Wednesday 24th July 2002
Would you believe, we had trouble with the NEW gas camping cooker??!!!. The same problems, though, it worked for a while then slowed and stopped. I began to wonder if moisture was in the gas and freezing inside the jet.
Before we left Charleville we had to fuel up. To my amazement I was served by a woman I had last seen in Hervey Bay in about 1996 running a Hardware Store. She told me they had been in Charleville for a couple of years and were loving it. A big difference in locations!
We called into the Hardware shop and explained the problems with the gas jets. He sympathized with us and exchanged it for a brand new unit, testing it before we left. (But in a lot warmer part of the day)
Fingers crossed we would have no more gas problems.
We left Charleville and set off north, hopefully towards more warmth.
The first stop was at Augathella. We drove into the township just to see what was there. It wasn't a bad little place actually. On the edge of town, just before the main road north we stopped to give the dogs a run. While we were parked, a road train trundled north. For a lot of miles we were stuck behind it trying to pass. At one stage, to let it get further ahead, we pulled off to the side to take video of the first Emus. A group of them were wandering along pecking around in the drought stricken grass.
We caught up with the road train again of course and eventually had to pass it. Ray and Coral were behind us as Judy had enough vision to pass. The vision turned out not to be a problem but the snaking of the trailers on the road train did. After we finally made it past with our trailer following behind, Ray notified us of how close the trailers came to colliding with us. Better we didn't know it sounds.
From then on it was smooth driving into Tambo. We arrived around lunchtime. Great planning. :))
Tambo is a lovely little place with a small man made lake on the southern edge of own. Ray and Coral sat under one of the picnic shelters while we took the dogs for a walk along the lake edge. The Emus must have been very hungry there as they were walking along the bitumen road and into the park surrounding the lake. They were unfazed by humans, as they walked where they chose without the slightest nervousness.
Lunch was delicious - sandwiches made up on the back of Judy's car. It was lovely and warm, the sky was really blue and clear, the birds flitted around and I sat there looking over the lake that had little ducks swimming on it, thinking how life can be pretty good at times. It's the really simple things that are the most enjoyable.
Ray and Coral also visited Tambo Teddies.
Driving further north, time went slowly as the road ahead became fairly monotonous. We were driving along in our usual way, Ray and Coral in their car, sometimes ahead, other times behind, talking intermittently on the UHF CB radio about anything of interest.
This time while following us, an alarmed Ray alerted us to the fact that a piece of steel, he thought a leg off the BBQ stand he had made for us for the trip, had flown past them, very closely, just missing their windscreen!
We quickly pulled off the road and sure enough, we were missing a leg. Apparently one of the nuts had worked loose due to vibration and allowed the bolt holding the leg onto the stand to work its way out, leaving the leg free to fall off the top of the trailer where the stand was well and truly tied down. After removing the other 3 legs we walked back along the road searching for the 4th leg but to no avail. It seems it bounced on the road and landed somewhere off the side of the road in the thick, dry grass.
We arrived in Blackall before business closed. Our notes advised us to call into the tourist information office, which we did. They were really helpful and pointed us to a camping spot over the river. I think we had to pay a $5 fee, but for the comfort it was worth it. It was within a short distance of toilets and showers which were available 24/7 from memory.
The showers had HOT water!!! It was supplied from the underground bores, a little sulphur smelling but great on sore bones and muscles.
On arriving at the spot pointed out to us, we began setting up camp. Judy was attempting to assemble our brand new gas cooker when the chromed pipe attached to the screw fitting for the gas lead, inside of the cooker, broke off as she was tightening the outside nut.
She felt really bad at breaking it but I assured her it was just a shocking weld, very thin walled tubing and very shoddy workmanship holding everything in position. I decided to see if anyone in Blackall could weld it for us. I could see a car mechanic working across the creek and decided to approach him. He was really fantastic and for $10, spent around 1/2 hour doing what was a very fiddly job. It worked well for the rest of the trip and in fact still is!
I wasn't impressed though with what is supposed to be a very good brand of gas cooker designed for camping. That was the second problem we had with that brand. The first was with the original unit that had blocked gas jets due to cold mornings. This was the brand new unit to replace that original problem.
As it turned out, it was decided to build a campfire to keep warm. Judy and Coral ended up cooking on the 3 legged BBQ stand, with one leg over a log to stabilize it.
We enjoyed a great "fry up" as Judy calls it. Sausages, fried potatoes, onions and eggs too if I remember correctly. There go my Cholesterol readings! Oh well, you only live once. After the delicious food, we sat around the campfire enjoying the company, our cuppas and the warmth of the fire.
Morning arrived and another great nights sleep. The temperature was noticeably improving as we travelled further north.
We pulled up camp and had showers. As we were seeing the towns on this trip on a very tight budget, we couldn't visit the tourist "attractions" and settled for the experiences and nature. Therefore, eventhough there are sights in Blackall I would love to visit on a future trip, we had to move on after refuelling.
I did sample a meat pie from the local bakery though. ( No doubt you can tell I love my food! ) :))
As well as memories of Blackall, I took prickles from the area around the campsite. I learned my lesson but ended up with around 4 prickles in my feet that plagued me for days until I worked out how to get them out. No more walking around barefoot, as much as I liked it.
Next stop, Barcaldine.
Click on the pictures for larger versions
|The spot we picked to set up camp. It's on the outskirts of town, across the creek/river that runs through the town.
|Great spot except for the prickles I found while going barefoot.
|Our home away from home with the
luxury bedding for the dogs outside.
Chippy seems happy with it.
|The view as I lay in our tent resting my back.
|Muffy and Jude up close and personal.
|Ray and Coral's home away from home.
|Their work bench.
|As the sun sets we start arranging the cooking spot.
|Judy begins preparations for the "fry up" on our Disabled BBQ Stand
Last Updated : 28/01/2012 09:04 PM +1000