5th to 8th month

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Melrose 21 - 24 & 27 -28 March

Melrose in the southern Flinters Ranger

Set on the edge of the local footy oval the camping-ground had lots of lovely green grass and a friendly camp-host called Rolly. He had a pet Galah named Cocky-Bob which had huge fat deposits around its ankles from eating too many sunflower seeds.
When I first met Cocky-Bob we exchanged hellos. I thought this was pretty cute but then he asked, 'What ya doing?'. I just caught myself before I started answering him like he was one of the other campers we were meeting. 'Oh, we are travelling for a year with the kids.....'. Kinda freaked me out a bit.
We didn't do much here except relax, catch up on school and read. It was nice to just “be” and not have to “do”.

Watching MTB rides
Bike Shop Cafe
Rasmus Bike ride
Rasmus did manage a cycle tour to the mountains nearby. He also found a cute bike shop with a coffee shop attached so we all drove into town to give their brew a try. It was very cosy on one of the few cold days we have had..
In a fit of energy I even decided to walk the 2kms home!

The "donkey"
Did I mention that in the paddock next door was a donkey! Odd, I agree but that's what it was. I'm not sure he liked me though. I went for a stroll to say hi one day and as I approached he made this frightening noise , snorting in a very unneighborly way. Then he just stared at me-I assume it was a male as another kindred spirit wouldn't be so rude.
I thought he might charge me! So I quietly stepped backwards and took the long way home.
On another occasion, I was walking to the bathroom for my evening abolitions and I heard that same snort!
It was so frightening.
Down town Melrose
I thought I was being attack by a Minotaur-or had I just been reading too much about demi-gods! Whatever, the sound scared the bejezzus out of me and when I realised it was our donkey neighbour it just confirmed that he had it out for me.
As I said our caravan was set up near the footy oval but on the other side were the local netball courts. One evening all the girls from the area came out to play a few quarters in an endeavour to decide the season's teams. In a wave of nostalgia I wandered over with my cuppa to watch them. They were working so hard, zipping here and zagging there. I couldn't imagine that I was once able to run and jump around like they were doing now.
Clouds over the Flinters
On the footy oval the fellas were having their work out too so the evening had a real community feel to it which I loved :o)

27th & 28th
Ah! It was nice to be back amongst the greenness again.
We said hi to Cocky-Bob and found out that amongst his other talents he could 'sneeze' on cue which gave to children a few giggles.
The travelling residents had changed while we had been gone and one spot in particular had been replaced by a group of female grey-nomads! I had a chat with one of them as I was so excited to see them out in a group travelling together. I wanted to find out more. Each had their own van or combi so were independent in most respects but they socialised and moved around the country collectively. They were well seasoned ladies but they were out in there doing stuff that lots of us don't have the courage to do when we are young and all partnered up.
I found them quite inspiring.
My screaming, I mean delightful kids brought me back to reality and the chores we had to attend to after the week of dustiness of Coober Pedy. The biggest issue, was washing spilling out of the laundry basket. Rasmus has taken on the role of washer-man for our trip but this time he was given some time off as the camp kitchen also had a washing machine-what a treat! Cozy fresh sheets...hmm.....can't wait for bed tonight :o)

Biggest flog of cockatoos we've ever seen… there were thousands

a white mare

Molly and so beautiful flowers

Rasmus on a hike

Benjamin's can swing by himself for the first time

Swallows... introduced species and free to kill

homemade koldskål with real kammersjnunkere

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Coober Pedy 24th-27th March

Ben in front of his future Holiday house
What can I say about this town but to admit that I must have the only 9 year old in Australia who would like to have a summer house there!!!

Who wants that???
Of all the places in Australis he wants it here? Nobody tell me I don't have an incredibly imaginative child who just happens to be a square peg in a round hole kind of world :o)
I guess it was kinda interesting. Opals just aren't my thing. Much to the dismay of Ben. He just couldn't understand why I didn't love them as much as him.
Kasper and Molly took up the cause though and tried to have the same passion even if it was in a diluted form.
We did the rounds of just about every opal shop, tried the 'award winning' pizza and stayed a little longer on leaving day to visit SA's No. 1 tourist attraction, “ The Old Timer's Mine”.
Old Timers Mine
Croatian Man living in
Coober Pedy for 42 years
We met a lovely Croatian man who the kids took a liking to. He was very friendly and gave them pieces of 'opal' he had lying around his shop.
These lumps were added to the already growing pile of what we now know as potch- completely worthless but opal none-the-less.
Underground Campground
Beam up to Star Trek
Space Ship
We chose to stay at a campground were we could sleep underground!! You could pitch your tent in one of the rooms which they had extivated from the rock and enjoy the coolness after a hot, sunny day over head. Problem for us was that the ground was stinking hard we couldn't bang a peg in to save ourselves. No worries, we can just pop our stretches up and sleep au natural. Small problem again- mossies!! Buzzing around your head like a lawn mower all night and, although not an issue for me, spend part of their night sucking your blood!

Solution- $75 worth of trendsetting army green hats with nets attached and a dose of mossie repellent applied each night. But we slept underground like the miners do!!
The camping-ground also had a mine which you could do a tour of so on our second night we donned our hats and learnt all about how to dig for opals.
Noodling for Opals
After a miner has burrowed his way through rock and dirt looking for his opal he is left with huge piles of the leftover debris. It is in this pile that tourists begin an activity known as noodling; scratching and sifting through the rocks and pebbles on the lookout for an elusive opal.
For the most part the mounds are full of potch but if you are patient and lucky you may find the odd bit of colour too.
Next to Dog Fence
Taking a break from the dusty town we drove north towards The Breakaways; a group of beautifully coloured rock formations.
As we drove out we met up with the Dog Fence. 5600Kms of wire erected to keep the dogs out of the sheep country of the south. It was quite amazing to imagine how long the fence actually was. When we got out on the north side to do the obligatory photographs Ben was so nervous that we would be attacked by some roaming dingo he wanted us to hurry up and get back into the car. Funny kid.
Salt and Pepper / Two Dogs (Rock Formations)

The Breakaways themselves were a spectacular site.. So named as they appear, from a distance, to be a 'breakaway' from the Flinder's Ranges. It is a site that is special to the aborigines and they had described several of the stories attached to particular hills, such as the two dogs, which was very interesting.
Despite having showers on a daily basis I was hot, sticky and dusty for a great deal of my time in Coober Pedy and was looking forward to seeing a patch of green grass. Nobody else in the family seemed to mind how uncomfortable it was so maybe it was just a mummy thing :o)

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someones backdoor

The Opal Bug

Tunneling Machine

Road Train

Narrow-Banded Sand Swimmer [Eremiascincus fasciolatus] in the Camp Kitchen

Self explaining

Even bookshops are underground

Salt Lake

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A none scientific way of finding opals

Scene from "Mad Max" movie?

Long way from home

New Moon over Coober Pedy

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Yacka 19th - 21st March

We left Hahndorf about 11am without too many issues. It still surprises me however, how long it takes us to pack up even when we haven't fully unpacked. Guess some things will always remain a mystery :o)
The trip was uneventful apart but was punctuated with a stop at an auto shop to pick up some bits and bobs.
After a couple of hours, we arrived at our destination...Yacka. Population 90!!

Our arrival had raised the total amount by almost 6%

The town, you can imagine, is quite small infact, it took Rasmus 9 minutes & 3 second to ride from one end of town and back again. I think I could do that trip :o)

The camping place is quite pretty with some amazing mosaic picnic tables which the town's residents have created and it is very clean so that is good enough for us.

We pottered around in the last few hours of the day. Setting up camp, playing in the playground, watching a bit of TV.

The next day we spent most of the morning catching up on some school work. It got to hot for me to do any thing so we hung around the caravan again sewing, reading and eating.
It has been a very lazy couple of days but so nice.

The most activity we did was shave the boys hair! And when I say 'we' I mean 'Rasmus'. He finally conned Ben into cutting his lovely long hair for $20!!!! (Was it wrong of me to tell Ben he had prostituted his hair?) Then at the last moment Kasper chirped up he needed a cut too. He always gets it shaved but nobody told me about HOW short it would be!! Good thing he is cute and can get away with it :o)
Despite the 35oC day we had had I woke up in the middle of the night to rain. I got up to check if everything was water tight but in the morning when we were packing up I realised that the roof bag had been left open so we had to drag the camping stuff out to dry it before we repacked it again.
But the biggest thing to happen on this day was my hubby's birthday :o)
I had been nagging him about what he would like but he couldn't think of anything so we finally agreed that having a year off from work was birthday present enough.
We had a nice lunch at Stonehut to celebrate. A lady we had meet told us of the best sausage rolls she had ever eaten so we thought it was worth a visit and the lovely setting in a small vineyard made it worth it too.
We even managed a birthday cake for dinner at the new camping-ground we arrived in.
Happy birthday Rasmus xxxx

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