time to get into the camp ground.

This in fact worked for us in that we had a good bush camp and camp fire about an hour short of Katherine.

                                   Don't tell anyone but this fire took three matches to get going.

Next day we passed through Katherine as there was nothing much to see in the town and headed South to an old pub that we had been told was a must see. Katherine was also hot, hot,hot, must have been 35 in the waterbag and the hottest the KT's have struck during the trek.

The Daly Waters pub was started back in the 1920's an still going. Was was and still is a cattle area the pub must have been a rough and tough place back then.

Not it has loads of character and a good meal with a live show every night of the week. The place is full of travellers with a caravan park and two land blocks that are full as sardine tins every night.

The live show is a great night out and if anyone is interested I will copy a live performance Cd that we obtained.

The live show consists of an old drover who has lived in the territory all his life and sings, recites and generally has the audience happy for nearly two hours.

Then the Pub. It is a typical bush pub with an amazing amount of stuff hanging from every rafter in the place. The beam over the main bar has an assortment of women's bra's hanging down, a bit further along there are Tee shirts, then undies, then money of all sorts, business cards, ID badges, Badges of rank from service people from all over. There is hardly any space to spare.

Dusty as all heck and I bet no health inspector has seen the place since the 1920's.

Add the pool table and a large covered dining area with an “Aussie” stage for the performer.

                          There is that woman again wants to become a groupie???

                                          A thong post supporting the roof

                                                   The Tee Shirt Lounge

                                      The cashiers lounge

                                          Hats off to badge suppliers

    The undies bar area

                                                                         The front bra bar.

The place over the road from the pub where the main attraction and his wife resid and sell home made jewellery and stock whips to travellers, but not us.

A left over from one of the MAD MAX pics I think.

A great night out that I would suggest to any passer by.

After Daly Waters is Tennant Creek. Friday about 3.30pm and everything is shut. It turns out to be Show Day and the town shut up and everyone went to the local show. About 200 plus aboriginals are walking around as they come in from the local settlements for the show.

With nothing open the travellers continue on to the “Devils Marbles” another hundred or so kms down the track. Getting in just before dark we set up and have a quick look at the marbles. The wind came up and we had to batten down the hatches as it looked like some bad weather coming our way. About 8.00pm the wind died down and the night was cool and restful.

Next morning the travellers are up at dawn to see the sun hit the red marbles. Unfortunately there was a band of cloud sitting just above the horizon so the dawn was a fizzer. Then all the really keen photographers were a bit peeved as there were many tourists that had to climb to the tops of the marbles and look around, destroying any good pictures the photographers were hoping for of the rocks.

A few samples follow.

After packing up we had just beat the first shower of rain which became a heavier shower for about 20kms just to wash the windscreen and some of the dust off. The car is back to almost white now after being brown for some time.

                                  A couple of locals at our lunch stop  picking up a bite to eat here and there.

A good drive back to Alice Springs where we have to do some washing and fill the fridge ready for the trip down through the painted desert and home

Many of the place names out here are getting changed to the aboriginal names so many maps etc will be out of date. Ayres Rock, Devils Marbles, Bungle Bungles, Gekie gorge just to name a few are being changed. Much work for writers of travel papers etc.

Many of the tourist attractions are being listed with both names printed. One information officer looked down her nose at me when I referred to the Bungle Bungle as such instead of the new name they are getting changed to.

Sunday Morning saw a long queue forming in the campground for a free breakfast of pancakes.
Yummy with lemon juice and sugar or maple syrup.

About 900 pancakes are made each Sunday for guests since 1997.

Must report on a near miss last night while blogging. Mr PC Mouse was sitting on the PC which was on my lap as I worked, when he decided to take a nose dive off the PC, straight into a fresh cup of hot tea. Calamity! With the work half done and a drowned mouse. Quickly rescuing the drowned mouse, giving him a good shake and applying mouth to mouse resuscitation he partially recovered but the long term prognosis did not look good as his light beam was flaring. As it was a cold night we had the heater running so the poor mouse was placed in tissues to warm up and hopefully dry out. Next morning after a cold night Mr PC is back to working but we will have to keep an eye on him in case of repercussions.

Sunday morning now and it's off to fill the fuel tank visit the local Sunday market and stock up ready for the trek further South via the painted desset.  Excuse any typos as we are in a hurry.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Broome to Kununurra.

Having arrived back at Broome on the night of the moon and not been happy with the results the travellers tried again with success and found the elusive beach and witnessed a perfect viewing of the staircase.

With a bit of help from the computer this shot may end up on the wall.

For those who are not aware this is the moon rising and reflecting across the mud flats of Broome Harbour.   It looks like a staircase to the moon.

Next day Broome was left behind as the travellers headed East towards Fitzroy crossing.

Nothing worth writing home about here apart from a nice camp on the bank of the Fitzroy river.

Next morning was a late start as the first stop was “Geike Gorge”.

This gorge was different in that the visited part of the gorge is full of water many metres deep and inhabited by big bitey things.......Fresh water Crocodiles.

                                                    Fresh water croc just above the water level.

Instead of walking the travellers took a boat ride up the gorge a couple of km's with 40 other people.

Two different roch formations in the gorge.  The top is weathered by water running down and the bottom is weathered by being scoured by the river.    Just for those interested.

                                        Couple of crocs sharing the same rock in the river

The ranger running the tour was very informative with the forming of the gorge and age of rocks etc as the tour progressed. She knew where all the interesting points were and switched sides with the boat so both sides could get the best angle for their pics.

This is a formation they call crocodile rock as you look at the top it sort of looks like a croc  if you use a little imagination.

Last rock formation,   the rock in the middle of the pic looks a bit like President Nixon  the ex American.      Well sot of if you stretch it a bit.

After the boat trip it was back on the road to “Larawa Cattle Station” for an over night stop over.

The stations here have seen the value in the tourist dollar and this station had cleared a site for probably 30 travellers, installed toilets and hot showers with running water around the place all for $20.00 per night.

Had a chat with the owners wife the next morning, nice lady and a typical pastoral owners wife.
Saw her rolling a large gas cylinder about 200 metres from the residence to the camp showers as the gas heaters ran out of gas. Very well aware of the situation with export meat etc and looking at changing breeds of cattle to try to get into the East coast markets.

Off to Kununurra next day for 3 nights.

Day one at Kununurra and we had a crack in the windscreen repaired. We had a bullseye in the windscreen a couple of weeks ago and did a fix with a kit available from the auto trades shops.

The crack came after a stone hit just below the windscreen wiper and ran up about 150mm.

I was afraid it may keep going an cave in but the Novus man just drilled a hole in the glass and filled it with resin and a guarantee of it not growing any more. After that it was around the corner to a mechanic to get the oil and filters changed ready for the trip South and home. With a planned trip of two months it is good to be heading home but sad in that there is sooooooo muchhhh to see out here and we will not see it all this time. I have at least 6 months worth of modifications that I can do to make travelling life easier.So after that is all done maybe the maps will come out and see which way the wind is blowing.

I think that the best thing is to not have a time line so that you can go where the wind blows and not have to worry about having to get home by a set time. Have to see how the others handle their bills etc,etc at home for an open ended travel trip.
We have met some who have been on the road for 7 months,  do not see how they do this  especially with 2 or 3 kids.
Maybe after I have done everything at home that I have lined up I may look at another trip next year when the cold is coming .

Well a day to spare at Kununurra tomorrow and on to Katherine and then South towards home. Probably home at the end of July.