Yesterday morning, our last morning on the Palmer River, was supposed to be a quick breakfast then early pack up so we could move on.
Unfortunately the best made plans sometimes go to shit.
For the purposes of this blog entry I’m going to rename one of my offspring Bob, to protect the pride & esteem of a particular child who may or may not be embarrassed by today’s events.
It started in the early hours of the morning. Poor little Bob was coughing a lung up & not sleeping at all. Eventually, one of Bobs coughs turned into a massive vomit that covered the top bunk, sheets, blankets & all. Bloody brilliant.
In the commotion that ensued after the vomit, Bobs kindle fell from the top bunk & hit poor old sleeping Kylah on the head, just above her eyebrow, leaving a massive lump.
Rather than spending the morning packing up, we spent the morning washing everything & waiting for it to dry.
We set off from camp at about 10am & managed to go about 3 metres before getting completely bogged in the soft sand. “Get out & dig!!!” Ben commanded. The kids delighted in digging in the sand, for about 30 seconds (I didn’t even make it that long!). The next hour was spent digging the wheels out, placing recovery tracks under the wheels, moving 50cm, digging the recovery tracks out again, digging the wheels out again, moving another 50cm and so forth. Over & over & over.
We made it out of there and went about 3km up the road before needing to stop for lunch & a quick dip to wash off. We were now half a day behind schedule.
Back in the car we all piled & began the long journey away from Palmer River. We didn’t have a huge distance to cover but you need to go painfully slowly on a lot of the unsealed & corrugated tracks.
Poor old Bob was knackered. Between the coughing, vomiting, having to wash all the bedding (yes Bob helped) and digging out the car he was a walking zombie. It took him about 3 minutes to fall asleep in the car.
All was going nicely on the drive. We were finally on our way & everyone was happy. I was just about to drift off into a peaceful slumber when I felt my right leg get really, really warm. Bob pee-ed on me!!
Ben stopped the car & we dragged Bob out, who continued to sleep (& pee) on the side of the road in the long grass. We had to strip car seat covers (thankfully underneath the car seat cover the seat is leather), strip me, strip Bob – wash everything with what little water we had left.
Because of this incident, Ben decided that instead of bush camping tonight, we would have to go somewhere with facilities where we could use a washing machine & refill our water (hooorrah!!!!!!).
After a good 30 minutes of cleaning up we set off again.
This time we managed to get about 100km before disaster struck again. Frankie wasnt happy. Something was wrong with her. So we stopped again, this time near a crocodile infested creek (just so we could torment the kids with water they could see but not go near).
Ben got Frankie going after a while but not without another disaster occurring. Poor old Bob had kicked the end off his toe. I happily pulled out my first aide kit (which Ben was adamant was overkill & full of stuff we wouldn’t need) and made a big show out of using various “essential” items in the kit whilst fixing Bob’s toe.
On we went again. This time we made it to our destination, Musgrave River Road House. The grassy sites & clean amenities were a welcome change. Kids all showered, ate their spaghetti Bol & had an early night.
Ben & I sorted the washing out then meandered over to the pub (yes we left our sleeping offspring in Trampy) where we enjoyed our first taste of alcohol for the trip and discussed our upcoming plans.
Today we are on our way to Coen for lunch, then Archer River Roadhouse for the night.
I realise that I haven’t put many useful camping tips in so here are some of my best one so far: Dress like a beekeeper – this will ensure you are not constantly being annoyed by, or ingesting flies. The only part of my skin that is exposed is my hands & if I had known in advance how crazy the flies would be (in certain places) I would have bought cotton gloves with me. The mesh net I bought from BCF & it fits over my hat. It isn’t the most attractive look but hey – I’m not trying to impress.
Another tip I have (to ensure maximum comfort whilst in the face of uncomfortableness) is my “tail saver”. My tail saver (I coined its name) is a piece of memory foam in the shape of a wedge with a hole where your tailbone sits. I don’t have a lot of fat on my bum & get a really sore tailbone when presented with hundreds of Km’s of corrugated roads. Yesterday when I was stripped of it (due to it being contaminated with urine) I realised just how uncomfortable the journey is without it. Poor Ben & the kids don’t know what they are missing!! (Yes my tail saver is another of my “essential” items that Ben said was a waste of space.
The kids don’t have iPads or DVDs to occupy them in the car (we are so old school) so they’ve made do with Kindles, Karaoke, family beat boxing and of course oldies like “99 bottles of beer on the wall”.
Thanks for reading my blog!! With all the shit that went wrong yesterday we still made it through the day with smiles on our faces (actually I momentarily lost my smile when Bob pee-Ed on me).