Broken Hill to St.George & return

Friday, Oct 09, 2009 at 11:01

Dave B ( ADL)

Well, after a week of almost continuous dust blowing through town, including a virtual black dust blackout on Tuesday, we left Broken Hill on Saturday with the wind starting to blow again.
Met up with Roachie and family around the corner and talked about getting excellent fuel consumption with the wind about to blow us to St George.
A wee stop at Wilcannia, and noticed the Darling was just a few pools here and there.
Onto the River Road and on through to Tilpa for lunch. The dust that was blowing, restricted the scenery somewhat, visibility was only about a couple of kilometres instead of the usual clear blue skies and endless horizons. At least we should get about 30 kilometres to the litre with this tail wind. A couple of photo stops along the way to remind us of the conditions.
Another wee stop at Louth, and it was on to our campspot for the night on the side of the Darling. At Louth, you could walk across the Darling with hardly enough water to fill your boots. Just up river from Louth, there is a weir that builds the water level up to about 4 feet, so where we camped , there was a semblance of a river, although no flow in it.

After a quick setup for camp, we all had a drink or two to wash the dust down, and fortunately the wind had abated considerably. No campfire that night because of the extremely dry vegetation all around and a bit of a breeze.
Next morning, with thankfully, no wind, we set off for Bourke, Brewarrina, Dirranbandi and St.George. Along then way I spotted a couple of emus kneeling down having a drink at a small soak on the side of the road.
I told Roachie, who was about a K behind me, that if he slowed down, he might be able to get a photo of them having a drink. He said he would creep up on them! Ha, can you imagine Roachie creeping up on anything with that noisy bit of cast iron in the front of his car. I told him the emus will think there is someone firing at them with a machine gun.
Between Louth and Brewarrina, was the first bit of greenery we had seen along the track, the rest was a reminder of the drought.
On to St. George to be met by Sir Kev and a whole lot of others who had already set up camp.
A great spot with plenty of room to choose a campsite without having to get too close to each other.

Sunday night and Monday was spent meeting up with old friends and getting to know others we previously only knew by screen names. Monday I also went for a drive with Colin in Toni. I thought I was in the NASA control room with all the gadgets and computer stuff in there. Pretty impressive Colin.
A very interesting town tour for us Monday afternoon, the another interesting morning on Tuesday at Ashwood Cotton Farm.
Wednesday was off to Rose Hill aviary, and sadly we forgot to take the Quell tablets for the bitumen road out towards Bollon. It was a shocker at 90 – 100 KPH, much better at about 80 in my car anyway. The aviary was sadly closing soon, they had some beautiful parrots there, and a very tame Kookaburra came and roosted near our table while we had some morning tea.
Then off to lunch at the artesian bore closeby.
A group of energetic women strode out of camp each morning on their walk, stumbling on Kangaroos, Emus and even a Diamond Python one morning. Not for the faint hearted this morning walking stuff.
Each evening was great having a few laughs amid the raffles. I heard a rumour that Steve had to get another axle put on his CT to take home all the prizes he won, and Ray had us all in stitches with his rendition of the stockmans first flight and turbulence. Well done Ray.
We had an event reversing the trailer, and I am sure Mr Bitchi has a five speed reverse on his Paj, he flew backwards down the straight and around the corner just under the speed limit. Well done John.
Friday was time to say goodbye to quite a few who were moving on. One guy from Bendigo said he was likely to be gone by the time we all got up, but he was going to try and be quiet when he left.
I thought he had decided to stay another day the time he took to pack up. What time do you call early Scrubby?

Saturday we were on our way home too after saying goodbyes to the few who were left.
Up until Saturday, I was undecided which way to go home. First choice was Cunnamulla, Thargomindah,Bulloo River Road and Tibooburra, but it depended if there was rain forecast that way. Second choice was perhaps through the Warrumbungles. As it turned out, there was no rain forecast, so off to Cunnamulla. A stop at Bollon to have a look at a really interesting heritage display. Thoroughly recommended. And also a delver, the machine used to make and clear the irrigation channels.
There is a nice free camping area down by the creek and even a dump point there too. Cunnamulla also has a very good Visitors Info Centre.
Sunday on to Eulo after a look around Cunnamulla. There is a nice camping area behind the pub at Eulo, $10 per night. An interesting air raid shelter was built at Eulo for use during WW2. It is next door to the pub.
Thargomindah was the destination on Monday. It is just so dry out through there. Willy Willys all along the way. Also machinery along the way that has been used for maybe dubious farming methods considering the drought. Big machinery used for clearing the land of trees.

Vast areas of virtual desert, with millions of tons of topsoil blowing away.
Thargomindah was an interesting stopover, and the Hydro Power is a must see. 4.30 pm is a tour of the old Hydro power plant, and is really interesting.
Then down the Bulloo River Road towards Warri Gate. Previous arrangements had been made to visit Ludwig Beckers grave at Kooliatto waterhole, the site of some of Bourke & Wills party who perished there. Again, more Willy Willys and long stretches of bulldust along the road.

Overnight at Olive Downs in Sturt National Park, then around the Gorge Loop Road back into Tibooburra.
It really wasn't until we got on the Gorge Loop Road that we saw some green on the ground.
From Bollon to here, about the only green we saw was a green Falcon in the street at Cunnamulla.
It really is so dry. Tibooburra to Broken Hill we saw a lot of Corellas and goats all trying to get a drink at a waterhole at Onetree.
Now we are home, all that is left to do is shovel out the dust from the car after a great gathering at St. George.
Now we are looking forward to the next one.
'Wouldn't be dead for quids'
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