Early days and blast the weather!

Trip Start Jan 30, 2010
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Trip End Dec 01, 2010


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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Thank you to all our friends and encouragers (and, in some way, to our doubters, who just spurred us on!) for all your help, best wishes and encouragement. At times the hugeness of our intention has caused heightened anxiety levels (read: shouting, arguing and great huffs). The massive furniture reshuffle, alarming investment in auto mechanics and several wardrobe issues that preceded our departure added to the stress.

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!]. We stretched our legs, explored interesting (for Alistair) basalt organ pipe rock formations and Imogen managed to catch a bantam chicken! Much amusement about where to keep said chicken in vehicle then occurred. Chicken was released to return to its partner and personal rest area.

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. Wilcannia on a Sunday is VERY quiet but still impresses with its historic and handsome stone buildings, which although run down and empty, shows the prosperity of Wilcannia's past. As a qualified leadfoot, it is a unique experience to be overtaken by nearly every other vehicle on the road as we strive for maximum fuel economy at the expense of speed. After another long drive in the heat, arrived in Broken Hill and splashed out on a caravan park, with pool (phew).

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.
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Comments

jenny darvas on

Wow - you are finally under way on your big adventure! Sorry I missed you before you left. Look forward to hearing lots more from you. Love Jenny

gayle on

Wow, you've experienced so much already - what an adventure!! enjoy every minute - I think what you're doing is AMAZING!!

Love
The Roach Clan

Caz on

A fantastic start to an adventure of a life time. I look forward to keeping track of all your fun and I wish you all the best for the most memorable year of your lives.
Love to you all Caz

The Mallos on

Great to share your journey - thanks! Of course, wish we were there....

Moore family on

Glad to hear you're having such a fantastic time. It was so nice to read your blog, it almost makes us feel like you're on a brief holiday and that you'll be back before we know it. Lots of love the Moores
Hi Immi, I'm missing you so much, wish you were still here. I still have the glass tube thing you gave me, and I'll keep it forever.....Love Maddie xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Tony and Pam, Cape Town on

Every Christmas we enjoy your letter the "downunderers" and it looks like we can look forward to much news this year. Thank you for sharing your adventure with us, as we too will travel in some way with you and through your adventures.

Neil and Julie on

Good to see you are off to a good start. Watch out for those roadside stops close to highways! There is always a better spot up the side road. Look forward to reading your adventures and may catch up later in the year. Best Wishes N+J PS How many "kids" did the "kids" catch?

Grace+Rory on

Did you have fun I Am in year two this year you might have fun trying to read this as we are doing it on steve atkins I phone. This is now Rory has their been any inguries yet or is averything good. Will try to write more later. It is communion time now. Missing you love grace Rory zac riley Kathryn

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