Monday, August 27, 2012

The Nomad Chronicles III

19/7 Stopped at large Top Tourist park at Longreach with 3 friendly resident brolgas.   

Met two couples we knew from home at church! & one at the Stockmens Hall of fame – which we enjoyed.  
Needed front end alignment – not the pot hole we thought but the extra weight of the camper made us toe out instead of toe in.   We were more impressed at the Matilda centre at Winton than the hall of fame.  

We are now in shorts but the rain tumbled down.  An inch overnight flooded the caravan park & lot’s of people were stuck.  The Terang folk were bound for the Boulia camel races but turned for home.  They were cancelled.  

At Cloncurry we watched a couple pull in with a muddy outfit.  They had been stranded at Lawn Hill, bogged & punctured at the same time. Our commiserations were greeted with “That’s nothing.  Last year our old van passed us on the left hand side & tipped over in front of us. The kind policeman winched the van apart so we could put our belongings in his paddy wagon.  He then suggested that maybe he could breathalise me.  It was half an hour later when my wife suggested that that maybe she should be too – as she was driving!”
After Mt Isa there is the Barkly Tablelands which are fairly flat with a lot of dry feed.   They are just entering their fire season & are concerned about the fuel load.   There was increasingly more controlled burning as we entered the Northern Territory.  We stopped at roadside stops with a lot of other grey nomads until a welcome stop at Mataranka & a dip in the thermal springs. 
Along the way we met another tale of woe at a lunch stop.   Wife with little dog reading in the shade of Winnebago.  Husband on his own at the picnic table on for a talk.  This was difficult as he could only whisper.  His vocal cords were damaged during surgery 5 years ago.  2 years ago he was kept in hospital for 3 months with a staph infection after surgery – both at K private.   “We have been on the road 8 & a  half months.  It has taken that long because the wife does all the driving & she doesn’t like it much.   I wish we could go home” he whispered, “but we can’t until October because she has rented the house out.  Even then we have to sleep in the van because she sold all the furniture!”

The last couple of days we have spent in Litchfield National Park.  A lot of it has been freshly burnt so it is not at its best, but the Florence Falls & Wangi Falls where we camped were worth the visit.  Tolmer Falls were also scenic.  We are spending a couple of days in Darwin.

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