TUESDAY 25 AUGUST RUBYVALE TO CHARLEVILLE 520kms
We were up early and away just after 7am, wanting to finish driving, if we could, before the worst heat of the afternoon.
Drove back south, leaving the Tropics, through Sapphire, to meet the Capricorn Highway at Anakie, where we turned west. Before long, we were passing through ranges where the road was quite hilly. It was rather dramatic. I’d forgotten all about this, although we must have driven this route at least once before.
Refuelled at Alpha, then took the Tambo road to the south. This would save us some 170kms compared to the alternative of going via Barcaldine.
The sealed road soon turned to gravel. Some sections were quite stony, and some parts were corrugated. There were occasional sealed sections again, especially on the floodways.
As was our usual practice, as soon as we left the sealed road, we stopped and removed the weight distribution bars. We’d been told to do that, right back when we started caravanning, by the people at Hayman Reece.
We came upon one floodway very suddenly, with a big dip in the middle of a raised area, and bottomed out a bit. Then John heard a tyre going down rapidly. It was the driver’s side rear one on Truck. John spent some time fiddling around with the ordinary jack, trying to get it to fit under the lowered side. He wasn’t happy that this would hold, so we ended up using the awkward, slow, wind up one that belonged to Truck, as well.
When the wheel had been taken off, I was inspecting the tyre to try to find the cause of the flat – and found a nine inch split in the steel wheel rim, in the centre of the wheel. I thought it must have spread when we bottomed in the floodway, and then pinched the tube inside, because I couldn’t find any tyre damage. Later on, a close inspection revealed what looked like an old split, about four inches long and a bit rusted inside, and new splits on each end of that – presumably from the floodway. We had no idea when we made the older split. My guess would be possibly on the really rough and rocky crossing of the flooded river on the way into the Bungles in 2007.
When changing the wheel, John also found an oil seal leak in the rear left side. Again!
After that, we were relieved to reach sealed road again, at the corner with the Dawson Development Road, with no further mishaps. The last part of this road, through to Tambo, was really scenic – the western tail off of the Carnarvon Ranges. But we were both a bit too tense to really enjoy it. Along the way, a topic of conversation had been about whether we should buy a new Defender, after this trip!
Had our packed lunch at the lovely rest area at Tambo. Then continued, through a hot afternoon, to Charleville, where we got fuel. Then back tracked a bit, to drive out to the Evening Star Caravan Park, to the NW of the town.
This caravan park, on a cattle property, was fairly new. It was 9kms from Charleville, on the Adavale road. Our powered site cost $24.
We thought this was going to be a really nice caravan park ,when the new tree plantings grew a bit higher. All the sites were drive through style, with a good separation between them. The bathrooms were unisex style. They had a very pleasant communal compfire area.
We got talking to the people on the next site, travelling in a converted bus. Very interesting. She was a writer. Both had done a lot of living on boats, and travelling around. They lived in Tasmania, near Stanley, and knew our friends S and M, who had the Post Office there. We swapped details, and invited them to stay at our place, if they wished, when they next passed through Melbourne.
Decided we would have two nights here. It was very pleasant to be in the bush. It was the sort of place we’d stay at for a week or more. if we were not on a deadline.
I made tandoori chicken for tea.
The night was very pleasantly warm – not always the case, inland.
We were now into the last week of this trip.
October 31, 2021 at 9:54 pm
Gee it’s interesting to see how far Evening Star has come.
November 1, 2021 at 6:14 am
Isn’t it? We have been back there since, but I also studied your recent post and pics with great interest.
November 1, 2021 at 9:17 pm
They’ve done a great job.