03 August, 2012

The start of the long trek inland

Monday, start of the long trek further inland than we’ve ever been before (Monday 16th July)

I woke up early again on Monday. Stressing about how far we have to travel in the coming days and other things that tend to get out of proportion when you’re half awake. I’d also become quite aware that it was very cold out. The sort of cold that makes you retreat under the doona until no body part is poking out, not even the top of your head.

About 500km
After a quick breakfast we tidied up and readied the motor home for the next leg: 300m down the road to my husband's brother’s welding business to try out a couple of options for fixing our power issues. Pretty quickly he found a melted fuse and replaced it and then we were truly on our way.

Our next stop was a bit off the bitumen, my husband's sister and brother-in-law’s property north of town. They’ve moved properties since we were up here two years ago and they wanted to show us their place. We stopped for only a short while. Long enough to say “G’day”, see their Alpaca herd, check out the large Combine Harvester, and jump on the trampoline (only the boys). We also took family photos and said goodbyes for another two years.
On the road.

Then we drove north to Emerald where we filled up with petrol and stocked up on a few groceries. Then we drove west. In fact from that point we drove pretty much west all day. Our longest stop after Emerald was 20 minutes for lunch on the side of the road. (I love it that you can pull over in a motor home and have your kitchen just there.)

The boys have been pretty good in behaviour. We are implementing a special incentive system, though. The boys start the day with an on-paper balance of 20 MnMs, and they lose MnMs for bad behaviour. At the end of the day they are “awarded” with the final balance. It seems to have some positive effect. We’re hoping that it might help us make it through this long journey with some sanity intact. It is so easy for them to dismiss our verbal corrections from the front seat as nothing more than hot air. Having a slightly painful consequence that can be administered later is our only hope. As they are older, delayed reward is okay, in fact the pain is delayed, and so somewhat enhanced.

We made it to Longreach a bit after 5pm. It is amazing; these towns that we’ve known the names of all our lives and yet have never been to, we’re now driving through them. Unfortunately we don’t have time to stop and appreciate each small town. I think this journey is more like a taster. We’re getting a taste of the outback. Maybe someday we’ll come back and take more time to drink it in deeply.

Tonight we’re “free camping” for the first time. Free camping is when there is no electricity or showers. There are toilets here, though they are a little bit of a hike away. We have a toilet and shower in the motor home, though we’re mostly using public toilets if at all possible. The water heater didn’t work well tonight and me giving the boys showers must have sounded like I was physically harming them. They yelled! Needless to say, all our showers were very short.

Longreach freecamping.
We’re about 4km out of Longreach at a well-known free-camping spot. There are upwards of 60 other “units” here (caravans, motor homes, tents, and variations on the theme), but it is pretty quiet. The thing that has impressed the boys is the stars. In Tokyo you can hardly see any stars, even on the clearest night, because the city has so many of its own lights. Out here, we’ve got a feast for the eyes.

But for now I need to get some shut-eye. Driving, even though it is so easy compared to Tokyo driving, is still hard work, and driving for hours on end wears you out. As does organising a bunch of boys to function smoothly in a small space like a motor home!


-J said...

I love travel adventures, and am enjoying reading your posts. What a memory-making experience for your boys!

KarenKTeachCamb said...

Love that the boys enjoyed the "outback" star show! It's something special to look up and see so many points of light, and to remember that the God who hung them all cares about me (and you)! Looking forward to reading the rest of your travel-blog.