Happy New Year All, we spent it 33,000' high in the sky winging our way back to Brisbane. The flight was initially delayed 30 minutes, and take off and getting altitude was a very bumpy ride, lots of gasps and Ohhh sounds coming from the passengers. Vickie and i choose to select aisle seats this flight to give us some extra leg room we also choose to get seats down the back which was a mistake as we were surrounded by young children & babies all over tired and crying, luckily i had my iPod and was able to block out the joyful sounds of crying kids with some Chris Rea & Colin Hay.
Arrived at Brisbane Airport and had to disembark on the tarmac, what greeted us was rain, it was a fair walk to baggage collection and that was another 30 - 40 minute wait untill the bags started arriving on the conveyor belt, then we were outside and picked up by our mate Muzza who drove us back to Deception Bay and our Caravan. We were tired from having no sleep on the plane and just laid down on the bed and had a few hours sleep. The rain kept coming down all afternoon and night.
Sunday Morning we hooked up the van and said farewell to Brisbane and hopefully the rain. Our intention is to head down to Tamworth and experience some of the Country & Western Music Festival that starts on the 14th January. Our 1st night we stopped at Beardy Creek Heritage Park [CAW #148] a nice camp off the highway with plenty of grass and shady trees, we had only been there an hour when the heavens opened up and the rain started bucketing down along with a shower of hail, luckily it was only small hail as it would have been our luck to have the newly repaired Van damaged again by a hail storm.
We have plenty of time to spare and as we were passing by Armidale we phoned up some Bushtracker Owners that i had been emailing for a while, Rick & Julie are also Bushtracker owners and own a Motel in town, a quick call found them home and ready for a cuppa. It is nice finally putting faces to the names of people we have known through the Bushtracker Owners Group, we found we had a lot in common and hope to catch up again when they hit the road. 2nd night we stopped at Bendemeer camped beside the Show Ground [CAW #165], a nice spot near the river and an easy walk into the town. 1/2 a dozen other campers were set up but plenty of space for everyone, not much in the town other than a craft shop & a well stocked delicatesen. We were threatened with a thunder storm but apart from some grumbles & bangs and the odd lightening strike it was a fizzer.
Being so close to Tamworth we decided to go and check out CAW #160 Uralla Fossicking Area, having the GPS waypoint on the Garmin i let the GPS direct us there, all appeared fine as we left the bitumen and took the 1.6klm of dirt road desribed in the Camps 5 Book, but getting to the bottom of the narrow track it was a dead end apart from a very narrow gate that we would never fit through, looking across the river we could see a few campers set up and realised we had been lead a dummy. It's not the 1st time the GPS has put us into positions that are tricky to get out of, luckily the Toyota has a better turn circle than the F250 we had previously as that would have been a nightmare getting back out.
So out we get and decided to not even bother finding the correct road, instead we headed out to CAW #168 on the Cockburn River, the scenery was nice with a narrow windy bitumen road leading to the bush camp but we were dissapointed in the area and it's long walk from the water, we are perhaps getting fussy. Instead of staying we headed to Chaffeys Dam where we greeted with a large expanse of water and green grass and plenty of shady tree's. Maybe 12- 15 other campers in the area but it is a very large area and Vickie found us a lovely spot on the edge of the dam. Yesterday it was quite hot and in the afternoon the wind got very gusty which cooled things down.
Later in the evening we had a phone call from our daughter back home informing us that Vickie's 85 year old Father wasn't well with a nasty body rash and was going into Hospital to be treated. That bought all kinds of guilt feelings that we should be there but after making a few calls to other family members we were reassured that Vickie's sister would drive up and stay with Pop and find out what was happening.
Today we woke to dark sky and cooler conditions, we took the Kayaks out for a paddle around the Dam, stunning scenery especially when on the water looking at the large hills surrounding the Dam. Another BT had stopped with the owners having a tea break, a quick chat with them and then the rain started coming down. Three hours have passed and still the rain comes down, i have filled up all the water tanks by catching the rain in a bucket system that gravity feeds down into the tanks.
Not much else to do other than catch up on the blog, read some books whilst Vick watches Tennis on TV, tomorrow our mates turn up and we decide our plan of action as to what we do next.