Days on the Road – 7
KLMS Travelled – 1936
Following the stressful start, we managed to get visas in Canberra and were soon on our way to Rutherglen for our friends wedding. Watching one of our closest friends get married in an idyllic vineyard setting was the perfect way to end our Sydney chapter and with all the goodbyes now finished we headed onto our first real stop of the trip – Tocumwal on the Murray River. We were so excited about our first stop that we failed to notice the slight juddering of the car and it wasn’t until we’d turned into the middle of the state forest before we realised something was wrong. On stopping we could smell petrol and as Rich got out to investigate we could hear running liquid….petrol. Only an hour into the trip we had our first ‘breakdown situation!!! With over 200l of fuel onboard, watching it pour out of the car was terrifying, had we punctured the fuel line already??? Fortunately Rich realised what it was pretty quickly, remembering that when we’d filled up the auxiliary tank pump had been left on which had continued to pump petrol through the pressurised overflow system. Disaster averted,(apart from about $60 fuel on the floor) we continued into Tocumwal forest to find a camp spot by the river.
LIFE LESSON#2 – Always turn off your pumps!!!
It was getting dark by this point, so dodging Kamikaze Kangaroos was quite a feat – but we found the perfect spot. We set up camp and like excited school kids got the hose out test out the water system. We pumped water out of the Murray River, then waited with baited breath to see what we would get out of the filter – pure water – amazing!!! It’s probably the only time we will be that excited about a cup of water – but after all the hard work – that water tasted sweeeeet!
The next day we headed up to Balranald to get final supplies before Mungo NP. The drive up to Mungo was our first real taste of remoteness. Having been in the city for the ‘nothingness’ was unsettling to start with – (particularly for Soph, who is ‘connected 24/7) – there is no mobile/internet connection out here! Mungo NP, is part of an ancient lake system which dried up 20,000 years ago and the huge rocky formations left behind as the lakes dried are called the Great Walls of China. We drove round the 70km loop, spotting our first big red kangaroos and dodging wild emus that ran alongside the car. We set up camp and enjoyed one of the most peaceful evenings i’ve had in a long time …well, apart from Rich setting his head on fire when trying to reset a gas bottle on the cooker! Can joke now, but at the time, watching your husbands head go up in flames is fairly alarming, particularly when your a long way from help! Fortunately, it was just the eyebrows and fringe that suffered!!
LIFE LESSON #3 – Never lean over a gas bottle, or anything flammable while trying to light it!
After Mungo NP, we headed North for Broken Hill. The trip on unpaved roads, gave us our first real taste of corrugations and what damage they can do! If it’s not bolted down – it’s coming off. We had a few minor causalities along the way – but . With plenty of stops to keep tightening everything up, we’ll be fine- good training for Africa!
We’re now camped in Broken Hill, for those who didn’t know the mining giant BHP started right here – Broken Hill Proprietary! It’s been our first chance to do some washing and access wi-fi so catching up on everything. We’ll have a day here before heading onto the Flinders Ranges.