Bendigo to Burra

Well we are on our way at last. I have made the comment a few times I reckon my last words on this earth will be “Well that didn’t go as planned” and so it was. I guess it’s all part of the adventure but the adventure part could have waited a few more days and let us ease into it.

Before we left home, in fact the night before, I noticed the battery in the van was well down not good when it’s been on charge for over a week and with solar as well. Outcome stuffed battery and a delay in getting away while I went and got a replacement and fitted it.

Finally we hit the road with first night to be Murrayville. We also hadn’t decided on our “theme” for this trip so we have decided we are going to rate caravan parks on a scale of 1 to 10. We made our way up through Charlton with a coffee stop at Bridgewater and lunch at Sealake, then on to Murrayville. Pretty uneventful and some new country from Ouyen on for us. Still reasonably dry but crops are starting to come through.

Murrayville is quaint, small town and nice little van park with an honesty box system. Toilets are aging but clean and neat. Freezing overnight and we are looking forward to some warmer weather as we move north.

As we set of from Murrayville on our next leg to Burra the sun broke through. Reasonable short trip today and we have found out that Gaz and Shaz stayed at Sealake last night so they are not far behind and will meet us at Burra. Morning coffee at Loxton and then across some familiar territory to Morgan for lunch. This has been one of our favourites for lunch, morning or afternoon teas and still has some really good fare and is a magnet for travellers. There is pretty much always someone there to strike up a conversation with about their life on the road. It is a bit of an experience if you come across on either the Cadell or Morgan ferries but this time we went the more direct route by road.

Burra loomed over the horizon about 2.30ish so we made good time and settled into the caravan park to wait for the rest of the travellers. Burra is a nice old place and a lot has been done to maintain and use the old buildings around the town. Many have been turned into accommodation and with the history of the place, are well used. Apparently Burra, and in particular the mining around these parts saved SA from going bankrupt in the late 1800 early 1900, or so I’m told. Gaz has taken crook so we are here for at least another day which is no great issue. Little caravan park here backs onto a creek and is really pleasant but bloody freezing today with a lazy wind blowing straight through us.

Our mascot this trip will be the Eveready person (notice politically correct undertones)

Sunset over Murrayville
Anglican Church Murrayville
2/3 of the Tagalong tours Team
Tree Burra SA
Burra Town Hall
Some of the beautiful old structures around Burra
Burra copper mine ruins
Burra copper mine pit
Burra copper mine
A new source of energy


That’s right AHHHHHHHH. Getting ready to head of and we have electrical problem on the van. Not sure if its a battery or something else. Fair dinkum my grave will have the words “Well that didn’t go to plan” etched into it.

Nearly time for the next trip

So this is the new camper but wont be going o on the next trip. Need a few things to bring it up to speck but generally a good base.


So here’s the next trip – in the van for this one.


The Tagalong tours Gibb River rd Tour 2017

Home to Coober Pedy
Well the Tagalong tours trip for 2017 has started. We left Friday after we cracked the frost of the car and headed to Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills for our first overnight stop. We decided on staying in a cabin for the first night and the van park at Hahndorf was pretty good. There is a historic truck get together in Hahndorf for the weekend which provided a lot of interest. Morris, Bedford, International and Kenworth well represented in the line-up. 
It is blood cold tonight and I suspect a frost in the morning.

Morning has broken and yep you guessed it frost -1 deg. Breakfast in a nice little place called the Hauss which provided a great start for the day. And what a great day it turned out to be as we headed from Hahndorf through to Pimba, well that was the plan but we chickened out.

With potential overnight temps of around 0 to -3 and no power at Pimba we though another night of comfort would be of benefit. So we pulled into Port Pirie for the night and the “comforts” of a cabin. Tomorrow it’s on to Coober Pedy for a couple of nights and met up with the rest of the crew.

We stayed at Stuart Range Caravan Park and nothing much has changed there. Still can’t get a sensible site numbering system as well as trying to shoe horn 2 vans on one site or that’s how it looked to us. Absolute confusion. We have decided any future sojourns up way we are staying someplace else. Gaz, Shaz, Rob and Judy turned up early afternoon so it was a quiet afternoon setting and talking. 

Cold again tonight but we are in the roof top tent so will see what tomorrow brings.
Not to early a rise this morning and whilst it was really cold the accommodation was not bad we are pretty happy with the setup, albeit, the ladder up and down for our early morning sojourns to the dunny are not that enjoyable. Today was a fairly lazy day. Rob and Judy haven’t been here before so they are off exploring while for us it was just some housekeeping and bit of last minute shopping and out to the breakaways for the sunset.
Headed out about 16.15 to the breakaways for the sunset so we were a little early but gave a chance to have a good look around and be it a good position for the sunset display, apparent quite a few others had the same idea and it was pretty busy but none the less spectacular. Pizza for our last meal at Coober Pedy before a relatively early night. Tomorrow we head for the Alice.

 Coober Pedy to Alice Springs

Well we are now in new territory for Di and I we haven’t been past Coober Pedy heading north. So we were up early and on the road by 08.30. Pretty quiet on the road considering there are a heap of people heading for the Finke Desert Rally and so we made good time to Marla for our first stop. Bit of morning tea and stretch and on the road again heading for the NT boarder. 20 km down the road our plans came to a screaming halt. The Mazda engine just stopped, no warning just a tell-tale orange engine light say “got you now sucker”. We try to maintain the car as best we can and I have confidence in our mechanic but the technical gremlins of modern cars get you every time, especial when everything is going so well. I have an EDMS setup in the car which gives you the error codes from the cars black box. Apparently the camshaft positioning sensor just packed it in consequently engine stops. After about 30 min of trouble shooting and trying things it was clear we weren’t going anyplace under our own steam. Rob towed us back to Marla minus trailer while Gaz and Shaz stood guard over the trailer on the side of the road (no mobile service to ring RACV) then returned to pick up trailer and bring it into Marla.
News is not good car Mazda is going nowhere seems it’s probably terminal. We loaded Wendy and most of her gear into Gaz and Robs wheels and they have continued on while we wait for the “mechanic” to give us some news with the hope of an easy fix and catch up. No luck there though pretty sure either timing belt has malfunction or something has come loose in that area either way we are going nowhere in a hurry. Next day was spent looking for options and solutions. I’m glad we sent the others on so they could continue with the trip. In the end we arranged transport for the Mazda back to Bendigo, stored the camper as Rob will bring it back for us and organised transport back to home. Which is a whole other story but consisted of 14hrs on a bus from Marla to Adelaide, 2 nights in Adelaide, flight to Melbourne and bus Melbourne to home. 12 months or more of planning for us anyway down the drain. So no Gibb river blog and we are home a week after we started our 6 week trip.

Update on the camper

 Well we made a few mods to the camper trailer and had a bit of a dry run to Avoca. Added a Darche roof top tent. Looks pretty good and very functional. Bit hard to get a good appreciation but seems a good option. Required a few mods to the bar work but has a fair bit of space and remained dry after we had a fair bit of rain. Very happy with our mods. Looking forward to getting on the road.