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 The GRAYnomad Chronicles :: #060

Editorial

We just realised we've become a new acronym, we used to be YUPPIES (Young Upwardly mobile something-or-others), then we were DINKS (Dual Income No Kids) but now we've degenerated to ZITs (Zero Income Travelers), or is that NITs (No Income Travelers), either way it's nowhere near as glamorous as being YUPPIES.

Still, at least as ZITs we can do what we want and go where we like, something we couldn't do while climbing the corporate ladder, the only ladder climbing I do these days gets me onto the roof to clean the solar panels.

STOP PRESS: Chris just came up with another one, Unemployed No Income Travelers, or UNITs. I think I'd rather be a UNIT than a ZIT.

 

Till next time then, and remember,

Don't Dream it, Be it!

Thu 1 Jul 2010

Hurly burly alright, we've gone from seeing 5 vehicles a day to sometimes 5 at a time. Just a few kilometres up the highway we turn into one of the abandoned WW2 airfields for the night.

Not a bad spot, and only one other camper here so it should be nice and quiet.

Later in the evening a car pulls up just about 30 metres away from us, at first I think they are going to camp but as they are on the bitumen that's unlikely as they would have to erect a tent which would be difficult on the hard surface.

They fiddle around for a while then let off the first firework. You're not allowed to have anything that goes BANG these days, just things that fizz.

Ah I remember when you could buy what was effectively a stick of dynamite for a penny in the newsagent, honestly, how do kids blow up letter boxes these days?

Still now I'm an old fart looking for a quiet evening so I'm glad the fireworks only go "fizz". Still they're too close for our liking so Chris goes over to have a go.

It seems that it's Territory day, the only day you're allowed to let off any type of fireworks, and they have decided to do so right next to our truck.

We're parked on the longest runway in the southern hemisphere and they have to dick around next to us. The mind boggles, still within a few minutes they pack up and bugger off, either they've run out of fireworks or they are in search of a Chris-free area.

Fri 2 Jul 2010

We camp at King River East rest area just south of Katherine, it's pretty crowded but at least we manage to find a spot at the back overlooking the bush (and the toilet paper). Chris dons gloves and picks up all the rubbish she can see from the truck.

Sun 4 Jul 2010

We're off today but first I wander over to talk to some neighbours. Don & Fina are a nice couple and we chat for quite some time, then it's time to leave as we want to get settled somewhere in Katherine ready for tomorrows shopping expedition.

We originally plan to camp in the industrial area just south of town, however as we enter Katherine's outskirts we find a nice grassy area about 100m off the highway, it's in plain view of the road but we'll see how we go.

Having parked the truck we do a recce looking for places to get water and fuel. There is a tap behind the museum, you pay $2 which we don't mind however it would be a bit of a squeeze for the truck so we keep looking.

Then I remember that there was a fuel depot just out of town on the northern side, we find it so fuel is sorted, and while there I spot a tap across the road poking through the fence of an abandoned fuel depot.

Water sorted.

We return to the truck.

Mon 5 Jul 2010

Shopping day, God how I hate shopping. Chris on the other hand loves spending hours browsing the shelves, reading the labels to see if this product is 1c a tonne cheaper than another one.

I'd rather be down the clinic having my syphilis treatment. But hey, that's just me.

After stowing all the food we settle down for some quiet time, before long however I see the reflection of flashing lights, maybe our time won't be so quiet after all.

I poke my head out the window to see the local bush fire blokes setting fire to the scrub around us. I walk over to see if we need to move but they say no, they'll come over and back burn from the truck.


Backburning from the truck.

It's been warm enough lately to leave the bedroom roof open at night which is great because we can lie there and see the stars. Of course one has to be certain that the stars will in fact be out all night and not be obscured by rain clouds after one falls to sleep, a scenario we find ourselves faced with at some ungodly hour in the morning.

Still a little rain in the bedroom never did any harm.

Tue 6 Jul 2010

Back out to the fuel depot this morning to fill up truck, car and jerry can. Then over road to the abandoned depot to fill up with water.

While I'm doing so a bloke walks over from the nearby road works and all but offers me a job driving the water truck, and while it's not his place to hire he says his boss is always looking to people.

Maybe next time.

We drive about 40k to the King River West rest area, a reasonable camp spot off the highway. We drive down a dirt track to get even further off the highway.

Thu 8 Jul 2010

We've heard that Flora National Park is very nice so figure it's worth the 50k drive on a possibly rough dirt road to have a look.

As it happens the road is as good as the highway for the most part, which is a good thing because I have to say that we are not very impressed with Flora and would have been really pissed off if we had spent hours battling a bad road.

Not that there's anything wrong with it, it's a pleasant enough spot, it's just not worth the drive to pay $13 a night to sit in a campground with no view.

We explore a further 16k in the car and do in fact find a very nice bush camp on the banks of the river, it's too small for the truck but for a car camper it would be ideal with plenty of shade and ready access to the river (and the resident crocs I'm sure must live here).

Anyway we'll stay a couple of days, the hot showers and clean dunnies are welcome.

Fri 9 Jul 2010

The Graynomad bakery has been busy today, what with a loaf of bread, a carrot cake, a chocolate slice and a roast beef. Then there's been the clothes washing and general cooking. We're knackered.

OK so Chris did all that, but I'm sure you'll agree that it can be just as hard writing about it.

Sat 10 Jul 2010


Small creek crossing near Flora NP.

Leaving Flora we drive towards Gregory National Park. We have camped here before in a couple of nice places but there seems to be "No Camping" signs everywhere now, so we give the place a miss and continue west, finally camping where the Buchanan Hwy (a dirt track that goes to Top Springs) meets the highway.

We're only about 30k from Timber Creek where we hope to stay for a while, probably at Big Horse camp a few kilometres west of the town.

Mon 11 Jul 2010

On reaching Timber Creek we drive straight through town with a view to setting up camp at the Big Horse campground, about 13k to the west. However just out of town we encounter the sign to Policeman's Point, we know there is a lookout here but aren't sure if it's a good spot to camp so I leave the truck on the highway and we drive 2k to the lookout in the car.

The second we see the place we return to get the truck, this will do.

There are a few people already camped here and while the best spot is not taken as such it's a bit close to others and we don't like to be in people's faces if we can help it. So we find another good spot and settle in.

Our neighbours are Ron and Moira, a nice couple and Ron is into computing so we get on pretty well.


This finch is taking charcoal from a fire place, he picks and drops it a few times then loses interest.

Thu 14 Jul 2010


View of the river from the nearby escarpment. We're camped on the bank at the bottom right of the water.

Ron and Moira are off today so as soon as their dust settles we move the truck, now we are right on the edge of the bank and have a great view up and down the river.


The campsite.


View from the deck.

Chris dons gloves and picks up all the rubbish she can see from the truck. Later we meet Stu the local council worker, he much appreciates this and it works in our favour as he says he wouldn't move us on even if he was told to.

I get an email from Peter today (a mate who is building a motorhome on a brand-new MAN), apparently his new truck is "refusing to proceed" because in it's wisdom it thinks the brake pads are worn.

Much as I’d love a new truck that’s total bullshit, fancy killing the whole vehicle because a break pad has worn. Un-effing-believable! Only a city based engineer could come up with that, what are you supposed to in outback Remote-astan with this problem, and even if the brake pads are worn, so what! You still need to get into a town.

As you may know I'm a computer geek from way back, I love having computers do clever stuff. But this is some sort of politically correct (ooo it's dangerous to drive with worn brake pads) bullshit.

The sad thing is that it's normal now to have a computer tell you whether or not you can drive your vehicle, and unfortunately the people who make the decisions about these matters all live in Tokyo or Frankfurt and have no idea about bodging up a vehicle to limp 500k to the nearest town. After all there's a dealer just down the autobahn right?

Yes it's dangerous to drive with worn brake pads, but if you're in the middle of a desert when they wear out you have no choice but to keep driving.


Corellas.


Great bower bird.

Fri 17 Jul 2010


Corellas eating nectar from flowers.


Black kite taking a bath.


Corella in flight.

Sun 19 Jul 2010

Someone tells us about a tap in town where you are just about guaranteed to see the rare Gouldian Finch, so Chris and I drive down to have a look. On our arrival we see a photographer set up with a large lens pointed at the tap. This is a good sign.

I brought my camera just in case so I sit on the ground next to him for a while and do get a couple of reasonable shots.


Striated pardalote.


Peaceful dove.


Yellow-tinted honeyeater.

I'll have to come back with a chair and spend some time here I think.

Tue 20 Jul 2010

This morning I'm up nice and early and drive back down to the tap.

Bird photo alert: If you aren't interested in bird photos you may want to skip this part.







All manner of finches and honey eaters.

Then when I get back home I see the local jabiru fishing in the shallows.




And you reckon you have to work hard for a meal.

Wed 21 Jul 2010


Thu 22 Jul 2010

Bob and Di arrive today in their bus "Roadhouse". We've known them since our Canberra days but haven't caught up with each other for several years. They've been working and travelling in WA for about three years and are now heading back east, meanwhile we've been working and travelling in the east for about three years and are now heading back to WA.

So at Timber Creek we are finally all in the same place at the same time.


Corella and sun sparkles.


That's a nice big fish for the jabiru.


This sea eagle is trying to steal the jabiru's fish.


Mrs Jabiru has turned up (females have yellow eyes).


A spot of fly fishing on the Victoria River.


The jabiru puts on another show.

Fri 23 Jul 2010

Sun 1 Aug 2010

Bob was in town the other day and volunteered me to judge the artwork in the Timber Creek show which is on today. So at 10 Chris and I drive into town, Chris judges the school kids paintings and I judge the photography.

After a couple of hours we declare that we've had enough social interaction for one day and we go back to the truck.

While sitting in the lounge looking at nothing in particular I see a huge croc float past, he must be 4 metres long if he's an inch and he's just drifting with the tide, right where I get water every couple of days.

I've seen large salties many times but there's something exciting about seeing one drift past your lounge room, several metres below I admit, but exciting nonetheless.

Mon 2 Aug 2010

The man from MilSkil dropped in today. What's MilSkil you ask? Well I'm not sure exactly but they have some coordinating roll in the "Pitch Black" military exercises and they want to know if we'll be here tonight.

Apparently the Air force guys need a target to find in the darkness. "Yeah we'll be here" I say, "but don't drop anything on us".

He says we probably won't even hear them, but for quite some time after dark we do hear planes above.

Thu 5 Aug 2010


Red-backed fairy-wren?


White-breasted woodswallow who looks like he's had his head in a flower.

Sat 7 Aug 2010

I notice from the lounge room that the jabiru has caught another fish, it's a big one and he has to place it on the ground to stab it and break it into bite-sized pieces.

I've seen him do this many times, however this time there's a complication, two freshies are after a free meal.


Check out these bad boys looking for a free meal.

For about half an hour the poor bird walks backwards and forwards trying to keep his meal from the crocs, why he doesn't just walk away from the water I don't know.

Mon 9 Aug 2010


I seldom photograph sunsets but this looks nice.

Tue 10 Aug 2010

We've been getting progressively less level lately as the blocks sink into the ground, so today I move the truck a couple of feet and reset them.

To my surprise they all have termites. Now not many motorhomers have a termite problem, still I think that's a good indication that we're travelling at about the right speed.

Thu 12 Aug 2010

Our huge saltie croc mate is back, this time swimming slowly against the flow. We watch him for some time as he cruises along the river bank, probably looking for a careless kangaroo to come down for a drink as we see them do quite frequently.


This is all you can see at times, a small ripple in the water.


Here he is cruising the shore, right where I crossed the other day to take the next photo.


We think this might be the big boy's girlfriend as this one is only 2-3 metres long.

Or maybe he's waiting for me to cross over to the island again, something I've done a few times albeit only when the tide was so low that I hardly got my feet wet.

I got talking to a local the other day and he says that the blackfellas used to avoid crossing the river here because there was a big daddy croc that would chase you across the rocks. Apparently if they did cross here they'd take a couple of dogs with them to throw to the croc if he got too close.

True or false? I don't know but I'm not in a hurry to cross the river again that's for sure.


A large freshie sunning itself.


A small freshie, head up and bum down.

Sun 15 Aug 2010


An egret ponders the meaning of life the universe and everything in the late afternoon light.

Sat 21 Aug 2010

Election day, not that we care all that much but part of the reason we're still here is so that we can watch the election on TV. We'll leave tomorrow when we know the result.

And just to force the issue we run out of water tonight, we filled up in Katherine on the 6th of July, that's 46 days which isn't too bad. We have of course been getting water from the river for washing which has helped a lot, but on the other hand we haven't been particularly frugal with the water because we know we can fill up in town.

Sun 22 Aug 2010

Well I guess nobody knows the election result, still we'll go anyway. We've been here about 6 weeks now and I have to say this is one of the best places we've ever camped, a few too many people for our liking but that's more than made up for by the scenery, the town is quite pleasant as well, and to think we've just driven straight through in the past.

We drive into town and fill up water at one of the taps used for watering the council lawns. While doing so we realise that there is a public shower in the council offices (so we find that on the last day after 6 weeks) and we have a nice long hot shower as well.


Filling up with water outside the council yards.

It's only about 2 o'clock so we decide to drive a short way, finally stopping in a rest area about 50k west of Timber Creek.

 

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