We had booked a powered site at the Ups N Downs Farmstay, which is on the Carnarvon Developmental Road 5 km north of Roma. When we arrived in the afternoon, we could see that it was very dry. Robby Taylor runs this property with his wife, and we understand that it is up for sale. We set up camp and had a look around.
The bathroom facilities are clean and functional. There are 4 small bathrooms, each with a shower and a toilet. There is a fire pit and a rough but functional camp kitchen.
The place is littered with old trucks. One was turned into a simple water feature, and anther held up a sign, but we felt that they could have been presented in a more interesting way. If our friend Grant is interested in acquiring another old truck, this could be the place to go.
One of the more attractive features of the place was a large fuel tank painted on both sides with fabulous murals. One depicts horse racing, and the other is of a B-double fuel tanker presumably owned by Robby Taylor. Perhaps the murals are painted on one of the tanks of that truck?
At 4:30 pm, a bell is rung to signal that happy hour has commenced. Ian suggested that we should start doing that at our place, but Katie wasn’t too sure. Happy hour is held around a fire pit in front of the camp kitchen. We prepared a plate of nibbles and brought it along to share, but apparently this is not done—people are meant to just bring themselves and a drink, and an optional snack for themselves only. We had a very convivial happy hour around only the second open fire we had experienced on our trip.
Now to digress slightly. Four years ago, although it does not seem that long, we did our tag-along trip to the Kimberleys. Our preparations for that trip included buying a packet of dehydrated lamb casserole with mashed potatoes to eat as emergency rations if we got stuck somewhere. It is the sort of meal you would take on an overnight hike across the Bogong High Plains or Cradle Mountain. Needless to say, we did not need it, and it travelled home with us. We have taken it with us on more recent, shorter trips, including to Fraser Island, and always brought it home. It had gone with us on this trip in Matilda, and Ian felt that we should try it to see what we had been missing. We cooked it up according to the instructions on the packet—add hot water and wait a bit—and accompanied the reconstituted lamb casserole and mashed potatoes with real zucchini from Yungaburra. “Very reasonable” was Katie’s verdict. We did have some other food we could have cooked up if necessary, but we felt quite satisfied with our hiking tucker.
At Happy Hour, we learned about Bentley the pet pig. It had been raised on the farm from a piglet, and it was presumably very friendly despite being a razorback, or coming from feral stock. On Thursday morning, Ian took Dexter for a walk in search of Bentley. We found him in his own paddock, and indeed he was very friendly. Dexter was very keen to have a play. However, his tusks made him look rather fearsome, so Ian decided against giving him a pat.
We got away about 8:00 am, which is quite early for us. We filled up Matilda with delicious diesel in Roma, and set off for Toowoomba in an easterly direction along the Warrego Highway. It was a bright sunny day, but a strong, cold headwind noticeably increased our fuel consumption. We noticed that the road surface improved as we entered southeast Queensland.