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Published: October 23rd 2015
Somehow or other whenever we cross the Hay Plains it seems to rain and this time was no different. We had planned to free camp by the Murrumbidgee River but rain and black soil river flood plains are not a good mix so we decided to take the northern route instead and stay in Hay.
The northern route near Griffith turned out to be a much more interesting drive than the southerly route via XXXXXX. Instead of flat plains the road wound through low hills and bushland. In the middle of nowhere a little dog crossed the road in front of us. It looked very out of place and the ute following must have felt the same as it slowed down and stopped. We assumed that the driver decided to pick up the dog; maybe he knew the owner, or maybe he had found a new pet for his kids. It was raining off and on as this stage. Next we had to slow right down for an emu that decided to cross and a little later it was for a hare. What Greg would have given for a rifle – Greg just loves Hare!
Once past the Griffith turnoff we hit the plains proper and much heavier rain. Definitely not a time to drive onto black soil tracks. Water filled any depression and we had to steer to avoid the channels formed by the wheel tracks of heavy vehicles. Aquaplaning with a caravan is not an appealing idea.
Suddenly the road was covered with cattle! We slowed down to a crawl, as the cattle were more interested in drinking from puddles than getting out of our way. This gave us lots of very close encounters. There were massive bulls, cows and tiny calves more interested in their mothers than puddles. Considering the number of big bulls we were glad to be in our 4WD and felt for the guy on his motorbike who was trying to weave his way through in the other direction. We were sure he felt VERY exposed.
The rain eased as we found a spot in a Hay caravan-park. Checking the sky we felt safe to walk the kilometre into town to have a closer look. Hay is much bigger than it appears when you just drive past on the main highway, and it
seems to be quite a nice country town. We saw a real Cobb and Co coach, lovely old buildings and the most elaborate cast iron drinking fountain. Suddenly we noticed that the clouds were getting very dark and threatening so we started to walk back to the caravan. The rain began just as we got there. Fantastic timing!
The next day we got an early start but the wind was already strong and pretty much in our face. Caravans do not like head winds and it was 150 km of exposed plains before we got to Balranald. The average fuel consumption was looking pretty scary – 10 litres per 100 km above our usual average! Even the truckies were complaining over the two way. We spotted road maintenance workers sheltering behind their vehicle with their trouser legs flapping in the wind! Finally we reached the slightly more sheltered country around Balranald and this took the sting out of the wind.
Tot: 1.699s; Tpl: 0.048s; cc: 13; qc: 48; dbt: 0.0284s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb