Lake Argyle Oasis to breaking point 18th-22nd July
Fitzroy Crossing onto Halls Creek for a relaxing two nights, before hitting the road. With no choice but to fuel up (as well as filling my 10ltr fuel bladders) at Warmun, where I believe I picked up some bad fuel, as from here on in my poor Ella started to cough and splutter, slowly getting worse after Lake Argyle, but not knowing at the time – blessing Ella for getting me so far before her next major service in Humpty Doo (Darwin).
Do I, Don’t I? Now becoming a repetitive question throughout my trip, especially when it comes to decisions around Ella’s capabilities, safety, and the places I stay. The best ‘I do’ of this trip, was deciding to take a 75km dogleg into the very majestic Lake Arglye and staying for two nights at the Lake Argyle resort which was very kindly donated from management – all for the cause of corse. The road trip (35km) north of Kununarra was breathtaking, winding through sweeping ranges with mammoth rock faces and formations at every turn. The end of the road - my destination, was mind blowing.
The resort high up on a rock face overlooking a deep ravine below, one of the many ravines unique to Lake Argyle, the second biggest fresh water man-made reservoir - the primary inflow being the Ord River with the Bow River and many other smaller creeks flowing into the dam. The ‘Infinity Pool’, perched right on the edge of the cliff overlooking the mass of water and surrounding gorges was a draw card for the flocking tourists, however I chose to do the long staircase walk down to the floating pontoon where I made the brave choice to swim in the lake. A very pleasant 24 degrees, floating while watching the raw beauty of the ever changing colours sweeping the landscape created by the setting of sun, three days of heaven I can tell you – definitely a highlight.
Highlight for Argyle: The staff had very generously put me in a prime position to set up tent – right under a very graceful Boab (me and Boabs:-), where they expressed I could promote the tour throughout my stay. After setting up tent, and the day passed by, the gypsey in me who loves ‘under the stars’ waited until dark and found a prime opportunity to bed down on the balcony of an amazing cliff hanging cabin where I star gazed throughout the night, then packed up my bedding upon sunrise, slipping away leaving no trace of my sneaky little night escapade.
Feeling very privileged to be in such a spectacular place under the stars, soon came crashing down once on the road again. Plans to reach Katherine never eventuated as Ella’s coughing and spluttering soon turned into backfiring just before hitting Timber Creek. With the hope that Ella would hold on till at least Katherine, I fuelled up and took off, got about 10mtrs up the road when the rear end locked up and had me snaking for a couple of meters. Thank god it was still at the servo and not while on the road. Doing a quick check as I thought something had locked up around the back wheel, which it hadn’t, not knowing what the problem was, I then decided to wheel Ella out the back of the servo to a great little caravan park. My thoughts at the time ‘at least I can camp up here for the night, to do some mechanics and/or (after chatting with Murray) deciding what needs to take place from here on in as I knew Ella was in dire straits.
After several phone calls to Murray, Dick (vintage mechanic waiting for me in Humpty Doo), and Rob from Shannon’s Insurance, the diagnosis was to get my ass on the next bus to Humpty Doo have Ella transported by a towing company. I slept next to Ella that night as there were some unpleasantries hanging around out the front and I didn’t want to leave my stuff unattended. The fantastic staff at Timber Creek (Callum -manager) supported me throughout, and allowed me to lock up Ella the very next morning as she had to wait another day before the towing company could do a pick up.
Friday 21st July, I was on the 11am bus – a seven hour trip to Noonamah where I was greeted by the lovely Dick Gryles and his partner Cherie. Feeling cheated and disheartened, a part of me was glad that Ella did not have to endure the remainder of the Victoria Highway poor road conditions which not only rattled Ella’s and my chasis’s around while on the road, but was now also thrashing the bus around to the point I slammed my head into the window while sleeping.
Staying in close contact with Rob (GM from Shannon’s), who wanted to promote The Silent Tour the very next day at the ‘Shannon’s Inaugural Rockabilly Car Classic Show’ held at the Noonamah Pub, while staying at Dick and Cherie’s that night, we then mosied on down to the pub the next day, Dick displaying two of his vintage rebuilds (1928 Indian, and WL Harley) at the show. A very successful day for Shannon’s with ABC and channel nine present, also the Variety Club (Children’s Charity) raising funds for their cause. A surprise call up to the stage at the end of the event, had me in shock when Rob presented me with half of the funds raised throughout the day ($1,040.). ‘WELL ELLA’, you’ve done it again – the right place at the right time, if it wasn’t for her breakdown I would never have made it to this event.
A very huge thank you to Rob from Shannon’s Insurance for getting behind ‘The Silent Tour’, getting me on ABC news, promoting the cause throughout the day which in effect gave me several other great contacts for when I hit the East Coast. The synchronicity of events never ceases to amaze me. ‘Yes ol’ girl, we are meant to be on this trip together’, hearing, but choosing to ignore pessimist concerns about continuing on with the trip – we will trojan on as there are ‘always’ solutions to every problem. The journey and the cause is too great to let go off.
A very special mention about a lovely surprise at the Noonamah pub, where I bumped into a dear friends daughter ‘Kylie Norman’, a fellow Whyalla resident who was equally as surprised as I was to see each other. A gorgeous girl with a strong female Whyalla presence, shining her light at the Noonamah pub following in her mums footsteps, doing what they do best behind the bar, in their elements. A lovely surprise Kylie – keep shining your light girlfriend.