It's not just Christmas Eve .... it's Sarah's birthday!

Published: December 26th 2009
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Happy Birthday message from my Mum and Dad. Our garden back home is looking good!! Thank you very much x x
Day 242 - Louth Bay to Wilpena Pound, Flinders Ranges

A huge Happy Birthday wish goes out to our beautiful sister-in-law Deb who is celebrating today, hope you have a great day as the Birthday Girl Deb.
And a great freqing birthday wish to Mikey of Freq Racing, hoping that one day we'll be lucky enough to race on our birthdays heh Mikey!! Have a great day mate.

Before we’d hit the sack last night we chatted to one of our camping neighbours who had been out for a walk with his dog. Beautiful French Bulldog, gorgeous and loved a bit of a fuss - don’t we all! They’re quite gruff looking dogs so we were a bit surprised, but totally delighted to hear his name is Syrup! I know how sweet is that?! Ha ha! Poor dog, it must be so embarrassing!! Anyway, we’d warned out neighbour that we’d be doing a bolt early this morning but as it was everyone was up for us to wave goodbye to.

It was a rough and windy old night here in Louth Bay, the weather really turned it on again for poor old Port Lincoln and we guessed that the fires would still be burning in places this morning but hoped they were at least under control. The news bulletin was a bit sketchy on the details but it definitely said there had been no loss of life in yesterday’s fire so we were relieved at that, however at least 12 houses have been confirmed as destroyed which at any time of year isn’t good but this close to Christmas is a bit of a shocker.

The radio reception ran out shortly after we left the camp site, the aerial on the car is a bit pants to say the least. Starting out early and it being Christmas Eve the roads are quiet. Oh yes, Christmas Eve, that means it’s my birthday! 39 today, 39 today, ooh ahh rat-ti-ta, 39 today! My beautiful husband gave me the best present ever this morning, a new drinking bottle for when we’re out walking. I had two cards to open, one from Darryl and one from the Coulsells (they’d given us cards before we left the UK!. Lynne I laughed for about ten minutes when I opened that card, very good chick, very good! I also had a virtual card and present to open from my Mum and Dad. What a great surprise, they’ve been working really hard in our garden and this years presents are growing nicely and should bear fruit in the years to come! And I had some email messages too, very spoilt girl I was plus I shall be like the Queen this year, with two birthdays, as when we get back to Melbourne in the next week I shall be able to open the cards that have come there too! Thanks everyone!

We pass by Tumby Bay and then Arno Bay where we debate for a second if we should pull off the highway and check out the free camp but Dar’s foot barely lifts from the accelerator so we continue to our chosen destination, the Flinders Ranges. Now ironically we had picked out Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges as our chosen spot for Christmas some time ago. I had wondered if it would be too hot to do any walking and then we thought about spending it at Lincoln National Park. So it looks like we’re going with Christmas Plan A after all.

The town of Cowell comes into view and then we’re in highway with no scenery mode until we start to approach Whyalla. All of these towns are along the coastline but the most striking thing about Whyalla initially is the enormous quarry, presumably steel, that appears from nowhere. It looks such an industrial town and I don’t know why that’s a surprise but it is! The extent of our visit is the fuel station where I’m more than surprised to see two people smoking on the forecourt when we pull in. Maybe the laws are different here in Australia … but I don’t think they are! I wander in to the shop, passed the woman stood on the forecourt on her mobile phone! Ok, so this is a set up surely. My years behind the counter at the Shell service station in Alveston taught me that mobile phones, cigarettes and fuel just don’t mix. As I reach the counter the lady serving is banging on the window to ask the woman on the phone to get off. I laughed (out loud I’m afraid) and said I was more concerned about the two having a fag by the fuel tanks! She thought I was joking so I pointed across and the people hurriedly dropped the butts and stamped them out as the cashier darted out the door to yell “Excuse me, put those cigarettes out. Thank you and Merry Christmas”! Bless her heart she was a smasher and we had a right good laugh while I was waiting for Dar to fill the car up. She’s originally from Warrington but now lives here in Whyalla. I spied today’s paper which of course has yesterdays fire in Port Lincoln on the front page. The story inside is a little too familiar and our thoughts again return to families now without a home for Christmas. There are some harsh words in the write up about scrub land that should have been cleared and hadn’t been, about warnings given and not taken on board. It makes for a bitter pill to swallow.

As we’re leaving Whyalla our phone rings, it’s my Mum and she’s singing ‘Happy Birthday to me’ down the phone. Thank you Mum, it was great to hear from you and thank you so much for staying up til gone midnight to make the call. Dad hasn’t been feeling too well and there’s only a few days til the big op so he was safely tucked up in bed but I’ll speak to him soon to say thanks very much for all the hardwork in the garden. We pulled over to speak to Mum as the reception on the phone is bad at the best of times but just as we were pulling off again the phone bleeped to say we’d missed a call from Tony & Jane - we keep missing them and now we’ve lost reception again. Sorry guys, we’ll be in touch as soon as possible!

We reach Port Augusta and manage to pass the turning for Alice Springs, a left turn here could have seen us doing half of our trip all over again. Gosh it was hard to keep the steering wheel straight!

The last part of our journey took us through the beautiful country towns of Quorn and Hawker. It was a shame that it was now pouring down with rain or we might have stopped for a nosey around, we have to come back this way so maybe we’ll do it then. As we get closer to Wilpena Pound the scenery gets really interesting and the wildlife start to show themselves. Emus and Kangaroos all over the place, it’s fabulous when it’s like this. We stopped for a bit of lunch, at just gone three o'clock! I managed a quick wander around the historic site that we'd un-intentionally pulled up in and found that it was not only an historic homestead but also the original route the Ghan railway used to follow. There was just the one sign to suggest this, no tracks or anything else and I forgot to take a photograph so perhaps I was dreaming!

We’d phoned the campground at Wilpena earlier to make sure they had space for us, we think they do as the response was for us to bring everyone we knew! Even though it’s still raining quite hard when we arrive the place looks perfect, a campground set in woodland and practically deserted. That will do us!

Things start to dry up as we unpack the caravan and settle in to our new surroundings. The sun breaks through the clouds just in time for an orange sunset which is lovely. There’s time for a birthday drink and we enjoyed our favourite Thai Green Curry as a special treat, prepared by Mr Howells of course.

So all in all today’s been a good day, a lot of travelling but tomorrow we’ll be in festive spirits so who cares what the weather’s like!

And by the way, today is not Christmas Eve …. IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!!!

Night everyone, be good and hopefully Santa will be along soon

Dar and Sar

Additional photos below
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28th December 2009

Happy Birthday
Hi guys, Happy Birthday Sar hope you had a great day, we did send you a birthday card but it went to Port Lincoln National Park and obviously you had to move so it must have missed you completely! Ooops... or is that just a cop out, sorry we did not know it was your birthday.... hope you can forgive us, we will make it up to you when we see you (soooon!) travel safe..... Kangaroojack xx
28th December 2009

Santa found us too! He bought Andy a hammock, but he could not understand why Andy was so upset, apparently he wrote Landcruiser on his letter to Santa and Santa misread it.... never mind maybe next year! xx
28th December 2009

If santa swaps ....
we'll have the hammock!!!!
28th December 2009

21 again!
Well I should have shouted it out whilst I'm still under 40!! Next year the plan is for wakeboarding in the Lake District .... apparently anyway!!!

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