Yesterday we continued on our journey west, crossing into South Australia.
I don't know what it is about South Australia. We first visited in 1989. There was water in Lake Eyre so we went to have a look see. The weather was lovely up there, but as soon as we ventured south into the more populated areas it became windy and cold. So much so that we pretty much abandoned our planned sight seeing. When we travelled through in 2010 we stayed in Tumby Bay on the Eyre Peninsula and it was incredibly windy while were there as well. Needless to say, the last two days have been freezing cold and really windy. Adelaide has had some thoroughly feral weather and the ferry to Kangaroo Island was even cancelled. If we had been at home, today would have been the perfect day to stay inside and have a jarmie day. Before we left home, at the last minute I packed our thermals and today I have been wearing mine.
Anyway, back to our travels.......yesterday we drove about 300kms from Broken Hill to the railway town of Peterborough.
As you travel west from Broken Hill the landscape is still very barren, and rather flat.
There are only a couple of small settlements that you travel through. Imagine arriving at this siding on the train. The road follows the main eastern/western line for a lot of the way.
In that entire distance there were only three settlements, two with pubs and only one place had petrol available.
The few buildings were rather run down. You wouldn't exactly say they were thriving places.
The scenery was once again the main interest. We saw lots more goats and emus. Trees were few and far between, so birds nest where they can.
Yes, there were still crows on road kill. We were surprised to see a fox here as well. The only one we have seen.
Eventually we started to see some hills.
Then, before we knew it we had entered Mallee country. Imagine being the pioneers coming out into places like this and having to clear all this type of timber before being able to start farming. I sure don't envy what they went through.
You feel that you are in South Australia when you start to see stone cottage ruins. They are a reminder of how hard life was, and how many people walked away from it all in such a harsh environment.
Then, as you top a slight rise, there was a green crop. What a sight after several hundred kilometers of tough countryside.
We had arrived at Peterborough.
After settling into the caravan park, which had a lovely view out the back, we had a lazy remainder of the afternoon in the van. The weather was too feral to be out and about. As I said in the title, it was so windy it would blow a dog off his chain. We did venture out in the evening to one of the local pubs for a steak, which hit the spot. We had a nice chat with the publican, who is a fellow motorcyclist and used to make the pilgrimage to Bathurst for the car races in his youth. It was a pleasant evening.
This morning we had a lazy start before playing the tourist. Mick has wanted to have a good look around Peterborough for some time, like every time we travel through he reminds me.
Our first stop was Steam Town. A bit of history... Peterborough is on the crossroads of the Ghan railway line and the Transcontinental railway line, so was a major player when steam trains were in their prime. There was a round house, which remains just about intact, the only one in South Australia. At its peak 1800 men were employed by the railways here. It all closed down in the early 1970s, when the standard rail gauge was introduced, narrow gauge having been used up until then.
The turntable has three gauges on it, the only one in the world like it, so it is pretty special.
They run guided tours of the facility throughout the day so we tagged along. There are some beautiful old carriages full of history. This is the lounge car from the original Trans Continental train, now replaced by the Indian Pacific.
They have all sorts of rolling stock.
There are both steam and diesel locomotives. None are used any more due to high insurance costs.
One fascinating item was the Morris car converted to travel on the rails.
By the time we had finished at Steam World it was lunch time. Our venue was a cafe in the old cinema, which had lots of memorabilia on display.
Being cold, it was perfect weather for a cornish pastie. I was surprised that they still add tomato sauce by squirting it directly into the pastie, something that seems to be traditional in Victoria and South Australia, but not NSW. It was lovely and hot and tasty. Perfect for the weather.
After lunch we visited the old YMCA building which houses a collections of miniatures created by a local couple. The workmanship was incredible and it is good that the collection has found a permanent home.
Upstairs there was a museum, which was well set out.
They even had the iron lung from the local hospital, a reminder of the polio epidemic that was so bad.
I loved the hessian apron, which was attractive while being utilitarian.
Such simple but effective detailing.
Outside, we had to visit the statue of "Bob The Railway Dog". Apparently, he was quite famous in the late 1800s and used to travel the rails with whatever train came by. He was well known by all railwaymen and travelled through many states.
Next stop was Mick's favourite. There is a rather wonderful motorcycle museum in town. It wasn't just your usual British bikes, but lots of more obscure makes and models. It wasn't large, but it sure had a wonderful variety.
This relic was actually manufactured here in Peterborough.
This Gloria was my favourite.
Ian, the owner was really friendly and knowledgeable.
It wasn't just bikes, there were all sorts of interesting bits and bobs.
By now it was afternoon tea time, so we sought out the other cafe in town.
Another quirky place to visit.
We took a bit of a wobble tour on the way back to the caravan park to check out the local houses. There are a lot of sandstone examples, where like so many places we have seen, some look great while others are run down.
Tonight we went back to Steam Town where they do a sound and light show, which was well done and interesting.
We were rather surprised at how much there is to see here when you take the time to look, even though being Sunday some things were closed. It is so good to have a really good around these small places.
This pretty much is what we had thought about doing on this trip. We haven't really thought too much about where we will go after here. From tomorrow we have a vague idea where we will go, but it really will be a case of make it up as we go along. I'm hoping that we can find more obscure little places that aren't too touristy to explore. I'm also hoping this wind decides to drop a little.