We’d heard that Mendooran was a pretty good campground, so we were looking forward to setting up there. We cruised in; aimed at a nice big empty spot between a caravan and a fifth wheeler; hopped out of the car and…
“You’re not from Wollongong, are you?” a voice called out.
Rob looked over the bloke sitting under his awning. “Yeah… how did you guess?” (We didn’t think we had any stickers on the car or van…)
“You’re not Rob and Marg, are you?”
“Well, yes…” we wandered over to join them and found that we were talking to none other than Tony from the Caravan and Motorhome forum, there with his wife Lorraine. We’d joined in several different posts over the past few years, and exchanged a PM or two… but had no idea they’d be there!
Tony spotted the BT-50 first, thought “No, surely not…” and then saw our faces. (Guess we do look like our forum pics!). After a bit of a razzing about the never-ending BT-50 thread (yeah, okay, it does go on… and on… and on… but we can’t help it if there are an increasing number of converts to the Mazda 4WD!) we decided to catch up later after setting up.
Meanwhile, Paul (another forum member!) and Kerry arrived with their brand spanking new Avan. It was like old friends week. Amazing how quickly we all turned an online friendship into one that was flesh and bone! Here we are on site at Mendooran – we’re on the right; Paul and Kerry’s van is in the middle, and Tony & Lorraine’s on the left.
The Mendooran campground was very pleasant; plenty of space, plenty of grass, and naturally pet-friendly (much to the relief of Paul and Kerry who’d brought along their four-footed friend Bindi.) As the afternoon wore on, out came the fire-drum and we all shrugged on warmer jackets and gathered around the flames for Happy Hour.
Then, as it does, the talk turned to what we do on the road… Lorraine and I had our knitting with us (as always, inn my case) but we were intrigued by Kerry’s crocheted rug. She’s creating a lovely Royal Stewart Tartan rug; crocheting the basic colours first, then creating long chains of other colours that are woven in. I used Scanner-Pro on my iPad to scan the handwritten instructions and PDF them; it’s a project I’d like to try later on myself. Here’s Rob admiring her handiwork (and he really is genuinely admiring it, not pretending interest to keep us happy; he knows how much work goes into these craft projects!)
NOTE: in response to a request for the pattern from Vivienne (see comments below) here’s a link to the PDF of the copy I scanned using ScannerPro on my iPad. It’s handwritten, so… best of luck!) Right-click the link and choose ‘save file as’ (or save link as) to save the PDF to your computer.
During the day the sun was out and the weather was great… but overnight it cooled down a fair bit. Our caravan thermometer registered 4 degrees INSIDE the van; the car thermometer said it was zero degrees outside. Which we would believe; judging by the frosted-up windscreen:
On to Walgett
We pulled out the next morning and moseyed on to Walgett, where we’d heard there was a decent free campground (Alex Trevallion Park Free Camp) on the fringes of the town, next to the hospital. It proved to be very nice indeed, with defined RV parking bays, BBQs, a toilet block (flushing toilets, but all-stainless-steel – no seats!) and a dump point. There were at least a dozen RVs in there overnight, and it was close enough to town for us to walk up to the IGA and a cafe.
Here’s the SAT-NAV map:
…and here’s our rig tucked away for the night, second from the left below.
When we walked up town, we spotted – off to the right as we walked up the main drag – Cafe 64. We had already decided to stop somewhere for a coffee, so this seemed fine. I’m glad we did, because it was a REALLY nice coffee – and friendly service. When we read the blurb on the back of the menu, we could understand why the coffee was so good: the staff have all been barista-trained. The cafe is part of the Nova Employment Initiative, which employs indigenous and non-indigenous staff; young and more mature workers; abled and disabled. It had a really nice ‘feel’ to it, despite the utilitarian tables/chairs/decor. There is a small gallery attached to display local indigenous art. Want a good cup of coffee? Go there.
And we couldn’t resist taking a photo of this: the local bird life seemed to take a fancy to the telecommunications tower to roost in the afternoon. Wonder if it interfered with internet reception???
Back at the camp, we hitched up again with our pals from Mendooran – Tony, Lorraine, Paul and Kerry – and new friends Gerry and Robert, who were on their first week out with their lovely new rig, a Scenic caravan with a tall door on the side with nice access to three shelves or storage.
We sat around the campfire for ages that night… (so what else is new?) and persuaded Tony to move into show-and-tell mode with his sullage hoses and his WOW of a ladder. We have a separate post for that, to fit into ‘tips and tricks’, along with tips on using a cassette toilet or portaloo… you can see it here.