We arrived at the site of the CMCA rally about lunch time. The organisation is clearly practiced even though most of the participants are novices. There is some magic whereby all the past experience is retained and tapped for each new rally. There were many motorhomes already arrived We were given a bag full of information and promotions and were shown to our site by a guy on a motor scooter wearing a two way radio headset. All very easy for us. There will eventually be about 600 vehicles here.
There are lots of people here, mostly complete strangers, but everyone seems very friendly and pleasant.
Today, I mended the awning I damaged last week with the new parts which had been shipped from Sydney for me.
We went to Morning Tea with our cups as instructed only to discover that there was hot water but no tea or coffee - so we left.
The Highway Wanderers Chapter had a meeting which we attended. We plan to join but they haven't been able to rustle up an application form yet!.
In the afternoon there was a meeting specifically for first timers. I naturally assumed that this organisation had worked out that newcomers have a particular problem of not sharing the common knowledge and that the organisation had found a solution. Ha! The president was introduced. He then introduced himself and left. What!! He was called back and, at the request of a newcomer from the floor, he introduced the rest of the executive. He then told us all to chat to one another and ask any of the executive any questions we had. Since we were in a space filled with chairs, it was not practicable to chat to one another so we all left. Oh!!!.
We went on a pre-booked History and Environment Tour. Thankfully it was only three hours as we had had quite enough by then. The Tour Guide was pleasant enough and knowledgeable enough but it was more like a promotion for the local council than a History and Environment Tour.
I did, however, see my first ever snake in the wild, a 1.8 metre (6 ft) Eastern Brown Snake rushing (perhaps wriggling) off the road into cover to get away from the great big scary bus which had just stopped to go into the Cobdogla Steam Museu.
At happy hour today we did actually get a cup of tea today. We sat with another first-time couple who were as lost as we were and we spent a pleasant half hour chatting with them about the challenges of ones first few months on the road and ones first National rally.
The organiser of the next rally which is in Townsville in June told us of his plans. Though the rally will only run for four days the site will be open for a fortnight and will only cost $110 all up. The Far North Nomads will have a rally in July at Julatten and Charters Towers will have one in August so we will probably spend the winter up there.
After his presentation I approached him to suggest that he might do something better for first-timers and he said he had already recognised the problem and had a solution is place and he invited us to check it out when we are there.
After some necessary chores, we visited the Riverfest, a gathering of stalls and other attractions on the riverside road near the rally.
The evening's entertainment was a "professional" old time music hall brought in from Adelaide which was good fun.
In the morning we attended the CMCA Annual General Meeting. We had heard of some particularly nasty politics in the organisation over the last year and we were expecting fireworks. As it happened, this did not eventuate due, I suspect, to some sensible pre-meeting lobbying.
I have been to many badly run meetings in the past but I was surprised at the exceeding poor chairmanship. In the event, the business which needed to be conducted was accomplished.
The award presentation and closing ceremony in the afternoon was quite emotional for the regular rally participants.
We managed to catch up with the President of the Highway Wanderers Chapter and we formally enrolled