27 August 2002
The next morning we packed up. The girls were extremely helpful, so for the last half hour we let them play in “Rockville”. As we crawled along the gravel road out of the national park, Clare pointed out that Ruby was crying. The poor kiddo had an earache. Susie and I went to the visitor’s centre to ask where the nearest doctor was, and we learned that we could get both the tyre fixed and Ruby’s ear seen to in Hawker. On the drive there, however, Ruby’s ear settled down, and it seemed likely that it was not an ear infection but a pimple or boil in her ear canal that was extremely sensitive to the touch. So long as she didn’t put her finger in her ear, it didn’t hurt.
We stopped at The Woolshed at Wilpena Pound to see an exhibition of paintings of the Flinders Ranges. Then we drove on to Hawker where we got our tyre repaired. Unfortunately the hole was too big to repair (or so we were told), so we bought a new spare which unfortunately did not match the other tyres. I felt it was best to get one anyway. Driving without a spare was risky to say the least.
We pulled into the servo around the corner and bought petrol, ice, and topped up our water tanks, as we were unsure what our next stop might be. We resolved to drive on to Quorn to check out the accommodation. We found that the caravan park was adequate, so we booked in for a night. Susie cooked spaghetti Bolognese in the camper’s kitchen and we sat up for a while around a metal drum in which we were allowed to have a fire; but this was an uninspiring option, so we went to bed.
The next day we decided to stay on in Quorn a little, since there seemed to be plenty to do. It was blowing a gale, however, and it was expected to last until the following evening. We drove out to the Warren Gorge, which you could actually drive through. It was a pretty spot and you could camp in it. There appeared to be few level sites, however; the gale made camping an even more unattractive proposition, and driving through the gorge was tricky in a two-wheel drive, so we drove back towards Quorn and then headed off on a track that led to Dutchman’s Stern, a steep bluff that rose out of the rather flat surrounds.
The girls weren’t in much of a walking mood, so we partially ascended the bluff following a rusty old fence. We got a fabulous view from our chosen resting place, but the wind nearly blew us off our perch.
At length we descended from the bluff, drove back to Quorn, did some shopping, then returned to the caravan park where I played the guitar in the dreadful wind and the girls did their schoolwork while Susan supervised with tapestry in hand. Unfortunately Susie came down with a terrible migraine, so she went to bed at about 5.00 p.m. While she rested, Ruby, Clare and I went into Quorn and had dinner at the Trans-Continental Hotel. We phoned Maureen Cornish to find out how Dick’s hip operation had gone. The news was good, so we will all rest well tonight.
As I write in the car, the cold wind is blowing outside and I can’t see the stars anymore. It smells like rain.