Beatit on the road - Day 11

Friday, Aug 17, 2012 at 20:26

Member - Beatit (QLD)

We didn’t get away till about 9-30 this morning after extracting ourselves from a difficult spot, it seems that whilst we look to be getting slower we are actually betting more polished and relaxed. The road to Camooweal is isolated yet busy with traffic, apart from vehicle movements there would be nobody anywhere nearby. There were a couple of rest stops but nothing worthwhile and we ended up having morning tea in the car whilst driving and stopping for lunch at Camooweal. The roadhouse there was busy but had a large paved area behind where we parked waiting our turn for fuel. We decided to buy lunch and had one of their burgers – it was just great and very filling. Our day was still young and whilst we had talked about staying at the lagoons here we decided to press on instead.

Lis took on the driving duties and almost immediately the road conditions deteriorated with long stretches of road work. A little way past one section we were overtaken by police and ambulance vehicles sirens blaring, later we came across a pranged hire minivan and assumed this was the focus of their attention. Doors left open in a ditch one can only assume that the hire company will need to come and get this smashed vehicle. Shortly after we passed the NT border and gained half an hour.
What was really noticeable was the large expanse of grasslands and almost zero wildlife, just a few birds. A couple of road kills suggest that there is life here though. There is precious little happening here with a couple of decaying reminders of attempts to work this land, a few large dams around some bores that held cattle not venturing too far as the country looked extremely dry.

About 60k past the roadhouse we stopped at the rest area as we had read that this was the only one with a toilet till Barkly homestead. There were already people planning to stay the night but we had no such intention and decided to push on to a rest stop about 40k short of the homestead opting to free camp. Our main reason is to test our systems and make sure that they will stand up to free camping before we reach Darwin. Simply, if something needed attention then Darwin was our best chance.

We arrived about 3 PM (3-30 Qld time) and were most impressed that we had covered about 400k. Tomorrow we have about 220k to reach the three ways where we plan to spend the night. The rest area here is reasonably large but there are already about 10 vehicles here to spend the night ranging from motor homes to camper trailers but there are no facilities so it is bush camping. I assume that a lack of toilet was a problem for some as several cars drove through and out the other end after seeing the crowd and no toilet. I was speaking to a neighbour and he said this had been a very common occurrence coming out of Darwin, he said the previous night they moved to a truck pull over bay because of the crowd.
Our van was parked near the water bore and there were some dishes there to water the local bird life. We could see the passing bird traffic from our dinette window.

There are some weird people like a young tourist I sprung at the water at about 9-00 I was wandering outside looking at the stars as it was pitch black. I had the torch with me to see if there was some nocturnal wildlife at the water, when I switched it on there she was washing her hands and legs scared the crap out of me! There is just no way you could see anything and after I said hello she walked off into the total darkness to a camp I hope.
There were some comings and goings but none compared to the two road trains carrying cattle that parked almost next to us at 9-30. They left their engines running for a while and heaps of lights and enough meat on board to keep us fed for the rest of lives. They scared away our didgeridoo player who would have been right next to the bovines and I have no idea how much excrement they produced but I reckon he was close enough to know. All this was happening while I was watching Arnold Govenator in Collateral Damage – the irony was not lost on me! Lis kept telling me that the cattle hooves sounded like thunder in the back of those wagons but luckily at about 10-30 they decided to move on and tranquillity was once again returned to this “isolated” bush camp.
A new way of life is emerging.
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