It’s not all sweeping vistas, rolling plains and crimson sunsets you know. Sometimes our campsites are rounded with the simple drabness of necessity.
After a dawdling drive today we found ourselves running out of daylight as we pulled into Wallaroo Bay on the East coast of Spencer Gulf…a little ways down the Yorke Peninsula.
This is a popular seaside town during the holidays with fishing and crabbing and various beach related activities.
But it was all shutting down for the day as we rolled in, and we needed to find a spot to throw anchor for the night.
Our options included a neat looking van park right on the waterfront, but neither of us felt like staying there.
A quick search on our WikiCamps app led us to a large disused slab of perhaps-an-old-road, or perhaps-an-old-foundation, way out back on the edge of town. Bushes had pushed up through the concrete here and there, a single disused building sat sentinel in the middle of the slab, and a fresh road transacted off to some massive silos in the distance.
Initially Kelly felt a little uneasy here, but it was clear and level and after a walk around I figured it legit (there was another campervan parked up for the night further down the slab, & the houses in the area seemed in-sketchy enough) so we settled in for the evening.
Later, the quiet evening was broken as some cars, maybe 4, maybe 20, pulled up right beside us. We could hear male voices grouping up. The mood suddenly shifted to ominous.
Fearing some sort of confrontation, I puffed myself up as best I could and stepped out into the night to investigate.
As I walked around Ripley to get a better view, the group (there was actually only 5 or 6) all moved up the stairs of the ‘abandoned’ building. They sounded like teenagers, and they were engaged in benign, laughing conversations about teenager type stuff. All of it totally ignoring our presence.
The compressed sinister air immediately gushed out of the whole situation with some relief on my part.
The lights went on in the top floor of the building. If we strained our ears, and we did, we could just make out more muffled sounds and conversations.
I figured it must be some sort of meeting room or clubhouse. We spent some time trying to figure it out but couldn’t quite parse the voices enough to give them any revealing context.
Eventually we got back to making dinner and watching a little TV. Around nine thirty the group all emerged from the building and quickly departed.
This morning I went to take a closer look. At the top of the stairs was a door. On the door a small sign depicting a skull wearing a miners hat and biting down on a dice, announced: ‘Copper Coast Tabletop Gamers’.
Peering through a window I could just make out a well used kitchenette and 3 or 4 sets of tables & chairs.
So. It seems we had been totally intimidated by a group of young kids drinking coffee, eating chips and playing Dungeons and Dragons!
And I totally wish I had been a little braver in the moment, because it would have been most cool to get an invite into the clubhouse to join them.