This morning we opened the door of the hotel unit and it was already furnace like in it's heat. We breakfasted alongside the Murrumbidgee at the long paddock picnic and sculpture. Very atmospheric, despite the busyness of the bridge beside which we were sitting.
Having been through Hay a number of times, and never looked at anything except the beds we fell into, we decided to visit the Shearing Museum. We didn't really need to see shearing, especially given that we have a nephew who is a shearer, but it was a very interesting and well put together exhibition that included a hall of fame.
So we didn't get away from Hay until 11am, stopping for a counter lunch in a pub at Euston that was full of the locals treating it like their lounge room.....it was however air conditioned and did a good fish salad.
Then we headed for Mildura - by this stage the temperature had hit 46. Still we continued on. Saw lots of emus in the saltbush, and a curious and enormous black cloud which appeared to be slowly enveloping the entire horizon, which as you can appreciate is very large when you are travelling through the flat plains of the outback.
As we crossed the border we spoke to the fruit inspection lady- we had been listening to a talking book, and so had not heard the radio at all. We were trying to decide if what we were travelling towards was smoke, a cloud or a dust storm. The lady said that it was a cumulative cloud of smoke from the many fires burning near Renmark. Charming. "But," she assured us, not to worry, you'll be fine on the main road". Clearly it has magic powers. We got to Renmark, and stayed in the cheap and cheerful motel we have previously visited. The owner assured us that the fire is 5 Kms away, and if it gets too close they will turn on the sprinklers over the vineyards and that will solve the problem. Besides, firefighters are about to arrive from NSW.
So we went to dinner by the river, and then took a stroll along the bank, which was very pleasant. The relaxed tone of this holiday town is quite contagious.