FRIDAY 17 AUGUST EL QUESTRO TO KUNUNURRA 105kms
We had an early start.
Son left about 7am. In a later phone call, he reported that he reached Darwin just on dark, and that it had rained from Katherine onwards.
His visit to the Kimberley was all too short, sadly, but hopefully that tiny sample would give him the motivation to return here, before too much longer.
We did the LAST tent pack up of this trip. Actually, part of me was quite looking forward to getting back to the van, too. It was coming into the hotter, dustier time of year in the Kimberley – always more noticeable in a tent.
After a rather routine leg, we got into the caravan park at Kununurra just after 10am. This time, we were allocated a lovely, big, shady, proper caravan site. $26 per night.
Drove down to the storage area to retrieve the van and put it on site. Discovered that it had, in fact, been moved by the fire brigade. Seems part of their response to the bushfire that K and I had seen, was to do a back burn. This then got into the big compost heap and area of reeds near the van storage area, and was more of a threat than the original fire had been!
They had parked the van on a slope, with the jockey wheel in a big rut. Not a great combination with a Treg hitch! The handbrake had to stay on. The rut meant I couldn’t wiggle the van sideways to help line it up with the hitch. John couldn’t manage to get it exactly lined up. So he got us to swap, with him directing and me driving. We still couldn’t get it right. Eventually, he lost his temper and started yelling at me, whereupon a very nice man from a nearby camper trailer rig came over and helped me manhandle the van onto the coupling.
The van smelled really strongly of smoke, inside. Not pleasant.
We spent much of the rest of the day unpacking and putting things away and back into travel-with-van mode. Cleaned truck inside as we did so. Got it all done, but overall it was a hard day’s work.
Drove to the Post Office and collected a bag of mail, that contained little of note. There were two books on building pizza/bread ovens, that John had ordered before we left here. There was also a bill for physio treatment I’d had on ankle, way back before we came away. Apparently my doctor hadn’t properly submitted a form that would have given me five free physio visits, so they had to bill me. So, back at the van, I wrote a note to doctor, asking if it could be remedied. I also phoned our accountant and made an appointment to see them about our tax returns, in late October.
Visited the supermarket to stock up on luxuries like fresh milk, and bread……and salad and fresh fruit……
The business of the normal world intrudes!
We celebrated – though that was probably not the right word – our return to civilization, by having fish and chips for tea.
TV again, for John. I did appreciate the decent mattress again, and not having to get down on all fours to get into bed. Or assistance to stand up out of bed. The aging knees don’t have the spring they once had – the plastic crates containing our food, in the tent, had more than one function….
It had been a great circuit through some of the more remote parts of the Kimberley – a good mix of revisiting some favourite parts we don’t tire of, and discovering some new places. We had, in fact, only been away from the van for a tad over six weeks – it felt longer. Had it not been for the timing of son’s visit, though, we probably would have been out there for another couple of weeks.
February 22, 2021 at 9:55 am
Roughly how much of the previous 6 weeks do you think could have been managed if you had of taken the van with you??
February 22, 2021 at 12:20 pm
All except the Bungles/Purnululu – where caravans were not allowed then. We would probably have debated about the Mitchell Plateau because we had been there before and knew the corrugations on the last part of that track could be fearsome, and it could mean a real crawl along. As it was, in 2007 the surface was not the worst we’d ever met, and we had taken the van over worse surfaces e.g. the Great Central Road. But all the other places, no worries. It was really the Bungles that determined tenting it – seemed a waste of time to go there, then go back to Kununurra and change it all over again, just to backtrack. These days, with the caravan park near the Bungles turn off, we would probably have done it differently.