It was getting really close to our rendezvous with the kids, and I was getting excited. We took our time packing up, the other campers left, so we took the opportunity for a camp shower. There were great facilities, with a gas cooker and bbq, so we took advantage and got a lamb stew prepared and into the eco pot. We now have a 12volt plug for the eco pot, which effectively turns it into a traditional slow cooker, makes fabulous stews.
When we were driving the night before, we had passed a lot of wild flowers, especially the Sturt Desert Pea. I have been looking for one on every trip we have been on and have never seen one. We hadn’t been able to take pics as it was getting dark and we were pushed for time. We started out and I was determined to get a photo this time – we drove and drove and nothing! I was starting to get quite despondent, when suddenly there they were, all along the roadside. We pulled over and spent a while taking photos of all the wildflowers in the area.
The next major town was Carnarvon, this was the last stop before we met up with the kids, so we knew we would have to stock up. It was quite a long way, and we had decided to get close but not go into town until the morning, so bush camping it would be. The road was a typical remote road, gravel, but not too bad. We noticed as we were going along that both sides of the road were fenced, not only fenced but electric fences! We noticed markers following the road, and figured out it was Telstra’s fibre optic cable – electrified fences ws probably part of the deal for inconveniencing the farmers.
We went through a rather large mining town called Panawonica, the mine is owned by Rio Tinto, as is all the services in town. All the shops, fuel etc were manned by staff wearing Rio Tinto uniforms, the first time I had seen this. After Panawonica, it was back onto gravel roads – still with electric fences on either side, it wasn’t looking good for bush camping. All the gravel pits were gated and locked. Iain decided our best option would be to go down one of the minor gravel roads and hope for the best. A great idea, all the gravel roads have drainage wide drainage channels made by a grader, they are usually short, but we noticed that these were quite long and went around the corner. We thought wjhat the hell, and drove down one – it took us to a fairly flat open clearing with trees all around – perfect.
We knew that we were on someones property, so we went into stealth mode and only put the tent up after dark. It was a lovely spot, but there was a sound like the singing of a bird – intermittent but the same. It carried on after dark, so we assumed it must have been a windmill. We went to bed early as it was quite cool and we didn’t want to turn on the camping lights. We read for a bit and went to sleep. Suddenly I woke from a dead sleep to the sound of men’s voices, I woke Iain up and with racing hearts we both lay there listening. It was then that Iain realised he had left the UHF radio on and that was what we were hearing. He turned it off and the rest of the night was pretty uneventful.