Stuart’s Birthday Holiday, Part 4b

Some of the rolling scenery along the fast sealed straight road taking us back into NSW.

The next town on was to be our lunch stop. Every one of these towns had the equivalent of a village green, usually toilets, covered picnic benches, uncovered picnic benches and gas fired BBQs (free of course) and the next place was no exception.

The mobile library joined us for lunch

We opted for the covered picnic benches because of an ant issue at the uncovered ones. After a slow lunch and a discussion on where next and where exactly we were aiming for, we set off again. A quick refuel later (Serenity was hungry again) and we were soon to turn off the nice straight tarmaced road onto a very windy narrow unsealed road.

We immediately noticed an environmental difference. We had tree ferns back.

I managed to record a video from my camera showing how windy the road was. At times it was not quite so reassuring to see what it was held up with. At least we knew how well gum trees don’t rot!

This was actually the good part of the road. The road is called Big Jack Mountain Road. It had an interesting start and is fine in the middle, but then it was to get considerably worse, at the exit of the valley. We didn’t actually get a photo of the bad section, both of us were concentrating on the road that much. That short section of road was down on the map as a rough track. Until now we had not driven a rough track. This was an exceptionally good reason as to why not to do one again.

After the track we hit the Prince’s Highway and headed south. Stuart wanted to visit Eden and the closest campsites are to the south. We soon got turn off and were presented with a desolate scene. The forest between the highway and the national park we were heading to was being harvested and the place was a disaster.

What hadn’t been felled was badly plastered with fine grey dust but we had had to pay for this site and had had only 1 of 2 pitches to choose from. The place was full apparently. It really wasn’t looking good and I felt ever so sorry for Stuart. Tomorrow was his birthday. I just hoped like hell that it was worth it. I kept reminding myself that the two campgrounds were in a national park so at some point the logging would stop and the dust settle literally.

On top of everything else, we couldn’t use the rooftop tent tonight either. So an old friend made a reappearance. It’s been a while since my back had been good enough to camp at all.

Stuart has had a new downmat since we last camped. He had chosen a longer wider version which dwarfed mine!

However our base was still the vehicle. We had reattached (OK, Stuart had reattached) the sun shade to the roofrack so we had shade or shelter from rain and my back really wasn’t up to sitting on the ground for any great length of time so table and chairs naturally went under the sunshade (it had started to spit a touch).

We hadn’t put used the sunshade before now so it wasn’t until we pitched it that we realised just how good a design it actually is. There are built in poles that connect down the sides to give a rigid side and after a little investigation we realised that a set of poles we had previously not found a use for with the rooftop tent and vestibule area are actually part of the sunshade designed to go diagonally holding the shade down using Velcro sewn into the roof (presumably for high winds of heavy rain because it was perfectly stable as it was).

I should mention the 6 foot high kangaroo we met on arriving at the site. Almost the moment I had the car door open, he was trying to get into the car. We guess he is used to thieving food from unsuspecting people or removing it from the hands of children (or being hand fed). He was to plague us constantly, never more than 10m from the back of Serenity the whole time we were there.

After tea we retired to the beach for a walk and found another set of toilets in the camp-site as well, which given the number of family units there and the huge number of young children using just one set of toilets, was quite useful.

Looking out at the scene
This is Saltwater Creek and the swimming area for children.

Sometimes you just have to pay attention to the close details when a certain person is claiming another section of land by scent marking it!

We obviously didn’t get very far along the beach but other than one other person, we had the place to ourselves.

Back at the tent I had cards to find, cards to write (oops) and then we settled in for a game of cribbage and an early night.

I made a silent prayer for better weather tomorrow. Before breakfast, Stuart wanted a walk along the beach to watch the sun rise. Fingers crossed.

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