After leaving Whyalla Wetlands at midday and setting off for the general direction of Port Lincoln, a definite mental exhaustion began to set in. All of this moving from place to place while remaining alert to the whole experience was becoming hard work. I drove into a rest zone by the Lincoln Highway about 45 minutes south of Whyalla, and seriously considered camping right here for the rest of the day and overnight.
A pleasant enough spot: shelter from the sun, a sturdy table to read and write at, and the scrub was holding the wind back a little. Then the wind changed and blew all my maps and info pamphlets off the table after I’d carefully arranged everything for optimum study. The place lost its simple charm, quick smart. A short time later we had arrived at Cowell – a pleasant little town on the northern shore of Franklin Harbor – and I tucked into a delicious comfort-feed of King George Whiting and hot chips at The Fish Box Kiosk. If I had been thinking clearly I would have taken a photo from out the front, or at least waited until the fish and chips were on the table before snapping a shot from the back.
With a satisfied stomach, I decided at once to stop in Cowell for the night. I located the local caravan park, made a note to myself that I would be back later, and took a scenic drive into Port Gibbon along the Coastal Ketches Drive. Here’re a few bits of scenery that caught my attention.
There was still plenty of time left in the day, so I continued into the sand dunes south of Port Gibbon. Found a drive-in spot with private beach and went for a swim.
Soaked up a few more soothing colours.
After an hour or so of lounging in the dunes I turned inland for the Lincoln Highway and made my way back to Cowell. The petrol tank was showing empty by this stage, but I’d seen the petrol station in Cowell so wasn’t too concerned. That changed when I drove into the station and discovered it closed. Oh well, not to worry; the caravan park is a couple of blocks away. In I drove to the caravan park. The office was closed! I rang the number on the door. No answer! So I drove back to the closed petrol station and willed it to be open, but it didn’t work, so I started searching on google maps for the nearest petrol station. They directed me a few short kilometres across the surface of Franklin Harbour to Port Pirie or thereabouts, which wasn’t going to work for Vincent. A few internet searches and I located a servo up the road on Lincoln Highway. Unfortunately I had already passed that one on my way back to Cowell, and the internet has not been made aware that it doesn’t exist! If it did exist, I would have seen it. I paused…
looked at the maps a bit longer and decided Cleve to the west was about 1km closer than Arno Bay to the south, so I held my breath and cleaved for Cleve. Whew! They have a petrol station, and it was open. I filled up with much relief and promptly turned back again toward Cowell, then south to Arno Bay, then doubled back north to a non-signposted turn off for the overnight camping spot I noticed on a map somewhere earlier, which took me in a loop back to Arno Bay without going past the campsite. Sigh. Turned north again and went a little further to the next non-signposted turn off.
And so it was that I arrived at Redbanks Camping Area, a little after 8:30 pm, to watch the sunset.
And, as the last bit of sunlight disappeared into Spencer Gulf, I spotted Mercury setting close behind it. Just as well I hadn’t read the sign I slept overnight in front of… “Camping Prohibited”.