On To Firey Creek.

sign

9:00 pic we are heading off

I am a big lover of everyone and their choice of camping. Whether some big fancy whatever or some little home-knit tent – they are wonderfully unique and fascinating. I like that people thought about what they wanted to do and bought or put together what they needed or wanted. In all their permeation’s they are as unique as the people who drive them and everyone has a story and everyone is laughable . . . especially us! Everyone likes to talk about their caravan and what they have done with it. The caravans really do become a member of the family. The “pissing contests” are fun, everyone brags a bit. What I do not like, are the situations where someone tries to make the others feel bad by denigrating their efforts or their rigs. Who cares how much it cost? I am quite sure some of the people in the most humble of caravans have more money that “Mr. Big.” What does it matter? We are all just people, out here, having an adventure.

You are benefiting from this lovely public service announcement due to the lovely man walking his dog this morning as we were about to leave, who felt the need to tell us that our caravan was crap. Thank you. I feel much better now, knowing that.

It was not to be a long day, but an interesting one none the less. Our mission was to drive on a road that was primarily set up for cattle transport – as in endless truck trains transporting them from the huge ass farms to wherever it is that they make hamburger. So the rules were simple. The road consisted of a single lane swath of sealed road for miles and miles that the cattle trains owned. If you were to see one coming, you pull over into the rough, pray that your wine and beer survives the experience and hold on for dear life. The approaching truck neither slows down or moves over one iota. Derek says they do slow down and they are doing the right thing by hogging the whole road because if they went off they might flick up rocks at us. The fact we live to tell the tale is evidence of their due diligence. Don’t pay any attention to Derek, what does he know. It was called the Wills Development Road which sounded kind of like we were on the special needs road while all the other people were on the regular road – the Wills Road. 

Those trucks … if you come up behind them and want to pass … tough. No-one follows a truck with 3 – 5 trailers of unhappy cows having their last big ride before meeting their end … except maybe people assigned to the Development road. Every once in awhile they have tire tracks in the dirt on the side of the road which is an indication that you can pull over there and park for lunch if you like because some other idiot did . . . once …. And then every so often you see a helpful sign that lets you know there is a passing lane in 238 km. That passing lane only works if one of you stops and lets the other go by. If you both keep moving, the road is back to one lane free for all in no time.

We saw all kinds of birds and animals, enough to keep it very interesting.   One bird that we saw from far away was standing in the middle of the road.  It was like an emu but a stunted thicker version. Derek thought it might be a teenager, setting out on his own to find a mate. I thought he might be a Down’s Syndrome Emu that had been abandoned by his family and that we should go back and take it home and love it. We could call it “Fluffy.” Derek put on his explorers hat and decided as Alpha Male to call it “Hairy Bastard.”

Of course when we had the chance I went straight for the bird book and discovered it was not an Emu at all. It is a “Kori Bustard” which is so close to “Hairy Bastard” that I am not even going to tell Derek. He has a big enough head already.

The Brolgas were actually doing the mating dance but the camera chose that exact moment to not click when I pressed the button. Derek would scream, “there he is doing it again,” and I would turn and click and nothing would happen … like 3 -4 times. It was beyond frustrating so here … here is a pic of Brolgas walking after the mating dance, exhausted from their efforts. Poor dears. If you feel the need, you could keep the pic on the screen and do your own dance for a few moments – it will at least give you some idea of the mood of the day.

We saw flocks of eagles.

a bunch of eagles

The flock of birds are plovers or a different sort than we have at home. The ones at home like to try and rip your head open with their spurs if they think you are looking at them the wrong way.  Derek thought they were some kind of eagle or hawk but I won.  I should be getting a promotion soon to head explorer, bird namer.

We had a face off with the kangaroos and man they are tricky.  The group went one way and one darted off the other way and we thought was gone and then with one bound he was back in front of us and the race was on.  We won.

We passed all kinds of dried up creeks and rivers.  It is so hard to believe the flood markers along the road.  Water is at a premium, watering holes may soon have caravans pulled up to them vying with the cattle for position.  The roadhouse was warning us to eat there or die and the road signs are always fun.  This one seems to suggest we should beware of cows that get out and tip over vehicles.  They are probably getting even for all that cow tipping from years back.

We decided to not go for starving and stopped to have our own lunch, something the roadhouse had not considered when they made their sign. People who are capable of making their own toast!  We ate at Jack and Lil’s place in the middle of nowhere.  Here is a tree that joined us and a pic of a real off-roading truck that can go anywhere.

We did see one other caravan that went by us while we stopped for lunch. We caught up quick enough and he decided to have a chat with Derek on the CB radio – a new toy for us and apparently for him too. He wanted us to know he was stopping on the overtaking lane so we could pass him and then he wanted to know how fast we were going. Another hall monitor.

We finally did our last turn and headed towards Firey Creek where the book said there were many trails leading back to campsites. We passed dried up creek after dried up river and still we were hopeful until we finally found it … dried up, a small dirt bowl off to the side of a bridge edged with fresh barbed wire and a couple of tire tracks that circled the area. Our camp for the night. Obviously, we got there at rush hour as 3 cars went by and then that was it – the puppy was ours for the night.

The sunset was spectacular.

We set up, scraped together enough wood for a fire, had dinner and got the fire going. It was finally the trip I had imagined and so much more. The sounds of the birds settling in for the night, a brief lull and then the frogs and the night birds called out to signal the beginning of their time. The sky grew darker and a million star appeared overhead, tumbled out of some unseen basket of a long forgotten God. Neither of us spoke a word. We just sat and drank in a different kind of silence – the kind that feeds your soul in a way you can never properly explain to anyone. We were all alone in the middle of nowhere and we were completely safe and protected, almost cocooned under the canopy of stars. The Southern Hemisphere is unequalled in its beauty for the night sky and seeing the milky way, that up close, for the first time, absolutely moved me. Life just sort of settles right back down to its proper perspective. Who am I compared to the universe? Who am I to think my problems too monumental as to consume my life? My life is but a moment, a second in this magnitude of everything. I breathed deep and then released and let go of all of it. Nothing really matters. Life is magical. The world is magical. We are magical and the universe holds us all in its arms and knows exactly what it is doing and why. All I have to do is love it all. All I have to do is be grateful for being part of it, even in the smallest possible way that I am. I forget that far too often and I am oh so grateful for the reminder.

If we had to go home tomorrow, this trip would all have been worth it just for this. Absolutely perfect night!

(I wish you had smell-o-vision)

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