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More pain for Daisy.

140 km south of Charters Towers another Skippy hell bent on suicide dashed across the road while I was warily slowing down and watching another Skippy on the roadside.
The cracked bumper meant not caring a bit about the mark I'd put on it at Walgett.
It broke the fog light mounts but I'll fix it back again later despite them not being something I ever use.

Fun at Capella.

Little things like this add to a journey and despite the downturn in regional Australia the charm has increased.


Olivia poses with Virgin Rock, an image of Virgin Mary is in the alcove of the rock behind her, however erosion over the years has meant more imagination is needed.
Something for the boys, this lovely tractor was in that rest stop.
I think I can see the reason it was donated.

High point of the trip.

North of Injune we managed to get a few metres higher than we'd managed on the southbound leg.

Crossing the divide.

The bleak sky may be poor for photographs but it made for a very comfortable drive on a day we would have had the sun in our face all day.


Olivia posing with a bottle tree, they're very common in Roma.

Near Surat.

A lovely spot to stretch our legs. This was a rare bit of sunshine in was was a bleak cloudy and sometimes rainy day, definitely not conducive to taking photos.

A nice touch.

What was lovely to notice on our trip was the number of rural properties that had a Xmas display at their entry, many were splendid, this was simple but still has charm.


119th anniversary.

A little break from our tour photos.
I just noticed that it's Rizal day in the Philippines today, we wandered Paco park where their Patriot Jose Rizal is buried when I visited the Philippines in 2013.
There's a Rizal street in every single Philippine town so he must be very highly regarded.
Hopefully Australia will eventually realise that it's independent without the bloodshed many other countries have used.

More Walgett stuff.

Olivia looking good on another shiny exercise machine, I imagine the supplier who sold the equipment to the councils who would have had funding for the gear added an extra zero to the right side of the price.
We found some play equipment too but sadly I'm now too big and too old use it, my body just can't adapt to anything these days.
I was struck by the stupidity of the cart on display, it's locked up in a large and very likely expensive building with only a small opening in the mesh to poke a camera, which I realised wasn't worth the bother anyway. This could be utilised much better than having this cart filling it.
Like nearby Lightning Ridge and Burren Junction Walgett has a bore bath, but unlike them they seem to prefer public access to be rather difficult and at times when they're unlikely to use it.

Around Walgett.

The main street was rather empty.
Xmas eve had the BP getting a refill, Xmas day both filling stations in town were closed so I suppose there was no rush.
This brought back memories of Xmas over the years, children riding new pushbikes, this time with a careful mother barking instructions where they were permitted to ride.

Xmas with parents.

This was the point of the trip, to socialise with my parents.
Being a special occasion I enjoyed having a beer with my dad Fred.

An ominous arrival in Walgett.

Somehow I missed seeing this tap in the yard and drove over it resulting in water everywhere
as well as a horrid mark on Daisy.

Lightning Ridge.

A little detour off the highway to the iconic town of Lightning Ridge, Olivia was struck by this place in the middle of nowhere having shops with goods priced in thousands of dollars, we had only stopped at their lovely bore baths previously and she wasn't really aware of its opal heritage.
Even this bin has a quirkiness typical of the town.
I took the dirt road exit to the south of town to save a bit of distance, in hindsight a mistake, it seems it's another track that only gets graded when the local repair shops have too many jobs on their books.


A nice waterhole at the comfort stop on the eastern side of Hebel.
With a lack of travelers about us finding a spot of shade was easier but there were too many flies to enjoy any stop.



The comfort stop at the north of town looked most inviting with what looked like lovely playground equipment, but it turned out to be exercise equipment, that may explain why it had a very new and unused appearance.
At least there was a good old fashioned rope swing in place for some fun.
Olivia saw this Dandy strutting down an otherwise empty main street in Dirranbandi.

St George.

The weir at St George creates a lovely water reserve. The roadway on top of it is quite narrow by today's standard but does serve as a good example of how much harder it was to travel in past years with their narrower road standard.

Some pain for Daisy.

On the road between Mitchell and St George Skippy the Kangaroo decided to jump in front of Daisy and then disappeared into the dark of the night.
Some evasion work resulted in a dented guard.
This to a degree is linked to the current practice of cars having much larger "A" pillars than in previous generations, I saw Skippy at the side of the road but he must have jumped in the blind spot made by the A pillar.
The damage is only cosmetic.


It was dark when we had a comfort stop at Mungallala, I liked the artistic touch here.
I got this great night shot from the top of a rubbish bin, what was most upsetting was realising after a short while that I must have been standing on a meat ant nest, bugger.

Near Tambo.

They must have had a splash of rain sometime recently as the roadside grass had a tinge of green. What I had noticed was the land that stock graze upon was usually very bare, too much drought.

Possibly naughty.

I saw this lavatory block and pulled up in the shade at Aramac, the shade has the bonus of adding a few seconds before the flies became maddening.
Upon checking the place out it seems that it's a caravan park, although I think the ablutions in front of Daisy are meant for that.


Torrens Creek to Aramac.

We turned south at Torrens Creek, I wanted to check how the road had progressed since we left 13 years ago, there's now only 34 km of dirt road left, down from the ~200 km of dirt back then, but it's all been sealed from the Aramac end, due in part I believe because of the Flinders shire not having any interest in sealing this state highway that uses state money. What's another pity is they also don't seem to have graded the dirt section since we left either. The surface was woeful, nearly all corrugations interspersed by patches of bulldust, at least the main roads website warns about it even though the same warning has been updated monthly for years.
 The dirt does give way to a good bitumen road after an hour or so (34 km) and driving became a pleasure again, a pity is I think it may be a forlorn hope that the final section will ever be sealed, the Aramac council who were sensibly keen to have the road sealed are now part of the Barcaldine regional council, and I can't see them being as keen. The Flinders shire may likely prefer a locked gate on it.
Anyway the current Earth Google view shows the end of the bitumen exactly where currently is -21.062, their street view is from an older time.
A surprise was a public lavatory halfway along the road, complete with enough flies doubt the worth of the effort.
Daisy looks pristine here still, incidents later on the journey have left her looking world weary, but more about that later.

Train passes through Torrens Creek.

We saw this coming so I took a photo. The new platform looks very nice, I wonder if any passengers have ever used it?
This western line would be busier than the main coast line.

Torrens Creek.

This house was home for two and a half years before we moved to Ingham. The road was only dirt back then but there was a lot of nice things to living in a small quiet town, things not so nice include a fairly long 160 km each way drive to do our shopping, but these days the lack of a decent internet service would render it quite unsuitable.
The pub doesn't appear to have changed, nor would the shock of their prices either I suppose.

Xmas trip.

Unusually at least for me we went away for Xmas this year to visit my parents.
We went via a slightly longer inland route and this was the high point of the southern leg, A new to me rest area just west of the White ranges lookout on the Flinders Highway.
The road train would have dropped to fuel to filling stations who historically have used very healthy margins.
It was quite warm weather which meant being annoyed by more flies than it's possible to believe could exist, just another factor that for me meant taking less photos than I would have liked.


Merry mango time.

Our mango tree is laden with fruit, I don't eat them but the birds and Olivia are happy to have them.
Our net access will be patchy for a few days so I'll wish everybody who reads this a Merry Xmas now.


I did buy a copy of the express today.

And sure enough Olivia had her photo in it.
I'm way in the background totally obscured by Shirley.


A chore on Daisy.

I rotated Daisy's tyres this morning, it's not a chore I believe in doing but I'm aiming to even up the tyre wear to better suit buying replacements.
Still 5 mm of tread left but it's a mystery as to how long that'll last, the rubber seems to get harder the more they wear. I hate buying tyres, satisfaction is difficult in Australia due largely I think being such a small market.
The pads I put on a year ago still have plenty of meat on them. I bought them as I figured the ultra cheap ones I got would sacrifice their own wear life in order to give the rotors an extended life, it looks life the pads will also last a lifetime. A bonus has been the grip and feel are much better than the stock pads, just look for Protex Blue.
My yellow valve caps look glum as I replaced them with ultra cheap jobs for a soon to be taken trip away to see my parents. The last time we saw them at Walgett locals "borrowed" a couple of my nice caps, I'm taking spares this time and will monitor things.


Final caroling.

We journeyed out to Lucinda this evening to sing a few more songs, before anything happened Olivia and Glad had their photos taken for the local paper, something I'll have to make sure I buy a copy of.
The MCs here did a very good job of keeping things moving, the acts were all pretty good too, the singers could hold a tune very well.
This group of young-uns sang along to a happy tune, well the lass behind the red microphone did a grand job of singing the lines while some of the remainder managed a few lines.
As per usual some of those girl's parents recorded almost useless videos with their phones because they haven't rotated the phone 90 degrees.
Nothing of us again I'm afraid but it was a lovely night and the entertainment was better than last Sunday, something for us to think about.