Sunday 21st July 2002
We left Chinchilla and headed west again. We thought of having smoko in the next town, Miles and then looking at the historic village but the cold wind put us off and we decided to head on to Roma.
Seeing we didn't stop at Miles, I decided that at a future date I would do a trip from Kingaroy to Miles, then up to Theodore, to show Judy Isla Gorge.
After leaving Miles, we passed through small settlements which made me wonder how and why they existed. No doubt at some stage they were vital and exciting places. Places like Drillham, Dulacca, Jackson, Yuleba and Wallumbilla.
I had heard of a new tourist attraction in Roma called The Big Rig. As I knew of Roma's past with oil, I assumed it was using that as a theme and therefore I was interested in seeing it. We saw the signs pointing to The Big Rig as we entered Roma and followed them. To my disappointment it was closed. It looked very "Gold Coast Theme Park ish" and more expensive than we were prepared to pay. As we had to keep moving, we passed up the opportunity to see it.
After having lunch in Roma at KFC and refuelling, we headed towards Mitchell. The terrain was very open and grassed. I assumed, though maybe wrongly, that what I was looking at was "Mitchell Grass".
Other than the wide open expanse of very dry country, burnt off by frost and wind, the railway line was the only thing that took my eye as we drove towards Mitchell. A lot of upgrading was being done. Specialized railway construction equipment dotted the line. As it was Sunday there was no movement of the vehicles but it was interesting seeing the way the line was constructed over such great distances while still allowing traffic to flow on it.
Judy was enjoying driving, so I checked our maps for a possible overnight stop. I settled on a weir again, just outside of Mitchell. We had UHF CB Radios in each vehicle and kept in contact with each other, eventhough we may have been over 10km apart. Ray and Coral were happy with leaving me choose a spot to camp. I would then let them know my thoughts for their approval or otherwise.
In this case the decision was a good one as we were really happy with the weir grounds. For other prospective campers, it's called The Neil Turner Weir and it's on the Maranoa River about 5 minutes west of Mitchell.
When we arrived, there was only one camper. The camping area was perfect for erecting tents. Water was available for washing up. Toilets and showers were also provided.
As the sun was about to disappear, we erected the tents and arranged the cooking area. The showers and toilets were inspected and as they were not the greatest showers, we elected to try out our shower tent and associated pump equipment. That way we could have a warm shower by using some heated water. The shower tent and equipment was a great success except for some minor changes needed to the arrangement of the feed hose and pump switch. We found the feed hose to be way too short and inflexible and needed to sit the pump on a bucket to get the required height. After only washing since Kingaroy, it felt great to have a shower and feel totally clean and refreshed again. There was great amusement at the fact that I used my quota of water and was still left with suds on my body.
Night set in and we enjoyed our meal before heading off to bed.
I was awoken by an uneasy feeling of cold. From my breathing, my moustache had water through it, caused by condensation. It was just turning to frost. A look outside explained why, frost was everywhere. We crawled out, looked around and saw everything was white. The water left in the dish from washing the dishes, after our meal the night before, had about an inch / 25mm of ice in it. Also the knives and forks were frozen to the tray they had been left in to dry. The tiny amount of water in the tray was enough to hold them solid. The dogs were very frustrated after we let them off their leads. They tried to get a drink but could only lick the ice on the top of their water.
Even though the conditions weren't comfortable, the view was very pleasant. The magpies seemed elated, as they sang and walked around on the frozen grass, seemingly oblivious to the conditions. The sun streamed through the trees causing steam to rise as the frost began melting.
Judy tried lighting the gas to make a cuppa but was met with a refusal by the jets to light. While freezing, she continued her attempts to light the useless thing, finally having a result.
As I wrote this, Judy commented, "Yes, even as I was brushing the ice off my nose and my hands were numb, Gary still had to have his bacon and eggs."
Yes, I do like my bacon and eggs and I noticed Ray liked his porridge. Whereas I do find it hard to live on Judy's "jail rations", a piece of dry toast and a cup of tea.
A visit to the toilet block presented us with no water from the taps. They were frozen too. Also, during the night, others had arrived and used the facilities. Obviously they weren't designed for that many people or were blocked, as they had backed up and the results of the night's toilet usage was bubbling up in the shower cubicle. Not a pretty site. A very friendly council worker arrived to water the grass and we notified him of the problem. From his comments, I have no doubt it would have been looked after quickly, as other than that problem, the grounds were immaculate from obvious care and attention. If every camp site was the equivalent of The Neil Turner Weir, all camping on the road would be very enjoyable.
After having breakfast and packing our gear, around an hour later, ice from the dish was still lying where we dumped it, hardly melted.
The next stop was to be Charleville. We decided to spend 2 nights there if it warranted it.
Click on the pictures for larger versions
Both tents up - now to enjoy the sun and surroundings.
|The peaceful scene - Chippy seems to be happy with it.
|Looking towards the weir wall.
|Across the weir - from the comfort of a camp chair outside the tent, as the sun sets.
|A frozen Nissan Pulsar rooftop. What greeted us next morning.
|This is not fun - I'm frozen!!
|Ray and Coral packing and trying to get warmed up.
Last Updated : 28/01/2012 08:59 PM +1000