This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2013 Travels July 24

WEDNESDAY 24 JULY     CHARTERS TOWERS

After last night, it seemed a good idea to stay here another night and take it easy today.

I felt, predictably, tired  and lethargic, all day, and nibbled very cautiously on dry toast and milk arrowroot biscuits, occasionally.

I did our washing – three loads of same, including the bedding and towels. $12 worth. My old former peanut butter jar containing lots of $1 and $2 coins is for these occasions. It was a good drying day, with a warm breeze.

Charters Towers site

In the afternoon, we drove into the town. The office lady had directed me to a Vet’s, where I was finally able to buy Advantix. Then did a supermarket shop, not that I could find much enthusiasm for meal planning!

We found a very large, grassy park where Couey was able to have a prolonged ball fetching workout. Later in the day she also got in a couple of circuits around the caravan park. She seems quite content to trot around places like these on the lead.

I remade the beds and folded the washing, then read and checked my email.

John had agreed that we would give Cooktown and that area a miss, and instead head for the coast, to a place we stayed in 2009. I phoned the Forrest Beach Hotel and booked us into the caravan park there, for at least two weeks.

I put the first lot of Advantix on Couey – better late than never. It had to be put on between her shoulder blades, where she can’t reach to lick it off, then spotted down her backbone. It made oily patches, of course. Naturally, she then chose to do a lot of rolling in the dustiest places on the site.

For tea, we had a container of pumpkin soup I’d bought at Woolworths. It was very bland and flavourless, but that was probably good, in the circumstances. John also had some skinless franks. He said they weren’t as nice as the ones we eat at home; later, I realized the ones sold at the deli counter in Qld were a different brand to the Don ones in Vic.

Dog had decided that life from the perspective of a seat was much more interesting than that from floor level. It may have also had something to do with our meals appearing on the table. Whilst we had a strict policy that dog did not eat human food (with the exception of her morning half banana), she could still dream.

Intellectual dog, me…..

There was much media speculation today over what the Prime Minister would do about the next federal election date. Kevin Rudd ousted Julia Gillard as party leader, and hence PM, a month or so ago. The media are suggesting that it may be earlier than the 14 September date that Gillard had set – for which I was supposed to be home and working as an official.  I was not going to fret about it – if I am home, will work it, but not going to cut the holiday short to do so.


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2013 Travels July 23

TUESDAY 23 JULY     CAPELLA TO CHARTERS TOWERS     458kms

Today was the longest day stage we’d done, to date, in Bus, and it was quite easy and uneventful. However, that is back to the long-day style of travel that we used to do with the van, and I didn’t want that to become a pattern again. John was just not good at dawdling and smelling roses!

We left Capella at 8.40, knowing today would be a long stage.

This was yet another road we’d travelled several times before.

Coal mine overburden dump beside the highway near Clermont

Around Clermont was evidence of the massive coal mining operations of this region: huge overburden heaps, the mining service businesses in Clermont itself, a conveyor belt system beside the road for kms, and occasional glimpses of mines in the distance.

Long conveyor belt taking coal to trains
Coal conveyor crossing a road

At Belyando Crossing we stopped for fuel and a break, and ate our packed lunch standing around outside Bus. As usual, the roadhouse was busy – and expensive. We paid $1.846cpl a litre for diesel.

I drove, from Belyando to the outskirts of Charters Towers, when John wanted to take over again.

I came to a roadworks section where new asphalt was being laid on one half of the road. Nothing new in that. But our line of traffic was “escorted” along the single open lane by a traffic control vehicle with an electronic signboard and read “FOLLOW ME”. He led us for the several kms of the affected road, then turned off, performed a u-turn and commenced to lead the waiting line of traffic back the other way. I hadn’t seen one of those before and wondered why they used that instead of the usual people with radios. I would tell my traffic management company manager son about it. I didn’t think his company had one of those!

We reached Charters Towers in good time. Didn’t need fuel. We had been caught before by me trying to navigate through the hard-to-negotiate centre of town, so I directed us on the ring road around the edge of town, to the Flinders Highway, then back towards town to the Greenvale Road, where the Dalrymple Tourist Park was located. It was much less stressful to go the long way round.

I had phoned yesterday, to try to book an en-suite site, but they had none available. We were put on a very long site at the side of the park, not far from the amenities – fortunately, as it turned out – and with plenty of tether space for dog. It cost $31.25 for the night, after a 5% Seniors discount was applied.

After setting up, John was straight onto the internet and gaming.

I wanted to take Couey for a walk along the wide, grassy verges alongside the road back into town. Something spooked her, though and we’d only gone about 100 metres from the park when she became determined to return to Bus and John. I managed to drag her a short way further – all 30kg of resistant dog – then she resorted to her ultimate no-go act, rolling onto her back with all legs in the air. So back we went. Later on, John came too and we managed a short walk outside the park.

I cooked pasta carbonara for tea.

By bedtime, I was feeling a bit off-colour. By midnight, I was haunting the amenities! This sort of upset was most unusual for me and I couldn’t work out why, as John was fine. After a couple of miserable and chilly hours, I returned to Bus and sat sipping dry ginger ale and using my headlamp to read, as a distraction, until about 3am, when I felt confident enough to go back to bed.


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2013 Travels July 22

MONDAY 22 JULY     BARCALDINE TO CAPELLA     371kms

We left Barcaldine at 9.30, on a day that was cloudy.

The Capricorn Highway, east, was good quality, without the lumps and bumps of the past few legs.

Today’s travel was varied enough to stay interesting throughout.

We did not stop in Jericho, as we had done so on a previous trip. A little patch of Biblical references here, with the town located by the Jordan (Creek), and Lake Galilee to the north. The Crystal Trumpeters monument was Jericho’s Bicentennial project, representing symbolically the story of the ancient Israelites and Jericho. It is an interesting departure from the usual local monuments one sees.

As we passed through Alpha, commented that this was where, on the 2009 trip, we turned south to take the shorter dirt route to Tambo – a somewhat eventful short cut.

East of Alpha, the Drummond Range involved some steeper, more winding road, and distant views.

Drummond Range gradient warning sign

One section is a gradient of 7%; much more comfortable to negotiate with Bus and its exhaust brake, than it was with the van!

We stopped for a break at the quaintly named hamlet of Bogantungan. These days, this is almost a ghost village, being bypassed by the modern highway. Hard to believe it was one a flourishing railway town. The railway is still used, but I doubted  whether trains ever stopped  here, these days. In 1960 there was a major rail accident near here, when a bridge across a flooded creek collapsed as a passenger train was passing over. Seven people were killed and lots more injured.

The area where we stopped, outside the station, was obviously used by overnight campers. It was spacious enough, and there was a toilet at the station.

Rest area at Bogantungan

We had coffees and the dog had a run.

On the way again, we passed the turnoff to the Willows gemfield, 11kms south of the highway. I’d have liked to go and stay there for a few days – a place we had not been to before – but John was now focussed on getting further north.

Took the turnoff to Rubyvale, as a shorter route through to Capella.

The little settlements of Sapphire and Rubyvale were busier than I’d ever seen them on our prior visits. It seemed the Gemfields had really grown in popularity as a tourist attraction. Places offering gems for sale, cutting services, buckets of wash to be sifted and sorted on site, had proliferated greatly. The caravan park at Rubyvale looked to be crammed full.

Gem mining area near Rubyvale

Between Sapphire and Rubyvale we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn, marked by a large bottle shop and bar. Back in the tropics, at last!

The road from Rubyvale to Capella was sealed all the way. It wound about a bit, initially. As we did not need to go via Emerald, to stay or for shopping, this was a much more interesting, and shorter, way to go.

At Capella, our first task was to refuel. The road we came on ended at a T intersection in the centre of town. We had a 50% chance of turning the right way to find a servo, but, naturally, got it wrong. As we neared the town outskirts, passed a breath testing station set up on the other side of the road. Then we had to do a u-ey, and go back the way we’d come, but were not pulled in for testing. A note for the future: the servo at Capella is on the north side of town. So is the caravan park.

Our fuel was $1.615cpl.

Booked into the Capella Van Park, where our powered site cost $29. The young owners of this park had clearly been trying very hard to establish the park’s reputation – and were succeeding. The place was clean and attractive, with great facilities like a camp kitchen and gathering place.

We were guided to a site where we were able to drive through onto it and leave the car attached to Bus.

Capella site

Did a minimal set up, then pondered things to do for the rest of the day.

John was able to borrow a grease gun from the very helpful park owner, and applied same to the grease points on the hitch. I don’t know if that made much difference to the operation of the hitch, but it did ensure that, for the rest of the trip, our hands got greased every time we went near the hitch!

Took dog and went for a walk around town. Down one side of the main street – the highway – looking at the shops. A hairdressing establishment had no customers, so John went in to see if he could get a much-needed haircut. The lass said no, as she was about to close. It was just after 4pm. She couldn’t need business too badly – it would only take a few minutes to run clippers over John’s hair. It was usually my task, so I knew this. John had left the clippers at home. He hadn’t actually had a hair cut he’d had to pay for since about 1993.

The other side of the highway had a walking path and type of small park, then there were railway lines and a station, with grain silos beyond that. A very long train was stopping and starting as it loaded grain; we watched that for a while, then watched it shunting and changing lines. Strangely interesting!

A feature along the walkway was a memorial to the Light Horse Brigade. Apparently, it was in the Capella district, during the Shearers’ Strikes of the 1890’s, that mounted troopers started putting emu feather plumes on their hats. When the Light Horse Brigade was later formed, the tradition continued.

Light Horse Memorial at Capella

For tea, I cooked the sausages I’d bought at the butcher in Charleville. They’d looked nice, but turned out to be extremely fatty and not at all enjoyable. But the potato fries and egg were good.

John spent the evening playing WOW. I decided he was officially an addict to the game. I read and had the usual early night.


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2013 Travels July 21

SUNDAY 21 JULY     BARCALDINE

The road noise in the night, that I’d feared, didn’t eventuate. Or, if it was there, we slept so soundly in our well-sound-proofed Bus that we didn’t notice it.

Our site was fairly dusty, and Couey was making it worse. She so liked rolling in dust!

Couey’s dust patch

Went out sight seeing, being mostly interested in the wonderful old buildings of Barcaldine.

John was really impressed by the Heritage Listed Masonic Temple, which was like nothing we’d seen before.

The Masonic Lodge building at Barcaldine

From the front, it seemed rather incongruous in this very Aussie setting, but less so when seen with its corrugated iron sides and back. It really was a strange hybrid of a building, dating from 1900. 

It would have been interesting to see inside, and see to what extent the decorative theme carried through in there, but it was locked up tight.

The contrasting materials of the Lodge building

I loved the old Radio Theatre building. Its Art Nouveau style also really didn’t seem to “fit” the town, but was wonderfully imaginative.

Radio Theatre building

We saw houses with much character and hotels that would have plenty of tales to tell, could they but speak.

Barcaldine house

The town grew up from the 1880’s to service the surrounding pastoral district.

At the Information Centre, I bought postcards and a polo shirt – got to support the local economy!

Somewhere at home I had a photo that I took in 2000, of the Tree of Knowledge at Barcaldine, back when it was still a living tree – a ghost gum. This was noted as the site of workers’ meetings during the great Shearers’ Strikes of the 1890’s, that led to the formation of the Australian Labor Party. So Barcaldine is regarded as the birthplace of the labour movement in Australia.

Tree of Knowedge – in 2000

Around 2000, some moron poisoned the tree, and it died. The trunk was taken to Brisbane for preservation treatment, returned to Barcaldine, “replanted” in front of the railway station, and a symbolic structure erected over it.

…….and in 2013

From a distance, this unusual structure looks like a rusty tank on props, or a large box – rather ugly, and somehow out of proportion.  But. close up, looking up into it, there are hanging wooden shapes representing abstract leaves and it is strangely attractive.

Preserved skeleton of Tree of Knowledge outside Barcaldine Railway Station

I was really pleased to read that cuttings taken from the tree when it was still alive, are successfully growing in various places. The tree lives on in its descendents.

We went into the railway station to look around. I saw that the signals were set for a train to come from the east, then had a look at the timetable displayed. This indicated that the Spirit of the Outback train should have stopped, briefly, at Barcaldine at 9.30 this morning, on its way to Longreach. I asked a man working around the station about that, and was told it was late and due at any time. It was nearly 1pm! So we stayed, and in a few minutes saw it pull in, where it disgorged several very disgruntled looking passengers.

The Spirit of the Outback pulling into Barcaldine Station

Went back to the bakery to get another loaf of the great Turkish bread for our lunch. Sold out! When I said how much I’d been looking forward to it, the lovely lady sold me a half loaf she’d been using to make sandwiches.

After lunch, drove to a place we could park and take Couey for a walk along the Lagoon Walk. She managed to have a wallow in a swampy area beside the track, that she saw before we did. Obviously she likes the way this makes her smell! We don’t.

When we got back to the car, there was a very friendly labrador/retriever type dog hanging around some other travellers parked near us. I opened the back door to try to persuade the reluctant Couey to get in, John opened the driver’s door, and we suddenly had an extra dog. So we had to persuade it out again, whilst keeping Couey in. It didn’t belong to those other travellers, as I’d thought – must have come from one of the nearby houses. It was well fed, tagged, and just super friendly, looking for some new company.

I didn’t go to happy hour back at camp. It seemed a strategic time to hit the showers, instead.

Then it was the usual evening – tea of stir fry honey pork and rice, watching TV, reading, taking dog outside, briefly, every hour or so, until we went to bed.

I didn’t really think dog needed to go out that often, but the treat she got for “performing” as expected, was a great incentive – and she was a fast learner…..


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2013 Travels July 20

SATURDAY 20 JULY     TAMBO TO BARCALDINE     222kms

We got away, as normal, at 9am, after I’d phoned and booked us into a caravan park in Barcaldine.

The road – the Matilda Way – between Tambo and Barcaldine was atrocious. There were long sections that were extremely bumpy and bouncy. It was worst on the sections of Mitchell grass plains, not as bad on the rises. I seemed to remember from our times further north, that Mitchell grass grows on cracking clay soils – guess the seasonal expansion and contraction of these played havoc with the road structure.

Despite John dropping the speed to under 60kmh, I was having to brace myself not to get bumped up out of my seat, and was really expecting something major on Bus to break, at any minute, Like the suspension! The roadworks certainly needed to extend to this section of road, pronto.

We were passed by some caravans that were heading south. They were clearly having difficulties towing straight on the bouncy sections.

The summer coastal floods and road closures of the past couple of years, had caused much heavy truck traffic to divert to this highway, and that had certainly added to the road deterioration.

Whilst we’d been at Evening Star, we’d been told that the Roma-Charleville road was also bad.

North of Blackall, the road was somewhat better.

We refuelled at Barcaldine, at a small Mobil servo on a side street, that was cheaper than the one on the highway, and without the queue. $164.6cpl.

The annual goat races were happening at the Showgrounds. That was, apparently, a big event in the district, and there was quite a crowd, lots of noise – and lots of goats. I could see some motorhomes and caravans parked in clusters around the grounds – a cheap camping area. Today’s events would be quite an interruption to a quiet stay at the local showgrounds!

When I’d phoned to book us in to the Barcaldine Tourist Park, I’d explained, as I normally do, about the length of Bus and the need to park the car as well. They had allocated us a shaded site, with room to park the car behind Bus – but it was right next to the highway! We just hoped there was not too much truck traffic during the night. The park was just after the 60kmh zone started, and trucks were either changing down gears, or still changing up after turning onto this road. $28 a night.

Squeezed in beside the highway at Barcaldine

After we’d set up, I took the car down the street and managed to buy the Saturday papers from the roadhouse. Bought some very nice Turkish bread from the bakery, and some dips from supermarket, as well as some chilli and lime salami for (very late) lunch. The bread had some sort of black seeds on top. I didn’t know what they were, but they tasted great. The salami was for John – he wasn’t much impressed with this variation.

Hotels all in a row…..Barcaldine main street on a weekend afternoon

John spent the rest of the day making up for his WOW deprivation of the past few days – back on the internet again! I read the papers, played ball with dog on the dirt road that ran down the side of the park. Amused myself watching the park manager directing newcomers onto sites, some of which were quite small. John had parked close to the garden on our site and there was still only barely room to put the awning out.

We’d been so shook up by today’s awful road that John decided we’d stay an extra night here, before venturing out on the roads again. That was fine by me. Barcaldine was yet another town we’d passed through a number of times but never had time to stop and explore.

I ventured across to the happy hour gathering, which featured tea and damper, and enjoyed chatting with some fellow travellers. John remained attached to his screen.

The late lunch meant a light tea. Toast and chicken noodle soup.

Football was on TV at night.


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2013 Travels July 19

FRIDAY 19 JULY     CHARLEVILLE TO TAMBO     221kms

The day was overcast, but still warm.

We had an uneventful pack up and departure, except for dog’s customary reluctance to get on board. She certainly knew the signs that her Bus “kennel” was about to start moving. We put a towel under her midriff and “walked” her up the steps – very much an insult to her dignity.

Left at 9.25am. Proceeded north, with the now-normal stops for John along the way.

Again, the road seemed really bouncy, in parts. There were a couple of long sections of road construction works – at least they were doing something about the state of the road. In each case, a detour track had been made, and sealed. These detour sections were  better to drive on than the main highway.

Reached Tambo before lunch and bought fuel – $163.9cpl.

Set up at the Tambo Mill Caravan Park, on a drive through site where we could keep the car hitched on. It cost $30. The park was small, but quite pleasant and clean. The adjoining school was having some sort of sports meeting – it looked like there were several district schools represented, so we had the background noise of that, for a while.

Tambo site

After lunch, with dog on lead, walked the length of the town. Tambo had some interesting buildings. On a previous stay, we had walked the track that goes along the Barcoo River, but John did not feel up to that this time.

Tambo main street

John feels some affinity to Tambo, because it is where one of his older brothers lived for a time in the 1950’s, whilst working for the old PMG, maintaining the telephone lines. The brother made it sound really outback and remote, to his family back in Melbourne. The first time we came to Tambo, in 2000, John was quite put out at how “civilized” the town was.

I cooked the frozen red emperor fish, bought yesterday, for tea, with fries. It was a disappointment – tough – don’t know if that was due to being frozen, age or my cooking, but it was not a quality meal.

There was football on TV, to be watched at night.


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2013 Travels July 18

THURSDAY 18 JULY     CHARLEVILLE

It was another warm day.

After breakfast, John found a game on his laptop that was not internet dependent, and spent much of the day playing that. I read, played ball with dog, walked her on laps of the park a few times, chatted with other campers.

I did some reading of tourist information, and distance calculations, and decided to see if John would change his mind about us heading for Cooktown. I didn’t actually think he was remembering the place as it was, when we were there in 1998, or even remembering the correct place! He was talking about fishing off the sandy beaches there. Ummm – not that I remember. John was not great with place names, so he could equally well be remembering Cairns…..or Coffs Harbour….or Carnarvon……

From the current information I could find, it did not seem as if Cooktown was a dog friendly town.

To me, it seemed a long way to go, for just a few days there, before turning around and heading back somewhere south of Cairns again. I would like to go back to the coast between Cairns and the Daintree River – plenty of sandy beaches there – but again, couldn’t find anywhere to stay that took dogs.

Mid-afternoon, John emerged from his laptop, and Bus, and we walked the circuit track around the property. It was quite pretty, through the scrub.

Our site at Evening Star

Then John remembered that he’d promised  I could do some shopping today, so we drove to town. I went to the butcher, for steak, and some fish, then to a supermarket for a little stock up on fresh produce.

We tried to find a vet, to get some anti-tick treatment for dog, but no vet was to be found. I’d tried to buy Advantix at a big pet supply place near home, before we left, but what they tried to sell me was already past its expiry date! Then I’d tried a couple of places in Broken Hill, but they had no stocks, although I’d managed to buy a tick collar. I was getting mildly concerned because, if we were soon to be at the coast, she should already have been tick medicated.

Did some packing up of the camp.

Tea was steak, potatoes, mushrooms.


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2013 Travels July 17

WEDNESDAY 17 JULY     CHARLEVILLE

The day got off to a slow start. I got up about 8am, and took dog for her morning walk. John slept in.

It was certainly much warmer than we’d been used to.

Drove into town to the Information Centre, as I wanted material on parts further north.

John tried in a couple of shops to buy a small grease gun – no luck. He wanted to put some grease on the lubrication points of the tow hitch.

We went to the Bowls Club, but he could find no information displayed there about possible games. Not a very productive morning for him.

John wanted chicken drumsticks for tea, so I bought some of those, and a pull apart loaf to take back to camp for lunch.

The rest of the day was quiet. I read, and did some embroidery. John read, briefly, then napped for a longer time. He’d said he was too tired today to go exploring any of Charleville’s attractions. We’d seen much of the place anyway, on previous visits. I would have liked to go to the bilby centre, though. Years ago, we had donated towards the cost of the predator proof fence that was being built in Currawinya National Park, as part of the scheme to both preserve bilbies and build up populations in the wild again. I’d have liked to go to the centre in town, to see details of current progress.

Took Couey down the back for a ball throw.

Great spacious sites at Evening Star. Bus in warm weather set-up mode.

Tonight, there was on offer at the campfire area, dinner of beef stew or curry, for $15 a head. There were meals available, every few nights, done in camp ovens by a couple who were here for the season.

It did seem that the staff who were working here were doing a very good job. The place was clean, bins regularly emptied, amenities spotless, and special events like happy hour and the campfire meals created a great atmosphere. It made the place more of an experience in itself, rather than just a caravan park.

We didn’t take up the meal offer, but the cooking smell, drifting over our way from the cooking area, was mouth watering. However, we did enjoy our “roasted” drumsticks, cooked in the electric frypan.


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2013 Travels July 16

TUESDAY 16 JULY     CUNNAMULLA TO CHARLEVILLE     226kms

Although there was some blue sky this morning and the weather looked to be clearing, it was definitely departure day today! After the night’s steady rain, there was so much water lying around – and red, red mud.

We were better off than some because at least we had a dry area around part of the Bus. Some rigs were totally marooned in huge puddles. We were able to negotiate a fairly non-muddy route to walk dog out for her morning business, and to reach the amenities.

Aftermath of a rainy night. Amenities block to left.

I felt really sorry for whoever had to clean that building today. Even though campers were mostly trying to be careful, there was so much red mud tracked into the building.

We had to move Bus forward before  hitching up the car, as the back area was over a large puddle.

Although we only stayed the one night at Riverside, this time, would certainly stay here again – in fine weather.

Lots of red mud

Left the camp at 9am. Drove back through Cunnamulla and on to the highway north. The road was quite bumpy  in sections, the effect of which was to really bounce Bus up and down. We discussed whether this was accentuated by the distance between the front and back wheels of Bus, and its leaf springs. I hoped we weren’t on the way to needing to replace those. The ride was quite uncomfortable.

Refuelled in Charleville, at a servo conveniently on the way into town. $1.569cpl.

Drove through town, then out the Adavale road to the Evening Star Caravan Park, about 9kms NW of town. I had phoned ahead, this morning, to book us in for three nights. Good thing I did because the park was full by late afternoon.

We have previously stayed several times in Charleville, in the town, and at those times had seen most of what the town had to offer. In 2009 we stayed at the then-new Evening Star and I thought it would be a pleasant place, this time, for a few days’ break from driving.

The place looked more established now – four years later – and was very nice. The plantings between sites and around the grounds, had grown up.

Evening Star before the arrival of the afternoon rush

Sadly, the founding owners had split up and the property had been sold earlier this year. Its upkeep seemed to be very reliant on the managers, as the new owner lived at another property he had in the district. The managers seemed to be keeping it well, but I wondered if there would be much more of the developmental work done, like the unusual and quirky stuff that gave the place atmosphere. Things like the windmill pumping water into a tank, the old machinery dotted around and the like. Summer would be a test, with the watering. The adjacent original homestead, where the owners had lived, appeared to be empty. I so hoped the place would continue to be such a great place to stay.

Our site cost $29 a night. It had plenty of space, and shade. Dog could be on a long rope and had grass to lie on.

This was a very dog friendly park and we could play ball with Couey on the grassed area at the back.

There was, however, a major drawback, only discovered after we were settled in. Telstra 3G reception was very poor out here. Thus, no internet for us. No World of Warcraft for John for three days! I was firmly instructed that, in future, I must check the 3G status before booking us in anywhere! Travel priorities had certainly changed since we started out in 1998, without even a mobile phone……despite the convenience of the current technology, I think I liked it better when TV and internet reception didn’t govern where we stayed.

After setting up camp, drove the car into town. I wanted to collect the mail that had been sent here. John requested chow mein (made with a packet of chicken noodle soup – very sophisticated cuisine), so I bought mince from the butcher.

We were able to  give Couey an off lead walk at the gardens by the Vortex Gun display. There was a small lake area in that park. Couey spotted a mob of geese by the water, but – very wisely – decided to ignore them.

The Vortex Gun displayed in that park was one of several used, in 1902, in an attempt to cause rain and break a long drought in the area. The theory was that firing into clouds would cause them to drop rain. Scare them maybe? It didn’t rain, some of the guns blew up and the experiment was abandoned. There’s lots of interesting historical trivia to be found when travelling……

Vortex guns

Relaxed back at camp. There was little of note in the mail bag, mostly end of financial year paperwork.

At least John was able to get TV coverage and after our chow mein and rice dinner, we watched Kitchen Cabinet again.

During the night, Couey did some occasional growling at the kangaroos grazing around Bus. She couldn’t see out of the front, so must have been able to hear them.


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2013 Travels July 15

MONDAY 15 JULY     BOURKE TO CUNNAMULLA     272kms

I hurt my arm this morning. Was letting Couey outside, on her lead. John was out there and dog was so anxious to get out of Bus, to join him, that she exited in a great rush and dragged my arm against the door frame. The arm was grazed and bruised and there was a chunk missing out of a finger – not sure what bit did that. Guess I am learning when to take extra care, brace myself and so on.

Again, dog was not a willing traveller. After we packed up, she was tempted inside by peanut butter on a treat, then snapped at me as I got in.

Dog-related dramas aside, we were away in good time.

Must admit that I looked wistfully at Kidmans Camp as we passed by. Had always enjoyed staying there, and often managed to get some great sunset photos from the camp area.

Just like the other day, we needed to make five stops along the way, for John. We were noticing that after about two hours, the need to stop regularly seemed to ease off. But, obviously, this is yet something else medical related that will have to be checked when we are home again.

A quick stop under threatening skies

At one of the stops we took dog out for a walk on the lead. This time, she got back in Bus quite willingly. I daren’t hope that we are making progress….

The road was a bit “bouncy”, especially in the NSW part. All that increased truck traffic had not done the road any favours.

Rain had been forecast and this showed as increasing banks of black clouds to the west, as we drove. Eventually, there was some rain, but we seemed to drive out of that rain band.

Definitely rain…..

So – we made it to Qld, after three weeks on the road. Guess we didn’t exactly hurry. There had been some past trips, when we were coming north to work, when we had reached this far with only two or three overnight stops. But, with Bus, it seems more appropriate to travel in a more leisurely style than we once did. Maybe getting older also has something to do with it?

Previously, we would go from Bourke to Charleville in a day, but not this time. Cunnamulla was another place we’d only ever passed through. This time, it warranted a stay.

Refuelled at the big servo at the highway junction. $1.639cpl. The Qld government subsidized diesel but you wouldn’t know it from these prices.

From the servo, headed on into town and then out the Weir Road for about 3kms, to the Warrego Riverside Tourist Park.

This place was only opened last year and we found it very pleasant indeed. The sites were drive through ones. We got the last powered site available, right on the end of the row. It was not the best site, but that served us right for not booking ahead. It cost $32.

The last powered site…..

The amenities building featured a central hallway, or breezeway, that was both laundry and camp kitchen, with the bathrooms off each side.

This park was genuinely dog friendly – the owner’s late husband had been a vet. She told us places where we could walk dog, and where she could run off lead. The emphasis was on the can-do, rather than the can’t-do, as in Bourke.

There was a nice grassy area along the river bank, and a campfire pit.

The Warrego River itself was starkly scenic.

Warrego River

The owner had told us our site was one of the shorter ones, and she doubted we’d be able to leave the car on the back. We unhitched it and the man on the next site, with a Winnebago, very kindly said we could park Terios on the front of his site and he would be able to back out in the morning. He had to leave very early to go into Cunnamulla. He had stripped a tyre on the way here and then been told that, at best, he’d need at least a couple of new ones. He’d bought the used motorhome in 2006 and hadn’t replaced any of the tyres that were on it. He didn’t know about age related tyre deterioration, though he was finding out the hard way. I tried to explain as best I could and advised him to get the tyre dealer to show him how to read tyre ages.

Sharing site with obliging neighbour

Took Couey across to the river bank area for a walk, and I took some photos.

John then took her out on one of the designated tracks where they could play ball fetch. Dog was suitably tired then, for the rest of the day.

At 5pm, took our chairs and the dog across to the camp fire area, for happy hour. We’d not long settled there, when rain began, so the gathering was abandoned.

I cooked pasta with tuna, capers and olives, for tea.

The rain became steady all through the night. Before that, we’d almost decided to stay another night here – it was our sort of place, but reserved the decision once the rain set in.