Those of you are map savvy might wonder why we did so little in so long! If you consult the map and look at the distances travelled… Well I read the maps and between not accurate maps and my map-reading skill we went a long way out of our way… then Alan had a brainwave – what about the Garmin? We call it Gertie. She saw us right. We drove through interesting and beautiful country where we saw changes in the types of trees and speculated a bit on what it must have been like for the early settlers and wondering what had happened to the Indigenous people who were there when they arrived. We were heading for the Glenlyon Dam which holds more water than Sydney Harbour…
But on the way we stopped at the Mullanganee Lookout – where the interesting thing was the random blacking out of some of the words.
Can’t help myself and tried to rub it off but couldn’t… strange things people do. The village of Mallanganee was attractive but obviously struggling
The main street through the car window – sorry about the blurry areas… We were heading for Inverell but knew we wanted to stop on the road somewhere – so we found a flat area where we able to pull off and set the caravan up for the evening…
panoramic view of what we could see… was lovely in the evening light and again in the morning when we were greeted by a group of young heifers who gave Bella a big thrill!! We tried out the shower which worked pretty well except we needed to experiment a bit with the water temperature!! We set off again on the Bruxner Highway which doesn’t give much of an impression of a highway – bumpy and narrow – but with a hard surface at least.
We headed for the Glenlyon Dam which was as impressive as it should have been. We started at the shores where I caught this cormorant posing…
What a camera – it was at least 70 metres away from me. I had some fun looking at the birds with the binoculars and felt like a real birdwatcher! There was nothing special to see though. There are more pics of the Dam and environs at https://picasaweb.google.com/105183160149035139526/Walkabout2AlstonvilleToGlenInnes. Ever onwards, next stop Inverell (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverell) The whole place has that tinge of the Gaelic about it but nothing less like I imagine Scotland to be. It was the hottest I have felt since leaving Oman! We went to a delightful caravan park there – too hot and too tired to look for anything else. The best thing about it was the pool – we dived in almost before we had changed into swimming togs! So reviving. We were able to do laundry, charge all our batteries on the electricity we had with the site, were so close to the amenities it was almost like having an ensuite but not that close that we were worried by other people going there. Except that Bella woke us up when someone came close to our ‘van on their way to the loo.
We decided to stay 2 nights and hit the garage sales on Saturday morning where we did some great buying – we had decided to stick to budget but there such good stuff available of course we didn’t. It was noticeable that 3 of the 6 sales were women selling stuff they couldn’t take with them and that their children didn’t want either… One was actually stuff from a deceased estate. A noticeable shortcoming from our point of view was that there were no tools. Al is desperately short of tools of any quality. And now that we have sold the bronze, as I mention later, and have sold a lot of other valuable stuff in the last months we are short of that sort of item as well. So we are very well stocked with the usual sort of stuff and it is all decent quality, some of it interesting, like a little collection of kewpie dolls, but little of high value.
Alan is going to meet his contact in Toowoomba on Wednesday this week and we might have more to report then, he promised some tools. We continue to visit charity shops and dumps but think we might have to look for a decent auction some time if we are going to replenish the ‘good’ stuff.
There have been some steep spikes in our learning curve, as we drove out of the Information office in Glen Innes the towbar scraped on the road and dislodged the coupling causing the caravan to be disconnected from the towball. A delightful young man stopped – fetched his superior wallaby jack (our own didn’t fit under the towbar which was resting on the tarmac)(https://picasaweb.google.com/105183160149035139526/Walkabout2AlstonvilleToGlenInnes#5833076156460959698) – and got us out of trouble… In any other world we would have regarded this young man as not likely to be of much use… overweight and covered in tattoos wearing very untidy clothes!! Two bits of learning, a new pin is needed for the coupling assembly and one should not be too quick to judge. Never too old to learn that one.
Another spike was our expectation that the market at Glen Innes would be be a very small take… and it would have been except for the man who fell in love with our sensual 19th century French signed bronze and bought it without discussion about price… he also bought a book about Queensland history from 1859 – 1959, a soft covered commemorative document sponsored by many businesses and quite valuable… Then there was the bowling club badge enthusiast who jumped at our offer to sell him our entire collection must be a couple of hundred for a very good price in our terms… who else was ever going to buy them and they are hard to display and not high profit when sold at @$2.00 a badge, didn’t think we could research and distinguish etc… So some jubilation there and the funny thing was that we have never had the whole lot out before in accessible form. Always expecting customers to forage in a big square tupperware box… I took them out arranged them in packets in alphabetical order and placed those pinned into bowls dusters one on top of the other. As I said to Al later I still don’t know why I took the trouble at 6 am to do such a fiddly job when we are going full steam to get everything out onto the tables. Couldn’t decide if it was to annoy him or some sort of divine guidance telling me that that was the day for the badges!
On Suday night after the market having tried to find someone to unlock the showers at the Glen Innes showgrounds we gave up and went to a caravan park a stagger and roll away from the RSL (Returned Services League Club).(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Returned_and_Services_League_of_Australia) Our first impression was of a conventional RSL – barn-like atmosphere, tables all arranged in long lines and not a lot of action on a Sunday evening. What a surprise when we were directed to the Crystal Room Restaurant, gemutlich atmosphere and excellent food and drink! The only slight downside was the lost blue key – that would open the gate closest to our caravan and the gents’ toilet. And then we heard from our newly arrived neighbours that Bella had slipped her moorings and been a bit of a nuisance. Her chain was a genuine antique and probably had had enough of life… anyway we have a new arrangement so hope she will be safely tethered in future when we go away.
Speaking of tethering we tether our computers to the wifi hotspots in our phones and Al’s tablet and voila there is the internet connection. Too amazing.
I nearly forgot to mention a little side trip we did to the Sinclair Lookout, between Inverell and Glen Innes, it is not mentioned on either of our maps but is a step dirt road up to, well we didn’t get to the end… Al was worried that it would run out of road and he wouldn’t be able to turn! So he did, turn when he could, and head back to the main road. Towing a caravan is a real constraint to exploration as is having a dog – none of the National Parks allow dogs however well controlled. Anyway on the way down again we encountered a small herd of spotted deer! They were very shy but again the camera did a miracle and captured this image
At the bottom of this picture can be seen some purple flowers, they are in full bloom all over the place as are the yellow everlastings to be seen in the earlier pics on this folder in picasa this picture was taken at our first ‘real’ free camping spot! early in the morning before they had opened properly. Another gorgeous example of nature and colour was the plane (?) trees along the road next to the race course in Glen Innes, there was a startling contrast between the leaves on the trees and the grass that the picture doesn’t quite capture.
We wondered if they might be going prematurely autumnal because of the dreadfully hot weather.
Well this has been a very long blog – please give me feedback if it is too long or if the pics blow our your internet allocation and I will use only links… or whatever you would like to say to me…