The day started well enough, or without any real indication that it was going to be a bit of a crap one... Maybe the first sign was when we dismally lost a 'race' with the Doves to see who could pack up first at Home Valley Station- not much of a competition as they have at least two minions to do their dirty work like packing up chairs,whilst we have two hinderers who just sit on the chairs. (Actually Fiela and I have estimated that our breaking of camp takes at best half an hour longer than it should because of Marguerite and Caesar, what with the poo emergencies, fights, I'm Hungry's and the like.)
|A green oasis in all the red dirt and dust, Ellenbrae Station.|
Anyway, we filled the tanks with water and headed for Ellenbrae, a station just off the Gibb River Road which has made itself an essential stop, not for the wonderful camping facilities or amazing toilet (you have to go to experience the toilet, there are no words for that special kind of yuck). Nope, Ellenbrae is a must stop for the scones.
And what massive scones they are, with oodles of jam and cream. We thought they were yum, whilst Mike, apparently a scone connoisseur, believed them to be too dense, or "just not fluffy enough" ( once we tasted Lizzie's scones, we could understand where he was coming from).
|A sign we should have taken to heart...|
I noticed at this point that we seemed to be leaking water from the camper trailer. Fiela had forgotten to turn the water pump off, and the corrugations of the GRR had jiggled the sink's tap on, so we lost half a tank of water through the kitchen sink outlet. Not a major set back, but annoying in the mess inside from the flooded sink and the waste of water.
We said goodbye to the Doves who were staying at Ellenbrae, and headed further down the Gibb for a free camp at Russ Creek. Driving in we found it delightfully deserted and picked our site underneath a big tree on a nice flat spot. The eucalypts housed corellas and parrots, the creek whispered nearby and we sighed, here it was, a bit of the Kimberley we could explore on our own.
|Peaceful Russ Creek, Marguerite trying to meditate the fire to life.|
Jacking up the roof to set up proved fairly problematic though; initially I thought we'd left a clip (which holds the roof down onto the camper while we drive along) on, meaning that the roof was leaning awkwardly and something was about to break. On closer inspection (after lots of frantic shouting) we realised that the clip was definitely off, but that the one back pole was definitely not going up like the others. After a half hour of going through our options which included hanging around in Broome while our broken camper trailer was fixed, our Gibb River Road adventure over very early, Fiela, being an Ideas Man, came up with a plan involving a stick and a milk crate. His bush mechanics certainly saved the day but it wouldn't save our trip, which is when I sensibly consulted the Jayco manual to work out what exactly was the problem. Briefly, the pulley system which winches up each pole had failed for whatever reason on that particular pole. I also found out that the pulley system was accessible, and after another half hour of taking the camper apart, it was deemed to be a tomorrow job and we settled down to enjoy what little was left of the afternoon and our alcohol free night suddenly becoming laden with wine and whiskey. Fiela was confident but I'll admit to being slightly nervous that a slim piece of wood and a square box of plastic was keeping the roof from crashing down on us in our sleep.
|Our camper propped up with a stick, the jack wrench in as support.|
|The other 'fail-safe', a milk carton and books.|
Luckily for us Caesar is still a toddler and didn't care in the least that the morning of his 2nd birthday involved more pulling apart of the camper trailer. Fiela, our collective hero and keeper of our GRR Dream alive, managed to find the source of our problem and fixed it fairly easily. It was as simple (and as scary) as some bolts rattling loose over the corrugations and that particular pole being no longer attached to the main pulley. Fixable with a wrench and some swearing. By mid morning we were back on our way.