Welcome one and all.
I have been off-line for a few days - internet connection has been non-existent or not great until suddenly Mum's phone started beeping and SMS messages started coming in as we got closer to Mount Isa - obviously Kogan Mobile services this area and does it well! Except for checking out Birdsville, these few days have been a bit of R&R for the Bad Betty Bus and her occupants!
We checked out Birdsville - we went out to the South Australian border (only 12km from Birdsville) and then back through town and out the other side (35km) to Big Red - the largest sand dune in the Simpson Desert. Since we were in a 2 wheel drive vehicle, we decided to stick with Little Red and obviously driving up it wasn't an option but we hiked up it and along it and got lots of pics as you will see below - I had to have a bit of a grooming session when I got back though - that red sand gave me a few more tan points!
We also did the obligatory visit to the Birdsville Pub and had a drink - as you can see from the pics, I got to share the beer and the wine and at $15.70 for the two, we only stayed for one round! Lots of hats and lots of characters - and I was just another one into the mix.
Birdsville to Bedourie
We then headed on our way to Bedourie (heading towards Mount Isa) and on the way, checked out the Waddi Trees - all I could think of was Dr Seuss - these trees are one of only 3 stands in the world - here (12km from Birdsville), another further up the road in Boulia and another stand on the other side of the Simpson Desert. These trees are ancient - they say they go back to the last Ice Age. These particular trees are between 500 and 1000 years old and they are very slow growing. The wood is so strong that it damages an axe and is almost impossible to burn. Fence posts made of Waddi Tree from 100 years ago show no sign of deterioration. The trees were so hard - you would expect some movement in the trunk when you touch them but there was nothing - just a solid mass. They have long pine needle type leaves but all hang down - quite amazing.
We also passed the ruins of a sandstone hut from the late 1800's that was part of Kidman Station - the walls were so thick and in surprisingly good condition considering the roof was gone - it was believed that the roof was taken by the Government during one of the Wars for re-use elsewhere.
120km out of Birdsville, we stepped into a little oasis, Cuttaburra Crossing - a wetland area that allowed for free camping and it was so good that we stayed an extra day/night! We met Lisa and Mark there - they are from just outside of Brisbane and boy, is Mark a wonderful storyteller! I tasted my first Yabby and got nipped by one too! I nipped it back - it tasted good!
The birdlife in this area is amazing - we have been seeing so many Eagles during this part of the trip - what magnificent birds! Check out the bird tree in the pics below - spectacular!
Even though I don't eat much, Mum & Dad were running low on supplies so it was time to hit the road again - and our Bad Betty Bus took us to Bedourie then Boulia (where we resupplied the bus - fresh fruit! Yum!) and then although we planned on a free camp on the way out of town to stay the night, got a bit confused and headed out on the wrong road for the camp (but the right road for Mount Isa) so just kept going - stopping in Dajarra overnight - not much there and we passed on the $1.92ltr diesel (we had enough to get to Mount Isa - $1.22 ltr there....) but it was a free camp with hot showers! Awesome! Luckily I am a well trained bird-dog cause we had a bit of a bird audience while we were there waiting on scraps!
Headed into Mount Isa - time to resupply, read phone messages, hot showers, lots (and lots) of washing and a complete clean out of bus to get most of the red dust out!
Next stop is heading towards the Northern Territory - likely stopping at a free camp outside Camooweal (on the Qld / NT border) - see you all in a few days!
Lots of love #BadBetty Mk II, Mum & Dad xoxo
Birdsville - SA / QLD Border
Birdsville - Little Red (Sand Dune)
Birdsville to Mount Isa
Don't judge a book by it's cover, often the story will be thoroughly engaging and better written than you imagined it would be - the same is true of grey nomads.
On first glance they can appear droll and dreary, not pleasing to the eye, but below the surface lurks a lifetime of stories and wisdom. Sometimes the exterior indicates a hard life and financial hardship but upon further investigation it is revealed a life of saving, wise investments and sound judgment. I love discovering the true story behind the cover.
My Christian upbringing firmly embedded the belief that all men are born equally, "we came into this world with nothing and we will leave this world with nothing, lay up treasure in Heaven" I heard Sunday after Sunday as this investment would last forever and the worldly things would pass away.
Despite this Christian wisdom there are some grey nomads that believe that he who dies with the most toys wins - we met some of these free-camping along a river in the outback somewhere outside of Birdsville - they were odds on favorite to win. Thoroughly enjoyed their company, firewood, oven, outside stereo and a plethora of other benefits one receives from befriending this type of nomad.
Grey nomads are a generation that grew up with the imperial system and speak fluent pounds and shillings, miles, feet and inches. Ran into an old bloke the other day that automatically converted one to other without pause in conversation, needless to say I was impressed with his ability to do so. They can also speak North, South, West and East too. "Just go South out of town about 2 miles (3.25km) and the best spot is on the eastern side about 100 yards in (91.44 meters), cost you a pound donation ($1.60).
We all have things about ourselves we would like to change and in this day and age so many things are possible, we can change our sex, breast size and so on, the possibilities are endless. Why is it I cannot recall the names of places and people? I would like to change this about myself - I wonder if I can get a memory transplant? Makes no difference if I have just driven through a town or met someone new, I struggle to remember the name and needless to say I feel a little embarrassed. Being a nomad means one needs to be able to recount all the places one has been including distances and petrol prices when engaging in campfire conversation at the same time as converting imperial to metric and referencing the compass for total accuracy - I am a disappointment to this generation.