This was going to be a big day’s drive and while not being big in terms of distance (about 450km’s) it was to be our first real off road experience with the van. We drove to the Burke and Wills roadhouse and stopped for lunch (I still cannot work out why this roadhouse appears on every map and was opened by the Premier.... go figure). After lunch we started our 200+km journey onto Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill)National park. The first 100+ km’s was meant to be easy as it was bitumen although only one lane. That would have been OK if we hadn’t been confronted by some Grey Nomad who thought he was Fangio and was driving his huge motor home at about 100km’s an hour. Either he had no idea or his incontinence pad sprung a leak as he suddenly swerved onto the gravel kicking up all manner of materials including one large rock that hit our windscreen like a bullet causing it to crack. Lesson learnt – many Grey Nomads have spent their lives driving around in a Toyota Corolla and suddenly after 65 years, they decide to buy a motor home that is as wide as their own cars were long. I have written an email to the motor home association suggesting they put this warning on the inside of all new motor homes sold
“ Dear New Owner. Congratulations on your purchase. In case you have not noticed this vehicle is slightly larger and wider than your normal sedan. We suggest before driving it around Australia and annoying every other driver that you familiarise yourself with the dimensions. It is suggested an extensive test drive on quiet roads be taken rather than going up and down your own driveway showing friends. While it is true that everyone around you will do their best to get out of your way, you may actually kill someone as they try to avoid you. We would also like to warn you that when you go up a hill, this motorhome will slow down, even if you don’t look at your speedo. We also suggest that you occasionally look in your rear view mirrors (these are on the front left and right guards) as these will indicate how many peoples day you are ruining. Finally, best of luck and please try not fatally wound too many fellow motorists as many of these people also enjoy living”
Thanks to modern technology the crack did not spread and all was fine. All this after only 3km’s and not even on a full dirt road. The road got rougher and rougher until it looked like the site that NASA staged the first moon walk. At some stage we were driving at 10 km an hour but all seemed to be OK. We finally made it into the National Park. Only limited camping is available and no power or hot water showers are available. There is a ranger stationed at the park but he showed little interest in anything. His advice on where we should camp was simple “just drive around until you find a spot you like then set up” gee thanks! We set up next to a serious camp site with a camper trailer, solar cells and an owner that looked like Alby Mangles at his best. Little did we know we would learn a lot more about them. We also found out that the canoe hire opened at 8am and it was first in best dressed. No way was Wes going to miss out.