This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

2003 Travels June 16

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John was on canoes, with some reservations about how his knee would be, after a day of hauling the canoes about. The person on canoes helps paddlers get the canoe firm on the launching ramp when they come back in, and often helps them push off at the start. As well, they take the canoes to the ramp area, and pull them out after hire, and turn them over to dry out. It is definitely not all sitting about, admiring the view!

The knee survived the day’s work ok.

I was on reception -seemed to be getting quite a bit of this role. It was my favourite.

It was an eventful day.

Boss had to chase the old white bull out of the campground again, last night. We heard some shots, a bit later. Boss M was in a really bad mood this morning – she was really quite fond of the old fellow, and this had been his patch for years. On my way down to the van for my morning break, saw Boss coming in with the bobcat, with the shovel on front. From that, I deduced that the station was minus one old white bull. I felt quite sad, too, but he really was frightening the campers too often.

We had a big camping party booked in for the next few nights. Most of them had arrived by 1pm. They identified themselves, as they arrived, as being part of the group organized by this one lady – who hadn’t yet arrived.

At about 1.30pm, I took a phone call from said lady, asking if I could let the rest of her party know she would be late arriving, because they had gotten “a bit lost” on their way here from Burketown. Her navigator had misread the map and they were at Hells Gate Roadhouse! I couldn’t help myself and replied: “A BIT lost? If I was you, I’d shoot the navigator!”

They had obviously missed the turnoff to the Gregory, about 25kms west of Burketown, but talk about slow to twig! They’d gone at least 170kms west and north west, instead of about 100kms south, had crossed the very noticeable Nicholson River, and passed the turnoff to Doomadgee community. Hardly landmarks that I’d have thought anyone could blink and miss.

So I trekked off down to the campground and delivered the message that they thought they’d be in by about 4pm. That came and went and no sign of them. But there was another phone call, about 4.30pm. They were at Bowthorn, this time. I had to trek back down to the campground with the latest update. I didn’t think the lady who was navigating was very popular, by now.

They eventually arrived at 7pm, after I’d closed up the shop for the day and was about to have dinner. They had tried to take the most direct route on the map – not always the fastest, or easiest to follow. This had fetched them up at Bowthorn, after having a flat tyre along the way, that someone at Bowthorn had fixed for them. At least their group would have plenty to talk about, around the campfire, that night.

Resize of 06-16-2003 route error.JPG

Broken line: the intended route; solid line: the way the ladies actually went

(Map from Google Earth)

Mid afternoon, a couple had driven in, in a large motorhome. I had seen it coming down the drive way, but by the time I looked up again from the booking I was doing, realized they had simply stopped it in the middle of the roadway circle that comes past the reception area, and from which the track to the campground leads off. They had left it there and gone walkabout – effectively blocking all other traffic. The huge parking and check in area, only a few metres away, was clearly marked.

I had to explain to subsequent drivers, the need to back up and go to the campground via the “out” route. Not much appreciated by the ones towing vans and trailers!

When the missing couple wandered back, nearly an hour later, I politely asked them to move the motorhome to the marked parking area, before doing any business, so that other campers could get in. It was getting towards the busy time of the afternoon, with campers returning from the National Park, and him blocking the “in” way.

Driver said he thought it was all right there. I pointed out all the signs he’d ignored, and a couple of vehicles having to back up. He then asked, quite nastily, if I wanted him to book in at all? In the tone of one who was conferring a great favour upon us, by his presence. I was becoming rather cross by then, and said “Actually, given your attitude, not really, sir”. Couldn’t help myself – it was just too good an opening.

They then left, no doubt assuming that the Rangers at the National Park would welcome them more gratefully. They would have been in for quite a shock. The Rangers were trying to avoid having to look after campers, this year, and told most comers that their area was full, and to come here! They had reduced the sites to a handful of rather small ones – there were bollards everywhere. There were certainly not motorhome sized sites any more. He probably would not have been able to locate a Ranger anyway – it was a bit of a local joke, these days, that the most endangered and rare species at the Park was a Ranger! Very rarely sighted.

I suspect sir probably just parked in a roadway or carpark somewhere there, for the night, no doubt ignoring No Standing signs there, too.

I found the majority of our guests were great to deal with, but the unpleasant minority certainly left a lasting impression.

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