- being the last leg of our Eyre Peninsula road trip in honour of Australia Day 2015.
In the morning we caught up with the Internet by setting up in the lovely old reception lounge of the hotel. And we had breakfast in the old breakfast room. The new owner was running around clearly in the throes of getting to grips with the new hotel. She and her husband were not too experienced at running a pub. They were Queenslanders giving it a go. That explained a lot. One wishes them well. It is a fabulous old pub and one would like to see it thrive in that Gateway to the Outback town.
As I began to pack the car for the day's travel, I noticed a flat tyre. Oh, no! I phoned the RAA which sent a mechanic from a nearby town. Oddly, despite Kimba's status as the significant town half way across Australia, it did not have an RAA man. When the lad turned up, he swiftly identified the cause. A wooden kebab stick. It protruded from one side of the tyre. A little wooden skewer could cripple a big, healthy Toyota Rav? A modern tyre can be vulnerable to a prick of wood? What are kebab skewers doing out on the dirt roads?
My mind spun with theories. After all, we had criticised the food last night. Chef's revenge? Bruce just laughed and called me fanciful. The RAA mechanic said he had seen them flatten tyres before. No big deal. The tyre was changed in no time. The RAA guy directed us to a garage where the wounded tyre could be mended to return to service as the spare tyre.
They were pretty good roads out of Kimba, the countryside flattening out as we headed towards the Gulf. Wonderful big skies.
We stopped at Iron Knob and poked around the neat little town with its grid-pattern layout. It was once quite a vibrant town with a rich mining enterprise. Now it is quaint and quite characterful in a yesterday's boom way.
The museum was open and very pleasant indeed, manned by very friendly volunteers. We watched a little film about Iron Knob's heydays and explored all the specimens and souvenirs. I bought a lovely hematite necklace.
And off we set for Port Augusta and that motel we so like. it did not disappoint, albeit the pool was extremely cold and not too clean. We met up with Roseanne again and had a daylight tour which revealed the strange salty world of the very tippy top of the Spencer Gulf, just a brackish puddle really. This side, Eyre Peninsula. That side, Yorke Peninsula. Hop to and fro. Tee hee.
All around, a fantastic saltbush landscape with the glorious Flinders Ranges always imposing in the background. Roseanne thought nothing of putting her foot down and bringing those beautiful ranges a whole lot closer. We were almost into Horrocks Pass when she found what she wanted to show us - fields of wild lilies. Rare and special lilies. Growing where they belong. They don't bloom often, she said. Pity I forget their name. We wandered around amid them, free and happy. A treat of nature.
Finally, as light began to fade, we headed back to her house for dinner. She and Paul live on the outskirts of the town with a magnificent view of the mighty Flinders Ranges across the corrugated iron fences around their property. She had prepared a wonderful meal. Paul appeared after an hour or two and produced music and French red wine. Roseanne faded into the background while he held forth. Somehow, their world and relationship made me think of a Patrick White play - which made it all the more interesting and absorbing. They are both brilliant, accomplished and idiosyncratic individuals and I loved seeing them in situ.
The long road home.