The beauty of this land is such that, even though we had just traversed this section of road a few hours earlier, I was still absolutely delighted by it. The graceful, curving trees, the green and blue brush, the wild flowers, the red dirt, the mountains a purple ripple rising in the distance captivated me. Among the trees, there were a few gums and acacias, but the majority of the trees were the casuarinas known as black oaks. As we drove by one tree, a wedge-tailed eagle lifted into the air. The sky was remarkable, filled with towering cloud formations.
Going back over the site of our mishap, it was easy for Richard to see more clearly exactly what happened. Sheared off bolts were scattered about the place, and our swerves, as Richard fought for control, were carved into the soft edge of the road.
We began loading gear into the new trailer and discovered that the rental place had forgotten to include the handle for the winch. (Needed the winch to pull the damaged trailer up onto the bed of the new, larger trailer.) Richard tried to use a wrench to work it, with Nikki and me pushing the wrecked trailer. Finally, Richard (who is, fortunately, a pretty big guy) just grabbed the front of the trailer, and the three of us used brute force to get the camping trailer loaded. We then loaded everything else, covered it with a big tarp, and headed back down the bumpy road toward Port Augusta.
It’s a good thing Richard is such a good driver. We discovered next that the brakes on the rental trailer don’t work, so, without care, it could easily go out of control and flip the much lighter ute. At one point, a gust of wind hit the trailer, making it swing wildly, which started the ute swerving from side to side, almost off the road, but Richard managed to regain control.
We stopped a couple of times to stretch our legs and enjoy the scenery, but mostly we just kept going, trying to beat darkness and/or the approaching rain from catching us out. Late afternoon turned into a beautiful evening, with miles of purple mountains outlined along the horizon before us and dramatic storm clouds prowling up from behind. But we did make it safely back to Port Augusta.
What a day!
We checked into the Fauna Holiday Park. We’ve rented a “cabin,” sort of a large trailer on a permanent site. It has a kitchen, TV, two bedrooms, and a shower. We were glad to be able to clean up after all the dragging and loading.
We went shopping at a Woolworth’s on a street lined with lovely Victorian buildings. The store offered a huge selection of wonderful, often exotic food items (I’m guessing a benefit of being a crossroads). We got goodies for the evening, and returned to our cabin to settle in for the evening. Richard is making a stir fry for our dinner, and Nikki has set out delights for “happy hour.”
Tomorrow, we’ll drop off the camping trailer to be repaired, then plan what we’ll do for the next two days. But that’s tomorrow. Right now, the pâté with port, the prawn dip, and a cold glass of Strongbow cider are calling me.
Nice end to an unusual day.