This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2002 Travels April 17

WEDNESDAY 17 APRIL   ST GEORGE TO LAIDLEY   460kms

There had been no call from J by 9.40am, so I phoned him. He seemed taken aback, but admitted that we had a problem! Generous of him. He said that he would phone around and get back to us. Clearly, he’d not bothered to try to think of anything, up to this point.

I felt that I was being fobbed off.

He hadn’t phoned back when we left a 10.30am, having waited around for his return call.

Later, when we came into a town, there was a message on the phone, telling us to go to the RACQ in St George, to get the panel current measured. That was not much help to us by then.

At Westmar, John put 40 litres of fuel in, to see us through to a larger centre – 93cpl.

As we went east, the country became more fertile and crop lands appeared. We were into good looking country.

I’d bought some rolls in St George while we were waiting around, and we stopped by the road side near Moonie and had those for lunch.

We’d noted St George as worth a return visit and a stay of a couple of days to explore, at some future time. Dalby also looked interesting. Very much a farming centre town. There was really cheap fuel there, and we filled up – 78cpl.

John wanted to tackle the steep drive down the Range from Toowoomba today, rather than spend the night brooding about it. From our 98/99 stay in Toowoomba, we knew the gradient!

There was much cloud build up as we neared Toowoomba and it looked like a thunderstorm was brewing.

We negotiated our way through the late afternoon traffic in Toowoomba alright. John did the first part of the road down the range in normal gears – I think he had forgotten that he used low range gears on steep gradients, before! After about a kilometre, he pulled into a little parking area – the Truck brakes were smoking! He let them cool down for about ten minutes. Neither of us felt good about this venture, at this stage. We watched all the big trucks crawl down using their engine brakes, and wished we had one of those. Then John decided to use low range and we got down the rest of the range with minimal use of brakes.

John had thought we’d make Brisbane today, but it was later than he realized. We saw a sign to a caravan park at Laidley, so impulsively took that turn off.

Laidley was a pleasant little village. The caravan park was alright. There were a lot of permanent dwellers. It wasn’t flash, but was only $12 for the night. The owners used to live in our suburb!

Tea was smoked fish, beans, potatoes.

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2002 Travels April 16

TUESDAY 16 APRIL   LEOPARDWOOD TO ST GEORGE   420kms

We had to do a full pack up this morning, as nothing was done yesterday, due to the rain.

It was overcast again this morning, and I thought the day would turn out much as yesterday, here, but didn’t know what it would be like to the east.

The bread had gone mouldy – that didn’t last long – so I had to fall back on Cruskits for lunch.

What seemed a fairly small amount of rain had certainly created some large puddles and boggy patches on the track out to the main road. It obviously does not take much rain to affect the roads around here!

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Not looking good, up ahead!

Mike had already left before us – could see his wheel marks on the road.

Came to one part where the water was across the track and we got out and walked around, trying to find an alternative way around, or work out how boggy it might be. Then we found the tyre tracks where Mike had gone, with his heavy load, followed those and managed alright. It was a relief to get to the sealed road, though.

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Trying to decide which way is the best

We stopped for a morning tea break at the park in Cunnamulla, and refuelled in town – 91cpl. Had lunch at a roadside stop and made St George about 4pm.

When we got to where there was phone coverage, in Cunnamulla, John phoned J and told him about our power problems, and how we’d had to radically alter our trip plans as a result. He was not particularly helpful and made some vague comments about “thinking about it”. John was quite terse and made a comment about having been sold an expensive, dud, system.

Most of the way was through scrub and sparse woodland – mulga and callitris pine country mostly. The driver needed to be alert as the road was narrow. Occasional emus tempted their fate by being tardy in moving off the road.

The little Kamerooka Caravan Park at St George was very nice. $16 a night, and we were back on 240v power! The park had an excellent amenities block – one of the best I’d seen. The owner had a dog that we were sure was part dingo, though he said not (found out later that it is not legal to have dingoes or part dingoes in Qld!). He also had a young grey tabby cat that had adopted him. It was a very relaxed place.

There was a newer caravan park a bit further out of town that also looked good, but there was not much shade there, as yet.

As soon as we got to our site, I phoned J and left a message on his phone about where we were, that we had phone cover and that he should phone us before 9am tomorrow. He obviously had decided not to answer his phone. It was still business hours there and he should have been available. I think I probably sounded quite annoyed in my message – because I was!

It was really a total nuisance that we had to take time to go back east. I was conscious that this would take time out of our “proper” travel. Conscious, too, that before we left Melbourne, I had done something totally unusual for us – phoned and booked a site in a caravan park at Karumba, on the Qld Gulf coast, for three weeks, during July. Had mailed off a very hefty deposit on same. So that was a fixed arrangement we had to work to. This was not something we liked doing, but all the information I’d researched indicated that booking well ahead was the only way to get into Karumba in the middle of the year

Tea was lamb sausages and beans.

The TV signal was adequate enough for us to watch The Bill.

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