There was no let up in the weather at Paringa on Thursday. It rained heavily for a full 48 hours so we decided to play it safe and remain at the Bert Dix Memorial Park to ride it out. Luckily for us the Murray River did not rise too much so we were reasonably comfortable with our decision. We had no leaks in the motorhome or the jeep so we were very happy.
On waking Saturday morning there was still light rain but we had decided to move on anyway toward Mildura, our next over night stop. In looking back, we would have probably been better off to stay where we were as we had a bit of drama on the journey.
About half way between Paringa and Mildura there is a lovely lake which we had every intention of making a lunch stop. When we arrive at the Lake Cullulleraine turnoff we noted that the road was a ‘no through’ road. Normally in these situations and for obvious reasons, there is a turnaround at the end of the road. “Not this time!!”
When we got to the end of the road there was nothing apart from a large expanse of flat vegetation covered land. It looked quite firm and was obviously not new ground so the ‘captain’ decided he would u turn on it. What a mistake. Thirty seconds later we were up to the diff in red mud and going nowhere. Our only way out was to dig the motorhome out. We had bought a spade with us but it was never our intention to have to use it to get us ‘out’ of a hole.
After an hour of fairly robust language, frantic digging (it was looking as though it was going to rain again), lots of help from Bruce and Lyn, our saviour in the form of an elderly Australian (Ken) arrived with a 4WD and offered to try and tow us out. We had made some progress in digging the mud out behind the front and rear wheels so reversing out was going to be the best option.
We connected the two vehicles and it was a massive relief to see the motorhome moving freely across the ground. What did we learn from this? Australia’s red earth goes very soft after any rain. Stay off it! An inexpensive but embarrassing lesson well learned.
After thanking our saviour profusely, we carried on down the road to Mildura. Mildura is sometimes referred to as the Mediterranean of the outback. It is a major agricultural centre notable for its grape production, supplying 80% of Victoria’s grapes. Many wineries also source grapes from Mildura.
After our little adventure, the motorhome and the little jeep were in desperate need of a cleanup so we decided to book into a motorcamp in Mildura and make use of their power and water. A couple of hours after our arrival it was all done and we ‘rewarded’ ourselves by heading off to the local RSL for dinner.
We departed Mildura this morning (Sunday) and are meandering our way back to Adelaide over the next few days to attend the South Australia Motorhome and Caravan Show on Thursday.
Our plan is to stop tonight at the little town of Loxton. Loxton is a town on the south bank of the Murray River in the Riverland region of South Australia. The area around Loxton is a significant citrus fruit and summer fruit growing area. We will be replenishing our fruit and vege supplies here.
Because we are moving back and forth between the States of Victoria and South Australia i.e. crossing boarders, there are strict rules about taking vegetables and fruit in and out of each state. It pays not to carry too much of each in our present travel plan as you have to ditch what you have onboard each time you cross a boarder. They even came into the motorhome this morning to have a look refrigerator and freezer. The fines are very heavy if the rules are not followed. It is certainly not worth the effort to try and smuggle a 50 cent carrot.
It will be back on the road tomorrow and we will carry on toward Adelaide. We are not quite sure just yet where we will stop tomorrow night.