Some places we've been and some places we're going.

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Day 40 – Einasleigh to Fletcher Creek

We had a second walk along the gorge in the late afternoon yesterday in the hope of spotting some crocs but we were out of luck. We did had to admire the tenacious thistles that seem able to grow in the most inhospitable places and the flowers are lovely.

There were a few low “bridge” crossings today on the Gregory Development Road and a steady stream of dips, floodways and grids. Most creeks were dry. We’ve covered roughly 7000 kms and seen Cattle Stations with names like Charlotte Downs, Glenbrae Downs etc so it gave us a laugh today to see one called, Upsan Downs and also Mt Fullstop.

At one stage we saw two snakes on the road, one slithered off before I could take a photo and when I reached the spot they’d been, expecting to find the second one dead, I saw it was actually a piece of metal and rubber from a vehicle. I think it must have looked alluring to the real black snake.

At The Oasis we stopped for a break but it was shorter than we intended because Fergus either had to stay in the car or be taken across the road. The NO DOGS signs seemed excessive especially when there was a rough garden area away from the eating areas, I think they could use some PR advice. The business was for sale and we were the only people there as trucks etc whizzed past so I think it should be a busy roadhouse.

The Blue Water Springs Roadhouse sounded very inviting but the sign out the front certainly wasn’t.

“If you don’t want to check in with the QR code, don’t come in!” There were more signs inside in a similar vein, not a friendly place but I did manage to get a book by Diane Keaton from the buy or swap table.

We stopped again at Greenvale where the RFDS Dental Truck was parked and had to follow the sign to The Sausage Tree. It’s a native of Mozambique and the only others in Australia are one in the Townsville Botanical Gardens and the other in Adelaide Botanical Gardens.

Coming out of Greenvale we saw what seemed to be a Cotton-field which tied in with the little bits of fluffy white stuff we’d seen along the side of the road.

Tonight we are at the Fletcher Creek Camp Ground, a free camp run by the Charters Towers Council. There are a couple of places that look like traumatised war veterans have made home. There is plenty of space for everyone but across the creek the campers are lined up one behind the other.

At Einasleigh Caravan Park the toilet rolls were locked into position by dome nuts that the manager tightened with a shifter so the rolls couldn’t be stolen. It seems ludicrous that people have such expensive rigs yet they steal rolls of toilet paper, here at Fletcher Creek they’ve gone a step further in preventing this happening.

Day 39 Einasleigh

I got an awful fright last night. When I had Fergus out for his last walkabout before going to bed he chased after something then started shaking his head and batting at his mouth. I got a torch and managed to find what he’d been after, a Cane Toad, I think. I washed his mouth a couple of times but was really worried that he’d ingested some poison and might have fits or something during the night. Maybe I was wrong about it being a Cane Toad but I was very, very relieved to see he was his normal self this morning.

Next to our campsite are hundreds of trays of rock core samples, they were taken when an assessment was being made of two different ore bodies to see if it was going to be viable to process it onsite or truck it to the Mt Garnet plant. The samples were taken from Chloe & Jackson and Kaiser Bill mine sites. I think some of the samples are beautiful. It’s bizarre that Alex is sitting with his phone in the Camper reading a report on the ore bodies based on the data obtained from the very cores stacked beside us. Reading and comprehending are not synonyms!

While it was still cool we went for a walk along Copperfield Gorge which is just east of the Caravan Park ( Google says it’s owned by Consolidated Tin Mines) within easy walking distance. To get the full feeling for the gorge would need at least a camera taking 3D images. The gorge was created by the collapse of a Lava Tube.

After our walk and with the day heating up we needed some refreshment from the Pub. It was quiet and the spotted white dog was sound asleep again, it’s called, “Onion” and when the Pub was sold a couple of years ago and the owners moved to a house further down the road she refused to move. She really is a Pub fixture. The black Kelpie, Jessie, with her classy necklace belonged to the new publicans. We stayed at the Pub long enough for the kitchen to open at 12:00 and shared a bowl of chips.

Back at camp the AC went on but after a while we decided to see what was on “the other side of the railway tracks” so we drove in the cool car across the tracks and down the street. This side seems to have all the community buildings, CFS, Health Clinic, CWA, Police Station (closed), Park and Playground, the Pub, the Coppermine Lodge Caravan Park and down the road a bit the Racecourse. Across the tracks are the few residents’ homes and the Silks Rest Caravan Park. There seems to me something odd about such a tiny place having two Caravan Parks and the relationship between the two. The signs at the town entry points are only for Silks Rest.

Day 38 Forsayth to Einasleigh

We didn’t travel far today, only about 70 kms and the road was the usual mixture. What I didn’t expect though were the hills, I presumed we’d be driving through the same type of countryside as before. Today we passed through dense Eucalypt forest and discovered a free camping place in Wundu Conservation Reserve. No-one was there but it looked a great place to camp as long as you had your own water etc.

I had to delve into my “Apothecary’s Pocket” in the car door to find some “Soov” to put on Midge spots, the little devils make mozzies look like goliaths but they’re the ones that make me itch not mozzie bites.

Einasleigh is a very small place with a big pub and we enjoyed some time there. I risked the hot chips but Alex was able to have an impressive Steak Sandwich. Fergus fraternised with the resident Kelpie resplendent in her chain “collar”. There was also a big spotted white dog sound asleep beside its owner’s car but that didn’t even open an eye as we walked past.

We walked a short way along beside the dry river but it was too hot for us, we plan to walk in the morning when it’s cool. In the afternoon we noticed a familiar rig, it was Peter-the-Fossiker from Gemtree so we enjoyed a chat with him, he’d been looking for agates at Agate Creek, back near Forsyth. He showed me what he’d found which included some very colourful pieces, his wife says if the ferry sinks on the way over to Tasmania it will be because of the weight of his fossicking finds.