a Big Learning Curve

24/7/2013 – 28/7/2013
On Thursday we stay at Wilmington – formally known as Beautiful Valley which I think is a much nicer and a very appropriate name. On the way here we we lost one our caravan mirrors when a truck went passed flipping the car mirror and towing mirror into the car window, then we watched it peel off and fly off the car. Nothing we could do and happily there are no cars behind us. We are lucky enough to have a spare. Shane had brought along his dads mirror as a spare so its kind of nice that we have a little bit of him with as we travel – he loved seeing this country. We crossed the Murray river at Morgan which did mean going on a ferry, which we had tried to avoid. It turned out fine and at least the slope on the other side is not as steep to manouver as the crossing at Cadell. Went through a town called Terowie, and, I kid you not, it was like driving through a ghost town with not one car parked in the Main Street or side streets yet it was obvious that people did live there.
Visited Woomera, a rocket launch testing area, which was once a thriving community with a population of 4,000 now down to 100. At the museum we learn that it is no longer an operational site but there is still testing going on in other places in Australia – as the curator said “they are always looking for new ways to blow somebody up.”
We check out how many kilometres to the next place that we hope to stop but get there quite early in the afternoon so we make tracks for Cooper Pedy. Without a head wind or the fact we had been on a very slight incline since leaving Port Augusta we may have made it. Unfortunately our car spluttered to a halt just 30 k’s from Cooper Pedy, completely out of petrol. Fortunately we do have a couple of containers carrying spare diesel so we put 20 litres in. The car manual tells us that you should never let your tank run dry – oh dear. It doesn’t want to start but after about the forth go it thankfully turns over and we limp into town.  Tired and very happy to set up camp and have an early night.
It nice to reach the border and we meet a very enthusiastic guy, Mathew, riding his bike from Melbourne to Darwin – more about his story in a separate blog.
The Kulgera road house is a good place to stay but is only run by one big generator. There is no mobile phone or Internet for 50 k’s either side, no tv reception either – except at the pub of course. Shane also can’t use his breathing machine because the power doesn’t have enough oomph so he enjoys a night of unfettered snoring!
In the morning he notices a nail in one of the caravan tyres and makes the decision to change it over and get it checked at Alice Springs.
These last few days have been full of ups and downs. We are learning a lot, reading manuals and talking to people who are well travelled and, thankfully, who are only too happy to give us great advice. We plan to stay in Alice a few days, relax do some site seeing and get everything right to hit the road again.

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