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October 26th 2009
Published: October 27th 2009
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DAY 353

It was a beautiful cool start to the day, but that would soon change once the sun came up. I could hear Andy start the truck up and move it away from the trailer, I was not concerned I knew he wasn’t running away, I figured that there must be a problem that he was trying to sort out as he left the engine running, unperturbed I went back to sleep, it was too early for me.

I was up early this morning, for no reason except that i was just another gorgeous spring day. Except that I found that our pesky fridge had defrosted in the night, but fortunately our rations are down to bread and jam anyway so it was not going to cause too much of a problem. I fully understand that you don’t want to be bored with the ins and out of why our fridge has defrosted, but I feel you need to know and I won’t mention it again.

Cars come with a single starting battery usually, except in Australia where lots of people have accessories in the cars like fridges etc need an auxiliary battery (a second battery) to
Paluma National ParkPaluma National ParkPaluma National Park

The first thing we did was cross the creek on the way out
help run all the extra’s.

At all costs you do not want to discharge the main starting battery, running the fridge or other current drawing equipment so those are connected to the auxiliary side.

Now if we ran the truck for a short distance down the road, the mechanical device that charges the car (the alternator) may only be able to top the main battery up with its electrical charge and doesn’t get the chance to charge the auxiliary battery, so what is required is a good long run to top up both batteries or an intelligent battery system controller, which is what I am going to head for.

The only reason I have bothered to explain this is out of trying to pass on relative information to other travellers who are thinking about doing what we have done. I can remember picking up the Patrol back in December and the sales team saying well it has got a dual battery on it, there is so much more information you need before making the dual battery system even worth thinking about.

We have always tried to provide the very best information we could through the blog, not just about what we have done but our difficulties as well.

The other irritation I have, and this is a cracker, is the fridge, it cost over well over a $1000 and it comes with a $1.00 cigarette lighter plug that plugs in to the truck, why don’t all the auxiliary equipment manufactures all take a united voice to the car manufacturers and say, hey can you fit a couple of suitably wired plugs and sockets to your vehicles, this would keep the cost down and everything would work better.

I’ve got it all off my chest now, so on with the blog.

When I got out of bed this morning and found the fridge in a state of defrost I started the truck to make sure it had enough starting current, I let her idle for a few minutes, then swapped the fridge on to the primary side, just to boost the fridge and the best thing to do was, pack up and get moving as soon as practically possible so as to get the batteries charged.

As soon as Caroline is up we have a cup of tea and some breakfast and get on with packing up. With everything packed away we still have a little bit of room in the trailer and it always makes me wonder what we have left behind, we always walk around the trailer at the same time, me one way and Caroline the other to check the ground, the lights and the locks and hitches to make sure all is good and nothing has been left on the ground.

We absolutely loved camping at Paluma National Park it was fantastic, nothing here except a decent toilet and its own beauty, sadly we found that a previous camper had left a black plastic “bin liner” full of rubbish on the ground where they were camping, we already had a few bags of our own and its not fair that our conscience makes us pick up everyone else’s litter we already have started to do that if you look at our blog at Sailor creek for example 11th October.

We hit the bitumen, and we were off, with a good tail wind the truck was singing along towing the Wendy House, our UHF set on 40, the truckers channel or the swearing channel as we fondly call it, but since meeting Bill and Jeanette at Seisia on blog day, Bill who is a truck driver and has been for over 40 Years, corrected me and said it is the road travellers channel.

Well some one told us about an unmarked police car behind a tree, which was a speed trap, we struggle to speed towing a trailer any way not that we would want to. Strangely enough the unmarked, speed trap car was a Nissan Patrol exactly the same colour as ours, we cruised through not worried about our speed, but made sure we told people about it coming the other way.

Our first stop was at Crystal creek, there are two the first being big Crystal Creek which we didn’t stop at so we went on to Little Crystal Creek as we wanted a swim. We parked the truck in the car park provided, grabbed our swimming togs and headed over the bridge to the rocks, we made our way down the rock steps and picked a pool.

We changed and sat on the rocks and dangled our feet in, boy it was cool but slid in, Caroline took a little bit longer
Little Crystal CreekLittle Crystal CreekLittle Crystal Creek

The Rock Pools
but soon we were in and enjoying the water. Again this is safe swimming as the swimming area is land locked, and Crocodiles would not be able to scale the rocks to get in.

The water was just heavenly, we wallowed around in it, and I got in to another pool which was quite deep, the sides were very slopey and slippy and I struggled to get any kind of grip to get out, but when I finally did I walked up to the top rock pool and had a dunk, Caroline walked up and came to join me. It was great we were hot and it was a fantastic way to cool off, we were so glad to be able to do so.

We dried off changed and got back in the truck and headed off again, instead of going back the way we came we went up towards the village of Paluma and Hidden Valley.

We came upon a look out called the McClelland look out and it looked like the end of the world, we took some photo’s and walked back through the rain forest walk and got going again.

Our next detour
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The Chosen Rock Pool
was for what was described as the Water Authority campsite, it was 19k’s each way, and quite a rugged off road track but we put our minds in to gear and got on with it. We got there only to find out that you had to book on line and there was no internet access and it was $25.00 dollars to stay here, which we both thought was a little steep, as all you got was a view of the resovoir. Turning around we headed out stopping at Birthday Creek Falls, a quick 500 metre walk to the very dry falls and another 500 metre walk back, we are soon back in the truck and back on the bitumen.

There was smoke in the distance, and as we got closer it was getting really dense, a truck parked on the verge directed us to put our lights on as we can now see that they were back burning and the smoke was so thick you could just about see the hand in front of your face. We slowly drove on and it was amazing you could feel the heat penetrate the drivers side window and it was hot on
Little Crystal CreekLittle Crystal CreekLittle Crystal Creek

Looking for somewhere to set down
the side of my face, if it had been an out of control bush fire then we may have been in deep trouble, except that I don’t think we would have driven through it anyway.

Onwards we drove and we came upon a guy who was a workman on a road gang, he directed us to stop and down went the window and he asked us if we didn’t mind waiting as a road train loaded with 62 tonnes of surface material would be here shortly and it may be safer if we waited.

Sure enough a Mack road train struggled up the hill with his two 40ft trailers loaded, the poor old Mack did seem like it was going to self destruct, the driver was going through the gear box faster than Emerson Fitipaldi.

As the road train passed us, Charlie gave us a wave and we got on our way, we were now on a really rough track going through a mining company’s land, called Zig Zag Mining, and there were signs all over the place saying that we were absolutely forbidden to camp on their land, we got the message.

We started to
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Somebody braver than I am
see Kangaroo’s but as usual as soon as they saw us they hopped off, we see a lot of roadkill on this track, which is quite disappointing as it is only a dirt track, however we must not forget that although dirt, it is also a main highway, one such unlucky Kangaroo had a Wedge Tailed Eagle sat on it, that also flew away once it saw us coming. We got back onto the Bitumen; with 117k’s to go to Townsville and we wound the truck up to the speed limit and held her there all the way.

With the amount of travelling we have done it would be impossible to have a map for just about everywhere, especially a detailed map of towns and cities and as we got in to Townsville we were looking for the first Big 4 we got to. Caroline relies on her two main Hema maps and compliments them with a bundle of tourist information maps and leaflets to find places, if we are anywhere for a length of time then we can purchase a town map.

Caroline with her best navigation head got us pretty well straight to the Woodlands Big 4 just to the North of Townsville, we pulled in at about 4.50 and asked if they had a place. No need to worry they had loads, it is end of their high season as the heat and the wet will soon be here, we had a huge selection open to us but parked exactly where we were told to.

With the trailer set up we had not had any lunch so set about having an evening meal before 6.00pm, which has never really happened, and as Caroline prepared the food I typed the blog.

We actually had our dinner, then a shower and had some time to sit and relax before bed, it has been a full on day, which has been non-stop. We tried to watch Flash Forward online however they had not uploaded the most recent episode as yet, so will have to try tomorrow.

Finally, on our travels we have met the very best of people, generous in many ways, well we have had a Christmas invitation to go and see our special friends on the farm in Nangus near Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, if you have been a regular reader
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Testing the water
of the blog then you will know just how special the farm is to us and how much we loved our time there with Helen and Robert, and the dogs.

Well Helen invited us for Christmas and new year and we are so excited, a proper Australian Christmas with the promise that I can use Helens sit on mower, so I e-mailed Helen to accept their kind offer, however it was the offer of using the sit on lawn mower that clinched the deal (only joking!)

We were both touched to be considered part of the family and humbled about being invited into the Sheridan family Christmas and new year we are both looking forward to it, but cannot believe how close Christmas actually is already!

It is our intention to stay in Townsville a couple of days, to see what type of city it is and hopefully catch up with a couple of people while we are here.

Goodnight bloggers, until tomorrow.

Additional photos below
Photos: 23, Displayed: 23


Little Crystal CreekLittle Crystal Creek
Little Crystal Creek

In, enjoying the water
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Little Crystal Creek

Far braver than I am
The Edge of the worldThe Edge of the world
The Edge of the world

At McClelland Lock out
She's my GirlShe's my Girl
She's my Girl

Pulling 62 tonnes of surface material from 30K's back down the track

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