Monday, July 18, 2011



Arrived in Hawker after leaving Port Augusta.  The rain followed us! It was wet overnight, but we were told that all roads were passable for all vehicles via Wilpena and Blinman through to Parachilna. So off we set, determined to go "off road" to sightsee in the Flinders Ranges. Visibility got down to just a few feet, due to the heavy mist and rain clouds. The lookouts were shrouded in mist and visibility was non-existent, so there was not point leaving any of the main roads. The roads to all the gorges were closed to all traffic, due to bad road conditions. The road from Blinman to Angorachina was awful. Only about one kilometer in we were stopped by a woman driving a bus, who advised us that round the next corner someone has "lost" their camper trailer. Not surprising given the thickness and slipperiness of the mud. It was so wet that the normally red dirt was "black".  Dried red of course - concrete to the underside of the truck. So we had to use low-ratio four wheel drive to get through, although the road was listed as open to all vehicles! So we were a little worried by the information we got at Angorachina, which was that the next lot of roads were 4wheel drive only. It was very pleasant surprise to find that they were relatively dry with occasional wet spots. We arrived at Parachilna it time for lunch! It is the gourmet dining spot for the outback. People fly in from all over Australia to eat at the Prairie Hotel. We were not disappointed! It was really delicious - different sorts of "feral" meats. My Red Goat Curry was flavored with outback bush herbs and spices! Peter ate the National emblem :( - kangaroo and emu. 
From Parachilna, we turned onto the Oonadatta track. Road very good! But too much speed is a real issue here, with many people rushing through creek bed crossing and through slippery mud flats. Someone lost their Kimberley Camper by traveling just too fast. It rolled over and lost a wheel and broke the axle.  It is now abandoned by the side of the road.

Forgot to tell you what happened in Port Pirie. I was happily sitting inside the camper when it suddenly started to close with me inside it.  Peter had put the remote in his pocket and accidentally touched the "close" button!

Stopped the night in Maree behind the old sand stone pub.  One space left for us thanks to some very kind people from Brighton who moved up to make room. Here it started to rain again. It's generally been very cold with dark threatening rain clouds that keep following us! We have only seen the sun for a few seconds just before we left Maree this morning.
After having a very simple sandwich for dinner, we went to join the others in the pub. More to find out about road conditions ahead than anything else. What a terrible stink in the pub! A combination of the stink of a shearing shed and human excrement together. It turns out they had- you guessed it - the mouse plague! There was evidence of the publicans trying to rid themselves of the problem, with several decaying carcasses outside the neighbors' campsites!

Coward Springs
The Oonadatta track goes past the lower end of Lake Eyre. So we could get out of the truck and walk down to the water's edge. An amazing sight! Water everywhere. It smells like the sea complete with seagulls! Lots of small  dead fish were dotted on the shoreline. These apparently are fresh water fish that have been brought in by the fresh water creeks and rivers, and of course they are unable to tolerate the salt

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