July 24, 2009
The Final Postie Challenge - Part Five.
It was not as comfortable in the car ride home as it was when we were accompanying the posties. All five of us were in the car now, so seating was a little more crowded. I sat in the back with Mitch and Nic. There were intervals though that Mitch drove, giving hubby a rest, so that was good. I also sat in the middle which made it hard to lean on anything, but I won't whine. I opted to sit there after all.
Hubby was hoping that we would reach Innamincka tonight. We all loved that name. Innamincka. It sounded so intriguing. I wonder if the town is as alluring as the name. Mitch reminded me of the Slim Dusty song 'Innamincka Muster', and he even began to sing it. Him and his country idols. Mitch adored Slim but John Williamson takes the cake. I think. It's a close call.
We were travelling on the Strzelecki Track and the landscape was so brown, with hardly a tree in sight. The weather looked like it was turning. Nikka was going nuts out of the car window snapping away at changing clouds behind us. She absolutely loves big skies and clouds. Her favourite photographic subject I think. Drops began to fall from the sky and I asked our driver, Mitch, to please stop. He was in full-steam-ahead-mode. When things like this happen you just have to stop and embrace the moment. We all stepped out the car and I snapped some shots of a rainbow in the angry sky. Just stunning.
It passed very quickly. We were hoping for lots of rain so we could experience getting wet in the desert; drops in the desert was as close as it came.
Back on board and we drove for hours; each of us were nodding off in the back seat. The sun was just starting to go down and with darkish clouds still hanging about, it was not a good time for taking any more photos. So what do you suppose we saw next. It was one thing that Nikka had hoped we would see more than anything. Wild camels. One crossed the road right infront of us; the other fellow waited to see if we would pass then decided to do a quick dash instead. Nic jumped out of the car waving her camera wildly. She managed a few shots before they galloped away. We felt very priveleged to have seen them. No pictures from me though. Sorry.
We drove on into the night and passed what appeared to be a huge gas plantation in the distance. It was lit up like a christmas tree. We couldn't believe it. In the middle of the desert and it may well have been Las Vegas to use Nikka's description.
Hubby declared that when we get to Innamincka we would go straight to the hotel and get rooms. That hot shower was sounding so good. I don't want to think how long it had been without one. Finally we reached Innamincka. It looked to be a very, very small, dusty place. The pub however, like the gas operation, was also lit up like Las Vegas. This looked more promising. Yeah. The three of us waited in the car while Hubby and Dee went over to get some rooms. We were greeted with some long faces. There were none. Oh God. What now? It was nine o'clock at night.
Grumpily, Hubby ordered Mitch to drive around till we saw somewhere viable to set up our tent. God knows how at this hour. Poor Mitch, he took a turn which saw us heading out of town again. Hubby curtly told him to turn around. This was a lot harder considering we were lugging the trailer. Oh the trials. What next.
We turned into what appeared to be a camping ground; and it looked really full. You must be joking. Who on earth would come to this forsaken, dusty hole of a place. Lots by the looks of it. Poor Mitch was pounced on again by Hubby for driving too quickly around this camping ground. People were still out and about or sitting around fires and our vehicle was raising lots of dust as we drove around in futility. Unshowered, unfed and now holding my breath (wondering who was going to cop Hubby's next outburst), I decided this was not fun.
There was a stressed atmosphere inside our car. Gee, I wonder why. All of a sudden, Hubby ordered Mitch to go back to a certain tree he had spotted. We pulled up. We took a good, long, hard look and someone said "is this really the best we can do". And yes, it was. All of a sudden, Nikka began to laugh. This is ridiculous. It lightened up things. Then all of us smiled and began to laugh. Really laugh. Hubby looked up and commented on the stars. Barr the tent. He chucked out a long tarp on the ground and threw our mattresses on the tarp. I completed the rest of the bedding and the kids dived onto them like two year olds giggling and jumping. All of a sudden, this was fun. We couldn't believe how our long day's driving saw us end up here. Not what we imagined. And that is probably the best part.
Dee opened up some red wine; cheese and crackers and the kids raided the small fridge and food box for whatever they could find. Drinking some wine and eating some cheese under the stars aint so bad. Infact it was really nice. We all felt connected to our surroundings and we sat talking, admiring the monsterous sky, the stars and the tranquillity. Apart from a sniffing dog or dingo not far from our site. Nikka said she hoped she had no body parts missing in the morning.
As usual, "find a tree or a bush" for going to the loo. Honestly this was hilarious. As we lay in our "beds", everyone was talking and humming and laughing making comments like "wonder what the rich people are doing right now". Because quite frankly I did feel "rich". My family was healthy, relaxed and happy. And safe. Unless of course that branch directly above fell down and killed one of us.
The first light of day. This was my ceiling.
A morning view of our luxurious bedrooms.
Wake up Boo Boo.
Wake up Borb.
And the last one up as usual is.....
Little kiddies climbing "our" tree. A dinky di coolibah tree actually.
We leave Innamincka. With fond memories and big smiles on our faces. I wonder if we had stayed in five star class would we be as happy. Everything is grand. Just don't raise that arm Mitch whatever you do. Ponky!! I'm too afraid to ask when was the last shower.
The plan today is to drive, drive, drive. Again. Let's see how far we get this time. The only real place we wanted to stop was the old "Dig Tree". It was about 65kms ahead of us, but we did have to backtrack 12kms to get there. Still, I didn't care. Mitch really wanted to see it. I'm so glad we did.
Most Aussies would have heard of Burke and Wills. Pioneering explorers. The dig tree holds particular significance because it was the landmark where a supply team held base there for four months waiting for Burke, Wills and their team to arrive. They ended up digging a spot near this tree and leaving the supplies. Then they left. They missed Burke and Wills by a couple of hours. Such a sad story. Burke and Wills ended up dying somewhere along the Cooper Creek, near Innamincka. One survivor from the party was saved by an friendly aboriginal and he lived to tell the tale.
The Dig Tree
A carving of Burke made by a stockman over one hundred years ago. It was fascinating. It reminded me of Mother Willow from Pocahontas for those of you familiar with that film.
An inside outback loo. Hurray.
Even a sink and tap. Just don't expect any water to come out, okay.
Let's go home.
The long and short of it is we drove till eight oclock that night. We pulled into the huge country Queensland town of St George and we found a room. We had that beautiful hot shower. Somehow it wasn't as sweet as I thought it would be. Somehow the previous evening was sweeter and certainly more fun. All that chaos and that is what I recall with the greatest affection. There must be a message in there somewhere.
We arrived home the next day late afternoon. I had one almighty sore backside. All that sitting and driving. Who would have thought. The aches from doing nothing.
Our postie adventure was indeed an adventure. I didn't know what to expect when we left. Am I glad we went? You betcha.
PS: I dedicate these "postie" posts to my daughter Larissa, who was unable to be with us on our family adventure. It was our first big trip without her and her presence was sorely missed. Oh I can just imagine her precious, infectious laugh at some of our more challenging moments. You were with us in spirit darling. Love Mama.