It was time to “haul arse” as the Americans say.
leaving Broken Hill at 8:30 the temperature was touching 10 degrees with forecast showers and 50 km wind gusts. The weather man got it right and the 2 hour run to Wilcannia was a buffeting ride. I had my first “roo” scare, a big woolly buck was hidden amongst a stand of Cyprus and he was disturbed by the echo of the Termignoni pipes. He was on the right side of the road which was fortunate because as his first bound brought him into the empty lane, I was cruising in the left lane. On his second bound he turned to race me and there was a surreal moment as we eyeballed each other…..both heading east….both trying to outrun the other. His fur was so close I could make out beads of dew ( or sweat) on his orange brown winter coat. The fur looked frazzled and scorched but it was just the natural camoflage that had allowed him to blend in wth the red soil beside the road. In a motorcyclists mimic his large forearms reached forward grasping an invisible handlebar. We both adopted an upright riding pose and I thought , this could end badly. Fortunately he did not try to cross in front of me,! Close.
the sky was dark grey with low cloud and no chance of sunshine. The heated jacket was on max and I needed the waterproofs as a few showers scudded over. It was sheep and goat country..sparse and generally shying away from the road.
Wilcannia remains a spacious, if somewhat unwieldy town on the Darling River. The signage for fuel was simple …..take “any ” right turn and then turn left!! Surprisingly it worked and I located a stand alone bowser where I refuelled in a puddle of water.
i thought it must be better than this and after cruising past the two storey brick police station and court house I pulled up the beautiful park to pull my helmet off Across the road a modern coffee shop catered for a few grey haired nomads….a nice lady stopped and explained all the dirt roads out of town were closed due to rain…I felt happy to stay on bitumen.
The next 2 and a half hours saw me close the gap on Cobar where our family lived and worked 27 years ago. The country side looked green green green. It looked nothing like the scorched drought ridden semi-desert of the late 1980s. The town looks great and I enjoyed a late lunch at Gumnuts with Bernie We had not seen each other for nearly 30 years and there was a lot to catch up on. Of course I had to lap out to the CSA Mine (Cornish Scottish Australian) where I had worked on the first stopes for QTS (Queensland Tasmania South Australia) accessed via #2 shaft that , surprisingly, sat next to #1 shaft. Nothing complicated.
the house we lived in had been located 500m from the Koepe Winder but was now removed….it was too close for most people to want to live there.
the weather remained dank, broody and cold