Kalamazoo Crossing 2011 – an ambitious charity trek across Australia on a hand-powered railcar – may have been derailed by legal obstacles at the 11th hour but that did not dampen the spirits of the 22 Winnebago RV Club members who hit the long road from Adelaide to Darwin in July.
With Winnebago’s newest models the Ceduna and Esperance Premium leading the convoy under the captainship of Kalamazoo Crossing members – who became safari hosts and quickly morphed their kalamazooing logistics in to a packed Outback adventure – the gang gathered at Winnebago Adelaide in preparation for the trek. A feast of gourmet pizzas on the meet and greet night had some crews reluctant to leave but a day at Old Tailem Town pioneer village south-east of Adelaide for a taste of the kalamazoo trek that had been planned proved tempting for most and the troops were rallied for the event-proper.
Day one led the convoy through the beautiful Barossa and Clare Valleys, with most crews participating in a fun hunt for clues and answers to questions. The consensus was that the highlight of the opening day was the $2 beers at the Snowtown Community Club and the hearty feast prepared by the Snowtown Lions Club at the first destination of the trip. The hosts’ breakfast cooking abilities were put to the test on day two for the first of seven efforts for the 14 day trek. A high standard was set, fortunately for all concerned as it meant they felt inclined to raise the bar at the breakie table with each service.
Days end had the team hosted for dinner and a tour at the Royal Flying Doctor Service at Port Augusta. The RFDS was benefactor of almost $25,000 raised by the Kalamazoo Crossing project despite its derailment. The Winnebago safari contributed $1000 in cash to this amount and made it possible for the donation of more than $6000 worth of camping equipment – funded by Rotary clubs and Tonkin’s Sports at Victor Harbor – to a highly successful indigenous work program in Far North South Australia as planned.
Winnebago, through its ongoing support of the Kalamazoo Crossing by providing vital logistics vehicles, also played an important role in the project.
Glendambo was the first true Outback destination for the trek, on day 3, with the wonders of Coober Pedy to follow.
A mice plague at Marla made way for the fleet of Winnebagos, with only a handful of the critters we’d been warned about left to keep the blokes entertained as partners squirmed and squealed at the site of them. Being south of the SA/NT border, the hosts dished up a Mexican feast in preparation for the border crossing and an Outback cinema, Winnebagostyle, and viewing of the original Mad Max movie proved a treat.
Uluru was in the sights of the squadron and, after a night of rest and mateship in Erldunda, much of the team took the 500km round trip detour to the Rock. Its beauty really does have to be seen to be truly appreciated. No number of photographs does this natural monolith justice.
A champagne breakfast, chocolate croissant and pancakes at sunrise beside the rock (the bubbly for the non-drivers at least) was the remedy required for the long drive on to Alice and the halfway point of the journey.
So too was the short jump to Aileron where the pub and caravan park is watched over by the imposing Amatjere Man. Here, the crews teamed up to provide one of the highlight meals of the trip with some Outback inspired dishes to share coming out of the Winnebago kitchens.
Highlights were aplenty when, on day 10, the Winnebago mob landed in Wycliffe Well – the Alien capital of Australia. Les Brumby’s attempts to hypnotise a chicken were out of this world, the hosts showed cooking was not so foreign to them when they beamed up some space burgers and shuttle dogs and a range of alien inspired costumes were on show. With space craft packed and ready for the road once again, it was a short skip to Tennant Creek and a night that proved more restful for those further from the road than the hosts. Weary travellers many still were after this noisy night and rugged stopover which did not earn high recommendations from any of the crews.
The commotion of the night before was quickly forgotten when all campers took part in the cheer, entertainment and Beef and Barra feast at the legendary Daly Waters Hotel. A team Winnebago Kalamazoo Crossing T-shirt now adorns the walls with the rest of the eclectic collection at this pub... sitting prominently among the bras, business cards, licences, scrawled writing and figurines that help hold this galv-clad drinking hole together.
It was on to Katherine with a stop at the inviting Mataranka thermal pools along the way for most. Thanks must go to David and Sandra Gribble for rising early and scouting out the thermal swimming hole for the rest of the gang... and not telling us until after we’d had a swim that a brown snake had taken a dip in the pool before we arrived.
Katherine’s Shady Lane Tourist Park was a delight and a great spot for some team photographs after the camp-cooked breakfast and before we departed for the final day of travel through Adelaide River and Litchfield National Park on to Darwin.
The 3000km trip from Adelaide to Darwin did throw up some dramas for a small few but, in true Winnebago trekking spirit, the safari team members chipped in to help each other through the tougher parts and enjoy the fabulous Outback through our red centre.
The Safari was capped off with a great team dinner at Tim’s Surf and Turf in central Darwin with the finest of seafoods, beef and even some crocodile dishes enjoyed by members.
With dinner conversations generally taking in the plans of where to head to next for many, and where they will meet up in the weeks and months ahead, the Kalamazoo Crossing Winnebago Safari looked certain to have a life after the Top End.
per couple per RV.
$990 / single per RV.
See the planned stops along the way.
Sorry, you've missed out! =(
Registration for this event closed on the 1st Apr, 2011!
Bring your four legged friends along for the ride!