Burton's Perth to Cape York Day 4 Tue 3 April 2012 Gunbarrel Laager to Mingol Camp

Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 11:15

Mike & Amanda

Beautiful morning, dawn chorus, strange birds singing, everything tinged with red. We're camped at the Gunbarrel Laager out the back on the red dry mud, dotted with desert oaks and other small trees. We managed to find a spot in shade and this time carefully positioned the trailer east/ west to maximise the early morning and afternoon shade. It has been quite warm in the day and late afternoon, seemingly hotter than the temp gauge reading of 35 degrees C. Gillian Marchant welcomed us to the ex-table grape growing property showed us the facilities, all looking a little tired and probably now catering for the worker segment. Last night a couple of trucks turned up and populated the camp kitchen and laundry, cable layers by the look of them.

Only 262 km today with 5 hours factored depending on the condition of the Gunbarrel! Kids are still sleeping and this quiet time with a fresh cup of real coffee is heaven....flies aren't to bad here, although for the first time a few mossies have appeared :-( The ants are baaad! There are millions of them and if you inadvertently stand in a trail they overwhelm your feet and crawl up your leg..not a nice feeling. Out came the ant dust and we had to nuke a few million with spray.....

Bit of a drama with the Internet last night. We switched on the Telstra Elite wireless modem only to find no signal. When connected to the aerial on the car it managed 3 bars. We connected the iPads wirelessly, however this is no good to upload photos to the Exploroz site as java or something is required that Apple doesn't have. We tend to type the blog and diaries on the iPad with the plan to upload. Exploroz does allow email transmission of the blog with photos however the damn iPad 1 doesn't have a camera. Yesterday I used the big Canon 5D so somehow I needed to transfer the photos....I seem to be going around in circles so gave up and opened up the laptop. Mmmm, now I need to get the iPad blog into the laptop....the signal proved to be very weak and even opening up webmail and Exploroz websites proved to be a challenge...aaghh. In the end the blog arrived on the laptop via ITunes , now cam the task of transferring the photos which isn't a big deal, excepting their size of 10mb meant they had to be made smaller. This was achieved using Picassa and ACDsee. Unfortunately with several upload failures and IO errors whatever that is it took hours, but finally done. Hopefully this learning curve and better connectivity will make it much much easier in future..

In addition the EO Trackme turned itself off and we lost tracking for a while. Somehow the member number and EOTrackme service disappeared from the App and required re-entering. Not a big deal if you can remember your member number......and don't forget to enter the 'M' in front....aargh again!

Oh, well if all obstacles are so trivial, we are in for a great trip....;-)

After morning showers again ( any opportunity to get clean!), a breakfast of cereal and coffee we packed up the Oddy, dancing around the ant invasion and headed off down the Gunbarrel. The road for most of the way appeared to be freshly graded, sometimes as wide as a freeway with other sections single lane and rutted. Evidence of recent water was everywhere, with the occasional warning sign in place. The bush is a vivid green colour, absolutely beautiful and verdant, what a great time to travel. We passed huge lakes full of swans and ducks, marked on the VMS maps as 'flood plain' or 'salt lake'. We only hit two water crossings, one being a little tricky with a rocky bypass detouring around a deep hole. Quite a few deep washouts would irregularly appear keeping the driver on his toes, accompanied by an expletive deleted as we bumped through them. Average speed was around 85, quite comfortable and the Cruiser handling it with ease. We had to keep looking behind to make sure that the Oddy was still there, it was so unobtrusive. I said to Amanda that a caravan could handle this so far with ease. I've been in worse Coles' car parks. Little did I know that this statement would come back to bite me later! I suppose for accuracy we are not yet on the true Gunbarrel still travelling Wongawal Road. Lots of big cows erratically wandering around, so care was needed. One large bull with humorous white rings around each eye stared at us with what looked like clown-like surprise followed by horror (in human terms), questioning our presence before kicking his hooves in the air and galloping off in a random direction. One other thing, we haven't seen another vehicle all day!

At about 1:30 we arrived at Mingol Camp or Harry Johnston Water. It is a sort of track and parking area off the side of the road, right next to a magnificent billabong or permanent water hole. There is a open tinned roofed area with a table and nearby old spring beds. We set up right near the edge of the water under the shade of some coolibah trees ;-) the temperature is about 36 degrees with the flies being a nuisance. The occasional breeze provides instant relief. Birds are everywhere and we hope that with the fish, insects and birds, the mossies may be manageable. Amanda knocked up a camp favorite of toasted ham and cheese, washed down with soda water and orange juice...yum! The kids are now inside,away from the flies doing the day's schoolwork. I'm going to try the waterhole and get wet... The kids have just spotted a race horse goanna visiting the camp, I think they are more properly called perenti.

Mike & Amanda
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