SATURDAY 20 JULY TAMBO TO BARCALDINE 222kms
We got away, as normal, at 9am, after I’d phoned and booked us into a caravan park in Barcaldine.
The road – the Matilda Way – between Tambo and Barcaldine was atrocious. There were long sections that were extremely bumpy and bouncy. It was worst on the sections of Mitchell grass plains, not as bad on the rises. I seemed to remember from our times further north, that Mitchell grass grows on cracking clay soils – guess the seasonal expansion and contraction of these played havoc with the road structure.
Despite John dropping the speed to under 60kmh, I was having to brace myself not to get bumped up out of my seat, and was really expecting something major on Bus to break, at any minute, Like the suspension! The roadworks certainly needed to extend to this section of road, pronto.
We were passed by some caravans that were heading south. They were clearly having difficulties towing straight on the bouncy sections.
The summer coastal floods and road closures of the past couple of years, had caused much heavy truck traffic to divert to this highway, and that had certainly added to the road deterioration.
Whilst we’d been at Evening Star, we’d been told that the Roma-Charleville road was also bad.
North of Blackall, the road was somewhat better.
We refuelled at Barcaldine, at a small Mobil servo on a side street, that was cheaper than the one on the highway, and without the queue. $164.6cpl.
The annual goat races were happening at the Showgrounds. That was, apparently, a big event in the district, and there was quite a crowd, lots of noise – and lots of goats. I could see some motorhomes and caravans parked in clusters around the grounds – a cheap camping area. Today’s events would be quite an interruption to a quiet stay at the local showgrounds!
When I’d phoned to book us in to the Barcaldine Tourist Park, I’d explained, as I normally do, about the length of Bus and the need to park the car as well. They had allocated us a shaded site, with room to park the car behind Bus – but it was right next to the highway! We just hoped there was not too much truck traffic during the night. The park was just after the 60kmh zone started, and trucks were either changing down gears, or still changing up after turning onto this road. $28 a night.
After we’d set up, I took the car down the street and managed to buy the Saturday papers from the roadhouse. Bought some very nice Turkish bread from the bakery, and some dips from supermarket, as well as some chilli and lime salami for (very late) lunch. The bread had some sort of black seeds on top. I didn’t know what they were, but they tasted great. The salami was for John – he wasn’t much impressed with this variation.
John spent the rest of the day making up for his WOW deprivation of the past few days – back on the internet again! I read the papers, played ball with dog on the dirt road that ran down the side of the park. Amused myself watching the park manager directing newcomers onto sites, some of which were quite small. John had parked close to the garden on our site and there was still only barely room to put the awning out.
We’d been so shook up by today’s awful road that John decided we’d stay an extra night here, before venturing out on the roads again. That was fine by me. Barcaldine was yet another town we’d passed through a number of times but never had time to stop and explore.
I ventured across to the happy hour gathering, which featured tea and damper, and enjoyed chatting with some fellow travellers. John remained attached to his screen.
The late lunch meant a light tea. Toast and chicken noodle soup.
Football was on TV at night.