August 4th – Carnarvon Gorge to Roma
There had been rain overnight, our first since the start at Wundowie and the morning was the chilliest we had experienced so far.
The road heading out of Carnarvon Gorge gave beautiful vistas as every turn with the early morning sunshine lighting up the limestone cliffs. We saw lots of kangaroos and emus along the way, and passed fat cattle grazing on healthy crops, then drove through forests and grazing land.
Dick, Jeff and Ron paid a visit to Elders at Roma where they chatted with Sophie and Leanne, then called in to a bull sale before returning to the caravan park.
Our English crew members, Steve and Barbara were celebrating their Wedding Anniversary so stayed behind at the Carnarvon Gorge to enjoy more of the wonderful scenery. They caught up with us in Roma as we prepared for our visit to the Lions Park for a get-together with the Rotary, Lions, Apex and Zonta club representatives who put on a great spread to welcome our group. Between a raffle and donations, our total fundraising took a great step forward.
Míša, a Rotary Exchange Student from Slovakia, was a great ambassador from her country and enjoyed the chance to converse with our group. The raffle was won by Aileen and Ron presented a toy donkey to Riley who had split his forehead which required stitches.
Many thanks to Peter for the organising of this very enjoyable evening.
August 5th – Roma to Mungindi
George has headed off after the function the previous evening to catch up with a friend in Gatton , then this morning we had to farewell Jeff who was being given a lift to Brisbane by Barbara Garnett’s brother Norm and his wife Pat. Their grandson Brodyn was not feeling too well, so he also was presented with a teddy.
A morning tea stop was made at Surat, where we learnt how desperately the area needed rain and the crops out of town showed this to be the case. Along the way, not one but five little pigs scurried across in front of our ‘troupie’ and only swift breaking prevented their being lots of pork chops available! Lunch stop was at St George on the Moonie River, another very pleasant location.
We had been recommended to stop at Thallon to see the paintings on the wheat silos, and this proved to be a very enjoyable stopover with probably the best artistry of this type we had seen. Dick was able to drive the tractor up a ramp to give the best possible photo opportunities and with it being a Saturday, there were no staff on-site to discourage us!
An icecream parlour close by begged our attendance and they certainly did not disappoint with their wares – icecreams, smoothies, sundaes to name a few. By co-incidence, the proprietors David and Coral had a close relation undergoing a mastectomy that very week so it was a chance to talk about our fund-raising and to leave them with teddies for Corol and the patient. Corol was very generous in emptying her tips jar into our collection pot. This type of interaction makes us all realise just how many people are affected with cancers of all kinds.
August 6th, Mungindi to Coonabarabran.
Driving through flat country we again noticed how desperately the crops needed rain. Here there were sheep, not often seen in this predominantly cattle country. A stop was made at Garah, a small community obviously not as busy as at some time in the past. It was interesting to see a private dwelling which had ‘Bank of New South Wales’ still visible on the front. The town lies alongside a railway line and water tanks in evidence.
Morning tea was enjoyed at a coffee shop in Moree. This is a particularly pleasant town, most famous for its artesian pools which we did not have time to take advantage of. As we continued south the crops looked healthier and with distant hills made a pretty photo, as did the first canola seen in these parts.
Our planned overnight at Narrabri was changed to a lunch stop, quick fuel up and shopping to allow more time in Dubbo. The drive through the Pilliga Nature Reserve was though undulating country and we arrived in Coonabarabran to be greeted by the owners Darren and Lisa of the Getaway Tourist Park who, like so many others we have met, have experienced tragedy in their family, and Ron was pleased to present Lisa with a teddy and a toy racoon to brighten her day and thank her for her generosity.