Tuesday, 29 August 1995

Port Augusta

Coober Pedy to Port Augusta Glendambo, Pimba (Stuart Highway) 553 kms

If they had gone to bed with smiles on their faces, then by the morning it had gone from Sarah's at least. Unfortunately, she decided to have one of her "difficult" mornings and the whole camp was set off on a destructive path which sunk us to our lowest depths.

The road south was a silent one for the first 100 kilometres.

Morning tea was a roadside stop after 230 kms, as towns were scarce throughout the five hundred plus kilometres we were travelling during the day. The discovery of green algae in our on-board water supply reduced our desire for a cuppa, so it was a dry argumentfor the adults.

Pushing on through Glendambo, we sighted ourfirst salt pan lake - this area of Australia being famous for this particular type of geographical feature. Lake Hart was one of the smaller salt lakes, but had a good coverage of blue water, rimmed spectacularly, with a white salt crust. As this was between us and the sun, the shimmering water caught the sun in a beautiful display.

Our second fuel stop for the day - Coober Pedy being the first - was at Pimba, which is just off the Stuart Highway, about 9 kms from Woomera. Calculations revealed a vastly improvedfuel consumption result over the previous day's driving - 13.3 litres/100 kms as compared with 18.9 - and this was a massive relief. Despite lots of head scratching, the only reason we could find was the possibility of poor fuel obtained at Erldunda. I determined to look further into this matter.

Salt lakes
Lunch was another roadside stop, this time 20 kms south of Pimba and over looking Island Lagoon. An unpleasant wind and no trees made it a less than perfect stopping place, but we managed, by judiciously placing the the trailer to maximise the shade provided by its bulk.

Continuing south, post lunch, we caught ourfirst glimpses of the Flinders Ranges to our south east and as we approached Port Augusta, they loomed ever closer and larger. We knew we were approaching civilisation again, as the mobile chirped to life 35 kms out and gave us the messages which had been recorded since our last reception at Uluru. This was piece of planning which had
proved to be very successful, for although we had many times been outside of reception areas, the Message Bank had faithfully recorded incoming calls. I was able to check by land line if calls had come in or the service would call us as soon as we appeared on the network.

Port Augusta was another of our changes of plan wrought during the course of the trip and we had decided to stay two nights so all of the washing could be bought up to date. The following eleven days would not be offering many opportunities to wash clothes, as we stayed at Flinders Ranges and Mt Remarkable NP's, so this task and shopping would be performed at Port Augusta.

Our destination was another of the excellent Big 4 chain of caravan parks and the grassy sites and high standard of facilities reminded us again why we always looked for their sign when choosing caravan parks.

A recommendation for tea took us to Pa's namesake, Barnacle Bill and a good value serving offish and chips, consumed with gusto.

The children couldn't believe their luck, as it was TV for a second consecutive night, but after 550 patient kms in the car, they had earned this privilege. It was a treat for me as well, as I was able to watch The X-Files for the first time in two months !

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