Tuesday, May 29, 2012

CSR Day 4

CSR day 4

Between the fruit bats squabbling for territory in the tree beside the car, and the trucks idling beside the roadhouse, it was a pretty long night...hence we were both suprised to sleep in until 7.15! We are getting better at packing up, and it didn't take long to get everything organised and away. We have tried several different ways of packing the cab, and will try a few more I reckon before we get it right.

The road continues after Top Springs in excellent condition. The country changes rapidly and scenically through breakaways, jump-ups and valleys, all the while accompanied by cattle dreamily looking on...

We pass through the legendary VRD cattle station, crossing the Victoria river at Deadwood crossing. Not deep, but a nice diversion from the dust. The next scenic wonder is Japser Gorge. This was a real suprise, as it isn't really marked on the maps as anything scenic, but it truly is! The road breaks out of thick scrub onto open country, with beautiful tabletop hills, as if to say 'ta da! here is the Kimberly!!"

We wished we had more time to explore Japser Gorge, it just begs to be walked through and on and around, but we zipped through with only a few photos to show we even went there. From there, the road is still pretty good, but does start to get lumpy, just enough to make sure you are paying attention!

We hit the blacktop again about 20ks from Timber creek, and it doesn't take long to settle back into 115ks an hour, with the scenery flashing by once again. We have arrived in Kununurra and managed to find Jon and Kerrin in the correct van park. It is a lovely spot right on the lake, but pretty exxey price wise..

We leave for Halls Creek tomorrow, and our last internet for 3 weeks and 2,000km. We will update when we get to Kalgoorlie!!

CSR Day 3

CSR day 3

Another cool night, we were up with the sun again and away around 8ish. Just a few km up the road, we spotted smoke and soon after the cause was revealed, a completely burnt out prime mover! As if that wasn't bad enough, the fire had set the scrub next to the road alight, and with the wind, it was moving quickly. There was nothing we could do, as the driver wasn't there, and we are not equipped to fight big scrub fires!

We stopped at Barkley roadhouse for a cuppa, and continued on. The next exciting thing to happen was an intersection! Three ways! We fulled up at the roadhouse and kept on going, and going, and going....Elliott for fuel, then Dunmarra.

We both resolved we;d had enough of bitumen and decided to take the Buchanan hwy. Not only is it shorter, but it promised to be a more intersting drive, simply because it is dirt.

As soon as we turned off, our mood lifted. The bush suddenly has wild flowers galore, flocks of budgies flicked left and right through the trees, to dive across the road just missing the front of the vehicle and climb again, hundreds of individual birds thinking and moving as one. It gladdens the heart to see such amazing things just a few k's from the 'civilised' highway!

Across the Ghan rail-line and westward. The road is brilliant, one of the best dirt roads we have ever driven on. As a bonus, we seen two vehicles in the first 5 minutes, and that was it, we had the road to ourselves! The downside of all this wonder and amazment is the fact that it's really difficult to find somewhere tucked away to camp. We pressed on,deciding if we could get to Top Springs we would stay there. The road runs mostly through thick scrub, with fences on both side, but suddenly, about 40ks from Top Springs, it breaks out into open country. Cattle crowd around, dozily on and beside the road, heads slowly turning, following you as you pass by, reluctant to move out of the way, as if it is vitally urgent they do not move from this spot.

Top Springs it turns out, isn't.

Still it is a friendly place to stay, with an inviting lawn to pitch a tent on and wonder of wonders, a shower block! Not sure where everybody is going, but there seems to be a lot of traffic!

CSR day 2

CSR day 2

We spent most of the night lamenting why we didn't pay that little bit more and get better sleeping bags...it was freezing! Stupidly cold for only 120km south of Normanton. A biting wind managed to mangle the awning that has withstood the worst that Cooktown could throw at it. I spent a pleasent few minutes in the outdoors, inappropriately dressed, trying to fix said awning so that it would stop rattling for a few minutes. The joy of camping!

A crisp clear morning greeted us as we crawled bleary eyed from the tent, a spectacle that was lost on us! I got the kettle going, but it needed constant care as the wood was wet from yesterdays rain. Eventually we got enough hot water for drinks and later on, threw everything in the car in complete disarray and hurried out of bang bang jump up as quickly as the car would accelerate away!

First stop was Cloncurry, our first time back in 18 years...just like we remember...

Fuel, morning tea and away. The bright lights of Mt Isa beckoned us. Actually, the first thing you see is the massive chimney above the mine! Thankfully, Mt Isa has progressed to a point where you can buy decent -6 sleeping bags, and then due to a ticketing error, get 15% off!

No time to celebrate though, back on the road, westward, ever westward.

Camooweal next, took about as long to read it as we spent in it!

The obligitory photo at the NT border, with the stunning nothingness of the Barkley tablelands on all sides. It is beautiful to be able to see the horizon in all directions, sweeping across your eyes with no interuptions.

We have camped about 100km west of the border, in a roadside stop. Nowhere near as cold at the moment, although the wind has been howling all day, and doesn't look like easing off soon. Clear and sunny all day.

Fuel today at Cloncurry, $1.72cpl and Camooweal $1.91cpl.

Canning Stock Route Day 1

CSR Day 1

We didn't get a really good sleep last night, in anticipation of starting our long awaited CSR trip. Obviously, because we had to pack the car, we had record breaking rains yesterday, (over 200mm) but today was looking slightly brighter, cloudy but not raining.

We had everything packed and were underway by 8am, about half an hour down the road, we realized that we'd forgotten to turn the hot water service and the gas off! A quick call to Nanettee and Murray, who kindly offered to zip around and turn them off for us.

Atherton was situation normal...mizzle. It's thicker than mist but not quite drizzle. Over the ranges to Ravenshoe. It was just like flying, driving along the road, the clouds just above our heads! Turn right at the Matilda roadhouse, and settle back for the 200km run to the next intersection.

Really the only interesting thing to report was that it continued to rain periodically most of the day. Usually the weather once away from the great dividing range is sunny, not today. We stopped at Mt Suprise for cup-a-soup served from the tailgate, what an old couple we've turned into! Mt Suprise is a lovely little place for a stop.

Next was Croyden where we stopped for fuel. $1.63cpl. Here wa got a very pleasent suprise. Our fuel consumption is 13l per hundred k's. I can hear everybody groaning, 'oh no, he measures fuel consumption' but on a trip like this it is important, especially when the stuff is going to get more and more expensive! Considering the load we have, I thought the consumption was excellent. We have pulled up at a jump-up called bang bang, about 120k's south of Normanton. A beautiful outback sunset welcomed us to the Savannah, as we set the camp up. It took us an hour or so, hopefully we'll get quicker as the trip progresses. Quite chilly tonight, early to bed!