Coat of Arms time …

It was a Australian Coat of Arms type of day with plenty of kangaroos and emus along the way with the living out numbering the roadkill for a change.
 
An easy day travelling from Cunnamulla to Charleville. It only seems like I was only here 2 months ago.  Great weather again with clear skies and 30C, so it was definitely a shorts, t-shirt and thongs day.
 
With only a 200 kilometre journey, I made it to the Cobb & Co Caravan Park around lunchtime. This was planned as I had some work to do on plans for the Adelaide Rally as well as doing some provision shopping.
 
Diesel @ Charleville $1.579
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Back of Bourke …

A big 400 kilometre session of roadkill slalom. Todays travel took me from Cobar through Bourke in New South Wales finishing up at Cunnamulla in Queensland. The amount of roadkill was amazing with something every 100 metres or so.
 
The usual kangaroos and goats were there but they were joined by emus and even pigs. The stench was overpowering so it was air-conditioning on and windows up.
 
There was still plenty of live animals lining the road as well with horses, emus and camels joining the kangaroos and goats. I am still to see a cow or sheep along the way.
 
Once again the drought is evident with the only grass cover if you want to call it that along the edge of the roadway. This would account for the large amount of roadkill.
 
I almost made my own roadkill when a flock of goats decided they needed to be on the other side of the road in front of me. Luckily I managed to pull up from 90 kph to 60 kph.
 
A stop at the Queensland / New South Wales for the obligatory photos but didnt hang around long due to the stench of rotting roadkill.
 
Called it a day in the Cunnamulla Tourist Park.
 
Diesel @ Bourke $1.629, Cunnamulla $1.599
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Thar’s Gold in them Hills …

A day of exploring Cobar using geocaching as my guide. There is more to Cobar than a town out in the middle of nowhere. It has a history of copper and gold mining dating back to the 1800’s and in fact the mining still continues today.
 
The morning was spent doing a mini power trail on the Bourke Road (Kidman Way) then I spent the afternoon checking out the mines, old and new and doing some 4WDing as well.
 
A highlight would be the Fort Bourke Hill lookout that overlooks the New Cobar open cut hole. The mining is now underground with the entrance down in the bottom of the pit. This is the closest currently operating mine to the town.
 
Diesel @ Cobar $1.609 per litre
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Time for roadkill slalom …

Another travel day with 460 kilometres from Broken Hill to Cobar. This section particularly between Wilcannia to Cobar was some of the roughest bitumen roads so far.
 
Once again it showed that the drought was affecting the region with no ground cover or grasses even though the trees seem to be doing OK. The road was littered with dead wildlife, mainly kangaroos but the occasional emu and goat. Obviously the only grass was along side the road edge with goats and kangaroos lining the road and very used to traffic as they just looked up as I went passed and didn’t move. The birds that were making a meal of the road kill would fly off.
 
At one point I was using a road train to drag me along but there suddenly appeared a dead roo underneath it which meant a quick swerve to miss it. After getting the caravan back under control, I pulled over to see what the damage was. Luckily it was just one drawer out and some contents out of the fridge.
 
At one of road side rest stops, there were goats everywhere. There was one couple trying to eat their lunch at a picnic table and about 20 goats wanted to help them out.
 
With a few stops along the way, it took 7 hours for today’s journey. The temperature has also risen to 26C during the day so it is now time to break out the shorts.
 
Diesel @ Wilcannia $1.619 per litre
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Look out for the goats …

A travel day today heading from Mildura to Broken Hill, a trip of 300 kilometres. Not all that far but it still took 5 hours with stops for geocaches along the way.
 
The drought was very evident half way between Wentworth and Broken Hill with no grass, only sand with the occasional tree. There were plenty of wild goats on the roadside with plenty of kangaroo roadkill.
 
The was a major infrastructure project on the western side of the road. They are building a 270 kilometre water pipeline from the River Murray at Wentworth up to Broken Hill. This has been due to the current water supply for the city being unreliable. 
 
Getting into Broken Hill around 3pm, I spent the rest of the afternoon checking out the sights of the City using geocaches as my guide.
 
Diesel @ Broken Hill $1.569 per litre
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Some River caching …

By the time I had woken up, Garry was busy doing caravan park stuff and Deb was at work in town.
 
Today was a geocaching day around Mildura. The weather was very changeable, depending on where I was. On the western side it was warm and no wind while on the eastern side was windy and wet.
 
At the end of the day, I headed out with Garry and Deb for an Chinese meal at Andy’s Kitchen in town. I had the seafood special and boy did it clear the sinuses and bring on a sweat. We finished off the night with some night geocaching with a couple of moments dodging kangaroos.
 
Diesel @ Mildura $1.529 per litre
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Time to get some warm weather …

Having been back home for just over a month and only at work for a couple of weeks due to my knee injury and surgery, I was getting itchy feet again for travel. The cold weather didn’t convince me that staying home was an option.
 
I had originally booked a week of Long Service Leave to go with the High Range 4WD Club to Googs Track on the West Coast. But the plan was to change. I booked another tour of Long Service Leave that gave me 20 days off and decided to head northeast to warmer climes and attend the Queensland Outback Geocaching Muster in Barcaldine.
 
Rachael returned home from the US yesterday, so managed a quick catchup and finished my last night shift this morning, then it was time to hit the road.
 
There was a short diversion to The Bend Motorsport Park to check out what we are going to do at the Adelaide Rally in November. It was cold and windy so was looking forward to some warmer weather in a few days time.
 
Heading towards Loxton, the temperatures were rising with 21C by the time I got to the border. The skies became very dark and the temperature dropping 10C with heavy rainfall for the next 100 kilometres.
 
By the time I arrived at Mildura, the rain had stopped and the temperature had risen to 18C even though it was 7pm.
 
Checked into the Apex Riverbend Caravan Park, dining in Garry and Deb’s cabin, before hitting the hay for some well deserved sleep.
 
Diesel @ Loxton $1.559 per litre
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No wind today …

It was too early to head home, and with the wind long gone, we headed through the Southern Flinders to the Clare Valley. My knee was still pretty sore and I wasnt up for a lot of walking but we still did a little bit of it.
 
The weather was certainly a lot colder now than what we were used to. The jackets and ugg boots were on. There was even a campfire at the Clare Discovery Park.
 
Tomorrow will be our last day on the road.
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It’s bloody windy …

After being buffeted all night, the wind was still blowing. We packed up and drove the 3 kilometres to Augusta Caravan & Campers on three wheels, to get the repairs done.
 
Bridgestone were across the road so that was the new tyre sorted.
 
While the van was repaired, a geocaching mate called in and took me caching.
 
After a couple of hours the van was all fixed but the wind was still blowing, so we decided to stay in Port Augusta at the Discovery Park and hope the wind abated tomorrow.
 
Jenny spent the afternoon reading in the van while I headed out geocaching.
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What are the chances of that …

After going through some plans, I had decided on strapping up the axle with the missing wheel and driving on 3 wheels into Marree to see if we could get repairs done there. I also dropped the water from the tanks to lighten the load.
 
We headed over to the Mungerannie Hotel to say farewell to Phil. As we were chatting a empty semi trailer arrived. The driver got out and he was wearing a Caravan Repairs shirt on.
 
I quizzed him about whether he could repair the van. Peter said he owned the Augusta Caravan & Campers and could do it back there. I then asked whether he could take the van on his truck and he asked whether I could reverse it onto the back.
 
Peter had dropped off some gear at a nearby station and only called into the Pub to drop off his business cards that he forgot to do yesterday.
 
There was a cattle ramp nearby and with only 5cm on each side between the wheels and the edge of the semi tray, I soon had the van reversed on. It was then chained and we were soon heading down the Track towards Port Augusta.
 
It was an eight hour drive to Port Augusta with a stop at Hawker to measure the height of the semi with the caravan on the back. There was a railway bridge in the Pichi Richi Gorge area with a clearance of 4.8 metres. No problems, we measured in at 4.5 metres.
 
We had a moment just before the bridge where we nearly took out a kangaroo but apart from that we were soon in the freight yard of Clift Freight Service unloading the caravan.
 
Peter allowed us to camp overnight in the yard then take the van to the Repair Yard in the morning. It was blowing a gale. There were no showers tonight as I had drained the water this morning.
 
 
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