Saturday, May 30, 2009

Catching Up (3)

Day 95 – 17 Mar 09

Back out to the main track and on to the township of Finke. What a rat-hole! It would appear, despite what the literature indicates, that it isn’t a town, it’s an aboriginal community. And not a very pleasant one at that. I determined not even to stop and look around, but to head straight for Alice.

First of all, I took the wrong road. After bumping along for about two kms, I realised that instead of the road, I was following the embankment of the old railway line.

I found a spot to turn around and bumped and thumped my way back to the point where I had gone wrong and headed out along the road. Plenty of signage, as the route is used for the Finke Desert Race. Well they can have it. Rough! I’ve gone cross-country with no track at all and it was better than this. Two kms was enough for me. I’m starting to wonder if the railway embankment was actually the right road. Anyway, despite my hatred of back-tracking, back to Kulgera and the bitumen.

Pulled up for the night on a roadside stop on the banks of the Finke River. Bone dry. I have spent two days slogging through bogs and the largest river in Central Australia hasn’t got a drop. It just don’t seem right somehow. Lovely spot, some great walking along the banks of the river, but only 5 metres from the highway, could be a noisy night.

Bloody Hell! The cable has snapped again, the same one which let go near Port Macquarie. Oh well Alice Springs tomorrow and there will be a Jayco Agent to fix it. That’s twice in 5 months, I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come.

Day 96 – 18 Mar 09

A short side trip to see the Henbury Meteorite Crater - Not all that impressive, I guess we've been spoiled by movies and expect to see some monsterous crater a la Deep Impact. The road to the crater is also the back road to Palm Valley, the crater is about 10 kms along it and that was more than enough. What a rotten road! Worst corrugations I've ever seen. I reckon your fillings would all fall out if you tried to get to Palm Valley on this road.

Booked in to the Heritage Caravan Park near the Gap. Bought a membership for “Oz Camps” so I could get a discount. I was planning on staying a week, so the discount paid for the membership. The park is a “Pet-friendly” park. Now, I don’t have a problem with people travelling with pets, although some I’ve seen, travelling with three Shepherds or two Husky’s need their heads read. I think almost everybody in this park had at least one dog, and it was fairly obvious that most of the dogs didn’t like each other, and the rest didn’t like people walking past their territory. I tell you, it was bedlam, all night, every night, bark, bark, bark, yap, yap, yap. Apart from that it was a very nice park, lots of shade, well grassed, swimming pool etc. I thought the boss-lady was a bit tough however when she pointed out that I was set up THREE INCHES over the boundary between my site and the next one behind me and made me move. Especially when the next site was empty.

Day 99 – 21 Mar 09

Took a run down to Chamber’s Pillar today. The road is really rough, didn’t need 4WD, but I was really glad of the extra clearance. There’s a little store at Maryvale Station, just before the Pillar and the people there were really nice. I stopped to get a cold drink and ended up yarning for about an hour. They let me know that they maintained a listening watch on such-and-such a UHF channel, in case I got into trouble, asked what time I expected to get back and so on.

Chamber’s Pillar was very impressive and worth the drive (or so I thought at the time). Some nice shady shelters, free gas barbecues etc. I walked out to the Pillar and at the top of the slope leading to the Pillar itself, they have installed some steps and a platform allowing access to some of the 19th century graffiti by various explorers and pioneers. It was about 40 degrees and I thought I was going to die on the spot. I reckon I lost 5 kg doing that little trip. Note to self: take a bottle of water with you, you bloody idiot!

Driving back, got about half-way back and thought the steering seemed a bit sloppy. Got out to check and sure enough had a flat left rear. I thought I’d be smart and re-inflate instead of going through all the trouble of changing the tyre. Got it pumped up and spotted two very ominous bulges in the sidewall, so had to change it anyway.

Back in town, round to TyrePower and “how much for a new 245/65-17 A/T?” I ask. $320.00 the lass replies with a smile – and it’ll take a week to get here. I tell you what, the car dealers make a big point of telling you that your new vehicle has got 17-inch rims instead of the ordinary 16-inch, but wait till you have to find tyres for the bloody things. My advice – stick to standard. Turned out to be a fairly expensive trip out to the Pillar.

No comments: