It's a real pain in the bum catching up after being out of wireless range for a while. It takes hours (well, it does me anyway) to type up the details from previous weeks.
I'm heading up the Stuart Highway towards Alice Springs, so with a bit of luck I may have reasonable coverage provided I don't get too far from the bitumen.
To bring things up to date since I last posted on the 4th March (to my embarrassment, 54 days ago). When we last spoke, I was at Port Julia on the Yorke Peninsula. I had only planned to stay for a week, but on the day I was due to leave, the weather was a bit iffy, so I stayed for another week. I went down to Adelaide, not because I like the cities, but I needed to have the Kia serviced and re-stock the freezer and pantry and it's a hell of a lot cheaper in the big cities than in little country towns or even in regional areas.
I did a little sightseeing and it's amazing how much Adelaide has changed since I lived there. Only to be expected I suppose, seeing it's 45 years since I left!!!
Wednesday, 31st March 2010
I left Adelaide and headed North, heading for the Flinders Ranges. I stopped overnight at Mallala as there is a free camping area at the local sports ground. Very pleasant little site, although very close to the road and quite a bit of traffic.
I have seen some big rigs since I've been on the road, but this one was a monster. It looks like it was originally one of Deluxe's interstate double-deckers which had sleeper accommodation. I shudder to think what it would have cost to set up and, even worse, what it would cost for fuel on a long trip. Some people have waaaaay too much disposable income.
Thursday 1st April 2010
Into the Flinders Ranges. I was going to over-night below Rawnsley Bluff . . .
But the local landowners have put No Camping signs at all of the nice pull-offs. Pressure from the Wilpena tourist resort I presume, so I kept on going.
The road from Wilpena Pound to Blinman was gravel last year when I came through, but it is now bitumen all the way. I'm assuming this was driven by the number of tourists visiting Arkaroola and Angorchina. The road is still fairly narrow and winding, but it's a lot better than it was.
I got to the Parachilna Gorge and set up in virtually the same spot I had been last year and every thing was hunky-dory. You may remember, if you've been following my travels, that my visit was cut short last year because I became ill, but I'm going to stay for a couple of weeks this time and get some serious bushwalking done.
Friday, 9th April 2010
We have had a bit of rain through the area for the last couple of days, but it didn't seem all that heavy. I woke up a couple of times last night and while the rain makes a bit of noise on the roof of the caravan, it wasn't what I would call a downpour.
I woke up very early this morning, about 6am, and I couldn't work out for a minute what it was that had woken me, and then I realised it was a strange noise outside the caravan. I got up and had a look and nearly put a hole in the floor when my bottom jaw hit it.
The creek, which had been bone dry when I went to bed, was now a raging torrent! 3 metres deep, 30 metres wide and flowing at 30 to 40 kms an hour. As you can see from the photos, the road had simply disappeared. I wonder if it will go down as quickly as it rose?
Later in the morning, I walked back to the previous crossing and that was washed out as well, so in effect, I am trapped on an island about a kilometre long and could be here for a while.
Monday 12th April 2010
It has been 4 days since the creek flooded and, while it has dropped a lot and isn't flowing very fast, there is no way I'm going to try to tow the van through it. The creekbed itself is OK because it has a rocky bottom, but there are deep layers of silty mud on the approach and departure and I'm not going to take the chance of getting bogged in that. If it was just the vehicle, I would get through fine, but towing one and a half tonnes of caravan could be a bit dodgy, besides, I'm in no hurry.
Wednesday 14th April 2010
Bugger! My freezer has died. No idea what's wrong, there is power getting through, but the compressor is not working. I've stuffed as much as I can in the freezer compartment of the caravan fridge and cooked up some, but I think I'm probably going to lose about half of my meat.
I'm going to have to change my travel plans. I was going to go up either the Birdsville or Strezlecki tracks, but this rain seems to have been quite widespread and heavy and everything is closed. Even the Oodnadatta track is closed to everything but 4WD's. Plus I think my ulcer has come back (or I've developed another one), so I'm going to go back down to Adelaide to sort everything out. I HATE back-tracking.
The creek crossing is still a bit dodgy, I have helped dig out 4 people so far who couldn't get through the mud on the banks. This photo is taken from the same angle as the first flood shot, so you can see how much water there was when it was flooding.
Thursday, 15th April 2010
Rather than go all the way into Adelaide with the hassles of traffic, I have pulled into Mallala again and I'll go into Gawler to check up on the ulcer and the service agent for the freezer is on Port Wakefield road, so I should be able to use this as a base.
Crikey, it must be a tough life as a Doctor - I went to 4 different medical centres and all of them said "Sorry, we're not taking any new patients". Not only is this very hard for tourists, but even people who live in the area who aren't already patients would be affected. What if you were really sick? Anyway, it seems that the local hospital has a GP clinic and I went in and saw the doc there. He told me I've have got an ulcer. Geez, 5 years of medical school so that he could tell me what I already knew. He prescribed some Losec, which will relieve the symptoms, but didn't want to actually treat me - gave me a referral to the casualty department of Lyell McEwan Hospital in Elizabeth. Went to LMH and, after 4 hours, they suggested I go and see a private GP. Christ, full circle and nothing accomplished. I think I'll just keep taking the Losec and see what happens - maybe it'll just go away.
Monday, 19th April 2010
I have booked into the Gawler Caravan Park for a week while I get all this business done. The Fridgemate guy says it will take 4 weeks to get the parts for the repair and I'm not going to hang around that long.
I bought a Jackeroo 50 litre 3-way fridge from K-mart for $249.00 which is a great deal and I got the local butcher to cryopack a heap of meat for me which means I don't have to freeze it. I'll wait until I get to Alice Springs and have another go at getting the freezer fixed.
I neglected to mention that one of the things that happened at Parachilna was that I lost my generator. Well, I didn't lose it - the creek took it. I had put the genny on the bank of the creek among the roots of a bit River Red Gum, and next morning guess what - it wasn't there, the creek had washed it away when it rose.
I had previously spotted a Waeco 1000W generator in Gawler which seemed like a reasonable deal and so I went back and did a bit of haggling and got it for $1099. It's a clone of the Honda genny, but a word of warning to anyone who is considering buying one, the 240V outlet is 10amp which means that a standard caravan extension cord won't fit!. I had to make up an (illegal) 15amp to 10amp adapter before I could use it.
Monday, 26th April 2010
Well, on the track again. Left Gawler this morning and headed north again. Stopped in Port Augusta to refuel and buy some bread and milk and some fresh vegies. Amazing, Coles was shut because it was a public holiday, but Woolies was open. I can't understand why, but glad it was so, didn't fancy paying roadhouse prices for that sort of thing. I have stopped about 34 kms north of Port Augusta at a rest area near Tent Hill North. And I'll stop here for a few days to get the city life out of my system.See you soon.