16 August 2002
We were somewhat slow to get on the road the next morning, which was a bit slack considering the driving we had to do. But since three of us have had heavy colds, it’s been difficult to break camp with any speed. We eventually pulled out late morning and drove through Nundroo to Penong, where we refuelled and had a toilet stop. Without any ado, we drove on to Ceduna, where we surrendered our onions and garlic to the quarantine station. We stopped in town long enough to leave a message on Jane Thorn’s answering machine, and leave a message with the distance education people as to our whereabouts. We also did a quick shop to replace the items we lost at quarantine. We got stuck behind a semi-trailer that was towing some mining equipment as we left Ceduna, and pulled over to the side of the road to let it go ahead, rather than attempt to overtake it.
We drove on to Wudinna where we refuelled, and then to a bush camp 19 km east of Kyancutta. It wasn’t the best spot we have seen. It was squeezed between the highway and a wheat field. Worst of all there was a big four-wheel drive with a caravan and noisy generator. In addition to the latter, the old fellow had built an enormous fire using living branches of a Eucalypt sapling. How much energy does one couple need to camp for a night?
We faced the decision of whether to push on and look for another camp, or investigate the options where we were. We chose the latter course of action. We had noticed that service roads ran along the side of many of the wheat fields. There were signs designed to deter you from using the road, but they were easily side-stepped. So we travelled along the fence line for a short way to find a suitable camping spot that was far enough away from both the generator and the highway.
We set up the tent and immediately set about hunting for wood. It was shaping up to be a cold night, and our comfort depended on getting a campfire going. Luckily I found what appeared to be either a pile of cleared wood or someone’s secret stash of firewood. Clare and I loaded up the back seat of the Nimbus, and our comfort was secure. We watched the sun go down over the wheat field and felt the temperature drop, and ate sausages that were sizzled in the skillet over the campfire coals. We had found bliss yet again. We stayed up and sang songs, and then everyone beat a retreat from the cold, except me (I stayed up to write this). The cold soon got the better of me too however, and I retired to a restless night’s sleep – restless because Susie was tossing and turning with her cold.
The next morning, evidence of the cold night was all around. There was a heavy fog over the entire area and the chairs in the tent were covered with frost. We got the campfire going again and made some toast and tea to cheer up the cold tummies, and then we hit the road again with less than 500 km to go before Adelaide.
We continued to drive through the South Australian wheat belt until Kimba, after which the wheat fields reverted to beautiful open bushland with red soil and grey saltbush.
We should arrive in Adelaide by mid-afternoon.