We were roughly half an hour west of Perry Sandhills, following Old Renmark Road with plans to reach Renmark by early evening and find a camping spot for the night, when a nice wide gravel verge presented an opportunity to stop for some landscape shots. I think it was here that I started to regret not owning a wide-angle lens.
It’s also the spot where I added ‘tussock grass’ and ‘hummock grass’ to my vocabulary. I’ve been struggling since then to figure out what the difference is. I’m leaning toward this: “hummock grass is tussock grass growing on a hummock is true if and only if tussock grass is hummock grass growing on a plain is true”. I would appreciate some help here! I’m also confused about the trees that form a circle around the plain. Does that make it open woodland? That’s not as pressing a problem though, since a little further west along the road the trees weren’t there anymore.
The scenery was made all the more grand in nature by the ever-blackening cloud cover in our path; I felt a strange approaching sense of being entirely exposed and enveloped all at once.
The gravel road and the expanse continued like this for another hour or so, occasional cattle grids giving us a wake-up rattle, until the turn off for Lake Victoria appeared on our left, and we took it. The prospect of some lakeside time was too enticing to pass up; Renmark would have to wait. Not sure how far we had travelled in that direction when a large archway appeared over the road a little ways ahead. I recall feeling a little dizzied by it; I was expecting to drive under it but as I got closer it seemed to be shifting away to the right. In fact, it was. I was asleep at the wheel… my eyes were open and some part of my brain was registering it, but I didn’t wake up until I was maybe 50 metres from a sharp fork in the road. The archway was the entrance to an Aboriginal Health Retreat in one direction, and the road I was on turned sharply to the left at the same point. I pushed hard on the brake and tried to turn left, but the gravel road would have none of that. The back end of Vincent swung too far right. I swung right hard to try and correct. Vincent jumped up in the air a few inches and did a wobble, then came back down heading for a fence on the right. At that point I just braced myself, loosened off on the brake, reapplied it, and hoped we would stop before the fence got us. Whew! It was close. After reversing out of the tussock grass and collecting myself, we continued on our way and made it to Lake Victoria.
Spent a good half hour here watching the cormorants and pelicans all mingling and fishing, then drove a bit further up the road and spotted a young family of emus.
The cloud cover first turned into a few spots of rain, then a stiff breeze that grew speedily into a gale. I ducked inside and waited as the trees by the side of the road started bending and twisting, clouds of dust blew this way and that, Vincent shook side to side and bounced up and down. Then as quickly as the wind had arrived it fell away, and a spooky stillness descended. With that, we turned back to Old Renmark Road and finished our day with some well earned stillness of our own at Plushes Bend Camp Area.