Sunday, 10 November 2013

The pelicans of Clyde Mountain

This continues the story of our investigations into camper-trailer acquisition.  Having been to the Penrith Expo and seen some friends' vans we headed for the Expo at Bateman's Bay to follow up on the Cub campers.

I had intended to explore some areas off the Western Distributor Forest Road but that road was closed due to a huge bushfire burning in a remote part of the Budawang National Park.  This image from not too far out of Bungendore - about 60km away as the ember flies - shows the smoke cloud from that fire.
Not too long after taking that we met the first pelican, driving a slab fronted  GMC ute who ended up about 2m from my back bumper after overtaking a slow truck.  He then ripped past us at a great rate.  It was possibly schadenfreude to see him parked near Mr Plod a little further on.  (I say 'possibly' since Mr Plod moved on  - doing a u-turn in search of more victims - while we were in view.  They don't usually do things that quickly, as a matter of policy.)

In Braidwood we stopped to buy some bread and stuff for lunch.  While in the bakery I noticed this bloke I didn't recognise was talking to Frances who was outside with Tammie. The conversation appeared convivial so I didn't do a White Knight act and charge to the rescue.  On emerging it turned out the bloke was with - and in fact husband of - a friend from ANPS and her dog, on their way to a property they own.  Although their pooch was a lot bigger than Tammie they were getting on well.

We also got a few litres of diesel as an unexpected trip to Canberra had stuffed up my refueling strategy.  The two most interesting aspects of this were:

  • There are two servos (Australian for gas stations) in Braidwood, almost opposite each other.  One was charging 161.9c/l while the other was after a mere 154.9.  Presumably the first one reckoned people wouldn't do a u-turn to save 7c a litre.  Yes we would!
  • Traditionally these servos are seen as very expensive so I just got enough to ensure we got to Bateman's Bay.  However when I filled up there the price of fuel - after an 8c voucher had been applied was exactly the same.  As someone said buying fuel is a bit like playing poker.

When we actually started going down Clyde Mountain we noticed how smoky everything was and met a right proper pelican.  They were driving a Subaru very slowly until a chance to overtake arose at which point they would speed up by about 20kph.  As I wasn't hanging off their back bumper (see pelican behaviour 1 above) this trick made it impossible to get by them and I eventually pulled off the road to let them get out of my sight.

Getting to the bottom of the mountain - by which time we had rejoined the queue behind pelican 2 - we encountered this horse float.  They were not a pelican and were driving very considerately, keeping we over to give me a chance to overtake.  It doesn't show up that clearly but I was most amused at the way the horses leant into the bends.
I decided to go along River Rd at Nelligen for a few kilometeres to do a bit of nature looking.  Unfortunately there wasn't much in flower and the roadside was covered in dust.  It did look quite pleasant however so perhaps we will come back some day and have another go.
On getting to the Bay we found that the EXPO parking area was full so went to the overflow area about 500m away.  They were offering a shuttle bus service!!!  It was a bit smaller than the Penrith show but there seemed to be more people around.  There were certainly more dogs, and they all seemed to be small and friendly.  Tammie had a great time meeting and greeting.  
We also had a good time talking to Mike Foy from Cub Campers who answered all our questions about the Brumby camper (starting by saying that that was clearly the model we should be getting).  He had some internet issues but by the time we got home he had sent us a quote, which we have accepted and hope to pick up the van just before Christmas.
As we drove through the Bay we noticed more pelicans.  These were very large fish-eating birds and sitting on the light poles!  Pelican #2 from above could be improved by a few hours hanging from the pole!

As we headed back up the road the smoke haze had cleared a bit but is still a bit evident in this shot.
At the top of the Clyde we went off to explore the Woodleigh Fire Taill in the context of a future ANPS walk.  After about 1km the traditional fallen tree blocked the way and the traditional bow saw got some use.  The other fallen timber at kilometres 2, 3 and 3.5 didn't need sawing, just dragging out of the way.
The ferns along the way were most attractive, as were the swathes of Patersonia and, in a more open area, this attractive blue flower.
We got back to Braidwood and didn't find a need to stop but were amused by this ute load of dogs.

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