Saturday, September 1, 2018

Homeward Bound

So - the last few days have passed in a blur.

From Wilpena we headed to Quorn and Wilmington where we refueled and made a detour to Alligator Gorge at the northern end of Mount Remarkable National Park. The road in is a steep roller-coaster climb - sealed - and with a sudden glimpse to the south west of a distant Spencer Gulf.

Alligator Gorge is somewhere we'd visited in the past and is the terminus for a walk thru the national park to Mambray Creek Campgound - where we headed next.

We caught up with Jock and Paula at Mambray Creek Campgound and had a lovely evening around the campfire discussing our travels.  Alas this was to be our last night of camping on this trip! 😞

Next day - after handing over the rest of our firewood to Jock and Paula - they headed towards Port Augusta and then on to the Flinders - we headed south to Cystal Brook then east to Burra. The landscape on this section of the drive was remarkably green. Early wheat was sprouting in all directions, interspersed with bright splashes of yellow Canola. It provided quite a contrast to the overwhelming dryness we'd experienced over the previous weeks.

Burra provided a dose of coffee and cuteness. Another country town that clearly depended on tourists/travelers to keep the place going.

The creek flowing thru the town provided another splash of colour.

From Burra - on to Morgan where we started following the mighty Murray River as is meandered across the land, leaving large isolated billabongs and wetlands in its wake. Berri for a late lunch and then to Renmark for the night. Cheap overnight accommodation at the Renmark Golf Resort and an excellent evening  drink (or two) followed by Thai dinner on the Murray River Queen.

A good time was had by all....

Next morning, after a brief pause in Renmark for breakfast we ploughed on eastwards. Overnight the weather had deteriorated, with a cold front moving thru and the promise of rain in the air. The grey weather combined with total immersion in our audio-book - The Little Drummer Girl by John le Carré - resulted in the km's unraveling at a steady rate. Mildura (stopping for bags of citrus) - Balranald (lunch) - Hay - and finally Narrandera where we called it quits for the day and booked ourselves into a motel that had a microwave, toaster and digital TV. The microwave took care of dinner and the toaster took care of breakfast as we consumed the last of our provisions supplemented by a few items from the supermarket and a six-pack from the Bottle-O. 

BTW - Narrandera has a special place in Celeste's heart. For a period of time she did a road trip for work thru the Riverina in a van full of ultra-sound equipment.

And so - the final leg. A leisurely drive thru showers and rain - stopping in Junee to visit the Licorice Factory - yum. Again we were surprised at how green this stretch of road was. Must have had some rain over winter as the wheat was sprouting everywhere. Combined with the rain today - maybe farmers in this area will have a reasonable summer?

Home in the rain - 9,920 km round trip door to door. Before departure I had estimated 10,000km. However the 80 km shortfall can be attributed to NOT visiting the Dinosaur Stampede site outside Winton - we will save that for next time!

A last and abiding image from this trip......

Now to start planning the next.....