Mt Isa 4,414kms

May 25, 2009

NB. 54km above was from running around town checking out old haunts.

Well here we are back in the Isa after leaving in February 1972 with our new little baby (Michael) on our way home to show him off to the family. Got a pic of a sign for him on the way into town. He is also one, just not up on a sign .....all will be revealed with the pic below.

The sign for Michael.

Well the road in from Cloncurry was good, both surface and width. The roughest and narrowest section was coming into town which would have been the first part to be sealed. When we were here on our working holiday in 1971 it was dirt from Charters Towers to Mt Isa with the exception of the main street of Cloncurry. We even saw a few glimpses of what would have been the original road with a thin seal into a creek crossing. In those days the dirt continued down into creek beds and across with warning signs each side not to park in the creek bed in case of flash flooding. Put the wind up me I can tell you with our 23ft 6in Viscount caravan behind our Holden Kingswood. See for those who thought we had only recently flipped our lids on the sanity stakes. ....we have been like that for always!

Very little road kill today except for a HUGE wild boar on the side of the road. Very different terrain of course. Pretty much rolling grass plains east of Cloncurry and these were replaced west of there to the Isa with rugged mini mountains of red rock (Selwyn Ranges)and I felt surprisingly at home. I pondered this for a bit on the ride in and put it down to 2 things. The 1st. I realised a few years ago that for me to feel 'right' I need to have access to big expanses of sky (perhaps from childhood when part of summer was laying on my back in the long grass dreaming up at the sky) and 2nd also need to be in sight of hills / mountains. Again not surprising since I grew up in the rolling green hills of Neerim South in sight of mountains. Okay the sky here is a different sky and the hills very different but wide open spaces with the two elements. I'd also like to think it has something to do with the 7.5 months we lived here, where our second child was born and we learnt that no matter how, new or scary an experience was together we could wholly rely on one another and figure it out and at the end of the day still be friends. So, not a bad thing to learn in early married years. Enough philosophising!

A taste of the terrain at Lake Moondarra.

We spent some time checking out where we lived here and the local fish'n'chip shop and Lake Moondara (the local beach / water sport centre and in our day the town water supply .....which was down river from town. Needless to say no water was used to drink or to cook without boiling first!
I still can't believe this was the setup! Also saw the 2 caravan parks we lived in. The first the Argylla on the eastern approach which had opened a couple of days before. We wheeled right in there as we had been told accommodation of any sort was difficult if not impossible to get. It was an empty red stony block with a couple of strips of tar for the streets between the power outlets. There was an amenities block, a manager with a killer unfriendly attitude and that was it. Imagine our surprise to find a park with lush tropical gardens complete with palm trees on site cabins and 'friendly staff' according to the billboard. The second one was a little closer to town the Mt Isa Caravan Park which was the pick of them. Good amenities, children's playground, allowed to put a small fence around van to contain a toddler and even had grass! It is now surrounded by lush gardens. Unbelievable.

We spent most of the afternoon on a mine tour put on by the Heritage Centre which has underground tours and is a training site. The mine no longer has underground tours. The litigation possibilities no doubt got too much for them. Norm found it a bit disconcerting that when they talked about the old days they were talking from the 80's on and he left in 72! Anyway we had a good time and saw lots of the stuff he had used and had tickets / licences for.

Mineside (so much bigger and a new chimney but this is the one we remember).

We are about to go for dinner which will be a distraction from the itch of the bites I have on my neck. We detoured around some bridge work yesterday and as I accelerated out of that I felt something on my neck just behind my ear and flicked it off I thought. Held the collar back to get some cold air on it and it kept burning and burning. I assumed it was a bee but I have 3 big lumps there today so - guess it must have been an angry wasp or something. Just as well we had quite a ride between there and our bed last night to cool it down.

We'll be heading out of the Isa tomorrow.