Today we were on the road by 7:30 but the little Jeep had already left, if he was cold in his swag I’m sure it must have been freezing in the Jeep with a bitter wind blowing. It was only 5 deg. when we passed two big eagles perched at the top of a dead tree. By 7:50 we’d passed the police setting up the roadblock at the temporary NT border, I suppose anyone who came through earlier would have missed being checked but there are cameras on the road so number plates would have been recorded.
About 330 kms north of Coober Pedy we saw something in the sky and were asking ourselves, “Is it a bird? Is it a plane?” Neither, it was an ultralight out in the middle of nowhere. I think I’ll need to research how far you can travel with a single tank of fuel. When I think of a home lawn mower and how long a tank lasts I can’t understand how the ultralight stays up long enough to achieve anything. We couldn’t see any sign of station vehicles or buildings just miles and miles of rocks, sand and scrubby trees.
At Marla the road was diverted to a police checkpoint, we were very happy we had a printed copy of the Cross Border Permit, we were quickly through but one caravan was there for ages as the police went back and forth between their hut and the traveller. When the Jeep arrived the contrast between his rig and the one in front of him was laughable.
It’s only about a week since people were queued up for hours waiting to cross the border but today with only a few cars passing through tempers were still frayed. When the Providore went to get snacks the woman in front of him was cursing the Covid Safe Check-in because it “wouldn’t work” until he pointed out she was trying to use the WA app. She said she wasn’t but soon realized she was. There was only one girl trying to do everything yet still one customer complained that he hadn’t been given his coffee yet. I think everyone is stressed due to the changing regulations because even when it seems that all is going well people are afraid it will change before they get where they need/want to go.
The Providore decided waitress/cook/bottle-washer had enough to deal with so we drove on until we found a free camp with plenty of space and we used some of our supplies. There was a picnic shelter and a water tank.
I thought the free camp would be a great place to stay for a day or so until I was reminded that there was very little shelter from sun or wind and flies were likely to be annoying too. It was a good place for our little stop today though.
It doesn’t matter how many times you drive into Coober Pedy the sight of hundreds of mullock heaps, from sand dune size down to almost molehills, is mind boggling. We’ll do a little exploring tomorrow but today I did go for a walk with Fergus down to the Playground and Skate Park where there are some beautifully painted tractor tyres.
Next to us surely has to be one of the most conscientious caravan cleaners around, she had her brooms setup ready for use within half an hour of arriving. Two rigs that caught my eye in the Caravan Park tonight are Gus the Bus and The Red Rattler -that one gets towed behind a Motorhome.