Still sitting at the caravan park at Fitzroy Crossing, homeless! The verdict on the truck shouldn't be much longer.
Back to the journey, when we left El Questro, the next stop was Home Valley Station, further west on the Gibb River Road. This station is owned by the Indigenous Land Corporation, is about 300,000 acres and is used for training indigenous workers. We liked the look of the swimming pool in the book!
The Gibb River Road was quite a bit rougher as we went along, lots of corrugations and a couple of small river crossings. Similar scenery to what we have become accustomed to - dramatic!
We stopped after one of the river crossings and discovered that we had a flat tyre on the boat trailer - quickly replaced.
We also discovered that the leg on the camper that didn't have a working motor to put it down, had fallen down and was bent. Bit more of a problem, this required amputation with the angle grinder (doesn't everyone carry an angle grinder in their tool kit?)
Definitely wouldn't be taking the camper off the truck now. Bugger! Home Valley Station wasn't much further on. We were looking forward to that pool, and having power for the air conditioners. Have I told you it's hot up here in the north - no, I mean HOT!!!
The camping ground at Home Valley is much smaller than El Questro. Being further along the GRR and not having the attractions of El Questro, it is not visited as much. There is also not a lot of shade - never mind that, we have a pool and air conditioning!
The bar isn't bad either.
They are however not quite up with some of the modern conveniences.
We stayed at Home Valley for 3 days. That would be long enough for anyone thinking of visiting there as there isn't much to see there. There is however one thing to see that makes it a worthwhile stop.
I'm talking about the helicopter flight, of course. This is the lovely Mike, who took the 4 girls for a lovely 40 minute scenic tour of the area, and then the next day took the 5 boys on an afternoon's fishing. The scenic flight took us over some of the very large rivers, including the Durack and the Pentecost.
This is the area where the fishing expedition was to take place the next day. We also flew over the stunning escarpments of the Cockburn Ranges.
The fishing expedition was very successful, with about 30 barramundi caught by the 5 intrepid fishermen. For the fishing listeners the score was 860mm, 725mm and the rest between 500 and 700mm. 3 of the catch were brought home for dinner. The head chef from the restaurant (there are 5 chefs) was with them on the fishing trip and dinner that night for us was a large platter of the catch of the day.
I know, more eating and drinking, but that's what we do!!
Sorry to introduce an ugly note to the conversation, but we need to discuss cane toads. We all know how horrible they are and the damage they do to the wildlife. When we arrived at Home Valley Station, there was a large goanna in the garden. One of the workers there told us that they are very concerned about the wildlife there because of the cane toads. Last November there weren't any there, but during the wet season they came. They have had scientists up there testing animals that are found dead and they have all been poisoned by eating cane toads. The cane toads are rapidly invading the north of WA now. Each place where they are found have one of these boxes.
Jude and I decided one night to do our bit for the cause and went out hunting armed with a plastic bag and some plastic salad servers. The idea was to flick the nasty creatures into the bag with the salad servers. We knew where to find them - behind the washing machines and in the showers. The plan didn't work too well, the toads didn't flick well. Peter came to the rescue with a shovel and got the first one in the bag just fine. The second one was a bit of a problem, when I opened the bag to get it in, the first one tried to get out. This then led to lots of noise (from Jude and I) and a dropping of the plastic bag. A little hit with the shovel (just a gentle tap) made the toads a little easier to manage. Our contribution was 3 nasty big toads and a lot of entertainment for those watching.
That puts us up to about a week ago - more to come, bet you can't wait.
Update on the truck situation - after 2 days, the problem may or may not be fixed. They are hopeful that final checks in the morning will be successful. It's all to do with particle emissions and blocked things. The lovely Keith and Alex have been doing a sterling job, given this is not the sort of work they usually do. The Isuzu service centre in Port Hedland (1,000 kms away if you missed that before) have been offering assistance by phone. At this stage we are slightly confident only! Stay tuned for further updates