This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

2009 Travels May 15

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This morning, I managed to sew a complete patch before John was up and about – and there were five pieces of varying sized material in a six inch square patch, to be hand sewn together, with tiny stitches, so it wasn’t done quickly.

We left at 11am, for the Grawin. Took the back way – the gravel road from town that came out to Lorne, then continued on to meet the highway opposite the Cumborah road. It was the short way to go for us.

The drive out to the Grawin was pleasant enough for it not to matter that we were doing it so soon again. I found myself looking at the farmland – and the bush – that we passed, and wondering if there was opal to be found under there? Given the history of subsequent fresh finds in these parts, it could be possible that there were new fields yet to be unearthed? But I guess modern geological surveying methods are much more able to detect likely opal bearing areas, so probably the areas ignored were for good reason.

We parked amongst the trees by the Waste Dump. John got out and exclaimed “I’ve got a flat tyre!” The rear diver’s side was leaking – we could hear it going down. It wasn’t totally flat, yet, so it must have just happened. We had hit a couple of gutters in the track a bit hard. We changed it, finding that the air was coming from a fracture in the rubber. This created a discussion about whether the tyres should be deflated a bit on these hard, stony roads. It was not usually our practice – and “expert” opinions differed. I remember Adam Plate, of the Pink Roadhouse at Oodnadatta, telling us the first time we went up that way, not to run tyres softer than usual, except on sand.

Then we finally got up on to the heap. There were lots of other noodlers there today. I got sick of it quickly, and went back down to Truck, for lunch and to read and do some bird spotting.

Noodling on the waste dump, in fresh “biscuit” coloured heap

John came down later. for lunch, then went back. I went up later to take some photos, to find that most of the others had gone. Maybe because it was Friday, to get a head start on the night’s festivities?

John was working alongside a tourist, like ourselves, and a local. The latter was in his 30’s, had been a shearer, did some boxing around the country circuits, then had a stroke. Now, he noodled – and drank. He was doing both together, up there. When we drove away, he was just sitting on the front of his old car, all alone, drinking – a forlorn, sad, picture. I guessed there were a lot of hard luck stories to be found around here.

The tourist was out from the Ridge, for the day, like us. He was new to opals and noodling, and had left his ailing wife back at their van. He was dealing with some big problems and seemed pretty timid. He found a nice piece of opal on the heap and was soooo excited – it was nice to see him happy.

The little pile the men were working on was interesting, so I joined in for a while. I might have found a few small, good bits – I found it hard to tell if they were worthwhile.

We left at 4pm and got back to camp an hour later. The place was yet more crowded. A couple of camper trailers had set up quite close to us, and the Hacienda was still occupied.

Truck parked by the Hacienda cottage at Lorne

I had a bit of a chat with one of the camper trailer men. He was rather into the “I am the greatest travel expert” mode – one of those who had to go one better than anything anyone else said. But credit where it was due, and he had been to some interesting and out of the way places, like Old Doomadgee and Massacre Inlet. I gained some street cred by even knowing where these were, and by having also been to Massacre Inlet and Old Doom. He didn’t have it all his own way!

John had flathead and fries for tea. I only had fries, because the label had come off the fish pack in the freezebox, and when I went to cook it, there was only one piece!

We sat around the campfire after tea, for a while. It was so pleasant not to have TV!

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