Living in a Marsupial World
 
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Kennedy Developmental Road (Gumby & Pokey's position of the day)
Our rough, original plan had been to take the unsealed (i.e. dirt, usually hard-packed or corrugated) Kennedy Developmental Highway south to Porcupine Gorge National Park and on to Hughenden to begin our westward movement on to Darwin and Western Australia. Once we started down that road however, it quickly became apparent that Alby would either be shaken to pieces or that it would take us until the next day to drive the 240 kilometers at 30 k’s an hour. We stopped, turned around after 15 kilometers in, and had a powwow back at the Lynd Junction Oasis Roadhouse. We decided to abandon that road and take the longer, but more stable, southeastern route via Charters Towers.


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Frisbee break on the sealed road to Charters Towers
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Arriving in Charters Towers that evening, our tired eyes and empty stomachs were mercifully welcomed by a special at the pub for $10 2-for-1 counter meal dinners.  This being the first legitimate counter meal we discovered, we each received a proper plate of crumbed steak and gravy, salad, and chips (fries) for $5 a pop. Not only is this generally an awesome deal, but to put it in perspective, Aussie meals such as this usually run an average of $26 give or take. Excited and exhausted, we celebrated with a few schooners of brew. Truly a joyous occasion!


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The view from our guerilla site and the early morning mist
Unfortunately, our mealtime took us past nightfall, which meant we had to find a good place to make camp in the dark. According to our Camps 5 book (which shows us where all the free and budget camping sites are throughout Oz and is currently our bible of choice) there was a free roadside spot just outside of town behind a roadhouse and gas station. We finally stumbled upon it and, as the book told us we should “seek permission from the establishment,” we inquired about staying the night. The kid at the counter told us that that the “Council” government of Charters Towers was not OK with people camping there, but the roadhouse was fine with it so *wink *wink, we didn’t hear it from him. Thus a night of guerilla camping behind a gas station ensued and we set up our tents at the back of a dirt parking lot behind several Road Trains (huge trucks hauling at least 3 trailers reaching 50+ meters in length) and quickly packed up come first light the next morning. 


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Charters Towers
That day, we took our time in town having a bit of brekkie at a café and then wandering a small craft market where we bought some homemade passionfruit butter from an Aussie grandmother which was, as my (Mar) beloved late Grandma Julie would say, “food of the gods!” Overall, Charters Towers was a charming country town that we all really enjoyed during our brief passing through. Next move: WEST! across the great inland route of the Flinders Highway through dinosaur country!

 



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