Day 11 - Coward Springs to Parachilna

Trip Start Sep 03, 2010
Trip End Sep 18, 2010

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Flag of Australia  , South Australia,
Monday, September 13, 2010

This morning it was still a bit rainy so we had to pack up during a sunny patch when everything was temporarily dry. It was hard to leave as this marked our furthest point from home....the most remote and 'outback' part of our trip. As a result we walked around and took way too many photos for too long. We left at around midday. It was about 100km on mud and clay again to Marree, lots of washouts and deep ruts. The water crossings were no deeper than on the trip up.

We stopped off at Lake Eyre again for more photos before getting all sentimental about leaving. We had a few sad moments and even considered camping on the shore for another night. We drove down onto a smallish rise which overlooked the eroding Ghan line embankment about 400m from the water. We pondered, weighed up the pros and cons and decided that it was too exposed, too barren, too cloudy with potential for rain and possibly a bit scary at night. We vowed that we would return to camp on the shore in a campervan - whether in the old Hiace in a dry season or a hired 4x4 camper. After that we tore ourselves away from the lake which was the goal of our entire trip.

We drove away and watched the lake disappear behind us....after a few minutes of sadness, we were starting to think of our trip ahead and the scary water crossing which nearly drowned us on the way in which was coming up 25kms South of Marree. We stopped at Marree for fuel, toasted sandwiches and coffee and continued along the road.

We had 3 or 4 easy water crossings and then we realised that we had already travelled 50kms from Marree, meaning that the flooded section had subsided - well - that was easy wasn't it?

From there it was about 135km on a semi-sealed road - in 30km sections. We were getting hungry and looking forward to a delicious dinner at the Prairie Hotel in Parachilna (‎). When we got there they had a 250 person cycle tour staying there and having a banquet dinner. Luckily they had a room at "The Overflow" out the back of the pub. Well, it was actually a demountable Atco thing with no would we survive? We checked it out and it was actually quite cosy as the rain started again so we unpacked and went over to the pub for another mouthwatering meal in the restaurant. Julie had her Haloumi again....I had the bush tomato butter chicken with peppermint and coriander yoghurt.

When we finished, we went outside and a local country singer was doing a gig for the 250 cyclists. Now, normally I hate country music - but this guy was good. He did a whole lot of songs about the local Flinders Ranges area as well as some good ol' numbers like 'Home amongst the gumtrees'. We loved it....we love South Australia.....especially the Flinders Ranges and the areas north of the Flinders.

Back at our room we made some decisions about our next leg. We decided the next day we would head back to Wilpena Pound to complete the walk into the pound and stay in a bit more luxury. After listening to the singer a bit more and making phone calls we had showers and went to bed to the sounds of country music which was actually quite nice.

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