October 2010

  • Cover Page
  • Map of Trip-2006.
  • Map of Trip-2008.
  • Map of Trip-2009.
  • Map of Trip-2010.

  • Go St Kilda,go Go St Kilda,go
                                  And Harry's AFL team is?????

    October has arrived and we are now very much in the throws of getting the car and camper prepared for the trip back East. Of course there was an event to even rival the packing process and that  was the AFL grand final, or should I say grand finals. As I have mentioned in other entries we have become mad AFL supporters and rarely miss a game. Harry has adopted St Kilda and is a very passionate follower. The first of the grand finals had us all yelling and screaming like a bunch of loonies and like all other viewers we were a bit disappointed that the day did not produce a winner.
    As it was to be repeated the next weekend we thought we would duck back to Broome and have a weekend with a friend Geoff (Di was OS with her mother). We first met Geoff and Di at Kalumburu and have seen them many times since. We arrived in Broome just after lunch on Friday (only a 2 hr drive) and quickly got a few jobs done. We were again tourists and still managed to find a pile of things we have not seen before, including revisiting a few of our favourites. Needless to say the main event was the big game with Harry being a little disappointed with the outcome. Maybe next year mate. Of course it is not a trip to Broome without sunset drinks on Cable Beach. If we lived there it would be a weekly event as it is a great way to end a day. Sunday arvo it was in the car and back to Looma. That will definitely be our last visit to Broome for this year, and possibly for quite a while depending on what we end up doing next year.

    Broome, WA Broome, WA Broome, WA Broome, WA Broome, WA Broome, WA Broome, WA Broome, WA
                                                    Broome, yet again !!

    Our time at Looma has gone fairly rapidly with the kids working flat out on their school work
    and with Chris sorting through what seems like hundreds of cubic metres of highly specialized gear that has to fit in our little mobile home, as well as watching as much of the Commonwealth games as we could. We certainly seemed to have disposed of plenty of rubbish that we have been carting around and have got the food supplies down so low we were actually scratching for things to eat for our last few days at downtown Looma.  I cleaned, polished and vacuumed the car, did a grease (finally bought myself a mini grease gun- perfect for use on the road) and oil change and made a few minor modifications/ improvements. We did fit in a weekend of sightseeing around the local area but access was a bit difficult because like most of Australia, we had some very heavy unseasonal rain which did make the place somewhat damp. It was just like being in the top end during the wet season with great afternoon light shows and torrential downpours. For those who have not experienced a wet season, it really is something everyone should try and experience at some stage in their life. There really is nothing like a good wet. Anyway, back to the sightseeing. Looma is only a few kms from the Fitzroy River and while the water levels have been a bit on the low side it is actually flowing now and is a few metres over the causeway. The river certainly has plenty of crocs, mainly freshies, but believe me you would not see me in it or even too close to the banks. You could bet your bottom dollar, there are salties in there.

    Unseasonal rain Unseasonal rain Unseasonal rain Unseasonal rain
                                     Rain in October!! Must be Global Warming

    My last weekend on call was going very nicely with no calls and plenty of packing and cleaning a-happening. Well that was until lunchtime on Sunday when I got a call that there had been a rollover with 6 people hurt. There seems to be a last day pattern starting to develop as something similar happened in Kings Canyon, but that was with a helicopter (much more dramatic).
    Luckily for me, my colleague who had been away since Thursday decided to come home early so she was around and came into work to help me with what seemed like an endless barrage of casualties. I arrived at the clinic before the injured that were being bought in in the back of another troopie ute. When they pulled up it was like an episode of 'Mash' (for those old enough to remember that iconic show). There were people lying on the trayback, groaning and rolling about. Luckily half the town had now gathered at the clinic and the men were extremely helpful. We lifted the injured one by one and carried them into the clinic placing them on beds, well two of the six as we only have two beds. The others were placed on the floor, on the ambulance trolley and anywhere else they would fit. Four of the six had fairly serious injuries, with two only minor non-life threatening fractures. We were sticking in drips and running fluids as quickly as we could. Then we plastered a few fractured limbs and then needed to stick in a chest drain. I contacted Derby Hospital and notified them of our situation and they dispatched two ambulances and medical and nursing staff. Problem was that would take over an hour for them to arrive. Not to worry, we had plenty to keep us occupied. We ended up transporting four in (to Derby) on stretchers and two sitting. I did a run into Derby in our ambulance with one stretchered and one sitting. The trip into town was going well until I got to the Broome/ Derby intersection. There was a lady driving a Landcruiser in front of me and she would not get out of my way. I had beacons flashing and every other car pulled over but not her. I think she must have thought they were all pulling over for her!!!!!!!!! Finally she saw or heard me and then at last she was gone. It was a good afternoon at work, a bit of adrenaline and a good outcome, with them all alive. We even made it to the National News (OK it may have been the WA News) and the newspaper.
    Problem now was that the packing was a bit behind but nothing this slick packing team couldn't cope with.

    Looma Clinic Looma Clinic Looma Clinic Looma Clinic
                                                          Looma Clinic

    We left Looma on Tuesday 26th and made a bee-line for the east coast. As it is rather warm this time of the year we opted to stay in cabins as we were traveling big kms and long hours each day. It is nice to have some creature comforts after a long tiring day. This was the plan:
    Day 1 - Looma to Warmun where we numbed a night with my old work colleague, Maria. Distance 642 kms. We had a great night and it was really great to see her again. She had a lovely meal cooked for us and I finished off a few small jobs on her car that I hadn't finished from when we lived out there.
    Day 2 - Warmun to Katherine. Distance 710 kms. It was a good run with us arriving just on dark. (Always get caught out with the time difference crossing the border - lost an hour and a half!)
    Day 3 - Katherine to the Three Ways. Distance 674 kms. This is a nice roadhouse but the cabins are extremely small and rather expensive. We did note that Barkley Homestead now has very flash looking brand new cabins that we would try next time if camping was not an option as it is only another 130 kms down the road.
    Day 4 - Three Ways to Mt Isa. Distance 661 kms. I am glad we stayed in a cabin as it rained nearly all night. We stayed at Sunset Caravan Park and the cabin which was very comfortable cost $85-00. It would have cost over $30-00 for a powered site. Sometimes these cabins are good value and a nice treat.
    Day 5 - Mt Isa to Charters Towers. Distance 769kms. Let me tell you our backsides were getting sore by this stage. Thank goodness it's over.
    And the day 6 into Townsville, a total of only 133 kms. That was all the hard work done and now it was time to kick back and enjoy,
    let the fun begin.

    WA/Nt Border NT/QLD Border
                   We have now crossed these borders 8 times!!

    It was nice to be back in our home state, and we were excited about seeing friends and familiar faces again. What I didn't enjoy was the state of our Qld roads. Pretty much the minute we hit the NT/Qld border the condition of the roads changed. To say these roads are part of the national road system is a joke. Narrow, potholed, uneven, rutted and in places down right dangerous almost all the way to Charters Towers. What the hell the traveling public must think when they enter Qld, especially after touring NT and WA where the roads are magnificent.

    Now before you bleating heart Queenslanders get on your high horses and start up the age old excuse and tell me that Queensland is a big state with lots of roads that need to be maintained, grab an atlas and look at the size of WA. It would have to be close to twice the size of Qld, with what would have to be some of the best roads in Australia. If we want to tell the world we are the 'Tourist State' things need to change. The other thing to note after being away from Qld is how aggressive and dangerous some of our drivers are. They are up your backside, overtaking on double lines, blind corners and up hills (and yes we are sitting on the speed limit). Argue as much as you like, you just don't see this behaviour in other states. Yes there is a hell of a lot more traffic over here, but I think some Qld drivers need to take a chill pill or leave 5 minutes earlier so they can get to their destination on time and without endangering the lives of other road users.

    In Townsville we stayed with Greg and Jos who we first met on our honeymoon (they were on theirs as well) and we have kept in contact with ever since. We catch up as often as possible. We all went to Bali for our 10th Anniversary for a few weeks and the last time we saw them was in 2008 on our way through Townsville heading to Wadeye. They have just returned from Europe where they celebrated their 25th anniversary for a month. Good try buddy, but it still doesn't beat our drinks on the balcony at Looma!!!!!
    I had tried to ring them recently while they were still OS. A house sitter answered the phone and told me they were in Europe and would be spending their anniversary in Paris and that they would be back mid-October. About a week after they returned I rang and excitedly told Jos that we had just returned from Paris and that I was sure I had seen them under the Eiffel Tower. You should have heard her. Boy did I have her going! That's what she gets for not inviting us along on the 25th anniversary celebration.
    As always it was great to see them again and to catch up on events of the past few years, as well as stories of their trip. I have said it before, we cross paths with some people in our lives that just remain friends forever with very little effort, and when you see them every so often, it's just like you see them everyday. Friendships where time is no barrier. They're special friends.

    We have 3 weeks to make our way down to Bundaberg which includes time on Magnetic Island, a week on Daydream Island, a week at Airlie Beach and then Bowen (yes, we know that is going backwards but not far) and then down to Bundy to get the van ready for our 7 weeks on the Sunshine Coast and Burrum Heads as well as a week in Brisbane to get a few jobs done.

    So that is it for October. The first of November will have us on the car ferry to Magnetic Island and then plenty more adventures as we start to head south. Christmas decorations are already in the shops so the big count down begins.

    Until then.

    I never new what true happiness was until I got married... Then it was too late.

    Ha Ha.