(written by Nancy)
We walked into town last night for dinner at the Eagles Nest Bar and Grill – food was good and the beer was even better (James Squire)! The walk back to the campground was very dark but this time we remembered our headlights so we were safe from harm. Actually I’d be surprised if anyone came to harm in this town – very very quiet at night! We had several other people in the camping area last night (we were the only ones on Friday) but it was quiet and we both slept very well.
Up early this morning for eggs on toast and a greeting from the resident Brolgas that wander the campground. These birds are in the crane family and are quite tall. They make a funny noise – a bit like the beeping you hear when trucks back up. There are 5 in the campground and they are obviously well fed well by the tourists. I think they can be a bit scary for the little kids because they are so tall and they have very long beaks – they just wander around in that kind of graceful way that cranes have.
We headed over to the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Museum and were there before 10am. It is cold first thing in the morning but as soon as the sun is up it really warms up and we are fine in our shorts and we were pretty warm by the time we walked over there. The museum is very good – tons of information but all very interesting. I think we spent over 4 hours wandering around in there, including one hour of watching the Outback Stockman’s Show.
It was a good show, with horses, a camel, farm dogs, sheep and a bullock team. For those of you who do not know, a bullock is a bull over 4 years old that has been castrated (don’t worry, I did not know that either until today). The dogs were great, rounding up the sheep and jumping up into the crowd at regular intervals for a pet or to, much to the annoyance of the stockman! The stockman rode bareback on the horse, with no bridle – just hanging on to the horse’s mane. Okay, a bit showy and touristy but I thought it was really fun.
The museum was full of displays covering the history of Australia, the spread of the pioneers out into the outback and what they went through to develop the land. I suspect we could have spent another 4 hours in there looking more closely at the displays but it gets to be a bit of information overload. We even found out the origination of the word ‘furphy’, which is used in Australia to mean a rumour or improbable story. There was a fellow named Furphy who developed a water tank that was used to transport water to stations and also in the war. Since the driver of the wagon carrying the tank usually travelled long distances and passed information around from camp to camp he was often the source of both rumours and information. So the word ‘furphy’ became synonymous with rumour or suspect information.
We got back to the campground about 3:00 and Dave cleaned up the bikes while I did laundry and general chores (okay, I may have read the paper a little bit….). We are having sausage wraps for dinner – a quiet night at the campground for us. Tomorrow we have another day off – we will head to the “School of the Air” for a tour, then back into town to get our final supplies and rest up in the afternoon for our big push to Winton on Tuesday. It is 180k – will be a big day for us but we plan to start as soon as it is light and the forecast is for tailwinds so that should help.
We have booked a cabin for tomorrow night so we can be all packed up and ready to go as soon as the sun is up. But, not thinking of that now – just going to go eat sausage and finish off our bottle of red….