..... Saturday 4th December 2010
We had a long day of driving ahead of us so we bounced out of bed and hit the showers. Gary's head was a little fuzzy from his birthday drinks the day before so he didn’t bounce as quickly as I did. We are driving to Mount Isa today which is 570km and I am starting the driving off. This is only the second time I have driven the van, not because I don’t want to, it’s just that Gary is happy to drive and I am happy to take photos along the way. So if I am driving today, guess who is in charge of the camera?
Gary’s attention span got us two photos in the first hour before he got bored and they were of me in the driver’s seat. Some serious nagging needed to be done as well as pointing out potential shots. I probably take hundred photos a day only about twenty of those will get on the blog most are double ups of the same photo, just in case one doesn’t focus properly, a lot are blurred shot where I have taken them from the moving van. You’re getting a lot of road shot at the moment because that is where we are spending most of our days, but we are also trying to show how many times the scenery changes in one day.
We drove the 70km back to Normanton to get some petrol and then on to Mount Isa. This route takes us along the final route of our old friends Burke and Wills, the two ill-fated explorers who journeyed from the south to the north of Australia. The road we are on is called the Burke Development Road and there are a few markers on the roadside to show their journey. One of these is a roadhouse called the Burke and Wills Roadhouse and another is a memorial stone to them. There are a few more markers further down the country, including a tree with their initials calved into it and Burke's headstone, but we won’t be going that far down.
There are so few vehicles on the road that when you do pass someone going in the opposite direction you acknowledge them, a quick wave or the lifting of two finger just off the steering wheel in a kind of salute. I went for the two finger salute option...hey it passes the time. I drove for three hours before Gary took over at the Burke and Wills Roadhouse. Which meant I could get some photos taken before my next session behind the wheel.
Gary took over for a bit but was still tried from his birthday bash so drove for hour and half before I took over again. The roads have been very similar for most of the day, not very scenic, so I spent most of the journey looking at the amount of bones scattered at the side of the road from road kill. Most of them were kangaroos and often the bones were strewn all over the road but on some occasions the whole skeleton was still intact. We finally got a change in scenery as we got nearer to Mount Isa, dramatic hills and mountains appeared on the horizon. As we pulled into the mining town of Mount Isa your first view of the town are the two Copper and Lead chimney stacks that tower over the whole area.
Accommodation $29.60 & $22.40
Weather Clear 40/41 degrees
We stayed at the Big4 Caravan Park but were disappointed as the site was small with very basic amenities. We parked the van and cooked within seconds of turning the A/C off, it was 40 degrees outside in the shade. It didn’t matter how many showers we had we couldn’t cool down the fan was doing an impression of a hairdryer. The temperature finally dropped about 3am. Sunday 5th December 2010
It’s 8am and it’s already 32degees, we showered and went for a drive into town. As it is Sunday all the shops are shut so we drove up to the view point which gave us a fantastic view over the whole town and has one of the those sign posts that tells you how far every major town is from this point. We left the view point and visited the information centre to stock up on brochures for the outback. It is so hot, there is no getting out of it, so we sat in McDonald’s for a while just to make use of their aircon it was 41 degrees outside.
We booked into a new camp ground, this one was much nicer. I had a number of chores to do like laundry, defrosting the fridge and sorting the cupboards out for a big shop tomorrow. I went over to the laundry and put the washing on, nice and cheap here on $2 for a load. We then emptied the contents of the fridge into a carrier bag and placed it in the fridge at the camp kitchen. With 40 degree heat outside and 44 degree heat in the van the freezer didn’t take long to defrost. We tried to create some Aircon by blowing the fan through the ice......wasn’t that successful. It only took 40 mins to defrost it completely, Gary used the icy water to cool some beers down while he watched the cricket.
Couldn’t face food just too hot, had some soup and then settled down to watch some TV in our own personal sauna. Monday 6th December 2010
We needed to do a big shop before heading into the northern territory. We drove to Woolworths and filled our trolley up. We started with 60 litres of water, with this heat we’re drinking about 8 litres a day between us, and as we are going further into the outback water is essential. We had also run our food stocks right down so we needed a bit of everything.
Back on the road by lunchtime we are heading for Tennants Creek but won’t make it there today, too far, so we will have to stop in a small town called Camooweal for a night. It’s only 190km from Mount Isa but today’s journey felt longer. I think it’s because we had the hassle of having to go shopping first before heading out so we are driving at midday which is the hottest time, plus the scenery was all the same, scrub land and there was nothing special to see. We actually had a shower of rain but that didn’t cool anything down.
Weather Overcast with Showers 41 degrees
Our campsite is at the back of the BP garage, but it’s actually not too bad, we are the only ones here. There are however very annoying fly’s who don’t take no for an answer, so we put the awning up and set up the mozzie nets. Which worked for a while and gave us peace while we cooked dinner, but just as we were finishing up a storm blew in and started blowing everything around. We thought it safer to put the awning down and ate dinner in the van.
The storm never really got going and blew itself out by the time we had finished dinner, but with no wind the air got thick and heavy making the van even hotter. I went over and had a shower but by the time I came back I was roasting hot and sweating buckets.......I need Aircon!!!