Jan 25, 2011

Tamworth - Maldon - Safety Bay

We had left the van at friends place in Maldon when i took Vickie to Tullamarine Airport and it was a tiring drive back after leaving her there. I am used to long distant driving but travelling as far as we did with the van in tow was something else. It took all my will to keep the eye's open on the 100klm drive back to Maldon.

It was raining the whole time and it didn't stop raining for the next 3 days. I managed to get the ute in for a service at ARB Bendigo at short notice which i appreciated, they did an excellent job servicing the front wheel bearings, machining the brake rotors & replacing the brake pads, the usual oil & filters, adjusting and tightening suspension components, rotated and balanced all wheels, they even unblocked the aircon filter! that i didn't know was blocked. I thought the Ute drove well before but now it's even better.

Without a car for the day, my mate Mally drove me around Bendigo and Maldon district, it continued to pour down rain. Some of the roads were starting to flood over and i jokingly said the Qld floods have followed me down and i may get stuck here! Well that wasn't far off it, When i picked the Ute up late in the afternoon i connected the van and got it ready for an early departure the next morning.

Heading to Maryborough and West, i only got 20klms or so before i came across road closed signs, i tried zigging & zagging following my GPS to find another route that would get me further down and hopefully past the closed sections but all i did was waste an hour more. I ended up phoning Vic Main Roads and they directed me down on the Midland Highway to Daylesford, Crewswick and then onto the Western Highway and Ararat and Horsham. I was heading to our youngest Daughters place at Glenelg SA and i knew i wasn't going to get there in one day so i decided to head down to the Coorong for my 1st night on the road by myself. The amount of water on either side of the road was amazing, the rain was continuing to pour and i just kept driving on with the wipers on max.

Turning off at Horsham i went past the township of Natimuk, warning bells started in my head when i saw the SES and towns people sandbagging the shops in the main street. After a drive of around 600klms i finally arrived at 42 mile crossing on the Coorong, it was still raining and the track in was muddy limestone. This camp is lovely when the weather is kind but all i did was get into the van, turn on the diesel heater ... yes it was cold! and switch on the Satelite dish, pour myself a strong bourban and relaxed on the lounge watching TV listening to the rain hammer down and the van shake from the winds. The news reported that the Western Highway was closed and Victoria was expecting record flood levels - Deja Vu Queensland.

Next morning, i was up early and it had stopped raining i drove the 200 klms into Adelaide and Erin's arriving around 8.30am. It was lovely seeing my baby, though at nearly 30 she is growing up fast .. lol, she works for Qantas as cabin crew and was home for the weekend so the 1st thing we did was head into the City and have our delicous Chinese Chicken & Rice in China Town. Vickie also loves it so i sent her a photo of us tucking into our lunches.

Being anxious to get home and see how Pop was for myself i decide to only stay one night and headed off the next morning for the long drive West. That day i travelled 695klms before stopping [ too early] at Pildappa Rock, we have stayed here before and though it's a 15klm side road to get there it's a lovely spot to camp, the sun going down whilst standing on top of the rock is a lovely experience.

Time to get serious, up early at 4.30am i wanted to get as far as i could that day. I must be getting older as all i could manage was 1395klms before calling it quits 30klms west of Norseman. The next day it was an easy 800 klms before arriving at home around 2pm. After seeing the family the 2nd thing i did was give the Van a wash with the pressure cleaner whilst it was still parked on the lawn.

Vickie's sister Sue from Melbourne is over to help with their Dad, he is out of hospital now after a week of touch and go, still early days to see just how he recovers but we are hopefull that he will regain his mobility & strength. Vick's other sister Jo and hubby Dave came up from Bunbury and we had a busy bee in Pop's back yard which was long over due. Vick & I have moved in to his house to look after him for the next 10 weeks, Sue who has been her for three weeks flys home on Monday, we still plan on going to Ningaloo in April and all going well Pop will go stay with Sue in Melbourne.

Well that is about it, the next time i write hopefully it will be good news and it will involve Kayaking & Fishing along the Ningaloo Coast.


The Retro Roamers said...

Hey Guys

Great story and happy Oze Day

Cheers & beers


Dave and Shell said...

Hi Mick,
Glad you made it home ok. But you didn't bring the rain over here - Bloody dry in Kalgoorlie:)
Also glad to hear pop is doing better.


Mick said...

Thank you for the kind thoughts, life here is just up's & down's & merry go rounds ....... except it's not fun.