Thursday, 1 May 2014

Plain viewing

I have decided that I will do a single post to cover the two days of our trip back.  Quite a proportion of this (at least 300kms out of 1200kms) was spent looking at various bits of Flat to Mind-bogglingly Flat country that largely fits the definition of a plain.The post will of course also cover plain-speaking where plain speaking is needed,   I will leave to readers (if any) from Cleveland to decide if it also includes Plain Dealing!

For those interested in road safety, I'll point out that the images captured while on the road were taken by Frances from the left-hand seat!

We found our way back through the Adelaide Hills with no problems (although the absence of a crucial sign to Mt Barker could have caused difficulty and about 20 unnecessary kilometers without good navigation from F.).  Then on across the SA Mallee and into Victoria .  Although this was a Sunday the pelicans at the quarantine station were still giving people entering SA grief.  The Victorians don't bother!

We got to Murrayville which provided what was sorely needed by then, boxed up in this nice mural package!

 On. on across the Victorian noting that the salt lakes seem to have acquired more water since we last came this way.  After crossing the Murrray we observed that seeding time was here!

We swung into Balranald to see what was occurring and to contemplate whether to stop here for the night.  We were put of by a pack of dogs roaming the streets and looking as though Tammy could be first course for afternoon tea.  Taken in conjunction with the caravan park being on a bend which would cause every truck to change gear several times (who needs sleep) we decided to photograph the war memorial area ...

 .. and move on.  I have included the final image above to record the frequent use of this image in Vietnam War Memorials.  Hopefully whoever took the image is getting lots of recognition for it.

As we headed out across the Plain towards Hay we noted many small groups of Emus.  Surprisingly most of them were on the Northern side of the road, while 'normal' practice is for them to be on the South.

After a touch over an hour - the driving is simple: effectively, set cruise control on 110kph at the edge of Balranald steer the car for 130km and hit the brakes at the roundabout at Hay - we arrived at Hay having seen advertising hoardings for the Hay caravan park along the way.  We swung in to that establishment and erected the camper in about 30 minutes.  Allowing for check in etc we were through everything in less than an hour.

We then wandered down to the Murrumbidgee for a look.  This beautiful old River red Gum hanging over the River made it get an award.
This interesting posed moth arrived to share our lamplight.
It was somewhere between romantic and worrying to hear the trucks pounding past, especially after dark when they are well illuminated. The dippy appearance of the lights is a combination of long exposure and a bumpy road.
 Awards time:
Bird of the Day: Emu
Bad taste of the Day:  A couple of contenders for this.  A beekeeper chick at Ouyen who couldn't understand why she needed to move her car so that we could access the pump narrowly missed.  However the dog-owners of Balranald got the biggie for letting their slavering mutts run loose.
Art of the day: Mosaic on the Murrayville dunnie
Scene of the Day:  Red Gum on the Murrbidgee at Hay

We achieved an excellent nights sleep - the trucks gradually got less and they weren't braking by the park.  So we got up, had breakfast and packed up.  Then toddled 3km into the town for a look round.  Here is the Post Office - very well maintained and not for sale - and the Westpac building.
 The Memorial Hall.
This cooperative Pied Butcherbird earnt an award, getting a score higher than the street light on which it is perched.
 I was very taken with the mural around the entrance to the school library.
 Equally, we appreciated the politeness of one of the school staff who held back so as not to  impair the shot.  This was pretty typical of the friendliness of folk in the area.  Hay gets a tick as a nice place.

 Back on the road we saw a pilot vehicle approaching suggesting there was a wide load coming.
Yes, that's wide.
 Talking of wide, that is how the cattle in this next image had spread.  Whoever was droving them was either lucky to have encountered some unleased land or prepared for a large row with whoever owns this block.  At least they were all off the road!
Possibly this is the landholder on his way to do some top dressing.  I have no idea why he was driving on the side track rather than the highway.
 On our last trip along this road I was amazed to find bales of cotton all over place.  This time the plants were mainly in full boll although I did notice some material along the road, suggesting some paddocks had been hravested.
 About 110km after leaving Hay we took a left and swung into Darlington Point.  This turned out to be a very pleasant small town.  They had a Memorial Park  ....
 .. a cleverly sculpted municipal clock  ..
 .... a cenotaph ...
 and a pub.  While I was taking this snap a gent who looked like a 2X size model of Santa Claus opined that this was dangerous since "... you can get a bad headache just looking at that place,"  He went on the explain that some locals had become 'socially excited' just walking past!
We still had 450km to do, so fired up El Camion and headed off.  We had planned to refuel at the Liberty Station on the outskirts of Wagga but as afar as they were concerned Diesel was finished.  Fortunately there were many other purveyors of thi product further in to towm.  Rumble on down the road and we got home at 4pm on a warm Autumn evening!

Awards time:

Bird of the Day: Pied Butcherbird
Bad taste of the Day:  I'm tempted to say Liberty Petroleum for allowing the station at Wagga to run out of fuel
Art of the day: Clock at Darlington Point, primarily because it was so avant guard for what looked like a very sleepy country town
Scene of the Day:  Cotton fields on the Plain.

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