Travels to the Innamincka National Gathering

Thursday, Jul 17, 2008 at 14:46

Sir Kev

The National Gathering for 2008 was planned for Innamincka a destination that I had not yet been. Most people I spoke with needed to be explained where exactly Innamincka was.
I spent the weekend packing and loading Darkie for the trip and in the early hours of Monday morning Sam and I left Calliope headed for St George. We had the MIL at home to look after the 2 girls for the 10 days we would be away.
I had recently done a trip to St George with my trailer and had cut a small load of firewood for the gathering (about 1.5t worth) the trailer was left at my parents place for safe keeping.
We travelled in rain from Calliope until around Wandoan, where we turned south west and cut through to Jackson. From Jackson we headed west through to the Canarvon highway which was quite and adventure as a semi had a load of unrestrained tyres on and they decided they would like to spend their time in the scrub on the side of the highway. I tried to call the driver up on the UHF but he wouldn't reply. He ended up pulling in at Yeulba to restrain the tyres.

We continued to St George.
In St George we refuelled and also filled the 2 x 20 jerries. Diesel was 181.9cpl, we also went to the shops and bought fresh fruit, veges and bread.
We rolled up to my parents place to collect the trailer and redistribute the load from the back of Darkie to the Trailer and to fill the water Jerries.
We had an early night alone at my parents as they were away in Winton region checking out the Lark Quarry.

We were up early again (0345am) and were on the road headed for Innamincka by 0430am. The trip was quiet to Bollon which was suprising when taking into account the amount of road kill on the side of the road. The stretch from Bollon to Cunnamulla was a bit more eventful with several close calls with large kangaroos.
We arrived in Cunnamulla at about 0730am and refuelled at the Caltex, diesel was $1.88.9cpl, there was a bitterly cold southerly blowing and I thought about throwing a jumper on (I had shorts and tee shirt on).
On driving through Cunnamulla we checked out the free camps and caravan parks looking for Kiwi (who didn't answer her phone on Monday night) as she was planning on camping in Cunnamulla or Eulo on Monday night. We did find them and continued on to Eulo where we did the same thing as Cunnamulla and looked for Kiwi.
We continued on to Thargomindah and I treid Kiwi on the mobile yet again (it was about 1000am) and she finally answered. They were at Thargomindah Motors refuelling. They had spent the night there.............
We refuelled Darkie yet again at Thargomindah Motors Diesel was $192.9cpl. It was cheaper than the Shell servo by 4cpl.

Sam and I ducked around to the Shell servo to grab some lunch on the run and then set off to catch up with Kiwi's convoy.
We caught up with them about 50kms out of Thargomindah, they were collecting firewood for the Gathering. We joined in there little convoy and Darkie was in the lead as we were the heaviest and supposed to be slowest ;)

We travelled using channel 16 on the radio and I indicated that I was turning left off the Bullo Development Road onto the Adventure way just out of Noccundra, need I say Kiwi and the rest kept going straight on LOL
After they did a quick U Turn then a Right turn onto Adventure way we contunued on.

After we eventually hit the dirt we stopped for lunch. This is where the fun started for Kiwi and the Grenade. Every 15kms or so they had to stop due to the engine light comming on. They did a road side fix of draining the fuel filter of water and continued on. This happened about 3-4 times before they suggested that Sam and I continue onto Innamincka.

Sam and I arrived into Innamincka at around 3:30pm and set up a temp/overnight camp.

We had a get together campfire on Tuesday night and I think we needed to stoke the fire up more as in the morning there was about 5mm of ice over everything :)

We had planned on a couple of lazy days after we arrived at Innamincka so we spent Wednesday moving to a more permenate campsite up near Gone Bush, Dave B, Scrubcat, etc, John T also moved along with Kiwi and her band of relations.

We learnt from Scrubcat that the yabbies were fond of chicken thighs so we headed for the Trading Post and bought some as well as refuelling. Diesel was $2.1189cpl only to go up to $2.219 the following day.

Wednesday nights activities were a blast with Sam winning one of the silly games played. The Yabbie races conducted by Scrubcat were also quite entertaining and word was that both the winning and loosing yabbies tasted fantastic ;)

Thursday morning was cool but not freezing and we decided to have another lazy day and mingled with the other EOers that stayed in camp although we did duck out to Wills grave and Kings tree with John R in his 100 series.
We cracked out the camp oven for tea and we had a roast. Sam being Vegetarian only had veges so I had a 1.2kg leg of lamb to myself and I must admitt it tasted as good as it looked. I almost finished it all as Robyn and Charlie (Navigator 1) pinched my last 2 roast spuds and piece of pumpkin. Jeddah (Willems dog) enjoyed the bone.
Thursday evening we shaved Steves (Geratric Gypsies) beard and raised just over $165.00 for the RFDS.

Friday morning was warmer than the previous and Sam and I went up to check Innamincka township out...........not that there is much to look at.
I tried to cook a damper Friday afternoon and it was very well cooked...........Charcoal on the outside and a little doughy on the inside LOL The chocolate cake was good though ;)
I had also picked up a pan headed metal screw in the travels to Innamincka so I had to remove the rear passenger tyre to repair. I had a little tuition from John R as it had been a while between plugging tyres. (Yes they are Cooper ST's and the white writing is on the inside)
Friday night was the Trivia night ans Sam fought through her sore throat and assisted Kiwi in reading the questions.

Saturday morning dawned and the camp thinned out a fair bit with Kiwi and her clan and most of the Queenslanders heading home, I think Gone Bush also departed along with John R's Collingwood Flag.
Sam and I tagged along with Ray Jen out to the Dig tree and back.
Saturday night we drew the Raffle for the Chainsaw and the Primus HWS the winner of the chainsaw was Pesty and as fate would have it I drew out my name for the Primus which we redrew for Fred to win. We also watched the Burke and Wills movie.

Sunday dawned and even more campers shot through, Sam and I headed out to Burkes grave and surrounds. Sunday night around the camp fire was probably the best night out there with only a small group and a communal evening meal.

Monday morning arrived and we packed up camp and headed home on the same route as we came. Fuel had gone up 6cpl in both Thargomindah and Cunnamulla. We spotted quite a few wedgetailed eagles on the trip to St George. The number of Kangaroos on the raod at dusk between Cunnamulaa was managable and as fate would have it I hit a 4 foot buck 500m east of the Bollon-Dirranbandi road. I coped a small amount of damage to the drivers side front panel and the driverside wing of the bar is slightly bent and needs to be strengthened :(
We reached St George about 7:30pm and spent the night at my parents place.

Tuesday we hit the road by 0945am and arrived home in Calliope incident free by 4:30pm. I have now spent a few days cleaning and replacing the rear seats in Darkie and am looking forward to the next EO Gathering.

I have worked out the fuel economy etc for the trip and it is not pretty. Darkie is a standard 1HZ motor. I taveleed with an average speed of 105km/h with probably didn't help. I also towed the trailer for 75% of the trip.

Number of Litres of Diesel used is 666.87L
Number of Kiometres travelled is 3264.6km
Total cost of fuel was $1274.72

Fuel economy was 20.42L/100km not allowing for the 4% for oversized tyres
Russell Coight:
He was presented with a difficult decision: push on into the stretching deserts, or return home to his wife.
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