Thus far in our trip we have been blessed with great weather. There have been a couple of rainy days and a bit of wind here and there but we have generally been able to dodge it pretty well.
But it’s getting trickier…
On Thursday we left Mt Gambier after a couple of great days with old friends Garth and Sharron Wootton. The icy cold didn’t affect us there as we stayed indoors, and Thursday evening when we arrived at a freebie camp in Port Parham we were greeted with a warm balmy evening, nice enough to sit outside in a T shirt and down a glass of red.
However by morning it was cold and wet. We packed up during a dry spell and hit the road with Ceduna in our sights. Admittedly it was ambitious and the wild weather on the way slowed us down considerably. Our ‘wet weather plan’ is simple. Keep driving…
But by 4 pm it was still raining heavily and blowing a gale. We had gone out of mobile range so we couldn’t check the BOM radars to see what the evening held so it was a little hard to know what to do.
Option 1 was to check into a motel and avoid the weather altogether. Option 2 was a powered site at a caravan park and option 3 was a roadside stop with no facilities.
We stopped at Minnipa and drove into the caravan park. It looked like it had been abandoned years ago but there were still taps and powerpoints and a dodgy looking ablutions block. The sign on the door said to pay at the local hotel. So we drove around to check the price. Given it was full of weeds and hadn’t been maintained we half expected it to be free. But when we heard it was $28.00 we almost laughed. I asked ‘if anyone would know if we just lobbed in (no one else was there) but that was a no go. A family motel room was $105 for a night, but then we would have to buy food as well. An expensive 12 hr stop…
We decided to try Poochera about 50km on. While the caravan park was better it was still $28.00 and the motel was $120. Ok… Let’s go free and hope for the best…
We drove 2km out of town and down a track parallel to the main road. The wind was blowing strong but it wasn’t raining. We started to set up the camper and by the time we were half way thru the rain began to pelt down and the wind howled. We had to hide inside for a 10 minute spell and found ourselves wondering if this was going to work! The camper rattled and shook and at times almost felt like it was going to blow over.
We also discovered that our doona was wet as rain had seeped into the camper and the mudguard had also let rain in so the floor and everything on it was wet. Ellie was urging us to take the motel option, but – partly because we couldn’t be bothered packing up- we decided to stick it out.
The storm eased and we finished set up. We cranked the two gas stoves up to try and heat the place and dry out our stuff. With all curtains closed the little camper got warm pretty quick, but the bedclothes weren’t drying quite so quickly.
A dinner of left overs and tinned food was the easiest option and then it was bed time. A few more squalls hit but it seemed to be easing. We were hopeful that all would be ok but we were worried the wild weather might damage the camper.
By the time Danelle and I crashed the doona was almost dry and the wind had eased. A good decision it seemed…
We were woken several times by squalls and storms in the first few hours and then at 1.00am a small voice called out into the night ‘mum i accidentally wet my bed’. (as opposed to the days I do it just for the fun of it…)
Some days I am so glad my name is not ‘mum’.
We got him sorted and went back to sleep… eventually. The rest of the night was punctuated with a mix of rain and wild stormy squalls and a few times we were thinking we’d have to make a run for it. However sleep got the better of us and before we knew it the sun had come up and we were out of bed.
We drove on to Ceduna today where everything is now out drying.
What did we learn?
– rain isn’t a big problem as long as it’s not sheeting in
– gas stoves function well as heaters when we have no power
– we need to tape up the openings in the camper next time we hit heavy weather or accept that everything nearby will be soaked.
– it was worth the gamble to stay out in the weather but i’m not sure that will always be so!
As we head home we can see that this will be the pattern for the next month or so – dodging wind and rain…