There’s an extraordinary volume of traffic between Brisbane, Chinchilla and Roma these days. It must be the mining activity in the area as there’s just convoys of trucks and traffic of all kinds.
We’re not sure if this has combined with the recent flooding in the area to affect the roads but I have to say they are in a shocking state. The Nissan and the Aussie Wide are standing up to it well but it is a very uncomfortable journey indeed and I wouldn’t like to be doing it regularly as no vehicle would be immune to it for long.
The UHF is full of truckies complaining about the road as well. It’s not so much the potholes, it’s the waves. It’s as if the hold road from Toowoomba to the North West has been shock waved by an earthquake. The shaking just goes on and on relentlessly. The waves in the road are not long ones; they’re short and steep causing constant jarring of the whole body. I’m concerned about Kerrie’s back as the jarring is obviously telling on her.
Kerrie has packed the van well but even her diligence in storage has not stopped stuff being thrown about in the cupboards. We never have had this happen before.
The conditions cannot remove the thrill of being back on the road again.
As we move past Roma the traffic gets sparser and the further we travel the less general traffic there is. As we pass Blackall the traffic consists of 50% trucks (largely cattle road trains), 40% Grey Nomads and 10% other vehicles. Man there is so many caravans and motor homes out here.
We had as phone call from Martyn, our boss at Koramba, giving us an update on how things had gone for the first week after we left.
He has fine tuned the rosters a bit but there are some early danger signs of the system we left in place not being followed.
I’m hoping that the first stocktake, which will be completed next Friday, will show that it’s been profitable for him.
We free camped at Blackall for night 2 among about 10 other vans and we both had a wonderfully peaceful sleep broken only by the arrival of two cattle trucks in the early hours. The unsettled cattle clattering on the steel decks and the mooing kept us awake for a short time as they soon settled down completely oblivious to the fate that awaited them very soon at the abattoir.
Blackall is still pretty, maybe even more so than when we were here a few months ago, as the rains have “greened up” everything.
We were in no hurry to leave and it was about 8:00am before the Nissan hummed its way out of Blackall towards Barcaldine and Longreach.
We didn’t stop at Longreach this time but kept on to Winton. We were going to stop and take a look at the Australian Dinosaur display but it required us to unhook the van as the hill up to the display is too steep for vans.
The time and hassle of unhooking and re hooking up the van, coupled with the $30.00 per person entry fee made us decide to give it a miss this time round and so we headed on into Winton, parked the van and took a walk around the town.
There’s a lot of history in the town and we would have liked to have stayed overnight and take in a bit of it but there’s a purpose in this trip and that’s to reach Alice Springs as soon as possible so once again we headed on.
Heading on out of Winton the landscape to the west was dominated by the distant Tully Ranges framing the millions of acres of flat country between us and them.
We were thankful to stop at a pleasant little rest area called Wanora Downs about 74km South East of Kynuna. It was so nice to put an end to the constant jarring of the atrocious roads we had spent the last 2 days on, even if only for a night.
The rest area was wonderfully quiet with only a few birds and the crickets call as night approached and the roar of the occasional truck or car speeding northwest. A herd of beautifully conditioned cattle wandered close to the fence beside the area and looked us over curiously before putting their heads down into the lush grass to eat as if dismissing our presence as inconsequential.
Before retiring for the night we were treated to one of those utterly breathtaking sunsets that only seem possible amidst vast open spaces. It was spectacular as the sapphire sky turned into a blaze of orange and deep red and we were in awe of the colours and the sheer beauty of it all.
Then as if to complete the scene the huge silver moon that had arisen to the east lit up with the sinking sun and simultaneously a billion stars appeared.
Standing there alone, seemingly in the middle of nowhere and in the silence and the coolness of the night, we felt that this display was scripted for us exclusively.
After a nice hot shower and dinner we settled down to watch a movie, a little sore but totally content with the world.