This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

1999 Travels July 16

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FRIDAY 16 JULY     GEMTREE

We got up at 6am, with help from the alarm, and left at 6.45 for Alice Springs. The dark night was just beginning to lighten, pre-dawn, as we left. It was bloody cold in the van as we couldn’t run the heater because the generator hadn’t started yet.

The sun rose behind us as we drove west to the Stuart Highway – really pretty. The sky in front went through various stages of dark blue, pink. purple. We rarely see a sunrise these days!

Reached Alice at 8.15 and went straight to Land Rover to put Truck in for its hose fitting.

Walked to the town centre, browsing in some shops as we went.

Bought another gem sieve – a more coarse one this time – at the Disposals, which was much cheaper than the hardware shop. Cost $28.

Went to the Library and changed books. Collected our mail from the Post Office and found that it contained two unexpected cheques: a $5 Keno win and $500 loan repayment/dividend from the bowls club, return of money my father had lent them. John’s Group Certificate for tax was there, along with a letter from his sister, the third in a short period.

John took a half hour on the Internet at the library and emailed S again. While he was doing that, I went and did banking and bought some cards.

We had a fish and chip lunch – well, it IS Friday! They were nice too.

We walked back to collect Truck. Then did a grocery shop. Bought newspapers – I have missed having those. It is one of the few down sides of being out at Gemtree.

By phone and radio, prior to today, we had arranged to visit KM, who runs the Alice Springs base of the 737 Radio Network. He is in poor health. We were welcomed by a very friendly little puggy type of dog. K has a big old dingo, which came out when urged, was patted, and went back to bed. K used to live out on Mt Riddoch Station. He said some aboriginals brought the pup to him, there. Its eyes were still closed, it was so young. He reared it – said it was an excellent dog. He also showed us big garnets that the natives brought in, out there.

K has a whole room for his Network gear – several radios and dials, fax machines and the like. We donated $10 to the cause. Asked him if he could keep alert for anyone who might want to pair up with us to do a Simpson Desert crossing.

It had turned into a hot day.

We refuelled and also refilled the jerry can – 82cpl. Much cheaper than Gemtree.

I drove some of the way back to Gemtree and we got back about 4.30. Drove 308kms today.

Found we have some new neighbours – for the first time since we have been here. They are from WA, with a fold out camper trailer and ordinary car.

Our tea was tinned soup and crumpets.

After tea, we sat round the fire, talking with our neighbours, until quite late, mostly about travels. New campers, over beyond us, had built up an absolutely huge fire. Old Bill, the garnet guide came over and roared at them for wasting wood. Fair enough, especially since he helps replenish the wood heap.

07-31-1999 gemtree firewood.jpg

The Gemtree wood heap – for use by campers – within reason!

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