Early days and blast the weather!
Trip Start Jan 30, 2010
77Trip End Dec 01, 2010
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But finally the adventure has begun. After a fairly sleepless night mulling over so many things, we hit the road at 0620. It was perfect driving weather (damp and cool), the roads were empty and we made good progress through the Hunter Valley. A quick breakfast at the side of the road, just before Greta, allowed us to reach a lovely rest area called 'Broken Rocks', near Merriwa. It seems to be a well-known campsite, as there were 5 vans there [rock on the grey nomads!]
Weather cleared as we crested the Great Dividing Range, beautiful pale-blue skies dotted with a few clouds, to give us something to look at as we drove the long flat roads that cross the Castlereagh and Macquarie flood plains. Lunch in Gilgandra, the town of windmills and expensive petrol. Set up camp outside Cobar, in a roadside overnight rest stop in a howling gale and lots of dust. First puncture of the trip, fortunately one of the bike tyres (boo, hiss Hornsby Cycles).
Bad night sleep for Wanda & Alistair because of the wind – and the frequent road trains rumbling down the road. Fairly early start with others from the rest stop leaving at dawn, creating a unique 45th birthday celebration for Alistair. Packed up in less than half an hour (oh, so experienced!) to arrive in Cobar by 0900. Amazed at the long straight roads (yes, Kate, we have taken photos of them already) of which I am sure there will be many more. Girls very grateful for DSs, DVDs and iPODs. We are surprised at the lack of undergrowth but surmise that the huge herds/flocks of wild goats have something to do with it. Saw lots of very impressive willy willies (dust tornadoes) on the road between Cobar and Wilcannia.
Stopped in Wilcannia for lunch – both for us and the sand flies (or midges), that drove us back into the car. Fortunate to see the Darling in full flow – in some places overflowing its banks
Impressions of BH. Love it. Great feel to it, with wide streets, friendly people, interesting architecture, old pretty iron-laced houses, bike riding and heaps (pardon the pun) of mining history – with all the hard work, pain and suffering that implies.
Done lots, spent too much, maybe. Marvelled at the Silver Tree – Victorian-era excess at its best, experienced an amazing (but not our first), seriously impressive dust storm (even made the Sydney news), enjoyed (and brutally criticised) the Sculptures in the Desert, went underground into the Day Dream Mine, shuddered at the number of unpleasant deaths recorded at the Miners' Memorial, sat on the Big Park Bench and visited the 'film set' that is Silverton 'ghost town'. All fantastic and worthwhile. In what is supposed to be a drought period, we seem to be attracting the rain, as our stay here has been blessed (?) with a lot of 'weather' – rain, really strong winds and accompanying dust.
Plans are in flux, as we have just heard about a cyclone-strength storm dumping lots of rain across our intended route. Dirt roads and water just don't mix. Not happy but always open to change and new adventures.