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The friendly town of Yalgoo

Yalgoo-Camp — 2000-08-08

After I have taken down the tent, we lead the camels to the nearby trough to water. Jafar sprints ahead despite being hobbled, in order to sink his ever thirsty mouth into the water trough, surprising us then by taking only a few big gulps before retreating to nibble on the juicy bushes. Sebastian, Hardie, Goola and Istan prefer the bushes to the water too ‘I don’t believe it! We walked our guts out yesterday for this?!’ Tanja says, shaking her head. ‘I think they prefer to drink from the dog’s bowl than the big trough’ I joke and make my way back to camp in order to finish packing up.

Our small caravan is underway again by 10:30 a.m., the weather is fantastic and the temperatures ideal for a long day’s march. Spirits are high and we find more and more blossoming flowers to the left and right of the track. We had actually planned to set our camp up before reaching Yalgoo today, but we are making good time and at 12:15 the GPS tells us that it’s only another 4,5 kilometres to the town centre, so we decide to pass through before the day is out. An hour later we are the centre of attention as we set the camels down on the green in the middle of Yalgoo. We are busy tying the leg binds as a group of Aborigines forms a circle around us and we are watched silently by the indigenous people for the first time. Tanja encourages the woman and children to come forward and stroke the camels and it’s not long before they lose their initial shyness. I use the time to walk to the nearby post office and collect the letter and hemp rope that Jo sent for us. ‘Can we get some drinking water anywhere around here?’ I ask the friendly girl behind the counter. ‘Hmm, I’m not sure. I’m new here myself, but I’ll ask.’ She answers and disappears for a few minutes. As she returns she is shaking her head, and explains that her boss wont be back for another twenty minutes and that she can’t help us. ‘Okay, I’ll be back in 20 minutes’ I say, then hurry across the road to the Hotel and restaurant of this neat little town. Once inside I ask the gentleman behind the bar if we could have some fish and chips, he looks at me for a second then glances at his watch, ‘It’s actually too late, but I’ll make some for you gladly’ I thank him profusely and ask if he knows where we could get some drinking water. ‘No worries, in front of the Hotel is a tap, take as much as you need’ he says and shuffles into the kitchen.

I hurry back to the caravan and collect the empty water bags, then return with two huge portions of fish and chips which Toni Chinnery, the hotel manager, serves me. We sit down on the ground and relish in the delicious meal. We are barely finished as the entire school of Yalgoo appears around us, we explain a few things about the camels, their habits, names and a little about our trip so far, then answer questions. In the meantime, a man from the community comes by and offers to fill our bags with water, we thank him but decline, seeing as we have already filled enough water.

We make our departure at 3:00 p.m., laden with 190 litres of water which will see us through 19 days. We stop at the Hotel on the way out of town in order to pay for our fish and chips and to fulfil Toni’s request of a photo of the caravan in front of his Hotel. We pull our money out but the helpful man refuses to accept. ‘It’s on the house, I’m happy you enjoyed it so much. If you’re ever in trouble, just give me a call and I’ll be glad to help out’ he says with a strong handshake. We are amazed at so much kindness and thank him over and over before taking our leave. A number of friendly locals wave us goodbye as we make our way out of the historical and attractive old gold mining town. We wave back and are out of town before we realise it.

We reach another cattle grid just a few hundred metres later, beside which a gate should lie according to Jo and Toms notes. I find the gate to the left of the grid and push it open, noticing a rusted hub cap hanging in the middle. Congratulations! Denis and Tanja. You’ve made it to another cattle grid. Lots of love, Tom and Jo. I have to laugh as I read the lines and think back to previous paper-chases. What a great pair they are, I think and make my way back to the caravan. Tanja asks why I laughed out loud and I show her the hub cap, a souvenir which we keep of course, as a reminder of this great time. ‘This will get a prime position in our museum’ I say and pack the rusty piece into Sebastians saddle bag. The asphalt has given way to the red earth again and a fast car approaches us as we search for a camping spot. The car pulls up, the doors fly open and a group of Aborigine men jump out and greet us happily. We chat for a while and answer their questions before heading off once more as their car disappears in a cloud of dust. At 4:00 p.m. we find a nice spot to camp nearby the water supply tank for Yalgoo. We spend a wonderful evening reading each other letters from friends and it is a lovely feeling to hear from home whilst in the middle of the Australian bush.

Day: 89

 

Sunrise:
06:50

 

Sunset:
17:47

 

Linear distance:
15,7

Daily kilometres:
20

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