Big Lizzie and the Lieutenant

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June 4th 2013
Published: June 4th 2013
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Big LizzieBig LizzieBig Lizzie

At Red Cliff
Day 1665/4


Day 1666/5

These cold and dark mornings really do not make you want to get out of bed early, but for a change I am out before Andy, that said, it was about 8am!

I set about making a cup of tea, breakfast and generally getting active for the day, but I also boiled some eggs so that we could make a sandwich at lunchtime. We were not in any hurry and it felt nice to have an easy morning before hitting the road.I spoke briefly to some of the campers from last night, a few had already left but I never heard a single one of them go. I also never heard a thing overnight, bearing in mind our proximity to the main road, I really thought we would hear traffic throughout the night, but no we were in a silent little cocoon of our own.

Andy appeared at about 9am, very unusual for him.

It was cold but what a relief to have no rain and barely a breeze, it also gave us opportunity to get a bit more organised which we
We finally got our manWe finally got our manWe finally got our man

We followed then in to the Servo and guess what, we had met these guys 2 months ago at Wheelers Hut
have not been able to do because of the weather so far.

Before we had finished our breakfast another camper wandered past and stopped for a chat, we find out that he is heading to Canberra. He also asks where we are heading so we explain. He very kindly gave us some tips on what to see on our journey. We soon have maps out and are swapping information.

Time moves on and we leave the site only to find that it is already gone 11am. Oh well, we are in no hurry.

We head through Euston and toward Mildura, we find that we are sitting behind an old truck towing a pop top caravan. We were looking at the narrow gauge tyres on the trailer, they were surprisingly narrow.

Everyone seemed to be in a rush to get somewhere this morning but we sat ticking along nicely behind this truck and caravan.

On our journey to Mildura we past loads Orange growing plantations and they are everywhere, its nice to see them growing.

A while later Andy said that he thought
Sitting BehindSitting BehindSitting Behind

We sat behind this Van for about 90 K's, then Andy said he sort of recognised the vehicle towing it
he recognised the little blue truck, but neither of us could see what it was properly all we could really see was a rather nice blue traditional looking canoe sat on the top.

As we were pulling into Mildura, I suggested that we should find a decent coffee before we head up the road to Broken Hill, so we started to head toward the city centre. It was then that Andy said I know who is driving that truck in front of us and decided to follow them.

Well they started to go where we wanted to go and then they turned back on themselves at a roundabout, and Andy continued to follow, then he thought better of it, and was just about to peel off when we saw them pull into a petrol station, so he followed them in.

We pulled alongside and sure enough we did know them! It turned out to be Graham and Wendy Savage, who we met at Wheelers Hut in the Victorian High Country some weeks earlier when we were on our Easter trip.

They were as surprised to see us as we were them, now we know from previous experiences that this country turns out to be quite small when you travel, but least did we expect to see someone that we met 2 months ago heading in roughly the same direction as us on 2 completely separate trips.

Anyway we natter for a while, we discuss the road closures, I give Wendy some Ipad tips and tell her where to look for apps so that she can get live traffic information on road closures and how I use the Ipad for navigation purposes.

After a while we say our goodbyes and we head off for coffee, then we find that we are being followed. Andy pulled over while I checked the map and Graham came over and said they decided to find coffee too and thought best to follow us. No problem, I think I know where we need to go.

A while later we find a McCafe and there is plenty of parking space for both of us to pull along the front without having to master any awkward parking spaces.

We chat for ages discuss plans
Boring Boring Boring

I-Pad talk, though Caroline can certainly use it well
for the next few days and with any luck some of the roads will start to reopen and we can get to where we want to be. Broken Hill should be no problem from this side as it will be bitumen all the way but there is no saying if Lake Menindee will be accessible or not.

Andy has one important thing on his mind and that is the service on the Toyota. It has crept up on us and rather than wait until Adelaide he thinks we should try Mildura, so one phone call later that means an overnight in Mildura is required. So I am back on the Ipad and find a Big 4 nearby and telephone to check on availability, no problem we are booked in for a night.

Settling in to our site we both shower and then I do a load in the washing machine, the first few days of rain and mud has taken its toll so it’s clean up time. We also sadly have to drop a tank of water as it tastes somewhat foul. It is town water but we wonder if it is because it
The International DE1100The International DE1100The International DE1100

As featured in our past blogs
was sitting around in the tank. I had already tasted the water here so we know that it is tasting fine before we refill, so we will have to see how that goes.

It is a lovely sunny afternoon and it feels good to get cleaned up.

On our first big trip around Australia we had very few luxuries, i.e. I did not have a hair dryer as I deemed it unnecessary, but this time I brought one with me, uhhh along with an electric toothbrush (which I won’t be able to use all the time, only when we are on power).

After a while, we are both clean, clothes are clean and Gypsy is clean and swept out.

We also took up the luxury of using the camp kitchen to cook our dinner and we sat down to watch the TV and have a game of rummikub.

Ah, did I forget to mention that we also have a small electric heater with us, and as we are on power tonight, our living space is heated. Just another small luxury we have allowed ourselves. We
In MilduraIn MilduraIn Mildura

You don't see many of these a six Wheel Landcruiser
remember how cold it gets out here at night in the winter months.

We slept well, but we needed to be up in good time as the truck is in for a service this morning, it is only a small one, but Andy likes to keep on top of it and let’s face it the truck is a priority to keep maintained on a journey like this.’

As we won’t get the truck back until lunchtime we decide that we should stay another night, no point in rushing! ‘

Once the truck is dropped off we take a nice 2 kilometre walk into town to find some breakfast. It is a cold and overcast day but the walk soon warms us up and we find ourselves in Hudaks Bakery.

After breakfast we have a mooch around town, pick up a few fresh groceries and walk back to the dealership to pick up the truck. Luckily we only have to wait about 10 minutes before it is ready.

We drive down to Red Cliffs to see Big Lizzie (I think I will get Andy to write
One of Lizzie TrailersOne of Lizzie TrailersOne of Lizzie Trailers

There used to be two, but one had decayed
this bit),

Red Cliffs features a permanent public exhibit called Big Lizzie, a large tractor. Frank Bottrill was the designer, builder and operator of "Big Lizzie". One of its features was the use of the Bottrill dreadnought wheel which he designed, and which he also fitted to other machines. Botrill was inspired by his experiences in the 1800s witnessing the suffering of camels carrying heavy loads. The wheel was designed to work in sandy soils. The design was effective but was later outdated by the caterpillar track. When it was built "Big Lizzie" was the biggest tractor in Australia and thought to be the biggest in the world, at 34 feet high by 18 feet wide, and weighing 45 tons. It had two trailers also fitted with Bottrill wheels. ( Thanks Wikipedia, I could have said it any better)

Another evening spent in the comfort of the camp kitchen before bed time beckons and another day of adventure awaits us tomorrow.

1. The Blog Day 1665/4

2. Total distance from Woodstock 498.4

3. 0 kilometres today

4. Mildura

5. Crossroads Caravan Park

6. Not applicable.

7. $30 per night.

8. Telstra access, full amenities, camp Kitchen, close to town, power The works (but too cold to swim!)

Additional photos below
Photos: 15, Displayed: 15


Duck FeetDuck Feet
Duck Feet

This type of foot was patented
Paddy Melons at Lake BenaneePaddy Melons at Lake Benanee
Paddy Melons at Lake Benanee

We have seen lots of these growing on the roadside.
Lake Benanee Lake Benanee
Lake Benanee

It was cold and a sharp wind was blowing but the scenery at this roadside was awesome.

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