Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Clare Valley, S.A.

We crossed the Eire peninsula to Port Augusta, and the temperature raised to 46 degrees, with a hot wind blowing.  A quick stop for groceries for lunch and the ice cream melted in our hands faster than we could lick... man, a country of extremes (happy to report the grocery stores in South Aust are much better priced than in the Western State).  Word from Graham and Kylie in Goondiwindi dashed our plans to head straight to Queensland as they told us it was "hot as" all the way across the Outback to Bourke and on to them, plus many roads are in flood as the floodwaters from three weeks ago had created lakes of rivers, one 90 k wide and 500 k far, an inland sea of a floodplain really, with the highways mapped somewhere beneath.  As we didnt want to chance a hot drive to nowhere, we instead pointed the caravan south.

Down the highway past pink salt lakes and lightning skies, we directed our troop to the country town of Clare.  The origin of vines in the valley dates to the Jesuit priests in the 1840s who barreled the sacramental drink for the alter of the churches of South Australia.  As a town, Clare was on the wealthy transport line of copper mines and slate production, and had wealthy agricultural lands with stations shearing up to 200,000 sheep in the late 1800's.  Beautiful stone buildings with leaded glass windows and great gumtrees are the legacy of the towns early days.

The caravan park with a swimming pool was the perfect place to stop for the night. We dodged the heat and cooled off under the trees, with the flocks of carellas and parrots filling the sky at night.  We ended up staying for two nights, as a day of not driving anywhere was in order for the entire group of 6.  And what a better place to stay than the pretty town of Clare.

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