WEDNESDAY 11 JULY KURRAJONG CAMP TO FITZROY CROSSING 460kms
It took us a couple of hours to pack up. That’s the down side of tent camping.
The trip out to the highway was fine. The access road to the Bungles had a reputation for often being really corrugated, but not this time. Perhaps the rains had smoothed it right out? More likely, there had not yet been enough traffic on it, since it was graded at the start of the tourist season.
The Fletcher Creek crossing – which I had been quietly dreading – still had plenty of water in it, although the level had dropped considerably since a week ago. It was still enough to be a deterrent to some travellers.
The crossing was still too damned rough! A man on the highway side as we crossed, took some photos of us. We talked with him after we got through safely, and he said he would email me copies of the photos of Truck doing the crossing. (He never did).
I took photos of M driving across.
Then it wasn’t far to the highway and the 120kms or so to Halls Creek and diesel. In planning what we did in the Bungles, we had been aware of the need to conserve fuel, within reason. The thinking went like – it was about 160 kms between Turkey Creek, where we’d topped up the tank, and Halls Creek, where we would refuel. The access road, in and out, added about 120kms to that. Although we’d never tested it out, the range of a tank of fuel should have been around 550-600kms. So we had two or three hundred kms of driving in the Park to play with. It hadn’t been hard to accumulate those – a return trip from camp to Piccaninny Creek was 64kms – and we’d done three of those, for starters. Still, as it worked out, John thought we had enough diesel left to get comfortably to Halls Creek, without having to top up the tank with the jerry can.
The best laid plans……..
There was no diesel to be had in Halls Creek! They’d had a lot of multi-vehicle tag-a-long tours come through and the fuel tanker was running late, by a day or two. They “thought” he might be in tomorrow…….or the next day. Now, Halls Creek was not a place we wanted to stay, although it was not as bad there as it used to be. There were a number of very disgruntled travellers already staying there, waiting for fuel.
Also, did not much like the idea of filling up from a freshly filled servo supply that had been depleted – that was the way to finish up with gunk in the fuel.
So, we decided to try to make the 290kms to Fitzroy Crossing. John emptied our 24 litre jerry can into the tank. Whilst he was doing that, I bought a few necessary groceries.
Our plan of attack was that, if we did run out of fuel, M would take the empty jerry can and fetch us some from Fitzroy Crossing. She had no worries – with her dual tanks, she had plenty of fuel herself – but we had no way to access any of hers. It was a bit of a gamble, but John thought we could make it. If not, and we ended up with issues like having to bleed fuel lines, so be it.
I tried to phone the caravan park at Fitzroy Crossing to book sites, to make sure we would not get caught out there – but they didn’t do bookings! This day was rapidly going downhill….
We drove at a more economical speed than usual – about 85kmh. That made for a very long seeming 290kms.
We did seem to be a bit jinxed on this section of highway – in 2000, we “did” a wheel bearing on Truck, along there.
After a rather tense drive, we reached Fitzroy Crossing about 4pm. Immediately refuelled, at the Lodge. The gauge read empty, the odometer read 882kms, and the tank took 72 litres. It was supposed to hold 75 litres, so we’d been just about running on fumes, I reckon.
The diesel cost $1.44cpl.
Of course, there were no powered sites left at the Fitzroy Crossing Lodge Caravan Park. They charged us $22 for an unpowered site. I really disliked the attitude of the Reception staff – they made it very clear that campers were low on their customer priority order. A pity, because otherwise it is a very nice park – well grassed on the powered sites, with modern amenities, and well set out.
However, the unpowered section that was our lot, was rather unshaded, dry and dusty.
We had planned to treat ourselves to a meal “out” at the Lodge’s motel restaurant, but after the unwelcoming attitude encountered, decided to keep our money and spend it somewhere else, later. M and John did walk up there and bought a bottle of wine, each, though – a treat.
I had just a cup-of-soup for dinner, John had an instant noodle dinner, left over from his hike food. Low cuisine to go with the wine!
It was a bit annoying having to put the tent up for just one night, but the motel units here were too expensive for us to contemplate a night in one of those.
The showers were wonderful! Hair wash was much needed…..
Phoned son. No change on that front – he still miserable.
It was another very cold night. So much for my hopes that being a bit closer to the coast would have a warming effect.
December 7, 2020 at 9:59 pm
Gosh I hate that feeling of being low on fuel. Hubby seems to enjoy it, while I sit there furiously calculating, the fuel, the distance and the likelihood of getting stuck heaven knows where.
December 8, 2020 at 5:51 am
John was normally fairly careful about it, especially in remote areas, but we really got caught out this time. Tag-a-long tour groups are hated by many regular outback travellers for the impacts they can have on things like campground crowding, fuel, getting past them – and so on….