Cathie put some photos into be developed meaning we couldn't leave Longreach till ten am when the were due to be picked up. But we managed to leave even later because the jeep keys were all packed away in my bag inside the sealed campervan. We wound up the campervan and headed off.
We weren't sure when we were going to stop. Our original plan was Mount Isa but the late leaving had disrupted this.
We finished our listening to a talk from Philippians 3 on exhaustion. This has been a really good discussion/study and we have thought through about pressing on towards heaven well as a family.
We arrived at Winton at 1pm. We went to the Waltzing Matilda museum at Winton and had a coffee at the Coolabar Cafe but didn't go in because we didn't feel like a third Australiana museam in two days.
We would have liked to visit the dinosaur exhibit but were a little late (blame the photos and the keys) it closed at 1pm. So we tortured the kids: sitting in the park in Winton in 38 degree heat looking at the local kids frolic in the pool.
Hannah's friend Joanna gave her a chinese bracelet and her friend Eva gave her a necklace. As we left Winton there was panic because neither could be found. We drove back and found the chinese bracelet on the road and the necklace in the car.
Leaving Winton there was a petrol station on the right with a very powerful advertising line: 'Last petrol for 180kms.'
On the drive to Kynuna the kids watched Joseph and the Technicoloured Dreamcoat.
At Kynuna there's really only a pub - the Blue Heeler hotel. It's distinguishing feature was that every single square centimeter of the pubs internal walls is covered with graffiti.
But before we got to the pub - guess what we saw - brolgas. You know the 'out on the plain the brolgas are dancing.' There was a flock/herd of them. What do you call a group of brolgas? Cathie was so excited!
We pulled up at the petrol station. They said 'Don't use that pump mate. You won't be able to use that one for about another four hours - until it cools down.' I didn't know what would have happened if I had used the pump - but I certainly wasn't going to try it.
Yesterday at the pool at Longreach Caravan Park we met a retired couple who played with us a game of piggy in the middle. They sat outside the pool and threw the ball to me in the pool - with the kids attempting to intercept.
In the Blue Heeler hotel - there they were again. They are traveling Australia slowly. They originally were ten pound poms then had to go back to the UK in 1969 because of sick relatives. Now they are back exploring the country that they had originally intended to spend their adult lives. They are doing the journey much more slowly than us and have their next appointment in February 2009 in Tasmania. They stayed the night at the Blue Heeler while we kept driving.
The only serious sign we saw at the Blue Heeler was the sign warning of killer mosquitos. Cathie has now explained the technical terms but if they bite you they can give you arthritis for nine months or brain damage for ever.
At the Blue Heeler we were told that we had missed the turn off to Banjo Patterson's billabong - the one he was visiting when he had the idea for and wrote Waltzing Matilda. It was a 16 km back trip to the turn off then 8km down the road to the Billabong. Did I want to backtrack 44 kms to see a waterhole that they told me was virtually dry? But it was such a key thing in Australia's psychi. And I don't think I will be back this way ahead of retirement.
As we were driving away I was reflecting on the fact that every time I sing Waltzing Matilda in the future I guess I will regret not doing that 44 kilometer backtrack. But it was 39 degrees.
Aboriginies at Walkabout Creek
Next stop was Walkabout Creek Hotel. We didn't buy a drink at the Blue Heeler. But we did stop for a diet coke each at the Walkabout Creek. It's the pub at the center of the movie Crocodile Dundee.
Our kids haven't seen this movie but we will get it for them now since here we are in Crocodile Dundee territory.
A group of aboriginies walked into the bar while were were there. They are a singing group from near Blackwater heading up to near Cairns to perform. I took their photo. One of them introduced himself as Cathie Freeman's cousin and I was able to extend condolences to him over the death of her brother Norman last week.
As we headed to Cloncurry we listened again to the Willamson songs about Longreach, Charters Towers, Mount Isa and Alice Springs. As we drove along the road we saw thousands of what he called 'Cathedrals built by ants.'
Cloncurry's claim to fame is that it is the site of Australia's hottest recordest temperature - 53.1 degrees. (I thought this was Whitecliffs NSW but I certainly wasn't going to be the one to break the bad news to the girl behind the counter at the Caltex). It was 31 degrees at 8pm. And she said it's nothing like the temperature it gets.
We would have liked to have stopped at Cloncurry but had decided we wanted to go to church tomorrow and it didn't look like there were any churches in Cloncurry.
We had a hamburger each in the cool of the roadhouse and kept driving.
To Mount Isa
Hannah tried to sleep. Abraham, Solomon, Cathie and I kept a sharp eye open for Kangaroos and Cattle. We saw lots of cattle right by the road, but none actually on the road.
We had to stop once when there was an enormous clanking from the campervan. What had gone wrong? Flat tyre? Something worse? It turned out that one of the campervan's corner stabliser legs had wriggled loose and unwound, hit the tarmac at 90km/hour and twisted round.
Oh well I'll have to go and meet another welder and ask him to fix this one as well.
We pulled in about ten pm. Set up quickly and went to bed.