DAY 12 FRIDAY 3RD AUGUST 2012
WYNDHAM CAMP to KUNUNURRA to BOW RIVER CAMP.
The first important happening for today was to backtrack to Kununurra to get assistance with the removal of the pivot bolt on the alternator. I rang Toyota and the receptionist told me they were booked out until the 17th August (two weeks time). My reply was that I’m not waiting that long but could I come in and talk to the foreman and find out the best way to remove the butchered bolt. The foreman said to come back in an hour. Removing the pivot bolt took only a few minutes and cost $30. Sometimes you have a win. The question to ask is how did they remove the bolt. Easily, because they used a spiral socket, which bites on deeper the harder you turn it. I’m definitely going to buy a set of these sockets when I get home.
There is a mountain range to the south of Kununurra that reminded me of country through parts of the Middle East. A friend who is au fait with grammar, and writing generally, said the sign of a good writer is to be able to tell a story without the use of too many adjectives and I agree but I’m going to break the rule and use a few to describe the countryside we passed through today. It was barren, rugged and wild.
We were hard pushed to find a spot without grass but after a little searching we found sufficient space for the tent. During the search we came across bits and pieces of junk circa 1960. Wizened boots, rusty Sunshine milk tins, early model aluminium beer cans and rusty 44 gallon drums. All this stuff made me think the area was most probably a construction campsite for when the bridge over the Bow River was built.
DAY 13 SATURDAY 4TH AUGUST 2012
BOW RIVER CAMP TO MESA CAMP
The 44 gallon drum has iconic status in Australia and the story as to why it is 44 gallons and not 45 gallons, which it was intended to be, relates to the size of the steel straps used in the top and bottom stiffening chime. It’s a long story, too long for this blog, but I will tell it somewhere along the track when I’m stuck for a story.
I perched myself on the roof rack of the car for this shot. Note the ferocity with which the water scoots down here. The Bow River runs into the Ord which flows into Lake Argyle. Our camp was at the base of the closest hill on the left.
Sometimes when travelling you see an image and a kilometre or so later the image has been processed in the brain and it says ‘turn around and capture it’. This photograph was one of those ‘turn around’ images. Wouldn’t you love this scene in your back yard? If Capability Brown, the eccentric English landscape gardener, had seen this image he would have recreated it for the rich English aristocracy. Brown had a unique approach to landscaping. He would move and relocate hills, create lakes and if he wanted a small clump of tall straight trees he would plant a whole forest and come back years later and remove the bulk of the trees, leaving the small clump as a feature. Poor Capability was almost expelled from England because he challenged order. Brown’s speciality was to create gardens with curves, which was frowned upon at the time. One of his great creations was the ha-ha, a deep trench in which a fence was erected. This meant that, when looking out across the fields, you couldn’t see the fence as it was below ground level.
So what’s the interest here? The interest is the Dung Beetle.
We have all seen the humungous efforts of African dung beetles on TV nature shows but few consider the efforts of Australian dung beetles.
Sorry about the out of focus photo but I couldn’t bring myself to euthanasing a tireless worker for the sake of a perfect shot. In India there is a religious group (Janes) who believe we should kill nothing, even the malaria carrying mozzie. I don’t think I would go that far but I couldn’t kill the dung beetle. Janes walk around with a screen over their nose and mouth lest they breathe an insect in and they never clap their hands as they might kill an insect flying by.
We have over 350 native species of dung beetle in Australia and another 22 introduced species that came from Mexico, Spain and South Africa. They were brought in to help native dung beetles cope with the management of large amounts of cow dung thus reducing the numbers of dung-feeding flies. In the urban environment dung beetles are also invaluable as they clean up dog poo.
After photographing the termite mounds we moved on towards Halls Creek. Not far up the road Bev exclaimed that two large kangaroos had just crossed the road ahead. Near where the kangaroos crossed there was a car and caravan pulled up and, drawing alongside, we realised the kangaroos Bev thought she had seen were in actual fact the rear axle from the caravan with wheels attached, spinning end for end across the road.
A very expensive interruption to this couple of grey nomads’ holiday.
It appears that a main spring leaf on one side had simply broken and the whole axle assembly twisted and broke away.
In Tamworth we have a third generation springmaker who insists that cheap spring imports should be avoided at all costs. I’m not suggesting that these springs are cheap imports but it makes one think. My springmaker also insists that all springs should have a keeper leaf, which means if the main leaf breaks the keeper grabs the shackle bolt and holds the axle assembly in position.
The lady of the couple who experienced this unfortunate event was in tears. I said to her the situation wasn’t all that bad, because the caravan or car didn’t roll and the axle and wheel projectile didn’t smash into us or anyone else. A happening like this makes one think about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Had we not stopped to photograph the termite mound maybe we would have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Tonight we are camped on the top of a mesa. We try to avoid mesa camping as invariably a wind springs up as the sun goes down but tonight we have no choice.