Day 98 Wednesday 1/9/21 Charleville to Wyandra, clear 31
I’m up at 6:00 to breathe the sweet air and take some last photos. I had opened another window at 3:00 and the air smelt wondrous.
We bid our farewells to Craig and use their wash area to clean the underside of the car and van to get rid of any Parthenium weed seeds as he has warned us that not only trucks but caravans are spreaders of this noxious weed. No doubt the weeds are as popular as a dry rissole.
Heading south on the Mitchell Highway / Matilda Way we check the air in the tyres and see a truckload of rodeo horses that are heading home to Melbourne after the season. We pass the Angellala Bridge explosion site. Back in 2014 a truck carrying ammonium nitrate overturned here causing an explosion that registered 2.1 on the Richter scale at Charleville, 30kms away. Thankfully no lives were lost but it made a mess of the highway.
As we trundle along we contemplate the job of the blokes who have to drag the roadkill off the roads. It’s only 113kms to Wyandra but we only see 7 vehicles. The southern lockdowns are affecting this part of Qld as only trucks are crossing the border northwards.
A billboard advertises the Beach on the Warrego River. Craig has said it was worth a visit. We drive out there. I think we’ve been spoilt. We return to the freedom camp in town.
Wyandra has a pub, a quirky caravan park, a church, post office and school. The freedom camp is situated on the old cricket pitch just beyond the school. The locals have built a comfortable shelter with toilets and showers, a BBQ, a patch of lawn, a well-built firepit, clothes line and firewood. Elle has washing on the clothesline in a flash while I find a lizard in the dunny. Some of the houses in town have seen better days and of these the church is quite possibly the best, though on closer inspection seems to have been built from borrowed bits. This is a town with character.
We spend the day chasing the shade around the tree then the boys give up and go over to the pub for a beer on the pretense of booking for dinner. Other than the kids in school we can’t see a soul. Elle and I sit in the shade behind the vans and gaze at the paddock. Sometimes a truck passes over on the highway and when one does, we can hear it coming for ages, such is the quiet here.
The boys return and as the sun sets we walk down the middle of the road to dinner. We’re the only patrons. Lucky we booked.
Brock and his partner are the new young publicans. He’s a dab hand at this as his grandparents used to own the Dululu pub. They’ve been here 3 months and already have painted the place throughout and polished the floors. The meal is good pub food and we’ve no complaints. Because it’s our last meal in Qld we’ve decided to be brave and try the Crumbed Steak. Crumbed Steak? Well, it’s a Qld thing and you’ll find it on every pub menu in this fair state and to our surprise it’s pretty good. Probably not that good for the arteries but when you’ve spent the day tipping cows and Brahman bulls upside down the extra calories wouldn’t go astray. After dinner Brock’s mother-in-law Mary, drops in to say g’day and tells us that she is the cleaner and is living out the back with hubby in a converted bus with their galah Joey (who used to be known as Daphne). Joey’s a good talker and if anyone knocks on the door he greets them with a loud “Faaarck Orf”! Mary’s brother also pops in, he breeds and trains pig dogs. A good pig dog fetches a damned good price around here as feral pigs are a huge problem. You just don’t get this kind of knowledge in a city pub.
We need our torches to find our way home as you can’t see your hand in front of your face and streetlights are few and far between.
The sky is so stunning that we line up our chairs, turn out the van lights and like an open air cinema, lay back gazing at the stars above us. And you wondered what grey nomads do in the evening.
Towing Kms: 113Kms
We’re heading to Cunnamulla, 200kms south of Charleville. In fact, all of the towns around here are 200kms apart. Why? Because they were Cobb & Co staging posts in the days of stagecoaches.
To our surprise the wine we enjoyed over dinner was a Calabria Family, Richlands. We met Bill Calabria down in Griffith last year when we were enjoying one of his Durifs at Elle’s birthday dinner.
MV and Silicon ring to say that they’ve been told not to cross the border at Hebel as authorities are trying to keep travellers away from Covid hot spots.
Victoria has extended its lockdown another 3 weeks.
And just remember if you get told where to go at the Wyandra Pub, it’s only a greeting from Joey the galah or is it Daphne.