Saturday 18 June 2016

Alice Springs & Lawn Hill Trip - Day 17

Day 17 - 18/6/2016 - Cloncurry to Adels Grove

After a later than usual departure the first stop was the Burke and Wills Roadhouse to top up with fuel and a bit of smoko.

Burke and Wills Roadhouse
It was also at this point that we turned off towards Gregory Downs and onto Adels Grove and Lawn Hill National Park.  Along the way the highway briefly turns into an emergency airstrip.  We hadn’t seen one of these for a while and the first for this trip.

We stopped at Gregory Downs for lunch.

The Gregory Downs Hotel Motel
We wanted to keep moving as the clouds were getting darker and heavier looking on the horizon.

There were quite a few people camped/jammed into an unofficial free camp on the banks of the Gregory River.  The river looked stunning and you can see why they were all camped there.  Although with the look of the clouds on the horizon, there is no way I would have been camping that close to the river.

As we were getting closer to Adels Grove the black clouds were also closing in on us.  The wind was really picking up also.  We normally never hear any noise from the roof rack even when we are travelling at 100kph.  But the wind was blowing so hard that there was audible whistling of it passing through the roof racks while travelling only at 60kph.  We had slowed down as we were now on the dirt section.  

The sky getting darker
The instant it started to rain the road started getting slippery due to the sticky clay soil.  We had gone from travelling in clouds of dust to sticky mud with only a very minimal amount of rain.  

Along the side of the road we spotted a decent sized eagle.  Unfortunately where my camera bag was positioned and with wind and rain I wasn’t able to switch lenses to my good zoom lens so I was only able to get so close before it flew off.

We eventually arrived at the Adels Grove to check in.  While stopped, the mud started falling off.

The photo doesn't really do the mud justice!
It was a bit like controlled chaos in the checkin office.  We had sites booked but the people in the office said that they were already taken and then proceeded to allocate us to other sites.  Then, when we checked the new sites out, they were also taken.  So it seemed that no one knew who was meant to be on which site.  In the end we managed to find sites that backed onto each other for us and Jodie's parents.

We also later found out that it was only 8mm of rain that had turned the roads muddy and slippery.  The roads were in pretty good condition because they had only just been graded after the last weather event which saw about 50mm of rain.  I would have hated to be trying to get in after that amount of rain.  We were lucky that we were just on the edge of the weather system because they had received hail at Mt Isa and Alice Springs.

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