This morning we woke to beautiful clear blue skies, but it was still very chilly.
Leaving Moree on the Newell Highway we immediately struck roadworks, and bridgeworks, and more roadworks. We almost thought that we were back on the Bruce Highway in Queensland! A lot of work was being done on widening roads and also clearing trees and scrub away from the roadside, presumably in preparation for further road widening. The roads were in a really bad way, so much so that the council had signs up advising motorists to slow down due to bad road conditions. This section of road was largely flat, with crops like canola growing.
Our first stop was at Narrabri where we stopped at Cameron Park – N771 – for morning coffee. This is a nice area next to the river with amenities and a dump point, plus an undercover seating area, a kids’ playground and plenty of parking. The road actually continues around under the bridge to access sporting facilities on the other side of the Highway.
Back on the Newell Highway, driving conditions changed with a better quality road, a straighter road, and plenty of National Forest areas. At one stage we passed another Trailblazer 5th wheeler – we don’t see very many on the road and selective perception means that each one we do see seems to be special!
Lunch was in Coonabarabran. We stopped there on our 2013 Adventure and again parked in Nelson Park – N786 – before walking around town to find somewhere for lunch. This park is another great facility for travellers, with parking, BBQs, undercover seating, a large, clean amenities block, playground equipment, and more. There were plenty of people stopped there for lunch. Visitors do need to be a little careful though – the park is guarded by several large and cantankerous geese!
Road conditions changed again as we left Coonabarabran with picturesque rolling hills and more grazing country. We saw sheep in large numbers for the first time in quite a while.
Then disaster struck! While we were stopped at a servo just outside Gilgandra a truckie indicated that we had a bit of a problem with one of the tyres on the caravan! He wasn’t joking – it was absolutely shredded!! What was worse was that it was OK at Coonabarabran and that neither Ann or I had heard or felt anything go bang, and I hadn’t felt any difference in handling. I have to put it down to a solid chassis in the van and dual axle configuration. We pulled over at the servo and changed the tyre before heading on to our overnight destination.
Gilgandra Caravan Park is a favourite of ours and we have stayed here several times. They again put us on a good site and as soon as we were set up I headed off into Gilgandra to find a new spare tyre. There is only one tyre store in town and they fixed us up with a good second hand tyre with the right specifications – they didn’t have any new tyres in our size in stock. This will do as a spare until we get home when we can review the tyre situation overall.
Then it was back to the van to store the spare in its allocated position before heading inside to put on some warmer clothes and relax with a beer.
Not quite the way we had planned today – but it could have been a lot worse!