Days 20, 21 - Birdsville to J C Ruins ('Waverney'), Windorah, Quilpie.

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2013 at 20:01

Member - Ossiejs (Qld)

Day 20 : Birdsville to J C Ruins ('Waverney').

Farewell to Birdsville, and my track was East for a change along the Birdsville Development Road. What a road it is! Sections are very poorly maintained with many sections with gravel the size of golf balls, and bigger. It has to be the roughest I have driven on, and it took its toll as I found out later today.

I detoured slightly through Betoota - another unpopulated Western Town. Just past Betoota, there was a drive up to Deon's Lookout perched on a jump-up overlooking the surrounding area. What a magnificent, panoramic view, and worth the stop for a cuppa.

About 223 kilometres East of Birdsville, after a long section with many a shredded tyre on the side of the road (that would a hint to the Shire Council I would have thought), the road became a wide, bitumenised 'Emergency Airstrip'. Part way through, where parking is prohibited, I heard the not unfamiliar sound of a flat tyre on the Camper. Oh, that was why I carried a second spare!

Perhaps I should ask Julia and Cambell to along the the drive - that might encourage them to release more funding for our Western roads!

Wishing to avoid a Parking Ticket, I drove slowly to the end of the strip. Having recently had a similar experience at Carnarvon Gorge, I quickly changed the now-shredded tyre and resumed my journey, more slowly!l.

A friendly word to fellow travellers. I did note that while Road Trains and fellow travellers generally slowed down or stopped when approaching on the gravel roads, some contractors and local workers don't appear to be concerned. They move over, but don't slow down. My windscreen was hit by boulders more than once, but being almost stationary, I suffered no damage. Touching wood now!

And a final word on the subject, pull over and stop for an approaching Road Train on dirt roads - you will have zero visibility for a while, and that is scary if moving!

The next site I ventured onto was the ruins of the J C Hotel, near the abandoned Waverney Station and former town of Canterbury. The J C Hotel site, with an interesting history, now resembles a rubbish dump with rusting galvanized iron, loose barbed wire strewn around, weathered upright posts and old, broken glass around. However, I spied a Coolibah tree offering good afternoon shade, so, that was for me.

Setting up the Camper for the night, I found that the vibrations had weakened and dislodged four aluminium rivets from the hinges holding the top part of the Camper door to the frame. Without these, the door can neither be closed or secured. And I didn't think to carry a pop-rivet gun, pop rivets, a 12v drill and bits, or even a variety of screws, nuts and bolts. Next time! My concern was keeping flies, bugs and bogey men out during night. I improvised a temporary fix, and after a quick bush shower, I was set for the night.

Free camping doesn't get any better than this.

For an Outback Camper, the trip was pushing the Camper to its limits, and I haven't been "off road".

Day 21: J C Ruins ('Waverney') to Quilpie.

After a leisurely breakfast, and some running repairs and maintenance, I was on the road again. My Aunt in Toowoomba had asked me to deiver some packages to a number of her relatives in and around the Windorah area. And there was the busted tyre.

First there was a look around Windorah. The town is nowhere as big as I imagined, and again, has no mobile coverage. After a little bit of shopping in the Information Centre, I found a local servo and the tyre was replaced with a reasonable second spare.

After refuelling, I headed East to see friends of my Aunt at Hammond Downs Station. On the way, I crossed over the famous Cooper Creek, my intended camp that night. So this is the start of the Channel Country, where the Thomson and Barcoo Rivers become a Creek! It is indeed a "fine watercourse" as recorded by explorer Charles Sturt in 1845. I would have used more imaginative adjectives, but then again, I don't have to report to a Judge - done that enough in my lifetime.

Continuing on to Hammond Downs, which has a long association with the Kidd family, I handed over a precious piece of 19th Century Royal Dolton china which had been in the Kidd family for generations. It survived the long journey intact. When accepting the package, I was told the fragile piece might have been broken using traditional delivery methods.

After a cuppa and a good chat, I bade farewell with a promise to return with Marie one day. Decision time, I opted to push on to Quilpie. Cooper's Creek camping can wait.

The entry to so-called Quiplie Campground was slightly difficult to find, and the campsites on the Barcoo River were inadequate for a Camper, or Van - if I had the right area. Light was failing, so I found an open level area a little distance from the River, and settled for the night.

Tomorrow, Adavale and possibly Wakes Lagoon Station.

To forget one's ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root -- Chinese Proverb
John & Marie
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