Most of spring was spent wandering Queensland, hunting storms, varied landscapes and exploring the world to our north…our 1st trip (left) was 5 weeks and 15,862km – from the bottom to near the top of the continent, and the 2nd trip (on right) in comparison was 19 days and 7,939km. In between trips we had a Christmas barbeque with a bunch of weather people in Melbourne, dinner with family and sadly, the funeral of a close friend. The trip is described in diary format and may wander about as much as we did…
18th October We left Trentham dead on 12pm with the odometer sitting at just under 200,000km. The day is sunny with cloudy patches, cumulus and stratocumulus to our north as we head out of Bendigo. Hay in southern New South Wales is our first night’s target – right on the river. There’s not much traffic on a Tuesday – it’s much better than travelling on a weekend…one of the benefits of being retired. The sun is hot on my knees and ABC radio is talking about Trump, Australian gun laws and the upcoming bushfire season. Drivers are polite on these country roads, they will let you know when it is safe to overtake.
We stopped for the first cup of tea on the trip west of Deniliquin and watched a line of showers on the cold front. Nothing came of it but because we had seen a couple of lowerings and vaporous ‘funnelly’ things we decided to sit and watch a few minutes.
The Edwards River at Deniliquin hasn’t quite flooded the town but the caravan park is suffering and there are lakes where once were carparks!!
We pushed on to Hay to the Big 4 caravan park down near the river in South Hay. A tidy drive-through site for $32 and lots of hot water in the showers. We walked into town to check if there was anything on offer for tea….the IGA supermarket seemed the best bet, so we bought some supplies and some tropical strength Aeroguard to combat the mosquitoes (which I applied liberally as soon as I was out in the street) and ventured back across the flooded river with a bunch of sweetpeas that a couple of ladies in the Main Street had encouraged me to pick from their garden.
Tomorrow we plan to head north to Bourke and another of our favorite van parks.
19th October Last night they closed the highway we were going to go north on today due to flooding – so we are playing snakes and ladders today having to go north, then east, then northwest then northish then northwest.We left Hay about 9.30am after an unseasonably cold night had us most thankful that we had forgotten to take the doonas out of the motorhome. Heading north we came across water flowing quite quickly over the road – with a 3,500kg Ford Transit we did fine – but I don’t think I would have liked trying to negotiate that in a Toyota Corolla!!!
The day was mainly sunny with occasionally boring cumulus (of no discernible vertical ascent) drifting about. I discovered that it’s not flat country that I dislike – it’s treeless flat country that gets to me – and why I occasionally need a hill and tree fix.
The roads so far between Hay and West Wyalong are ok other than the river we drove through. We spotted cotton bolls lying along the road – didn’t realize that the cotton bales weren’t sealed. Patterson’s Curse is everywhere and is about 2′ higher than usual after a wet spring.
We turned right at the Marsden rest area (courtesy of a 4 hour detour of the Newell Highway as there are flooded areas north of Marsden)……and drove east for a bit and turned up the Henry Lawson Way that takes us into Forbes – the road here after the rain is even worse than the Olympic Way used to be in the 80’s. There’s still a lot of water lying around. Whenever you see a reduce speed sign now you don’t ignore it. A lot of the time it’s easier to drive around the damaged road on the wrong side. We had wanted to get to Bourke but with the flooding and detours we only got as far as Trangie.
(to be continued)