Well! Well! Well!
Might be easier to tell you what DIDN’T happen since my last post. After we left Quilpie, we only just made it to Windorah because we forgot to factor in that it was Easter and therefore the few service stations that are to be found here were all closed. So we had to find the woman who runs the service station in Windorah and she graciously opened up and let us fill up! Very lovely of her! The next morning we took off early again to make our way to Birdsville, thinking so far so good! And then we blew another tyre, before hitting the floods, leaving us without a spare tyre and not knowing how far the flood water would go. I tell you, it got a bit hairy there for a while but in the end we made it to Birdsville.
When we left there early in the morning there was a beautiful sunrise and the world was great! We stopped at Deon’s Lookout and, boy oh boy, does that hit home the realization of just how empty it is out there! Nothing for miles and miles!
We stopped again to take photos of a magnificent snake sculpture… only to find that we got bogged. So we had to unload the entire car, dig away the sand at the back, wedge the recovery tracks under the wheels and then we got it out again. Dumb!
We got stopped by police because Keith was being a hooligan hanging out the door and got booked… nah, just kidding. What a job it is though, being a policeman out there! Imagine the area they have to cover!
Thank goodness it said “No parking” on the sign for the emergency airstrip because, of course we stopped and took photos! Look at it! Who would actually ‘park’ their car?! And then we finally made it to Birdsville.
From Birdsville we made our way to Bedourie, only to find that we had to take a 70kms detour – because of the floods – a road that is rough as guts, meaning we have to drive even slower than usual – less than 20km/h! Then on to Boulia. All the while fixing either another flat tyre or cleaning the points to keep us going!
After Boulia, we crossed the border into the Northern Territory and reached Tobermorey Station where we spent the night.
But we didn’t get far! The timing gear conked it and we were stranded by the side of the road, about 70ks out from Tobermorey. Luckily a car came by and stopped. Peter, his wife Jen and their child were incredible. Jen and Kim agreed to wait there while Peter took us back to Tobermorey Station, which meant they had to wait by the side of the road for a couple of hours in the heat, surrounded by millions of flies, with absolutely nothing to do but wait because there wasn’t enough room in the car for all of us!!! Saints!
So we spent another night at Tobermorey and in the morning Carl, one of the guys there, was kind enough to take us back out to our car where we watched it being loaded onto a truck that had come all the way from Alice Springs, and was going to take it and us back there.
So now we are in Alice Springs. We had this phenomenal retired mechanic, Russ Driver, work on the car all afternoon and into the night, and she’s going again! There isn’t much Russ doesn’t know about old cars, he’s a Buick man, and just terrific with old cars. Thank you, Russ! So now we’re keeping our fingers crossed that the old girl will continue to hang in there. I can tell you, it’s been hard, hard, hard. It’s been shattering, actually, at times! It’s a lot tougher than we thought and we’ve been battling to keep our enthusiasm. But today we’ve had a good sleep, we’ve cleaned up (you wouldn’t believe the dust!!!) and we’re feeling a little perkier again.
We’ve got to stay here until Friday morning when I give a talk for the Alice Springs Chamber of Commerce. Then we’re off again. We’ll keep you posted.