While I wake several times during the early morning, at about 7 I wake to the sound of rain, it’s not heavy, but given we’re on this muddy river bank and the road out is a steep track back to the roadway I figure we shouldn’t hang around. As it turns out after about 15mins the rain stops, so the urgency is gone, but we’re up now, so while we’ll go we can afford to wash and pack up properly. Our shoes now have literally 2cm of mud stuck to the bottom of them, this is mud like I’ve never seen before. It is like glue. It is the literal shit on a stick. A stick will not get it off! I need to change shoes to get in the car to drive off.
Rather than attacking the steep track, we see some tracks that may lead to the road further east and hopefully not so steep. We eventually find a track back to the road and while steepish, the MUX pulls the van out fine, it is an easier option than the way we came in. On the way into town we pass the convoy guys who pinched the best spot on the river….Ghrrr.
Into town and we’re reminded that it is Sunday and store does not open till 9am. So about 15 mins or so to wait. We use this time to clean our shoes on the road and some puddles that are around.
Some bacon and eggs rolls for breakfast yum.
We still have 210km to go to get to Tibooburra. If the road is anything like yesterday this may be a hard days driving, so I start with a fair bit of trepidation of what the day will bring.
The road starts out well and to our surprise the next 120km is great. Sure there are some mild corrugations and minor rough patches, but it’s great. The road practically goes in a dead straight line until we eventually get to a section that seems to circle around a large salt pan or depression in the landscape. Here sections start to get a bit iffy. Again not too corrugated, but there are muddy sections where there is really only 1 clear track, more slippery than boggy. Fortunately we don’t cross paths with anyone on these sections.
About 30km out of Tibooburra, we enter the Sturt national park and I’ve seen this area called the Outdoor Pastural Museum, with all these old farm machinery and the like. We’ve been on the road for over 2 hours so a stretch of legs and a look around is in order. Some of the gear, particularly the WHIM pump (video below) are really interesting. Liam is more interested in a skanky kangaroo skull we found….with some fur still attached…. Yuck.
Finally we make it into town and book a van site at the Roadhouse. As kinda expected, given the last few days, all the powered sites are gone. Maybe tomorrow they tell us. We pull in and eventually find a site that at least has water. I did a walk around and the park has about 55 vans, by my reckoning, it probably should have half that amount. They actually have some outside the fence on the roadside. It’s just so crazy out here.
After the last couple of nights freecamping we need to empty the dunny, On checking the details we find the “dump point” is about 4km out of town at the tip. Some wikicamp notes say it is just a hole in the ground. Now, while not expecting much, when they said hole in the ground, I had expected this rather precision narrow access, but alias no, it is this pit some bulldozer has dug and it is full of unpleasantness.
Anyway, back at the van park and behind us is this hill of large boulders, the kids spend about 2 hours running up and down and playing hide and seek with some other kids. Just before dinner we climb up for a shot, just after sunset. Absolutely amazing
We’ve worked out we really need to get the Queensland border passes on our phones before we try and go out to Cameron Corner. Even in this backwater, there taking it very seriously. Trouble is, we don’t have any internet or phone coverage. Being without phone and internet is a pain, and a reminder of how much we rely on this technology, but it also frustrating knowing that it is all here with Telstra, but we just can’t access. What makes it more frustrating is that we planned for this and brought our spare phone with a Telstra SIM, only to find the SIM missing, we’ve got no idea what happened to it. We realised in Brewarrina, and meant to try to get a new SIM in Bourke but forgot. Both back in Wanaaring and here in Tibooburra, they’ve all sold out.
Justine goes over the roadhouse, while friendly, they’re not particularly helpful, but eventually, Justine finds out they have very basic free Wi-Fi as they are also the local Post Office and Dept of Community Services. She gets enough access to fill out the forms on her phone and save a copy.
Dinner at the Tibooburra pub is OK, but not amazing, Back to the van and the stars are again fantastic. We get ready to close up and bang, our power has gone. The batteries are flat. Lack of power over the last 2 nights, overcast days, the fridge needed to cool everything down after dumping it’s contents seems to have taken it’s toll. Not sure what we’ll do tomorrow. It’s a bit of a disappointment of the eve of Liam’s birthday to be spent in the dark. We let the kids watch movies on their tablets while we read and blog via torchlight.