02 August, 2012

We finally take off on our grand adventure

Saturday (14th July)

This morning started pretty well. My pretty rotten sleep was cut slightly short when my phone bipped to tell me a text message had arrived. Not welcome at 5.18. Neither of us went back to sleep after that. At 5.45 we got up and got going. Finished the final bits of packing, ate food that I didn’t feel like, dragged boys out of bed etc. It was all going well and we exceeded our at-the-latest departure time of 8.00 by 20 minutes. Our goal was Springsure, the small town where David’s brother, sister, and Dad. It is 800 km from Toowoomba, roughly north-north-west. And no, they aren’t on the other side of the country, but only about a third of the way up our state of Queensland (Toowoomba is close to the bottom of the state). Queensland is an enormous state, bigger than Texas (but less populated).

Unfortunately we forgot all our pillows and the doona (quilt-thingy). Fortunately Mum and Dad found them, and called us. Unfortunately that was 25 minutes after our departure. Fortunately Dad saved us some precious minutes by meeting us halfway with the missing goods. But the whole thing set us back again. Alas, today would be a day of no long breaks for stretching the legs (Ed's note: it turned out to be our second longest single day's journey). 800 kilometres is a long way to drive, especially in a motor home. We’d been advised that the best speed to aim for was 90 km/hr. That is less than we’d normally drive in a passenger vehicle (the speed limit is mostly between 100 and 110 km/hr).

I took lots of "road" photos. To remember what various
landscapes looked like, but also to show you. This was
a typical piece of road that we drove on on the way to
And remember, we’re aiming to get there before dusk, but it is winter, so the sun goes down earlier. I’m typing as David drives, between driving stints. I just hope that we make it in time. We don’t want to risk an encounter with a kangaroo, I’ve still got bad memories of the last time I encountered a kangaroo on the road. The kangaroo fared well, but my car didn’t.

Oh, and you’re wondering how driving went for me earlier? I was very nervous, but managed okay. It has cruise control and that makes it pretty easy on open roads that are pretty flat and straight. You set the speed and then just steer, while staying vigilant about road conditions, speed signs etc. Oh, and flicking the windscreen wipers off and on. We’re in the land of droughts and floods. Not much drought happening now, plenty of rain, though.

The round-up of Saturday (written the next day)

On Saturday we drove from Toowoomba to Springsure, just beating the sunset. It was a long day, 800km, taking 10 hours. We felt pretty ragged at the end. But the day wasn’t over. First we had dinner with various members of David’s family. We had a delightful meal of fish and chips and a good time of reacquainting ourselves.

Then we settled down for our first night sleeping in the motor home. The biggest surprise was the earthquake simulator effect. After ten hours of driving in this large vehicle the earth was rolling for us anyway, but I soon discovered that while I was lying on my bed I could tell whenever someone was rolling or moving in almost any direction. The van’s suspension produced quite tremor-like movements. Needless to say, I had to keep reminding myself that we were in the land of almost-no earthquakes.

After such a big, tension filled day, I found it hard to wind down and go to sleep, even though my bed was wonderfully comfortably. In the middle of the night I had to make a trip to the toilet, about 80cm from my bed. Unfortunately we’d not put the chemicals into the toilet yet, so I had to go and find the chemicals too. It just added to a restless night.


Footprints Australia said...

Our longest distance travelled in one day was approx 1300km - from Port Augusta South Australia, to Uluru in the Northern Territory. We left at 4am, arriving around 7pm. A looooonnng day! But it was definitely worth it. On the way back we broke the trip up and stayed overnight in Coober Pedy in an underground motel!

Wendy said...

I haven't mentioned that we were limited by the insurance policy on the motor home. We couldn't leave before sun-up or travel after sun-down. We left most days at 7.30 and pulled up for the night at about 6.30. As it was winter, that left us about 11 hours. Plus a vehicle that used a lot of fuel, so we had lots of fuel stops. And we tried to travel at 90 km/hr to keep a lid on fuel consumption!

Footprints Australia said...

Oh wow, I didn't realise that insurance limited your travels. It does make sense though because it is a lot more dangerous at night with 'roos and other wildlife bolting across the road unexpectedly!