Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Stonehenge, Jundah and Quilpie


Eventually we found a laundromat in Longreach that had room to put our dirty washing.  So whilst it was washing we investigated the local RSL club for lunch.  Unfortunately the drying took longer than necessary because, Sue only emptied the washing from one machine.  When she emptied the dryer, there wasn't enough washing!,  Ooops another washing machine still had the remainder in it all still wet!

When all the washing was dry, we took the road towards Welford National Park.

The road was one strip of tar, and badly formed.  In some ways worse than the dirt roads we had already travelled on because, if you meet a road train on a road like this, unless you get right off the road, they will shower you with stones!  Visibility from behind is limited by the width of the camper, so a one stage, as we were pulling off to let the 35meter road train full of fuel, overtake, he deliberately swerved to ensure we copped the biggest showering possible.  The tar strip is sometimes very difficult to get off as the edges form a sharp drop and the sharp edges can cut tyres to shreds

It started to get late in the afternoon and we still had some 90klms to get to Jundah, before another 64klms to Welford National Park.  The paddocks were not fenced from the road, so cattle and sheep are able to wander at will.

So we decided to pull in to a small town called Stonehenge.  There are 25 residents living in the tone, most of whom were at the local pub when we arrived.  The caravan park was a dusty strip diagonally opposites the pub and payment was by "honor system".  But there were clean hot and cold showers, electricity, if required, BBQ facilities, if you had wood, rain water to drink and all for $10.

Meeting the locals was an interesting experience. Most were in some way connected to the pub. The two girls serving were the publican's daughters, the two blokes sitting outside were employed by the publican, who also owned the local RACQ and earth moving business.  The teacher from the local school of just four children, taught the pulican's grandchildren.  

The local gardener turned up later.  His job was to keep the town's garden in order. This being the grounds around the campsite - not much in the way of gardens and the gardens around the community hall - again not a big area. They were very pretty and very green. He had a helper two days per week.

At the shower block, later in the evening, Sue spotted what looked very similar to a Cane Toad!  Let's hope it hasn't made it's way down as far south west as this!

By morning the wind had really picked up and it was threatening to rain. So we were unable to use the has stove to make tea and breakfast.

The road out of Stonehenge in the morning took us along a magnificent dirt road until it looped back onto the one strip of tar to Jundah. 

In Jundah we stopped for fuel, which was a rusting pump in the middle of a paddock.  We waited and no one came, so Peter went to the local store.  Kathy the owner, also ran the fuel stop, so she ambled over, filled the car and told us to meet her back at the store to pay.

The store was something out of the 1900's, old wooden display cabinets, very dusty and minimal products for sale.  We went in and ordered two toasted sandwiches.  Kathy went down the back to cook the toast and whilst she was gone, two other customers came in to be served.  They waited for some while and eventually left.  When Kathy came back out she said, "Did I miss some customer?"  When this was confirmed she said, " Oh well they can wait for me, if they want something they will be back".  As she is the only store in the town this would be true.  She was the dictator to the customer!

From Jundah, we took the dirt road through Welford National Park.  This is a magnificent park, with red sand dunes, rocky outcrops, clay pans and stony plains.  Here we saw heaps of bustards, and emus with their chicks.  We also saw plenty of red and grey kangaroos.  On the road were large lizards standing up high on their front haunches. Again the dirt road was great.

Towards the very end of this road, we came across the large clean lake.  Wildlife abounded here.  Birds of every variety were on and around the water.  Bird chatter and noise could be heard all around.

We stopped here to make a cup of tea as the wnd had finally stopped. And then we felt the first spits of rain.  

When we got back onto the tar strip, it started to rain in ernest. This was not pleasant diving.  Every kilometer or so we would have to stop to avoid colliding with either kangaroos, emus or cattle. Cattle grids and sheet water, together with flood dips proved to be additional hazards. In addition, large road trains were also using the road.  This was for 247klms.

After Quilpie, the road widened marginally and the number of animals decreased slightly, but the number of road trains increased. This was for a further 210klms.

So we have arrive in Charleville very tired and not wanting to open the camper in the rain.  So we have booked motel accommodation for the night.

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