Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Camp comforts ...

We haven't done as many trips as we might have hoped since purchasing our camper trailer in 2017.  (Yep, life gets in the way of our best plans). 

Nick has done some great improvements to the trailer since we bought it and more modifications were done prior to this trip.  As just two of us were traveling, the large box with flip-over bench top (it hadn't weathered well) were removed and the tap gun hose adjusted.  

Our various luggage (Gladstone and other bags, guitar etc) were stowed on the back seat.  Chairs, picnic bag, beverage case, esky and a few other bits were in the back of Elmer Fudd.  (Our Scrabble bag was in the trailer but we didn't play this trip).  

There aren't many photos of the small shelf in action but it's very handy to pull up for a rest stop, open the trailer box door and have everything ready to boil the kettle and/or prep lunch.  We use the single burner dual fuel stove for the kettle - even on day/picnic trips. Our green thermal mugs are smaller than the pottery ones I use at home.  Very recently I spotted a small teapot at an opshop.  I hesitated to buy it cos many spill tea all over the table but I was very pleased with this one. It pours well and holds just enough for two-plus cups, using one teabag.  $2.00 well spent!

I took a couple of pre-cooked meals with us.  We used the camp kitchen facilities at Rolleston and Barcaldine to reheat those, cook pasta and wash up afterward.  We'd inherited a small carry sink with the trailer and it was handy for carting dishes to and from the on-site sinks. We paid for powered sites at each of the caravan parks because there wasn't a lot of difference in cost.  The solar set-up ran the lights and fridge though and they worked fine, even on the unpowered site at Blackall.

The three-burner stove came away with us and we used it on our final night, set up on a folding table cos neither of us felt like traipsing across to use the camp kitchen!

There wasn't much cooking done while we were away.  Breakfasts were simple cereals.  We had a cheese platter on our first night, the pre-cooked meals the next two nights, a pub meal at Winton, one home-cooked dinner with Di and then takeaway by the lake the next night, fruit and custard at Blackall and then a pasta dish for our finale dinner.  (Funny that we made the same pasta dish at home the next night)!

Being on tour, traveling most days, was definitely novel but we liked the quick set-up / pack-up of the camper trailer.  The bedding upgrade worked well, though we definitely appreciated sleeping in a proper bed at Di's and when home again!  We talk about various camper trailer improvements but really, things work pretty well as they are - and hopefully we'll get to go away again soon.  

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Froggy finale!

Nick went to the loo at around 5:00am and told me about three bathroom frogs when he returned to bed.  I didn't need the loo but went out to look at the frogs!

I could only see two of the three, the third green one was missing.  Hah!  Later in the morning when I was packing up our dirty clothes from the bathroom, I found the MIA frog!

We re-fueled before heading out of town, near the saleyards.  I took more road train shots along the way to Dogwood Creek, where we stopped for morning tea and a quick geocache (our 676th find).

While we were enjoying morning tea (caramel scrolls as well as bhuja with tea and coffee), I watched the traffic on the bridge. One ute honked and waved with lots of enthusiasm, so I waved back! He/she may have been an Elmer Fudd fan?!

We continued on to Dalby, chatting about the crops growing beside the road.  At the start of our trip there'd been silly discussion about farmers putting crop ID signs in their paddocks, to educate us and the travelling public!

The last of our corned beef had been eaten at Morven, the day before.  We opted to buy hamburgers from the same Dalby takeaway as we had visited on Day 1 of our WingIt trip - though we ate them in a different park this time, watching many flying foxes in the nearby trees.

It was another two hour's drive from Dalby. We arrived home at 4:30pm.  What an excellent adventure!

Day 9 = 455 kms

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Mmmm, Mitchell scrolls!

We made a few stops along the way from Blackall to Roma.  There was a quick loo break at Tambo (and call-in at Tambo Teddies) before travelling on to Morven.

There were toilets and picnic shelters at Morven Historical Museum, so we ate the last of our corned beef on sandwiches, closely supervised by an apostlebird and a bossy blue-faced honeyeater.   

I posted a couple of postcards at the post office, which closed at lunchtime for the Melbourne Cup!

We stopped again at Mitchell, to stretch our legs and pick up a few groceries.  (If you happen to pass through Mitchell, I highly recommend the bakery's caramel scrolls - yum)!

About 20 minutes out of Mitchell was the small town of Amby.  We didn't stop but obviously the name appealed and there were jokes about someone pinching the Hs from all the signs!

It was another 45 minutes to Roma.  I took a lot of road train photos during that stretch, trying to perfect my timing.

As it was our last night, we opted to stay in a park with ensuite sites, which proved handy - and quite amusing also, listening to froggies calling while we showered later that night.  Once we were set up, Nick wandered off to talk to other campers - and I enjoyed sitting quietly, with my pot of tea and fantastic caramel scroll!    

Day 8 = 487 kilometres

Blackall birdsong ...

The previous day's tyre adventure put us several hours behind schedule, so we arrived in Blackall around 6:00pm - and made our way to visit some local friends.  

We had a lovely, long catch-up and it was quite late when we left to park up in the nearby Barcoo Riverside Camp.

There were birds calling through the night and we woke to more birdsong in the morning.  Having set up in darkness, our really pretty outlook beside the river was a pleasant surprise when we stepped outside.  We had planned another day of travel and were back on the road fairly quickly (after buying bread, milk and Pepsi Max in town).

Monday, 2 November 2020

Aramac adventure!

Our original Elmer the Blue used to have issues with his front, passenger side wheel.  It seems Elmer the Gold has similar tendencies with the rear wheel on the same side.  

We left Muttaburra without buying bread, so were looking forward to lunch at Aramac.  

About 5km out of town, there was a loud noise and Nick slowed to a halt beside the road.  We got out and saw the tyre had blown.

There was no shade but frequent gusts of wind prevented us from putting out the awning. (We had learned that those conditions could cause damage).

It was hot and the ground was soft with lots of prickles. I didn't envy Nick! 

I wasn't much use for the tyre changing, so stood beside the trailer box (bracing the lid with my hand at each wind gust) and worked on making corned beef sandwiches with the last of our bread - two slices and two crusts, shared equally.  I was also very brave and lit our little fuel stove, to boil the kettle!  Given the circumstance I rummaged in one of our big green storage boxes for a pack of shortbread biscuits.

While I was organising lunch, Nick worked on changing the tyre.  As well as the heat and prickles, there were other issues.  The jack sank into the soft ground, so my excellent "half a road train" was commissioned as a base plate.  Fortunately it survived the experience unscathed!

Once the spare was on, another landcruiser stopped to check if we were OK.  The nice fellow chatted for a bit and then left us to it.  We packed up fairly quickly, thinking to inflate the spare at a servo in Aramac.  (We were doubtful of there being a mechanic in town to buy a replacement spare).  As we drove into town, we saw a mechanic's shed but it looked quite closed, so we continued to the service station.

As Nick inflated the trye, it became obvious that the valve seam had split.  It's possible to change a valve but only by removing the tyre from the rim.  The service station didn't have those facilities (but did have recovery ice-creams) and an attendant directed us to the Council chambers, in the belief that the works depot might assist.  The admin assistant at Council was a bit bemused by our story but made some calls and found someone to help.  

We were advised to meet Nev at the mechanic's shed in an hour.  While waiting, we saw some of the town, the tramway museum and a lot of the little white bulls.  

It was actually Nev's nephew who assisted us.  He quickly removed the tyre, replaced the valve, refitted the tyre - and wouldn't take any payment, just wished us safe travels to Barcaldine (where we'd meet Bashy, another fine fellow, to organise a replacement spare).  We do meet some lovely people when things go awry and we're very thankful for them and all assistance received.

Day 6 = 468 kilometres (Hughenden to Blackall)

Centering on Muttaburra!

The most direct way from Hughenden to Muttaburra was 212km.  Not far along the road was a sign for Mount Walker and we did turn off to see that - until we spotted the no towing sign.  It's on the long "next time" list.

Some of the road was unsealed, which made us feel like we were on a proper adventure!  It was interesting to pick the country changes as we drove along, spotting for roos in the shade of small, scrubby trees and noting the cows or goats along some paddock fence lines.

Muttaburra is the closest town to the geographical Centre of Queensland and is home to the Muttaburrasaurus Langdoni, the first most complete dinosaur discovered in 1963. The fossils were found by a local grazier Doug Langdon while out mustering. 

It was hard to miss the Interpretation Centre as we drove into town, so we stopped for a look.  I thought there might be more inside than the replica dinosaur but that's just my interpretation!

We found the public loos at the local pool.  That was funny cos we found a pair of roos, too!

One had posed close the sign, so looked like it was getting ready to go swimming - and the smaller one was taking shelter in the entrance way of the ladies.  They moved off when we approached but Nick said the little one was on it's way back in while I was still inside!

I spent some time inside the Post Office/information centre and we followed that nice fellow's instructions to the Centre of Queensland on the outskirts of town. A dad emu with three young offspring was wandering along beside the sculpture, so that was quite neat, particularly as emu footprints feature on the map!

Sunday, 1 November 2020

Hugs at Hughenden ...

Hughenden is in "dinosaur country" and we saw a few sculptures around the town.  

Although our main focus was visiting Di, we did a quick tour around the town to see the main points of interest.

I was a big fan of the Federation Rotunda, made from two huge, 20-foot windmills.  Pretty cool, eh?!

There were some great murals on two of the public loo buildings.  

Each year I create a calendar for family and friends, using my images.  One of the recent themes featured lots of public toilet photos - and I'm collecting more for a possible second calendar.  

The Hughenden Recreational Lake was built at a cost over $12 million.  It opened in December 2019 and seems quite popular with the locals.  There were people on jet-skis and others being towed behind a boat on an inflatable.  Di's dog enjoyed a dip in the water while we stood about chatting.  We bought takeaway from a service station and went back to dine al fresco while watching the sunset from one of the lake's picnic shelters - which was a lovely end to the day.

Day 6 = minimal kilometres