Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 5 Hot air and sacred canyons

Every day you wake up, are healthy, have enough to eat and can enjoy the simple things in life is a good day. Some days, however, are better than others. Today was one of those days. We had a little surprise for Di to day, which involved getting up at 4am, then driving 30 kms through kangaroo and emu country. You see we had organised a hot air balloon ride from Rawlings Station for her.
 Di has been up in a balloon before and it was one of life’s highlights and she has been wanting to do it again for a while. We took off from a clay pan about 25 kms from the station, just as the sun began to rise and I must say it was an amazing experience. I have spent more time than the average person in different aircraft and there has never been the sensation that this type of flight gives you. Our flight was just on an hour and gave us a completely different perspective of the Flinders Ranges as well as the surrounding ranges. Our heights varied from ground level to about 1800 meters and ended as any good balloon flight should safely on the ground, albeit in a tipped balloon basket.
Some say you haven’t been ballooning till you land like this. We helped pack and stow the balloon then had champagne and treats for breakfast. We went back to camp and thought we might have a relaxing afternoon but we ended up not that tired so decided to go out to the sacred canyon and rock carvings. This was a short trip with about 15 kms of dirt. Gaz and Chaz can with us as this was not really Commodore country, with Peter and Robyn following. This country is amazing and keeps throwing these little tempters at you from time to time. The canyon was one of these. It was not a long walk or even very strenuous one but provide us with a great afternoon spectacle. Walking up the dry creek bed, through narrow, rocky gorges each different from the previous it was just a fitting way to end a great day.  

Sacred Canyon
A visitor and family

the travelling wilburies

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 4 Wilpena Pound

After another cool night we rose to another great day. Today we have a couple of things loosely planned. A bit of house work (washing), a morning coffee/tea with a planning session and a lot of procrastination was the order of the day. We decided, in the end the 6km round trip to the old Wilpena homestead was the first adventure for the day.  It was a very nice walk, not too strenuous, with some great scenery, rock formations and plants, to say nothing of the wild life. It really is quite nice here at the moment with things relatively green and the wild flowers starting to blossom. The wild life also seems to be booming as well. There are a number of emus with chicks, kangaroos with joeys and birds galore.  They have these birds here which we have not seen before and people have been calling them “happy family”. They seem to roam around in packs and look a bit like a sparrow on steroids. I personally think the name is a misnomer as they don’t sound all that happy to me. Bloody things sound like their bluing all the time.

Old Wilpena Homestead
Sculpture at the homestead
The home stead is really well preserved and the story board chronicling the life of one of the siblings shows the hardship and heart break the early settlers endured. I don’t think too many of us “modern” folks would cut it out here. Now the walk to the homestead was 6 and a bit kms return but we ended up walking about 8 kms. You see we decided to go up to the second lookout. Now according to the “map” it was about 600 mtrs to the top what it didn’t say is the track rose 320 mtrs. How do I know this I hear you asking?  Well I had my GPS with me. The panoramic views from the second lookout, across the “pound” and back through the gap to Wilpena were fantastic.  By the time we returned it was to late to do anything else so we chilled out. Damn life is hard. I have discovered the invariable life comedian again. The men’s urinal and I can hear you say “Don’t go there” but here at the pound he has been at it again. I would not say I’m that tall but I am not vertically challenged either, however, at the urinal is a sign which says “please flush after use button is on top of the cistern”. Not an unusual request but the cistern is more than 2 metres off the ground. I can’t see the button and can just reach it on my tip toes. Some people really have no idea.

some locals enjoying the sun

Some non locals sharing the sun

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Day 3 Peterborough to Wilpena Pound

Well we woke at reasonable time but didn’t get away from Peterborough till about 9.15 the social butterflies that we are spent a fair bit of time chewing the fat with a number of our fellow travellers. It’s amazing the diversity and variety of people who just stop and have a chat. It’s also amazing the variety of destinations they seem to be heading. Each has their own story or anecdote or question which invariably leads on to other conversations. It’s a wonderful kaleidoscope of  views, ideas  and general chit chat. So we said good bye to Peterborough and headed for wilpena. Pretty easy trip of about 200kms and relatively uneventful except for the reversing camera on the van coming of its bracket about 3kms from Wilpena. The galvanised screws had rusted through but wasn’t too much of a concern. The roads again were pretty good albeit a few hills. From Hawker out to the pound is about 50kms and has a significant population of emus and kangaroo who have no brains or road sense so we took the trip with a little more caution. Wilpena camping area is not at all what I expected, although I don’t know what I really expected. It’s a nice place, very picturesque and the view from our “patio” would be worth a fortune. We had a pretty relaxing afternoon chilling out and had a couple of short walks while we waited for our fellow travellers to arrive.  We have all set up camp now and it will be pretty quiet (and chilly) night I think.

Hey Sandy have you found Dougal yet?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day 2 Renmark to Peterborough

We woke to another nice day although it was pretty cold over night. We had a couple of resident ducks out side our door looking for a feed and embracing conversation - they got neither  fair chance would have the other million and half of their relatives who call this part of the river home arrive on the door step as well. We made our way via the Cadell Ferry to Morgan for morning smoko. The ferry is free and if you have time is just something a little different to driving down the highway. Morgan was a quaint little town and very RV friendly. We stopped and had a cuppa and chat to a host of fellow caravaners and travellers, none of which – including us seemed to be in any great hurry to move on. But we said our good byes and headed off for Peterborough. The road was really good and the k’s went quickly enough to ??? after that the road deteriorated for the next 60 kms to Peterborough.  We made it here about 1pm, set up camp and headed into town to the Big Blue I (information centre). Peterborough is an old railway town with a lot of its character and culture centred on that. The information centre is set up in an old rail carriage which has been wonderfully restored and the couple on duty were very helpful although thing must be a bit slow around here when you get excited about someone signing the visitors book “Peter Burrow”.  We decide to visit the steam museum first and to check out the sound and light show they run in the evening. We have decided to do that tonight. Next we went to Dragon’s Rest Gardens apparently named because of all the bearded dragons that populate the garden. We didn’t see any and were a little disappointed with the gardens but then our expectations may have been all wrong. The lady owner was certainly a bucket full of knowledge on the local flora and fauna. Peterborough seems very RV friendly although there is only one small van park.

This trip we have a tom tom to assist with the navigation, as those who read our last travel  blog will know on occasions I have been know to become geographically challenged. I am not sure this is a good thing cause I am unconvinced the brain and the voice in the unit are actually connected or really know the way to go. I feel this is a developing story and reckon by the end of the trip I will be hoping she elopes or something.
The photo on left is a garden setting carved from local timber by the owner at the gardens and photo above right is looking south from the caravan park. Don't forget "Dougal"

Friday, August 26, 2011

Day 1 Bendigo to Renmark

Well the journey has started and we got away pretty much on time. There isn’t much to say today it was mainly driving. The roads were reasonable, although in places they have or are breaking up. The best road was between Redcliffs and Werrimul no traffic to speak of and the road was in good nick. We had morning tea at Nullawill and there is photo  for Faye. Lunch at Redcliffs and a walk around Big Lizzie then off again. Big Lizzie is a mammoth machine used in the mallee to clear land for irrigation and farming. It’s got its own blacksmith shop in the front section. The wheel arrangements are ingenious to say the least. Top speed about 2 kph. We must belong to some secret club or sect because I have noticed, not for the first time, that when a van, motor home or basically anyone towing some form of mobile accommodation passes us in the opposite direction we get the raised forefinger. Now I have looked all over the car and the van I can’t find anything that would cause this to happen. Somewhere out there is the raised forefinger club which, somehow, I have become a member of. Di tells me they are gust being polite and waving. Personally I’m not sure for all I know they could be giving me the big “L”.

Today’s photos are of us by the road enjoying a cuppa char, big lizzie and the view from our van. Don’t forget kiddies “Where’s Dougal?”

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The stove top

As promised here is the pictures of the hand beaten stove cover. Still not sure whether to put the second section on yet. Pic 1 is up ready to cook. Pic 2 is with the fold section in place (just sitting there) and Pic 3 is without it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Friday - Too far away

Well it’s definitely count down time – a bit like the old shearer’s wife’s lament. Friday too tired, Saturday too drunk, Sunday too far away. Well for us it’s Friday too far away.

Below is the route for the outbound journey and we will be taking 3 days which will give us a bit of time to investigate for future trips. I have had a close eye on the weather in “the pound” and, well, it’s all a bit pleasant really. They have had a little rain and showers so some of the tracks may be interesting but that’s half the fun.
Peter (brother) has been preparing his new van (should have brought a semi by the sounds of what he is packing). It hasn’t had a shake down run so the “pound” trip will be it which should be interesting. Janyce is pretty much ready now after the reno’s. 15 minutes to pack and were done.
Gaz is pretty much right (other member of tagalong tours). He is heading off Saturday so he will be doing the out bound a bit quicker than us. For Martin I will include a photo, shortly, of the finished kitchen including the tinsmith job I did on the stove top.
Bring on Friday

Friday, August 12, 2011

Our theme for this trip

Last trip as many would know we had a bit of a theme running and it seemed pretty popular to the multitude of followers of our blog (last count about 5 people). So this time we have been urged to do the same by our ardent and loyal followers. With that in mind we tried to figure out what to do this time and we have decided its to be "where's Dougal". For those that are not familiar with Dougal he is the Daffodil Day bear and we are using last years. In at least one photo on each post while we are away Dougal will be in it, all you have to do is find him. The person with the most correct entry will receive a prize of some sort. I was suggesting a rock from the Skytrek Track  duly autographed all members of Di and Dave's Tagalong tours, however, Di is not convinced this is at all appropriate so we will have to come up with something. A photo of Dougal will be forthcoming so you know what you are looking for.  For those that follow Sue and Ian's blog - no I didn't steal their idea - I merely used it as reference and research, anyway we aren't on a pub crawl. Anyway its Daffodil day on the 26th Aug so go and buy something and support them (web  Below is this years bear, Dougal the Super Hero.

And this is Tagalong tours "Dougal" in his Mambo top for our trip.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Its nearly that time again

 Well it’s nearly time for this years sojourn and we are off to the Flinders Ranges shortly. Its been pretty hectic as we had to have a few things done to the van since last year and why is it ends up being a bit of a rush to get things finished on time. The roof of Janyce (the jayco) had to be resealed and then the service and after all that we decided to have an awning fitted.
We got her back and then had to replace the bench tops and table. Photos show the new bench tops on process of being fitted. I can say I have just about renovated any kind of accommodation now. So the old girl has had a bit of a spruce up. With the six months we have had I can’t wait till the only thing I can see in the rear view mirror is Janyce. As usual the travel blog will be up and running so if anyone reads it I hope you enjoy.