Wednesday 18th April, 2007
It was 12deg C this morning and that is the coldest so far on
walk. I had checked the temperature records for the part of Australia
I will be in and the time of the year (winter) when I am half way
through and I am prepared for -3deg C. That is, I have a sleeping bag
rated at 0deg C and I know about wearing all your clothes when the
the first stop in town is the
Post Office, but sadly no sat phone in the post today. I was prepared
for this as it was unlikely that everything would happen just right to
get it here today. I will now plan for it to get here tomorrow and I
will leave on Friday.
went around to the
library and spent an hour looking around the great collection before I
sat down to the Internet. I always have trouble getting out of a
library or a bookshop as I love books. I read absolutely heaps of books
on just about any subject with 4 out of 5 being non-fiction. But when I
am out of reading material I will read just about anything. I miss
being able to read when I settle into the tent for the night. I would
finish off a book in a few nights and at that rate I would not be able
to carry enough. And books are heavy. So I decided not to carry any and
"put up with it Jeff". So now I was in a library, I was drooling over
the selection and sampling bits along each row.
I read my email, there were quite a few as I have
email since 1990 when I first got access to the Internet. I had set up
an Internet Service Provider business and in those early days there was
no world wide web as we know it today. Just email
where "users" (same word as drug addicts) could join in discussions
about selected subjects. I replied to all of my emails, providing
general coverage about my walk so far to the many family and friends
that had written.
I checked the
DeafBlind Association web
to see if they had added any reference to my walk raising awareness for
them, but nothing so far. Janne had told me that they had a volunteer
who looked after the site for them but she had not had any luck getting
him to do it so far.
While at the library, I
took a call on my cell phone from the ABC South Australia and regional
to set up a live interview with Annette Marner, the presenter for the
late afternoons segment. I will be on air yet again at 4.30 this
afternoon. This Adelaide based service covers the regional areas of
South Australia and also into Broken Hill, the big mining town (city)
in New South Wales. Broken Hill is 350km from Adelaide, but, although
it is in New South Wales, it is 1,000kms from the capital, Sydney. With
the multiple time zones across Australia, Broken Hill is "closer" in
time to Adelaide.
finished at the library I
went back to the caravan park and started a "cleaning out" and maybe
some culling of my kit. In particular I wanted to review my route to
Birdsville where the maps I was carrying would run out. I laid them all
out like a big jigsaw puzzle and I noticed that I had made a
mistake and printed 3 maps that missed the road I'll be on by 20 or 30
kilometers. Although Bill had the same maps on his computer, it was
going to be difficult to describe exactly what I wanted printed and
sent to meet me at Birdsville. I had spent hours selecting the areas to
print and getting the scale of each map consistent and still I had made
my error. It would turn out to be quite an exercise to get this
rectified given our limited communications.
neighbours tonight were Walter Windy and Maria Betels, a German couple
traveling in a well set out, covered in, 4WD. They had met an Australia
couple in Europe who were visiting Germany and then re-met them again
on several occasions, once even in France. These coincidences prompted
them to exchange contacts and stay in touch. The Australian couple
again visited Europe and called in at their house and stayed for
several days. When Walter and Maria decided to come to Australia to
have a look around, this Aussie couple arranged for them to "borrow"
their 4WD with its well prepared camping equipment and tour "as long as
Radio contact with
Roger tonight was
excellent but Bill was till hard to pick out of the background static.
He is working on building a better antenna system at his house in
19th April, 2007
At last. The sat phone was waiting for me at the Post Office
morning. It was in quite a large carton and I had to decide what bits
to take along. Eventually, I settled on the phone, the 240V charger,
the 12V charger, the "leather" cover and, for now, the instruction
manual. I posted the box with the remaining bits and paperwork back to
Bill. I also put in my mobile phone with its chargers as they would not
be working after tomorrow. And in went the glasses case that came with
my new glasses and in it was the old plastic frame with one lens, plus
the loose lens.
for me to be
interviewed by the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) , the peak
body for the amateur radio operators throughout Australia. Graham Kemp,
VK4BB, would conduct the interview and record it. It will be played
during the Sunday morning WIA "news" that is broadcast over amateur
radio frequencies in all states.
Back at the
caravan park I entirely emptied out my pack and laid it out on the
grass next to the tent. I photographed it (photos 252, 253)
wondered at the expanse of the "stuff" that I was taking with me. But
there was very little that I could discard. I had gathered a small
crowd and talked about the different items and then repacked.
With the pack loaded with everything but the tent, I headed
to the pub for the last time. I had a drink or two with John and gave
him a receipt for the donation from the "Hawker Hotel and customers"
for $158.70. I thought that was pretty good considering, but I was too
early to include another $50. A bloke called Alistair came over to see
what was happening and he handed over the biggest single donation so
John and I headed outside
for a final photo
with me in full rig outside the pub's front door (photo 255). He gave
me the name of the managers at the Rawnsley Park caravan park, my next
stop, and the owner of the Woolshed Restaurant there. He also told me
to look up Peter, who operated the tourist boat on the Cooper Creek at
Innamincka. That seemed like forever away. In fact a month and a half.
We made final promises to keep in touch and I went back to the caravan
park for an early night. I
"booked out" of the park as I walked in, coming back from my
"goodbyes" with Big John and the staff at the pub. I offered Corrie to
pay all or part of the fees as Janne, of DeafBlind had made the initial
request for "fee donation" for a "couple of days" and I had stayed 8
nights. We settled on a donation of 3 days for which I wrote a
DeafBlind receipt (I carried a receipt book). I then paid for the rest
of the nights from my own pocket. As my adventure went on there would
be stays at caravan parks, hotels etc, which were arranged by Janne as
donations to DeafBlind, "gifted" to reward my effort or those that were
none of the above, I paid for myself.
new neighbours for
this night were Beatrice and her son Florian. We talked late into the
evening in the camp kitchen and much later than I intended. Beatrice
was from Germany and had met an Aussie bloke over there. They had
stayed in a relationship for several years and their son Florian was
now about 7 years old. Although Beatrice and here Aussie partner were
long separated, but still in touch, she was traveling around Australia
with Florian and getting him a bit of Aussie "culture" so he could
relate better to his father and his country.
I finally hit the sack and was asleep within a few minutes.
Tomorrow, back on the