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Motorhome Travels - March 2008

28/03/2008

We made it to the CMCA rally in Broken Hill following 3 weeks of wonderful camping along the Murray River. This region is well known for its camping spots on both the NSW and Victorian sides of the river, and is one of the few areas left in Australia where you can pull up just about anywhere and camp freely. Many other travellers are of like mind, and we have had a great couple of weeks of meeting people and socialising (sometimes a little too heavily) almost every night.

 

The temperatures over the last month have soared into the 40s every day, making the river a great place to sit in (especially with a cold beer in hand), but try as we might we could not entice Tivoli (our cat) into the water to cool off – the poor puss felt the heat badly and spent her whole days flaked out on the floor, too hot to move. Even the nights were hot, cooling down to a balmy 30 degrees!

We reluctantly left the cool waters of the river on the 16th of March to head up to Broken Hill for the start of the rally on the 17th. Given our previous rally experience at Casino 5 years ago (it has taken us this long to decide to attend another one), we were expecting a fair amount of chaos on arrival and volunteers in florescent jackets whose limited power had gone to their heads. We were very pleasantly surprised however to be very efficiently ushered into the racecourse grounds and parked up within about 5 minutes.

Before the great storm, CMCA Rally, Broken Hill NSW - [Click for a Larger Image]
[Photo Information]
Before the great storm, CMCA Rally,
Broken Hill NSW

There were only about 600 vehicles at this rally, a small number compared to most – we were told this was due to the remote location and a large number of motorhomers deciding to cancel at the last minute because of the heat and dust (what do you expect from the outback!!?). Well, it was hot and dusty alright, a thick layer of fine red dust covered everything every time the wind blew (which was most of the time) or a vehicle drove past. We were parked at the far edge of the rally grounds along with the majority of the other big rigs, in an area that was dubbed “Camerons Corner” due to it being as far away from everything else as it could possibly be, and the dry red dusty ground. This may sound like I’m complaining, but I’m not – I’m just trying to paint a picture for those of you who were not there! We had a great time although we did not have much opportunity for socialising or joining in the events as we (or should I say Gavin) was flat out the majority of the time helping people with electrical and Satellite TV problems.

The temperatures dropped into the much more comfortable high 30s after a couple of days, and then, to make the event really memorabile, on the final day a storm came ripping through. A gale roared through furiously and rain bucketed from the sky - within 2 minutes those who had not had time to put in their awnings had them ripped unceremoniously from their motorhomes. We managed to get ours retracted as it was attempting to part company with the motorhome, and then spent the next half hour in the pelting rain and thick mud running around trying to help others with their awnings and to salvage their belongings that were now floating away in the newly formed river that was once the racecourse grounds. It was incredible to see the almost instantaneous transformation of the landscape, from a dry dusty desert to a rain-swept river of moving mud.

After the great storm, CMCA Rally, Broken Hill NSW - [Click for a Larger Image]
[Photo Information]
After the great storm, CMCA Rally,
Broken Hill NSW

Once the rally had finished we drove to Menindee lakes and had planned to spend a couple of days there relaxing in quiet solitude, however in the process of writing this we have just driven the 900 odd kms back to Melbourne, and are flying back to Dunedin today as Gavin’s Mum is very unwell.  

 

02/04/2008 Sadly we received the news that Gavin’s mum had passed away as we were about to board the flight to NZ.

 

We are here in NZ until about the 11th catching up with family and friends before we head back to Melbourne.

 

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