Where are we now?

Where are we now?
Where are we now? Tahmoor, NSW. Updated 7th December 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Day 185. Ti-Tree Roadhouse to Alice Springs

Move over honey, I'm off to meet Alice...

Brrr...... It's cold out here in the middle of Australia! Last night we all froze! The temp must of dropped to well below 5 deg - something we haven't experienced for months! Unfortunately we all went to bed with only cotton sheets and summer PJ's on; so by 3am this morning we all started to wake due to the cold temperature.

First up was Bec, who 'woke' me to let me know she was cold. I got another blanket out from under the bunk bed to try and alleviate her discomfort. I also placed any spare pillows I could find along the canvas wall that lines Bec's side of the bed to try and provide a barrier and a little insulation between the outside and her. I hoped that might make a little difference - but I don't think it really worked all that well at all.

About half an hour later Scarlett called out; "Dad! I'm freezing!" So being a good dad I got back up out of bed and started looking under the bunk bed again (in the dark), and found two more blankets that I placed on top of Scarlett. As I tucked her in, she murmured "Thanks dad", as she drifted back off to sleep. It's the little remarks like that this that make it all worth while. Not wanting to have to get back out of my warm bed a third time, I did a bit more searching and found our electric heater. I turned it to low, and placed it in an area in the van away from anything flammable. It made an immediate difference to the temp in the van, as it certainly removed the frigid air that was making sleep impossible. Unfortunately I couldn't get back to sleep as I kept thinking about the dangers of leaving a heater on while sleeping. After an hour of stressing and planning escape routes if the worst should ever happen, I finally drifted off to sleep myself.

Scarlett woke us up at 8am - with curtains being thrown back to let the bright blazing sun in the van. She must of had a good nights sleep once I put on the extra blankets; because she woke up in one of the best moods in a long time. She climbed into bed with Bec and me and we talked and played for almost an hour. Reluctantly we climbed out of bed and had hot toast for breakfast. Mmmm... Just what we needed after a cold night.

By 9:45am, we were on the road heading south once more - this time with Alice Springs in our sights. We decided to call the McDonnell Range Holiday Park (Big 4) in Alice before leaving, and we were fortunate in that they had a space available for us as we were arriving two days earlier than expected.

It was only 200kms away, so I guessed we would arrive just after midday. On the way there, we once again crossed the Tropic of Capricorn - something we have done a few times already on this trip of ours. If all goes to plan, we will be crossing this line at least two more times somewhere down the track when we head north and back into QLD (after our quick trip back to Sydney).

Hello Alice!

The trip into Alice was very uneventful; other than stopping about 60km north of town to put in some extra diesel. I wasn't sure if one full tank would get me the full 500kms+ from Tennant Creek down to Alice Springs. As it turned out, I reached the outskirts of Alice right on the mark of using up a full tank, so 'in theory' I could of made it; but its just not worth taking the risk of running the engine dry. Normally I would be lucky to get 400 to 450kms with one tank of diesel (what with the 2.5t+ van being pulled along - not to mention a fully loaded Pajero). To get over 500kms to the tank is really good fuel economy for the Pajero while towing. I just hope these central Australian roads continue to be kind to me - as I've heard the price of diesel out at Uluru (Ayers Rock); is more than $2.60 a litre!

The entrance (including the afternoon rush to check in) of the MacDonnell Range Holiday Park

We arrived at the caravan park just after midday, and immediately set about setting up camp. Afterwards, Bec and I went straight into 'relax' mode; as Scarlett found a trio of kids staying just two sites away. This turned into a bonus for both families as we soon discovered that they have been on the road for just on 5 months and have had no luck meeting up with other families. So they were very relieved when Scarlett went over and introduced herself; asking if it would be OK for her to play with their kids. As you can already guess; Bec and I were happy ot get some time out ourselves; and relaxed by sitting back and watching the afternoon pass by.

Our site

It's been a few big days for all of us lately; travelling the outback highways for hours on end, so now its a few days of doing very little other than restocking before heading out to Uluru, The Olga's, and Kings Canyon.

The view from our site

We spent the evening watching the sun set on the MacDonnell Ranges, really was a great way to end the day.

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