A funny thing happened on the way to the shops……

Earlier this month, Fred and I headed in the van to Port Augusta, to buy a few things not available locally.  Shopping isn’t necessarily my favourite past-time, so we (I) decided to do a little bit of pleasure first, by heading to the Port Augusta Arid Lands Botanic Garden.

I LOVE this place, and plan on doing a separate post on it another day.

However, when we took the Highway to the Gardens, a large road sign showed the next lot of towns and distances…. including Darwin.  I said to Fred, how about we go there?  To which there was total agreement!  So we sailed past the turnoff to the Gardens and kept going!  Ha!  It felt good to be hitting the highway again, even if we were just having a pretend time of it.  (the cats were home and I had limited supplies in the van and other obligations the following day)

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The landscape is totally different to that of the Flinders Ranges.  This is flat desert country, with funny flat-top mountains at the beginning of the Stuart Highway. 

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This road is said to be the Gateway to the Outback.

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Perhaps one day I’ll do it, but have no real immediate plans, as it’s an awfully long long way without a co-driver. As it was, we drove about 30 kms, and then found a nice little rest area and did some little exploring before heading back the way we’d come.

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The Australian movie, Last Cab To Darwin, tackles both the road and a controversial topic.  I’ve seen the movie twice and love it.

The road signs were a little different, so I took some shots of them to share.

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Coming back, on my left were the Flinders Ranges, always enticing even though without the afternoon sun on them from this perspective, their full charm is hidden.

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On making adjustments…..

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve noticed a dearth of notifications from W/P, and thought that perhaps most people were simply taking time out from blogging…. but, eventually the penny dropped that something wasn’t right.

Somehow my notifications got turned off.  Not by me.  A glitch.  Yes my intention for this year is to reduce distractions, to fine tune my focus.  But delete my blogging  community? No way! Honestly, if it wasn’t for the friends I’ve made here over the years, I probably would be going troppo.  Even without living in the tropics. 🙂

So I’ll try to catch up with the missed posts, but please forgive me if I don’t manage it. The intention is there…..

Currently I’m preparing to leave the summer house we’ve been staying in (thank God for it over these 45C plus days!) sometime in the next few weeks.  I need to make adjustments inside the van furniture wise, preferably first, and also at some point, upgrade my solar system so I can recharge camera batteries and run laptop, without having to stay in a costly caravan park too often.

Longer term, I’d like to purchase something along the lines of this unit or something similar.  When I first decided to live on the road, I had no idea how I or the animals would go with it.  So I purchased something within my limited budget so I’d have no debts and away we went. I have unresolveable health issues and have to work with that on a daily basis, even though I’m extremely grateful I’m now able to do more than I ever expected to.  Usually.  Not always.  But being on the road suits us all, despite  being cramped in the little van, and so that’s what it will be for who knows what time…..

Lacking a large bank balance, I can’t purchase a new vehicle just yet.  However,  if Lady Luck decides to favour me with a gift of a slightly larger home for life on the road, I’d not turn her down! 🙂  A Toyota please.  Very reliable and parts and service always accessible.  A kind loving home guaranteed.  🙂

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A Peak Experience

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One of the small towns I visited on Eyre Peninsula is Darke Peak.  The town, like many others, has been renamed from it’s original name.  In this case it was proclaimed Carappee (a place of water) in 1914, then in 1940 it was changed to Darke Peak after John Charles Darke, the first European who explored the area in 1844.

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Typical farming country, of sheep and cereal with the grain silos dominating the townscape.

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Well, apart from the Hotel.  At one time, it recorded the highest SA beer consumption per population ratio – aussies who take their beer drinking seriously!

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Not so serious, are the hi-jinks the locals have got up to……the first Hellbent hotel was talked of on New Years Eve 1979 so that the drinkers would have another place to go to once they were kicked out of the Pub at closing time…. and by daylight 1980 the first new hotel was finished.

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While planning the Legends Weekend for October 2009, it was decided to rebuild the Hellbent Hotel in honour of the occasion, and here it stands today.  A typical example of what a mob of blokes can get up to out bush 🙂

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The population of Darke Peak is about 50 people.

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A big attraction to the area is the highest point on Eyre Peninsula, Carappee Hill (495 metres) and Carappee Hill Conservation Park.  The Park also has a camping ground with bush trails and toilets.  Sadly, due to my four-legged mates, I can’t go to these places.

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It is a sealed road from the Birdseye Highway turnoff at Rudall, and past the township is a well maintained dirt road, with not too many corrugations – unlike some others we took!

Travels across Eyre

I’ve just returned from 6 days travel across Eyre Peninsula,  South Australia, and it’s going to take me ages to go through the hundreds of photos I took of this diverse region!  However, here’s a few links for you to look at, to whet your appetite.

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Eyre Peninsula was named after Edward John Eyre, an early English explorer of Australia.  In my travels I came across some places he’d visited, and I really liked the sculptural pieces at Kimba, particularly because it recognised his Aboriginal companion Wylie.

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More on this interesting man Here, and Here, and Here, and Here.

Eyre Peninsula is a large area, and in just a few days I could only visit a small portion of it.  My last trip over there was in the mid 80’s, and was mostly on the lower section, so this time I kept mainly to the upper region, and the beginning of the West Coast.  I found some places I’d enjoy to visit again, for a longer time, and some places I would bypass…..

Venus Bay I adored!

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Fred would be most happy to visit the beaches again and again and again!

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As for the cats, they enjoyed taking some early morning walks with Fred 🙂

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A new day beckons

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Last week the weather was quite hot, and the animals and I were glad to have a cool refuge.  However, this week is supposed to be much milder, and so we’re taking advantage of cooler weather to go off adventuring for a few days…..off into the great unknown…. not to my usual places…..and maybe some ocean will arise?  In the meantime, I’ve scheduled some posts, in case I’m unable to access technology.

” Travellers, there is no path, paths are made by walking.”  Antonio Machado

Reflecting

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Last Saturday, Fred and the cats and I moved into a rental for the summer, in the town of Quorn – a town within easy access of the Flinders Ranges

It’s an old stone house, recently renovated, and mostly furnished, and suits our needs for a cool place during the region’s long hot summers.  Now I can’t remember just how many years it is since I lived in a town…. and after months on the road, it certainly is a change! However, it’s a friendly town, with a nice vibe, and I have great neighbours – one of whom was instrumental in me having this place.  Finally I’ve had a chance to give the van a good clean out, and soon I’ll set her up again ready to take off at a moment’s notice – when the call to explore is too strong to ignore!

There are several parks to visit nearby, that I’ve earmarked for the cooler days, and coming soon I hope, a trip on a heritage railway.

I also intend to catch up on lots of blogging about the many and varied places we’ve visited, including a recent 4-wheel drive tour I went on, which took me places the van wouldn’t be happy with 🙂

Meanwhile, there are a great many photos to sort and edit and compile………….

By the way, my back door looks out to the rising moon 🙂

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Taking the road less travelled

Here’s a selection of by-roads in the Flinders Ranges, SA.  I’m considering putting together some calendars of my travels, with different themes – this selection being The Road Less Travelled, as homage to the book of the same name.

Any feedback, most appreciated, especially any that you think don’t measure up 🙂

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They are numbered one to thirteen from top to bottom.  I’ll be back into the area again shortly and will be adding to my collection but needing to start shortlisting images. 🙂