On the road again. The first 10 days. March 2009

Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 07:21

Member-Heather MG NSW

We have been on the road now for some ten days and it feels wonderful to once again be nomads!

For the first five days we were in Yackandandah Vic for their annual Folk Festival weekend so we have covered a few kms during the past five.
It is our third visit for the festival and we alway enjoy the diverse music, Sunday markets and dinner at one of the pubs.
As usual we stayed in the Caravan Park there, this year with a group of friends - 12 in all, and had a wonderful time with much socialising and music.

Monday morning we set off with full water tanks, 'packed to the rafters' and turned towards Shepparton then Euchuca and along the Murray River to start.
Around 4pm we found a lovely place some 20 kms further on than Swan Hill, setting up camp on a slight bend in the River with no one else in sight. This camp area has no facilities, just the way we like it.

The evening was still and balmy and we enjoyed our meal sitting outdoors listening to the birds and enjoying the solitude as the light faded.

Next morning we were off early towards Mildura then to Renmark through the quarantine checkpoint at Yamba. Fortunately I had thrown out the few remaining fruit and vegetables at our lunch place near the border, as we were asked to open the van (fridge and cupboards) and the Ute canopy and rear seat and all was checked. We felt like drug runners!!!

We proceeded from here through to Berri, calling in for a SA National Parks Holiday Pass which enables us to camp and visit most N Pks in SA for up to 5 nights for the sum of $44. (Pensioner rate) It is great value and we used it two years ago when in SA.
We also restocked fruit and vegetables which I hate being without.

From Berri, we took the road towards Morgan and Burra and found our second camping place on the Murray River at Heron Bend, and another quiet and scenic place to stay. Here John caught a big carp which he left on the bank and which was dragged away during the night and devoured by a fox (there were many around early in the morning).

Once again we were on the road quite early and headed for Burra then Crystal Brook where we turned north toward Port Augusta. The head wind was so strong, we stopped some 20 kms from Burra and the 20 litre container of diesel was tipped into the fuel tank. The 80 litre tank which is standard for the Navara is far too small and should be changed we reckon. It is our only real gripe about the vehicle as the fuel consumption with the weight we are towing (two and a half tonne) and the tinny on top of the Ute, is well over 20 litres per 100kms when into a wind.

We had stayed a few days at Mambray Creek Camp ground in Mt Remarkable N Pk a couple of years ago, enjoyed the great walks and thought it would be good for an overnight stay. With hot showers and flushing loos, water. it has excellent facilities, and a permit is required.

We arrived early afternoon and were not disappointed. There were a few others there who invited us for happy hour and we socialised for a couple of hours with then all. I asked whether any were EO members but they looked at me blankly!
Met some people from WA and got a few tips about free camping in that state. We also found out that there is a big gathering on in Whyalla starting on 30th so there are many big rigs and other assorted RV vehicles on the road.

I woke early and decided to do a short walk to Daveys Gully, reaching the top of the hill around sunrise. It was a rather cloudy morning so the views over the Gulf toward Whyalla were very hazy. Still, it was a pleasant start to the day - and a perfect way to see in my 58th birthday. (We did this walk on the previous visit here, along with just about all the others))

Another early start, and we were off towards Pt Augusta then Pt Lincoln. Once again we had a strong head wind and John spent another day agonising about the diesel consumption and me with fingers in the ears!!! It has become a standard joke between us. Just fill the bl...dy thing I reckon and stop the complaining!!!

With strong winds we decided not to find a camp near the coast, and after calling in briefly to Cowell, took the road toward Cleve and Yeldulknie Weir where there is a great rest area with clean loos, BBQ's and water. (We also stayed there two years ago).

Yesterday we drove through to Cleve and refuelled before taking the drive back to rejoin the highway at Arno bay.

Currently we are at Louth Bay some 20 km north of Pt Lincoln for a few nights. John caught two squid off the jetty last night and we had salt and pepper squid with stir fried veg and noodles for dinner. He caught another this morning before breakfast and will return to the jetty when the tide is right later today.

The camping area has about 6 'sites', fresh water and toilets and is right near the beach with access for vehicles to launch boats. At $5 per night it is great value but in high demand! We arrived at 10.30am and took one of the remaining two sites, the other one being taken some 10 minutes after we arrived but since then arrivals have just pulled up anywhere and at last count overnight there were fourteen.

The last three camps (including this one) we are familiar with as the next one will be in Lincoln N Pk so in a sense we feel we are 'home'. Last time we were with two other couples who were not into fishing and we didn't have the tinny so said we would come back to here when we were on our way to the West.

Today I decided foolishly to do the washing the old fashioned way - by hand! We took a drive into Pt Lincoln so we filled the 20 litre bucket with water, washing powder and dirty clothes, sheets and towels, put the lid on firmly, and took it with us. On our return I 'sent the strong one' for more water and we rinsed and then wrung out together the sheets and towels and they are all now drying on my little clothesline.

It was bl..dy hard work but may do my 'old lady arms' some good I guess. Anyway the whole process took ages so from hereonin I will be visiting laundromats for the bigger, heavier items at least. (Yesterday we did the same thing with the smaller and lighter items and it worked well.)

I have empathy for the women of previous generations. There's no way you could work full time in a paying job AND get the washing done this way!!!!

To date we have had no problems with power or any anything else to do with the van (unlike the start to our trip to Qld last Winter - which you can read about in my first blog about our Queensland Adventures 2008) or Navara and the solar panels and batteries seem to be doing the job. The van is proving to be very comfortable and practical.

We think accessing fresh water will be the major obstacle we face this year and realise we may have to visit a caravan park every now and then to fill the tanks (and perhaps to use the washing machines after this mornings effort).

Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. John Muir
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