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Outback

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Well, I'd been told rain was forecast for Friday, up to 40mm likely. That's a fair bit of rain out in the arid region if it falls in a short time, enough to makes the creeks run sufficiently to put some water in the waterholes and dams, though likely not enough to fill them.

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Of greater significance to me, it means no photography, miserable camping and the likelihood of being unable to travel the slippery tracks in the ute and maybe even on the quadbike, for up to a few days.

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When I arrived at Mount Gunson Cattle Yards the wind was blowing fairly well from the north west. I got the tent up with some difficulty, on a mound a couple of inches above the surrounding sandy clay pan, side on to the wind, and parked the ute to windward for some protection.

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Kerosene is a great product that facilitates lighting a camfire in trying conditions. Soon the billy was boiled for a much needed cuppa and then a veggie roast was in the camp oven and on the coals.

Despite the incessant flapping of the tent in the wind, it wasn't hard to settle down for the night after a day spent packing, travelling and setting up again.

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Overnight the wind swung around 90 degrees to the north east, blowing straight into the awning at the front of the tent. Could have been better!

Starting a fire didn't look like a promising task so I set up the gas ring in the lee of the tent to fry my eggs and boil the billy. It was great to have a drum to add more shelter and keep the gas alight.

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Just as the odd drop of rain turned to light, cold drizzle I got my toilet hole dug. Needless to say there was no time for contemplating the state of the world.

With everything packed away in the ute and the tent made as robust as possible as possible, enough tucker in the tent to see out the wet weather, plus some stuff to read and the computer, I zipped up the door with the resolve to sit out the rain event, so fervently desired by the arid region pastoralists.

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So with the rain set in and the wind swung around to the north, I settled down in my brand new Oztrail Blitz 300 tent, hoping it fulfils all the good publicity, withstanding the wind and not leaking. A good test for any tent.

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Although I had a small gas burner in the tent, it was good to get outside for a short time, during a lull in the rain and wind, to cook a pancake as lunch time approached, hastily eating it as the next scud began.

As the day wore on, the wind abated so I brought the gas ring around, under the tent's front awning where I could set up the table and cook more of my Coles pancake mix for another filling, though not so well balanced meal.

And so the day turned to night with constant drizzle and the sound of the wind picking up a little.

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