Back to Dungog for repairs, but…

With heavy hearts for our very old friend visited in Brisbane, and also for the worsening Covid situation with all those family tragedies around the world, we now decide to return to Dungog for repairs, a larger fuel tank, drop off a lot of stuff now know we don’t need and, last but not least, a catch-up with dear Leo birthday friends – can’t wait. We have all sorts of plans for all the things we will do if home for a week.

4th August we stop in Deepwater, between Stanthorpe and Glen Innes, stop behind the Longhorn Bar and Grill and are delighted by the idiosyncranatic pub and the meal – lobster tails, with a standard of cooking definitely not usual in a pub! Things are finally going well!

Nancy waiting for dinner at the Longhorn Bar and Grill – they even invited Charlie in to sit at our feet for dinner.

It’s next morning and even Charlie is wagging his tail more – I think he knows he is going home! We have just gone past Glen Innes when the bombshell drops.

Anastasia Palaszczuk: ‘As from 1.00am Saturday, the border to Queensland will be shut, no exceptions.’ It’s now Thursday. This means our trip to Cooktown via the outback is history – we’ll never get across that border again.

“Nancy, your jaw has dropped, and you’re doing 80k in a 110k area, now it’s 60k. Close your mouth and stop the car. I think we need a cup of coffee.”

It takes only the best cup of coffee in the world (in our van) to decide. U-Turn! Cancel the repairs, delay the bigger fuel tank, never mind all the stuff we needed to drop off, see our friends on zoom only – we’re off back to Queensland, whatever the cost.

Will ever any of our ideas go to plan?

We get the Border Passes instantly online and at Wallangarra the policeman waves us through after checking our identity by drivers’ licence. So -we’re through. We were in so much of a hurry we didn’t ever stop for petrol.

We find an out of the way place in Queensland to lick our wounds – It’s Foxbar Falls, a ‘sort of’ caravan camp built around a private airstrip in the middle of the Granite Belt of Southern Queensland, and think how to do the van repairs in Queensland. (5th-10th August)

The strip is to the left, made of crumpled granite and the dam – one of several – to the right. (Charlie in the middle, considering the situation)
Charlie on top of the Sow and Pigs – he’s sitting on the sow and the pigs are in the foreground – all solid granite
Ted, happy to be in Queensland. The granite below the weathering is ruby, yellow, peach, orange and sometimes black – so beautiful.

After making some phone calls, we’re off to Toowoomba to stay in the Jolly Swagman Caravan Park, 10th-12th August.

A Toowoomba Mercedes agent carries out two recall jobs and we just forget the other repairs – the fridges are held in by velcroe and the stove is dead. We mail the junk we don’t need home.

Ted hard at work packing boxes of stuff we really don’t need – novice travellers we are, but we’re learning

“Nance,” Ted’s looking at his phone while speaking, Oh no, what’s next? “Elaine and Terry are also on the road and headed for Charleville.”

“Righto, great, let’s go to Charleville,” I grin. Elaine and Terry circumnavigated the world in their sailing boat Virgo’s Child when we did on our beloved Blackwattle. Now we’re going to meet them far inland. The contrast will be amazing.

12th August we’re on our way, head to the Round Waterhole, which isn’t round at all, near Chinchilla for the night…

Round Waterhole – not really round, but beautiful, typical bushland – there’s always a pelican somewhere…

Then it’s on to Fisherman’s Rest (13th-15th August), near Mitchell – we do love these ‘out of town’ stops by some water…

Dinner is served at the Round Waterhole, near Chinchilla

Now we’re going to a bush camp at Charleville to meet with Elaine and Terry.

Let’s hope THIS goes to plan!

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