We kept following the Murray. Because it was raining and the Murray wasn’t offering much inspiration we pushed on to the next town. As the day drew out, we drifted into each little town thinking that we’d stop at the next bakery and have something to eat and maybe decide what to do and where to stay. Unfortunately we didn’t find any bakeries, so we pushed on to Murray Bridge. Murray Bridge was originally known as Edwards Crossing, because of an early settler’s hospitality to passing drovers, it’s rich in river history.
As you enter from the north side, there are two very impressive bridges spanning across a vast river. The first bridge to span the Murray was built here in 1879, and was joined in 1925 by a rail bridge and in 1979 by the Swanport Bridge. It’s a narrow crossing and a little claustrophobic as large vehicles come towards you; as you leave the bridge you find yourself in the main centre. All along the trip I have found it little over whelming each time we enter a new small town, let alone a large one and although the caravan is no trouble to tow and follows dutifully, I always feel a little reluctant to try to explore my options. This time was even more testing as it was now after 2 in the afternoon and neither of us had eaten, it was still raining and the car started making screeching noises when I changed gear or slowed down. There is nothing quite as nerve-racking as mid day traffic, new town, caravan and a screeching noise; plus it had already stalled on me twice before getting into town due to a minor electric problem the car has always had.
It is generally not an issue, the car stalls and cuts out and you simply start it again and off you go, but I didn’t need to be in fear of all the problems uniting at the same time. Scott could pick my tension as I tried to control my attitude and dilemma. He sat quietly and patiently with the odd comment like “this is not good”, “are you OK?” or “is it better yet?”
Finding a camp-site to unload the van was my priority but I had neglected to prepare for this town as we were originally planning to stop at Swan Reach. Now with screeching noises etc. I had to find an information centre to find a suitable caravan park and after endless exhausting turns and street lights we eventually found one. Reluctantly, I stopped the car fearing it may not start again and knowing the situation I would be in would not a good option.
After some very good support and guide lines from a nice lady at the centre we headed back over the bridge to find a caravan park on the Murray.
Feeling some relief that we could soon get to a location and deal with our other problems later, we pushed through the rain for around 10 kilometres and found our home for the night. The location was really nice, right on a beautiful part of the river and surrounded by wet lands and lots of birds and wild life; an oasis in the storm. The manager suggested a parking area but I would need to back in, my lack of experience backing in was about to test my confidence and any skills I may have acquired along the way. Ten tries! The rain was bucketing down and I could only approach it from Scott’s side, so I had no vision, and poor Scott, who was trying to help, didn’t have any experience on how to guide me into position. In frustration, I moved up to another level that appeared to be more lenient for an inexperienced caravan reverser and this time it only took five goes but the result was pretty impressive as I was lined up well.
Scott was so relieved and more than anxious to jump out and set up camp. We were both starving and very tied so I suggested we just do the basics and then go and find some food and come back and finish setting up later. All went well, as I hoped back in the car I looked at Scott and I must have appeared very worn and at my end. I said to Scott “Right now I could just cry!” and in the most sincere, concerned and supportive manner he looked right at me and said “Please mum, don’t do that”, a small thing to some, but a gesture of love and support that almost made me cry for a completely different reason. I gave him a big kiss which he reluctantly accepted, pulled myself together and we headed back over the bridge to find food.
Murray Bridge proved to be a great spot to stay and see the highlights of South Australia around Adelaide…