Saturday, 7 November 2015

Day 45 – 7th November

Ciaguna – Southern Cross

Distance Travelled – 716.5 km

After finishing last night’s blog and photos it had already started to rain and was not looking like clearing anytime soon so I decided that I would sleep in the car. Knowing that I sometimes struggle to sleep well in the car I decided to make sure that I was well and truly tired before going to bed and made the decision to watch a movie which also gave me the opportunity to run the engine a bit and keep the freezer running off the battery for a while. Being in the middle of nowhere it seemed the perfect setting and atmosphere to watch Wolf Creek 2.

WOW! What an unexpected ending. After watching the movie I settled down for the night drifting off to sleep around 10.30 pm. I awoke several times during the night either due to uncomfortableness or the sound of rain on the roof top. After waking at 3.45 am I struggled to get back to sleep so by 4.15 am, with the first light from the sun peeping out over the horizon I knew I wouldn’t be getting much more sleep. I got out of the car at 4.30 am and went for a quick walk down the road to stretch my slightly stiff legs while the kettle was on its way to boiling. Came back, had some cereal, made the coffee, did the dishes and was driving off towards Norseman by 5 am.

Drove through to Baledonia and stopped there for a few minutes to go for a walk and stretch as well as check the freezer. All being good, I headed off again and drove to Norseman. There was occasional rain but not for very long or very heavy when it did. Got to Norseman at about 9 am. Went for a walk through the town – they had a fun run going and a market stall which I looked through before heading off to fuel up. I was on the road again by 9.30 am.

The drive through to Southern Cross was as non-descript as the first part of today’s journey with nothing photographic inspiring me along the way. I listened to music and some cricket on the way and eventually pulled into town just after 12.30 pm. Grabbed some lunch from the roadhouse and drove the short distance to my place.

After unpacking the car, checking through the house and letting some people in town know I was back I settled in for a snooze and a lazy afternoon and evening. Over the next few days I will complete the unpacking and do all the dreary jobs like washing and cleaning camping equipment and then do a final sort of photos and work out what I will do with them.
No photos to post today.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Day 44 - 6th November

Streaky Bay to Caiguna ( or thereabouts)

Distance Travelled - 1039 km

Fell asleep almost instantly last night and slept through without waking until about 4.30 am and then struggled to get back to sleep. Finally got out of the tent at 6.30 am, packed everything away except the tent and went for a walk for half an hour before coming back and having breakfast before packing away the tent. I was ready to leave by just before half seven.

Drove the 5 km into Streaky Bay and had a quick look down at the jetty in case it was worth photographing, which it wasn't, so had a bit of a drive around town and then headed out off towards Ceduna. The drive to Ceduna was relatively uninteresting and I arrived just on 9 am. Picked up some stuff for dad and then went to the visitors centre to post my blog and check emails etc before heading off again. The next stop being Penong.

What a surprise! Despite opening at 10 am the Penong Wool Shed Museum was still closed at 10.20 am today. This is time number 6 I have tried to visit and every time it has been closed. Continued on to Nundroo where I got some fuel and then continued on down the seemingly never ending highway.

Had to back track a little to find my bearings but finally discovered the unmarked road into Koonalda Station. There were a couple of older guys there who had arrived only a few minutes before me for their second visit in about 6 months. They were quite happy to see me as they thought I might take my fair share of the flies with me. It was very hot and there was certainly enough flies to share around. I wandered for a couple of hours taking some photos and looking at the changes that have been made since I was last there a few years ago.

The inside of the homestead had been cleaned up dramatically with all the ceiling plaster that had adorned the floor removed and new ceilings put up with an attempt to replicate the original batten style. Lots of sweeping and removal of old, broken and damaged furniture has made the homestead quite nice now on the inside. A few things on the outside of the homestead like the odd broken window and gate seem to have been repaired as well.

I had planned to stay at Koonalda overnight but the freezer was struggling with the heat and I needed to keep stuff frozen and as it was only 3 pm I decided I could make good use of the driving time and knock off some of tomorrow's distance today. I headed off and got to the quarantine checkpoint nearly 100 km away at the S.A. / W.A. border without issue. I was checked and cleared very quickly this time which was good. Drove into Eucla and topped up with fuel and drove off.

Coming over the border I picked up an extra 2.5 hours so turned up the music and settled in for a drive. Pulled up about 360 km down the track just after passing through Caiguna. Found a roadside stop and pulled in. The weather looks a bit dodgy so decided to write the blog and sort photos before deciding about the tent. Large black clouds and thunder at the moment do not make the tent look promising. I will see how things develop over the next few hours.

Tomorrow I will cover the last 700 km or so and arrive home late afternoon I would imagine, and face the realisation that my leave is nearly up and soon it will be back to work.

                                               Various old cars at Koonalda Station

                                   Fire place inside the shearer's quarters at Koonalda Station

                                                   A lizard on the road just before Eucla

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Day 43 - 5th November

Macclesfield to Streaky Bay

Distance Travelled - 758.7 km

Woke early (well for me anyway) at 6.30 am but stayed in bed for another 15 minutes before getting up. Showered, had breakfast and packed the last remaining items into the car. Made sure the flat was secure, turned off the water and the hot water system and was ready to leave by 7.30 am. Headed off locking the gate behind me and started the trip to Streaky Bay. The weather was still overcast and rainy which slowed the traffic considerably, particularly as I travelled through the city. Stopped at a Maccas in the city to post the blog and then continued on my way. Stopped at a couple of Westpac ATM's but they were both out of order so decided to get money later.

The drive was rather boring with nothing to photograph and lots of rain. It probably rained for half the day on and off throughout the duration. Stopped in Port Augusta to stretch, grab some money and a pie from the bakery for lunch before continuing on.

Drove through to Kimba where I got some fuel and had another walk to stretch the legs as they were feeling a little cramped and tired. Having fuelled the car I summoned some concentration and drove the last leg of the trip through to Streaky Bay. Once there I went to the information centre and talked to them about the forecast for the night and tomorrow. It appears from the forecast that it is meant to be clearing with a 5% chance of 1-5mm tomorrow whereas today was a 30% of 1-5 mm.  I drove about 5 km out of town to the Eyre's Waterhole campsite and found a couple of other campers in vans and motor homes already here. I chatted to them for a while before retiring to the car to veg out and listen to some music on the ipod.

Organised and ate some tea then went for a half hour walk whilst waiting to see what the weather might be doing. I am not real keen on sleeping in the car with big km to drive over the next few days but neither do I want the tent to get too wet or have to move from the tent to the car during the night due to bad weather. Coming back from the walk I listened to some music for another hour or so before writing the blog. At this stage I am leaning towards tenting tonight but will wait until the last minute before making a decision.

Tomorrow I head towards Eucla, stopping overnight at Koonalda Station if the recent rain hasn't made the dirt entry road too bad. After doing some photography there the plan is to camp overnight and then head off over the border (another 80 km along the highway from the station turnoff) and see how far I get before pulling up for the night and finishing the remaining distance to Southern Cross the next day. I should be able to post this in Ceduna and then the next post may be from home.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Day 42 - 4th November

Macclesfield to Hahndorf and return

Distance Travelled - 69 km

The rain came and went throughout the night. I woke several times during the night and on some occasions could hear it falling and on others it was strangely quiet. I tossed and turned a little last night but managed to keep getting back to sleep. I thought it had happened enough times for it to be quite late in the morning so I got up and had breakfast then looked at the time to find it was just going 7.30 am. I was somewhat annoyed at not having got a decent sleep in but decided it wasn't worth fighting it at the moment so went outside to see what was happening. The morning skies were clear however there was ample evidence of the rain from the night with puddles on the ground and that wonderful fresh rain smell still lingering in the air.

There was not a lot of movement outside although there were many and varied sounds of birds coming from the nearby bush surroundings. I waited a while to see if anything would venture out but after half an hour or so nothing had appeared so I went back inside. I decided to curl up on the bed for a while and read and then started sorting things for the car but put off packing the car.

I went for a drive to Strathalbyn to go to the library and post the blog and check for emails etc. There were a few that needed replying to or dealing with so I did that whilst I was there too. By the time that was all finished it was getting close to 12 so I came home and had lunch before heading off to Hahndorf.

I spent a couple of hours wandering the streets of Hahndorf, looking through a range of galleries, souvenir shops, antique shops, lolly shops, fudge shops, leather work shops and of course the information centre. After about 2.5 hours I came back and started to pack the car. I want to make an early start tomorrow so wanted to pretty much pack everything except the computer away tonight to make for a quick start in the morning.

Having packed away I contemplated going to the local pub for tea but as I was considering the storm they had forecast decide to start. Details on the radio and the SES warning text that came through earlier in the day, had said strong winds, possible destructive hail, up to 25 mm of rain and thunderstorms. I decided it might be best to stay put and organise something here. Watched a movie whilst it poured down outside but thankfully without hail. After the storm stopped about an hour later I went and checked the rain gauge. There had been 7.5 mm of rain last night and in the preceding hour there had been 14mm.

Came back inside and had tea then read for a while and then sat to write the blog. No photography today so that makes things a bit quicker tonight. After finishing the blog I will go and finish the last chapter in my book and then go to bed relatively early ready for a drive of about 750 km tomorrow to Streaky Bay. Not sure how much access I will have to Internet over the next few days but will post where I can and what can't get posted I will post when I get home.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Day 41 - 3rd November

Macclesfield to Strathalbyn and return

Distance Travelled - 23.1 km

After a reasonable night's sleep without any conscious knowledge of effects from watching Wolf Creek I awoke to find it was approximately half seven. I tried to doze some more but was unable to so got up at 8 am and had breakfast. A quick look outside told me there was not much on offer to photograph so I headed back inside and read for a while, completing another chapter before heading back to bed still feeling a little tired.

Basically I got the sleep in I wanted, not waking until just after 11 am. I got up and did some computer work - backing up the last editions of photos etc and then had some lunch before heading to Strathalbyn to post my blog at the library and have a look through some antique and second hand shops.

Posted the blog first and having successfully done that I spent the next few hours wandering through some of the antique stores in town. Some were closed due to the Melbourne Cup but enough were open to allow me to spend about 3 hours wandering. There were a few things that caught my eye, all very expensive and way to big to get into the car even if I could have afforded them. It was a very pleasant way to spend a few hours.

Got back home and spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening reading and taking a few photos outside of bees on flowers and birds. As it turned dark, thoughts turned towards tea, during which a thunder storm presented itself with quite heavy rain and the occasional flash of lightning. Having finished tea I could not pass up the opportunity to maybe get some lightning shots so started setting up for that. Spoke to dad in the process and then went back to the photography. Unfortunately the majority of the closer lightning was sheet, not fork, lightning so the end result was no photos but it was still impressive being around the crashing thunder, flashing light and heavy, at times, rain.

Having packed away the camera gear I watched a movie and then wrote my blog before going to bed listening to the sound of rain hitting the tin roof - a sound I have not heard in a while. Tomorrow I will repack the car and get things ready for an earlyish leave in the morning and then I will spend some time in Handorf looking around there for a while.


Monday, 2 November 2015

Day 40 - 2nd November

Dimboola to Macclesfield

Distance Travelled - 416 km

The sound of 100 white cockatoos screeching thundered through the still morning air and did a wonderful job of awakening me just before 6 am. I managed to doze for a while but was up, breakfasted and mostly packed except my chair by 7.30 am. Spent an hour or so reading in the hesitant sunshine which occasionally poked out from behind the grey clouds. After reading I went for a bit of a walk to see if any photography was in the offing but no such luck. Came back and packed away the chair and set off into town.

The resource centre where I had posted my blog last time was closed but was apparently due to open in about 5 minutes at 9.30 am so I sat in the car and read, furtively glancing at the sign every now and then to see if it had changed to open. About 10 minutes later a lady came out of the shop and closed the door hard behind her wandered off down the street. Half an hour later the sign still said closed and there was no indication anyone was coming back soon. I wandered off down the street and posted the now written on postcard to Michelle and came back but the store was still closed so I decided to post the blog later and headed off.

The drive through to Adelaide was relatively boring as most of it was along the highway and very little super attractive scenery or photogenic material was on display. I continued all the way to Macclesfield without stopping and got to Aunty Jan and Uncle John's place without incident. Rang them on arrival to let them know I was here and to check I was turning the water on properly so as not to stuff anything up here for them. Then it was down to Strathalbyn to do a little food shopping for the remainder of my trip, get some fuel for the car and post the blog.

After enquiring at a few places I was finally sent to the local library to access the Internet. After a little bit of organisation there it was set to go. Posted the blog and having fuelled up and shopped already I headed back to Macclesfield. I dropped a couple of brigade badges at the local station as requested on my last visit and then headed home.

Had a late lunch (3.30 ish) and then a bit of an afternoon snooze which went slightly longer than planned so when I woke at 7 pm it was almost too dark to do much photography. Went in search of some birds just outside the house but no luck so took a photo of the red bottle brush plant instead and that was my photography for the day.

Went inside and read for a bit before watching a movie on my computer courtesy of Shane and Michelle and then cooked tea and got ready for bed before starting to write the blog for the day. I will watch another movie before going to bed around 11 pm (I guess) and I am wondering if watching Wolf Creek that late at night will have any flow on effects in my dreaming tonight.

Tomorrow I plan to sleep in as much as I can and repeat the dose over the next couple of days in preparation for 3 or 4 fairly solid days in a row once I leave here and start the final leg of the journey back to Southern Cross. I plan to visit some of the antique shops in Strath for a while on one of my days here and have a wander through Handorf for a few hours on another day but that will be the extent of my activities here so I can mostly relax and prepare to head home.


Sunday, 1 November 2015

Day 39 - 1st November

Southbank to Dimboola

Distance Travelled - 350 km

After taking a while to get to sleep I woke at around 4 am and struggled to really get to sleep again, getting up just after 7 am and sitting down in the lounge to write the blog. After Lindsay and Heather joined me a little later we chatted, had some breakfast, chatted and finally it was time for me to head off close to 10 am.

I went in search of the postcard for Michelle and pretty much as soon as I left the place I went through a police roadblock where they were conducting Breathalyzer tests which whilst not at all worried about it, I did miss a turnoff I think from the directions Lindsay gave me to the location of shops that had a good chance of selling postcards. After a few more turns and guesses I ended up back at the South Melbourne Markets so I wandered through there for a bit and found a postcard for Michelle.

Leaving the markets I headed off with the definite sensation that this was truly the start of the journey home. It was in some ways a little regrettable as it highlights how close to the end of my year off I am getting but it many other ways it felt good to be heading home and being able to catch up with friends and loved ones. Although it will be not much over 6 weeks that I have been away I have, I think, missed people more on this trip than any of the others I have done this year.

The trip to Dimboola was singularly unspectacular with almost all of it on main roads and highways. There was nothing that caught my eye photographically and the scenery was very much bland and nondescript. I arrived at the same campsite I used on the way over and feeling reasonably weary I decided to camp here the night rather than press on for Adelaide. The shed here gives me guaranteed dryness for the night and given the chance of wet weather increasing it was another plus for staying here.

I read for a while, walked, tried taking photos of some very fast moving swallows and then made some phone calls before having tea and sorting myself out for the night. Sat down to write the blog and go through a few photos before I go to bed ready for the drive to Adelaide tomorrow.

                                                                Bird at the campsite

                                     Plant in the reflection of sun off the river at the campsite

                           My only semi-decent shot of the fast moving Swallows at the campsite