Wednesday, August 2, 2017


We've had a lazy and relaxed couple of days since being back in Alice Springs. All of us have enjoyed this break greatly. The men have used the time doing "boy stuff" fixing this and that around the van and car. There's been lots of trips to Jaycar, Desert Dwellers (which sells camping stuff) and of course Bunnings. Lots of sounds of drilling and sanding etc. The boys are happy.

Happily making a new armrest for his chair
Out come all the tools
Wiring up to put in a new reversing camera
In his element.
We've all enjoyed visits here....
Meanwhile the girls have spent time cooking shopping washing and crocheting or just sitting around chatting and playing board games. Oh yay!

This morning, Steve and Ian decided to go out and check out the Uterne Solar Farm.  Unfortunately they were unable to go in, but there is a viewing platform that they were able to go and see the farm at work, and read about it.  It was very interesting as they use controllers to allow the  panels to pivot around and follow the sun giving 30% more power.  They arrived home just after 10.30am.
The panels pivot around to follow the sun which gives 30% more power

Just before lunch, we decided to go for a drive out to see Standley Chasm in the West MacDonald Ranges.   We left John behind as he is busy installing reversing cameras on the car and van and the rest of us drove in Ian and Kathy's car out to Standley Chasm. This area is run by the local Indigenous group and they charge an entry fee payable at the Kiosk before you walk in to the chasm. It's $12 per Adult ($10 for seniors).  It is the only walk in this area we have had to pay to go on.... It was worth it though as it is a lovely walk and the chasm at the end is really lovely especially with the sun shining down into it in the middle of the day.
 It was a lovely walk into the Chasm.. a slight incline the whole way, but really good walking track, with very little rough stone.  It follows a creek bed along and the cycads were really large and quite stunning.
Lots of very large cycads along the way.
This spotted river gum was just stunning.

 There were some amazingly huge spider webs along the path also, and I couldn't help capturing this one on camera...
Massive spider web
Wondering whether this is a spider cocoon...
 The Chasm was simply stunning with the sun shining down and lighting it all up.  I can clearly see why this is the best time of the day to see it.  The colours in the rock are vibrant when lit by the sun...
Standley Chasm
Sitting at the end of the Chasm
 Just at the entrance to the gorge we came across this tree growing out of what appears to be solid rock.  The interesting thing about this one though was that two trees, one white bark and one black bark were going out of the same rock and butted up to each other...
Black & White Bark tree growing together out of straight rock.

One of the things I noticed here were the abundance of flowers growing along the path.   We are really getting good at noticing the little things and appreciating their beauty.

As usual, the birdlife was an added bonus. We are really getting good at noticing the many varies of birds along our walks and we are always keen to get back to the van and get the bird book out and identify them.
Little wren
The old Crow
Fascinating to watch him grab a drink out of the tap
They are pretty friendly out here...
 After our walk, we headed for the kiosk to enjoy a hot drink as it was still pretty cold, even after our big walk...
Morning tea at the kiosk
 We were introduced to the resident chook who was called "Barb", well of couse this chook took a shine to our Barb and was following her around and hanging around her chair.  Of course that became a photo moment when Barb interacted with the chook Barb...
Resident Chook - "Barb"

being spoilt by our Barb....
From here we decided to check out Simpson's Gap on our way home.  I am so pleased we left this until today where we had more time to wander down through it and check it out more thoroughly.  It was a lovely gap in the range and the walking track down to it again was very good. 

Who is thinking about his afternoon NAP...
Some pretty huge boulders in the creek bed...
Simpson's Gap
The rock formations are almost a work of art... truly amazing..
These rocks were very very smooth, almost as if they had been polished.
 There were some massive trees growing in the creek bed.  One was quite amazing as the tree had come down and mostly died but yet new shoots were growing upwards..
A new tree growing out of the trunk of a tree that had come down and died...
 We were pleased that we had been given extra days in Alice Springs so that we have been able to explore the area a little more thoroughly having to feel like we are rushing through it all...
We headed home from Simpson's Gap arriving back at the van park around 4.30pm.  John was still working on the caravan, trying to get the reversing camera in.  He had to do quite a bit of wiring, so that had taken up most of his day...

It is really cold here in Alice Springs tonight,  the wind is howling and it is a cold westerly, so none of us were looking forward to sitting outside to have dinner.  As we have been having our meal together in the evening and taking turns to share the cooking,  we normally eat outside together.  None of us have vans big enough to seat six people around the table so tonight we really did have to get rugged up to ward off the cold.  Mind you now of us sat for long after dinner tonight.  I think we were all back inside by about 8.30pm.  Most nights still see us out chatting until at least 9.30pm or 10pm.  That just wasn't going to happen tonight.   We were rugged up to the hilt....
Cold night sitting around having dinner this evening
Still plenty of stories for us to have a good laugh
Barb all rugged up
Rugged to the hilt to try and keep the cold winds out
Steve and I
Ian with his six layers on.
Beanies all round tonight
Barb heading home to her heated van.
Enjoying a good cuppa trying to get warm.
 Tomorrow will be another pretty chilled out day.  We have a huge amount of packing up to do tomorrow so that we are ready to take off first thing Friday morning.  We need a very early start otherwise we will miss out of securing a spot at Devil's Marbles, as the vans all start pouring in from about pm on.

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