Day 15 – 22nd April

Here I am typing this in our underground room. To us these rooms are a bit warm and stuffy; thankfully there is a ceiling fan in the room which is enough to circulate the air. It’s not a big room, there is a double bed, in an alcove, a single bed in another, then there is a desk, with a TV above it and a table, there is also an ensuite. When the diggers dig these dugouts they leave a swirling pattern on the sandstone which is like art on your wall. The sandstone has different colours in it which also adds to the art on the wall effect. They are quite interesting and nice to stay in for a night but I don’t think I would like to live in one. There are no windows and I think I would miss being able to look out them. I guess in CP there is not a lot to look out the window at.

This morning we filled up the extra fuel containers and the car with fuel, the park gave us 3 cents of a litre so that’s a help. We also filled up with water at the park before we left. The water comes out with a fair bit of pressure and goes by time not by the about of water that comes out. You have to use their hose which can only go in the water filler not clicked on the van via a hose like we usually do. This means you can only fill your van with low pressure otherwise it just pours back out. So it cost us a bit more to fill the van, 60 cents.

It was too early to check into the motel so we went to the Old Timers Mine. This is excellent and well worth doing, it’s a self guided tour for $10A, you are given a map with that has things of interest numbered so you follow the numbers. You are given a hard hat as the ceilings can be very low. It was like a maze in there with tunnels leading off here and there, this was a used mine, the walls of course and not Bondcreted so things are a little dusty. After the mine you enter a museum of all things mining, was all quite fascinating. You then go into an underground home that was lived in, the daughter would now be about my age.

Outside the Old Timers Mine there was a machinery demonstration. This included a rotary miner with its 30kVA generator as well as one of the giant vacuum cleaners they call blowers. They use these to suck rock and dirt out of the mines after machining or blasting. During the demonstration we were encouraged to feed it some rocks. Some of these were the size of rockmelons and the blower easily picked these up and disposed of them. Chris stuck his arm up the sucker and it tried to take the skin off it, wrinkling it up like you see in g force TV spots. Chris said it felt very strange but it did give it back. He wouldn’t want it to suck his watch off though; it wouldn’t come back the same.

From there we checking into the motel had lunch and then went to check out all the Opal shops, we have gathered some knowledge about Opals in the last few days and had also asked about reputable dealers. We ended up buying some stuff from an Opal and Mine place we had done on the tour. I had spied some earrings then and nothing else I saw came anywhere close for me. We have been told the opal picks you so maybe that was it, either way I didn’t care and was happy to go with that if it got me the earrings I wanted. They are solid Opal, a white colour with tiny flecks of colour. I have never liked the blue/green colour opals; opal is my birthstone so is appropriate I have some I like. The reason they are white is because they are solid so not as much light passes through them. Black Opal is more of the blue colour background with flecks of colour, but not as bright or as dark as the opal we are used to seeing. Black opal is the most expensive. The other types of Opal are doubles and triplets, where the actually opal is thinner and they back it with a darker colour so makes the Opal more like what we are use to. Triplet also has a clear top, simplified explanation. Chris also got me a bracelet again with the solid white opal. They are silver with gold plating so brings the price down a bit so they weren’t too expensive, $85 each. Real gold are very expensive, we have seen necklaces for 3 to 4 thousand dollars.

This arvo we have enjoyed relaxing in the motel room and are currently watching QLD news. Chris did have to fix the brake wire under the van and re hook it back up, the cable ties had broken off, so we got some heavier ones. He also reduced the tyre pressure on the vehicles ready for the 600 odd kms of dirt road we will be starting on tomorrow. Today was overcast and very windy with a few spits of rain. Not sure what the weather is for tomorrow yet.