A few weeks before I left Bowthorn I started to wonder what I was going to do next. Basically it boiled down to this, getting from Bowthorn back to any major city that I had interest in visiting was going to cost between 300 and 400 bucks! Damn thought I! Then Kelly pointe out that there was an add on Gumtree asking for someone to do a road trip from Cloncurry (about 1.5 hours drive from Mount Isa, through the Outback back to Cairns! YES thought I!
At this point I feel like I should point out I am not a total nutter who will take rides off of any old person who advertises themselves on the internet. This was a woman in her early 30's, named Becca, who had a campervan and just wanted company on the trip. We exchanged a few emails and then, for good measure met up in Cloncurry for coffee when I was passing through there on the way back from Mount Isa with the family. I took Olivia with me as Kelly and Eleanor had a doctors appointment and Becca was nice to both me and my tag along toddler, which I took to be a good sign! having assured ourselves that neither of us were mass murdering psycos we arranged to head off on our trip 10 days later!
The last week or so on Bowthorn was kind of hard because I had exciting plans and was all ready for the off. However I didn't end up having to wait as long as anticipated because of the Melbourne Cup. The Melbourne cup is a horse race and it pretty much shuts down Australia for the day as people rush to watch it. We went to a village event at Gregory, about 2.5 hours from Bowthorn to do this. The event was held in a sort of village hall (painted that kind of weak greenish colour that village halls the world over seem to share). Apart from the weather which was much hotter than you would find in the UK (though colder than Bowthorn) The day was very like a village event at home. There was a buffet, bar, people that had known each other forever, lots of children and lot of chatting and drinking as well as a best dressed competition and obviously the races themselves which people bet on. I am trying to remember if there was a raffle and I honestly cant remember one way or the other!
That night I stayed at Gregory Out-station, part of another cattle station run by Kelly and Micks Friends, Meegan and Munch. In the morning Kelly Mick and the two girls left to go back to Bowthorn and I stayed put so that I could get a ride into Mount Isa the following day with Meegan. Meegan and Munch had who children and I enjoyed my day with them and my chats with meegan in the car on the way to Isa but, long story short I was very Glad to get back to Isa and chill out for the afternoon before getting the bus to Cloncurry the following day!
The following day arrived and that 7am time that the Greyhounds like to leave with it. I got on the bus and this time slept most of the way to Cloncurry (I had seen enough Outback to last me by that point and was going to see a whole lot more before I was done!
Becca came o get me from the bus, but with last minute preparations to make and goodbyes to say (Becca had been in Cloncurry 3.5 months, which is an age when you are travelling) it took us a few hours to get going. This meant that we drove through the hottest part of the day, only stopping properly and the Burke and Wills Roadhouse (where they had run out of washing water and the British waitress told us how much she ad been looking forward to the shower that evening that she wasn't going to be able to have). We did stop a few other times but only briefly to let the engine cool. This first day was probably the longest and was the only one we drove through the heat of the day. No mean feat in an old van with no air conditioning!
A map of the Savannah way, which we drove part of!
On that first day we drove to Normanton and then on to Karumba on the Coast. There we stopped at a pub that Becca had had recommended to her and had a really brilliant seafood meal!
starter from the meal of awesome
we ended up chatting to these two guys, one of whom had grown up in Australia and his father who was from Britain. Conversations like that are one of the highlights of travelling and much wine was drunk and quite a few hours passed before we went our separate ways.
From here the exact running order of towns and people gets a little fuzzy in my head. I should have written this bit up sooner but as already mentioned I suck at getting round to blogging!
But anyway, we drove back to Normanton and joined the 'savannah way'. I remember seeing a sign at this point that said that we had 902km to go to Cairns.
to be continued...
I still owe you 3 blogs:
and Amber Ridge Woofing