For the first time since December 2009, we have spent a night separated from each other......
We left Mataranka early on Sunday morning (29th Aug) and had breakfast at the same rest stop we had lunch at last week. There we met a couple Avon and David, who were travelling with Avon's twin sister, Shirley. We arranged to meet further down the road at Butterfly Springs. The road was very rough and we took it quite slowly, there was plenty of water crossings, also taken slowly, and made it to Butterfly Springs about 2pm. We set up camp and went for a swim.
I will save the details of this camp for another post, as it was singularly amazing!
Our fellow travellers came in a few hours later and we agreed to travel together for the next few days, as we are all going the same way at the same time. It helps to keep each other safe on the road.
The next day we investigated the Southern Lost City (also worth another post) and headed for Borroloola. After refuelling both us and the cars, we headed for Queensland for the first time since December. As we were driving from Boorooloola towards the Hellsgate roadhouse, all was well. We took some photos at the border..... Connor found a 2m King Brown snakeskin...... everyone was well and happy. Our fellow travellers agreed to head for Kingfisher campsite with us after some encouragement from Karen. They are heading further east, faster than we are planning to, so they will continue on after Kingfisher.
About 30km from Borroloola there were some strange noises emanating from the back of the vehicle and a quick investigation revealed the rear brake disc was very close to he caliper, indicating that something very strange was going on. About 10km down the road to Kingfisher camp (near Doomagee), we stopped due to the enormous plume of smoke rising form the back of the car. The rear diff had stopped working and we were stuck on the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere.
Praise God for our fellow travellers, who had gone on ahead and set up camp at Kingfisher, and then returned to check on us. Only to find the car WILL NOT move, the parents are a bit stressed, and it is getting dark very quickly. David towed the trailer into Kingfisher for us, and it was decided the next morning that Daniel would organise some assistance. Thank you, thank you, thank you David, Avon and Shirley.
Many options were explored. The local mechanic in Doomagee couldn't assist....the local mechanic in Burketown couldn't assist... the closest help was Mt Isa. Do we fly to Mt Isa on the mail plane? rent a car and trailer and drive back and forth twice? Do we get the local freight company to pick us up? Finally we found Jason at the Tiranna Roadhouse was on his way to Townsville, and had a car trailer. For an agreed price, he picked up the car and drove with Daniel for the next 20 hours and delivered us safely to the mechanic in Townsville.
So now the car is being repaired, having its rear end replaced! Karen and kids are stranded in Kingfisher camp until his return, but they are managing to complete SOME schoolwork, in between swimming, bushwalking, riding bikes, and catching fresh Redclaw and Cherubim for lunch. They even spotted a freshwater crocodile swimming away in the river..... The Kingfisher camp caretakers have been incredible! Nothing is a hassle for them, they have gone out of their way to help.... delivering an enormous pile of firewood, recharging the trailer batteries, fielding phone calls and messages and so on. Thank you, thank you, thank you....... Janelle and Dennis
The car should be ready on Monday, so we should be travelling all day Tuesday. My Dad has agreed to come for the drive, and hang out with us for the few days it will take to dive back o Townsville. We should all be in town by next Saturday/Sunday. I means that I will miss Fathers Day with my children, but that can't be helped and we can always celebrate it next week.
Having not spent a night apart in 9 months, we are all finding it a bit strange, but we will be reunited soon and continue our adventure together.........