Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Into South Australia

Week 8, 22 December 2009

I will never compain about the weather again. I have been moaning and groaning about how cool it has been and how late summer is in coming. Well, it caught up with me with a vengeance. Last Tuesday and Wednesday the temperature got up to 42degC (107.6 in the old money) with a hot north wind. Suffice it to say, I have learned my lesson and will take it as it comes. If you want to know what effects this sort of temperature has, have a look at this.
After celebrating my anniversary (12 months on the road) on Dec 13, I took off from Najada Rockhole and headed east the next day. Dropped in to Eucla to look at the ruins of the old telegraph station. I first saw this in 1979 and it doesn't seemed to have changed at all, perhaps it has stabilised.
The size of the sand dunes here is most impressive, incredible to think that this is solely the influence of the wind.
Big surprise at Eucla. Fuel was cheap!!! $1.54 for diesel, the same as Mundrabilla. Perhaps these people are waking up to the fact that we travellers talk to each other and we refuse to pay highly inflated prices.

Did the tourist thing at the border with the car in SA and the van in WA. I must stop doing that, I've done it at every border crossing, and seeing that I've now made 12 such crossings, it's getting a bit passe.
Through Eucla Border Village and into the wilds of South Oz's far west. Came across the obligatory sign designating the beginnings of the Nullarbor Plain just before Nullarbor Roadhouse. Strangest thing is - only about 5 kms down the road is a sign facing the other way denoting the easter edge??? Surely the Nullarbor is more than 5 kms wide. To be pedantic, the road doesn't traverse the Nullarbor plain anyway. The real Nullarbor is well to the North and you can only really see it from the train. I must admit that the sight of a whale in the middle of the desert is a bit of a shock, but the adjacent cliffs are one of the best spots in the whole of Oz for spotting whales on their migrations. I never get sick of the sight of these cliffs and I pull into every single lookout to have a gander.
Monday 14th Dec. Pulled into a rest area called Yalata West, 21kms west of the Yalata Roadhouse. The actual pull-off is nothing special, but there are plenty of tracks leading away to the north and about 700 metres from the road, there is an old quarry and just beyond that there are some great, shady, level spots perfect for setting up. The third test against the West Indies starts in a couple of days, so I'll rest up and listen in peace.

Wednesday 16th Dec. As I said above, the weather has changed with a vengeance. Too hot to do anything energetic, so I am just sitting around with the fan going, listening to the cricket and keeping the fluids up. The time-zone change of 2 1/2 hours in one hit is hard to take, especially being so far west of Adelaide. It is still light at 9:30 at night and the sun doesn't come up until about 7:00 am. As a consequence I am not getting to sleep until after midnight, but as long as I try and get up nice and early (local) I should get used to it in a couple of days.

Saturday 19th Dec. Weather is absolutely perfect. 28 deg. Hardly a cloud in the sky and a beautiful sea-breeze that comes in about 3:00pm. Went for a bit of a wander yesterday and today, but not much to see. The country is well-wooded with Mallee and appears to be old sandhill country which has become stabilised with vegetation. Discovered tonight from the scurryings, that I have picked up a couple of hitch-hickers of the mouse kind. I caught one, but I will have to pick up a couple of mousetraps when I get to Ceduna. Just another one of the things that I never thought to pack.

Monday 21st Dec. Checked out of Yalata West at about 08:30 and headed East. LOTS of vans on the road, but you have to expect that at this time of year. Through Yalata, where the roadhouse is boarded up, on through Nundroo and took the side-trip to Fowler's Bay. Not much here, but if you were ever looking for a sea-side location to just put your feet up and veg out, it would be hard to find a better place. More of those giant sand dunes, they look good enough to tire out the most energetic kids. The local historical society have done a great job of erecting interpretive signs all over the place.

Tuesday 22nd Dec. Booked in to the Top Tourist C/P in Ceduna for rest and refit. Get the washing done, re-stock the larder and the water containers etc. and I'll be right for another month or so. I'm heading down the West Coast of Eyre Peninsula, heading for Port Lincoln. This is all farming country and surf beaches, but seeing this is where the biggest White Pointers in the world live, I don't plan on doing much swimming. I'll be out of range for two or three weeks, so I'll catch up again then.

To those who read this in time - can I take this opportunity you send you my best wishes for the holiday season. See you soon.

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