|Banking in Barcaldine|
We had to make a late start this morning owing to my reluctance to adhere to an old adage of my father's - when you replace one part, replace the lot. In particular, whenever you repack the hubs of a trailer, replace the split pins. I discovered considerable movement in the wheel bearing on one side of the trailer yesterday in Morven and had to tighten the castellated nut by a sixth of a turn. Having not replaced the split pins when I repacked the hub with grease before the trip, I shouldn't have been surprised when an old pin fractured. Therefore, we waited for a supplier to open this morning in Charleville so I could make this minor yet vital repair - new pins in both sides and we finally hit the road at 9:00am but not before we returned to town and purchased a new camp stove. The old one - still in our trailer after 32 years service - had too many broken worn out bits to make it worth repairing.
Our morning had the perfect pre-dawn start with a phalanx of kookaburras waking us in song - what a glorious sound it was! If I needed only one excuse to be here, this was it. The other feature of the caravan park was our first sighting of a mob of Grey Nomads. Interesting species. They flock into great herds for safety and the benefit of always talking to someone who is like them. Special gathering times are at dusk, when they wander campsites, have drinks and swap tales of profitable feeding grounds and in the morning when they break off into groups of two and three in order to prepare for their day, often preening their feathers and equipment to make sure it is ready.
Sue had talked up Augathella as a source of bush art, including sculptures and murals, so we naturally turned in with keen anticipation, despite being behind schedule. The artists must have been on holiday or hiding behind a tree.
On to Tambo for lunch by the Tambo Lake and despite an exaggeration - this is a small dam at best - we had a lovely hour with geese and ducks and Willy Wagtails.
At Barcaldine, where I stopped and did some computer banking in order to assist Sam with medical supplies. Whilst I was occupied, Sue was off to buy coffees. We have discovered that things are a little different out here in the outback (we officially passed into the outback today). No decaf, no lattes, no soy. Out here, they make song and dance about selling Nescafe instant!
Gunadoo Caravan Park, which is the biggest we have stayed in. 260 powered sites and an endless panorama of caravans and Winnebagos. We set up quickly and disappeared into the outdoor spa even quicker. Sue cooked tea on the new stove - thumbs up - and then we caught the remains of Brooks & Magee, a country act playing at the park. A few red wines made them sound better than they were. Lots of Johnny Cash, a bit of Slim and two great country classics, "The Gambler" and "Harper Valley PTA". I am ashamed to admit I sang along and knew most of the words.
Stockman's Hall of Fame and the QANTAS base tour tomorrow. This is so much fun!