Days 24 to 27 - Charleville to St George, Applethorpe, Home

Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 20:07

Member - Ossiejs (Qld)

Day 24 - Charleville to St George via Mitchell.

Last night dropped to about 7°. I was looking forward to cooler weather, but to wake up freezing in the early morning was unexpected. I have some warmer gear packed somewhere.

I started the day by visiting relatives in Charleville. I first met them at Barkly Downs Station some 12 months ago when we placed the Headstone on Hop Thomas's grave. Like me, they are direct descendants of Hop and Annie's children. I am a direct descendent of their only daughter. It is always a pleasure to meet them. It was reassuring to see that work was progressing well with the promised levee banks to minimise the damage from the occasional flood that inundates Charleville.

Gearing up for the leg to St George, I refuelled, and put some air in the tyre which went flat at Adavale. All sounded good until there was some PSI in the tyre, and then came the hiss. I inspected the puncture, and it looked like a ragged object had pierced the centre of the tread, and was unlike punctures from the usual screws and nails.

I reckon it was a road kill I ran over - not by choice - on the way back from Wakes Lagoon to Adavale. There was road kill all over the road, and a Road Train was approaching from the South. As I was slowing to a stop, the area was like a minefield with animal carcasses, but I had no choice. I distinctly remember running over a decomposing dead roo, and hearing the unnerving sound of crunching bones. The windows were up in anticipation of the dust storm from the Road Train, so at least I was spared the unforgettable stench.

I have always believed that bigger bones in a roo or pig could pierce a tyre, and I guess I was right. Wrong time at the wrong place!

I had the equipment to fix a puncture, but was a bit apprehensive as I had a fair way to go. I happened past an RACQ agent - a tyre store - and you guessed it, I pulled into the station to have an "expert" assess the tyre, and if I would be able to fix it myself.

The tyre mechanic didn't need to look at the puncture. He showed me signs I had missed, namely a number of indistinct bulges in the tyre wall, meaning said tyre was well past its use-by date. It was useless. So, I had a reasonably good second hand tyre fitted. The things you learn on the road!

Now confident with all spare tyres intact, I was mobile again. I had figured the route to St George via Cunnamulla was some 200 km longer than going via one of our favourite Towns - Mitchell. That was the way to go if I was to be in St George well before dusk, and one of two real danger times for roos and other animals on the road - just on first and last light. They are always a threat, but a tad more active, and harder to see, at those times.

The trip to St George saw plenty of wildlife, including brolgas in flight, dozens of emus, especially chicks with their dads, and roos. Lots of road works, and a very noticeable change in the vegetation as I travelled South. Then, there came the large cotton bales and vast fields of grain and cotton in flower. Again, what a contrast to the dry fields and paddocks in the Outback.

I opted for another night of luxury by settling for a powered site at another favourite - theKamarooka Tourist Park , St George. A cooked meal (by me of course), a warm shower, update to the blog, donning some warmer gear, and crash for the night. Being a cooler night, I had forgotten that toothpaste is just that, a paste. Up North and out West, toothpaste is almost liquid.

Tonight's temperature here is forecast to get down to 6°. What a contrast to weeks needing my trusty fan on for most of the nights.

Day 25 - St George to Applethorpe via Goondiwindi, Texas.

This was to be a longish driving day Easterly, stopping for lunch at a servo/truck stop outside Goondiwindi. Truck stops are usually a good sign of getting a decent feed at a servo. I had originally planned to camp overnight outside Texas, but a call to a cousin in Applethorpe changed my mind. He was to leave Applethorpe for some days work before I would arrive. I would need to be in Applethorpe tonight if I was to catch up with him.

Committed to driving the incredibly winding and occasionally hair raising road from Texas to Stanthorpe, I made good time and settled in at Applethorpe for a couple of nights. I unhitched the Camper in anticipation of having to cover part of the relatively notorious stretch from Stanthorpe toward Texas is I was to travel to view Glenlyon Dam tomorrow.

Day 26 - Applethorpe, Glenlyon Dam, Stanthorpe, Applethorpe.
Retracing some of the ground travelled yesterday, I had a decent look around Glenlyon Dam: 27 km long with a surface area of some 4,300 acres. There are cabins and caravan camping facilities at Glenlyon Dam Tourist Park next to and overlooking the Dam. This is definitely a spot where I will be spending some time for fishing and vegeing out.

On the way back, I called in to see my cousin and a team crutching a flock of sheep to prevent fly strike. Impressed with the way the team quickly handled ewes almost their own weight, I returned to Applethorpe and settled in for a leisurely afternoon catching up on blogging, and communication with family.

Day 27 - Applethorpe to Brisbane via Warwick.

Last day of the trip. it certainly was a shakedown trip for Camper, with a list of minor repairs to attend to after I return home. I opted for the still-under repair Cunningham Highway. Nothing seems to have changed in the couple of years since I last drove this road. The Highway has some interesting corners with Camper in tow, and saw me back in Brisbane just before lunch.

Home: Time to unload, repair, clean and service the Camper and Prado before planning my next trip.

In Summary, I have now crossed off my bucket list:
• Camped on the banks of the Georgina River, Camooweal;
• Visited my Irish-born Great Grandmother's grave in Urandangie;
• Drank a beer to my maternal Great Grandparents in the Urandangei Pub;
• Stood on the sands of the Simpson Desert, Birdsville;
• Climbed Big Red Sand Dune, Birdsville;
• Camped on the banks of the Diamantina River, Birdsville;
• Sat on the banks of Cooper Creek, Windorah; and
• Visited Wakes Lagoon Station, Adavale.

In the weeks ahead, I will import a reasonable cross section of photos into my various blogs. In other words, return periodically to view the added photographs to my trip blog.

See you on the road, or camped somewhere in the magnificent Outback.
To forget one's ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root -- Chinese Proverb
John & Marie
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