Dec 30, 2009

Back on the road - Denial Bay

Christmas 2009 ..... all finished, we had a lovely time back at home and though we 'lived' in our van and shared the cooking duties 7 weeks was long enough. I'm sure our kids living in our home would think the same, our grand daughters are beautiful and at the age where they continue to surprise us with the things they come out with, we will miss them dearly on the next part of our nomadic lifestyle.

So leaving home we decided to take the great eastern highway instead of dealing with the mobs of people that would have been flocking to the south west, it's hard enough to find a nice quiet spot near the ocean when it's not school holiday time let alone Christmas / New Year. The temperature was forecast to be 40c and they were spot on for the Perth area, where we were on the open road i think temps were closer to 50c!! It was a stinker of a drive even with the aircon on the winds were a hot easterly and we copped them head on for the next two days, economy dropped to what we usually get out of the F250 but at least it didn't get hot like the trip back home, the change of radiator fixed that problem. We stopped at Meckering for 'smoko' which has a lovely memorial rose garden and plaque for the Meckering Earthquake in 1968.

We stopped the 1st night at Boorabbin Rest Area [#332 CAW5] at the temp was 38c inside the van so i got out the Honda generator and fired it up so we could run the aircon, no hardships for us. The flys were horific and we recalled last time we stopped here we had an electrical thunderstorm and the flys were bad then.

Up early and we were greeted to already high temperatures and millions of flys so we didn't waste time hitting the road again, Another nice spot for a overnight stop would be the gorge just east of the Norseman / Eyre highway turnoff, we stopped for a cuppa but the heat was relentless. Our next overnight stop was at Moodini Bluff [#10 CAW5] we had driven a long time today to escape the constant heat and it was a pleasent cooling breeze that greeted us when we pulled in and 'set up camp' not that we have to do much, open the door and windows and get a cold drink out of the engel.

Our 3rd night we thought we would drive down to the town beach at Point Sinclair 21klms Sth West of Penong, we had stayed here last January on our trip over and enjoyed it, as were driving in on the dirt road we started to remember some farmers that we met telling us they bring their caravans down over the Christmas / New Year, it wasn't untill we drove over the last hill and saw the parking area full of vans & vehicles that we realised what they meant. We had no choice but to continue down the hill so that we could turn around and head back out, we caused a few raised eyebrows as i did a 3 point turn to face back up the hill.

We had spotted a large lake on the track in with a vehicle parked on the sandy beach so we thought we would give that a look, speaking with the couple who were enjoying the serenity we decided to take the chance and stay the night even though we saw a hand written sign saying no camping. During the afternoon a few other vehicles came in with the owners either swimming or water skiing, no one hassled us and we made sure we didn't leave any rubbish the next morning when we left. Refueling at Penong at a very reasonable price of $1.24 litre we stopped at the cemetary and had morning smoko, something we do everytime we pass the town of Penong.

Another place we have visited before was Denial Bay just before Ceduna's border inspection, as we had some vegies to consume we decided to go back for another look at a spot we camped previously. To much delight we found it and no one else was on 'our' patch of turf - or dirt should i correctly say. The temperature is down to a pleasent 27c but the ocean winds are up in the gusty / blowy cyclone level, still that means no fly's and it gives us time to catch up on a few things. We will most likley stay here a couple of nights before moving on and down the Eyre Penninsula again.

Dec 8, 2009

Itchy Feet

We have been home for nearly 4 week's and committed to stay untill 28th December .... the call of the open roads is becoming stronger ... 20 days to go ........

Since being home we contemplated with the idea of selling the F250 and buying a Landcruiser again but that didn't eventuate as we only had one strong enquiry and that fell over. Since then i have been arranging where our gear goes and making a false floor in the ute of the Effy to enable things to be more secure and organized, part of me thinks it's been a waste of time as now i have restricted where larger things can go, time will tell if it's any better and if i end up reverting back to what it was it hasn't cost me much.

F250 has been serviced and a new radiator fitted after it was found to be partly blocked.

Bought a 'Demo' Hobie Inflatable Kayak at the Perth Camping Show for what i thought was a bargain price, used it once and found that one chamber deflates over time, so it went back and i have been told that the problem cannot be found so they are replacing it with a brand new one .... Well Done Hobie !! I can't complain about the after sales service.

We wish you all a safe and very enjoyable festive season.

Nov 11, 2009

Head Home for Xmas

No site seeing for us on the journey home, it wasn't a quick drive as we took 7 days to drive from Adelaide to home, {i have previously driven Brisbane to Home in 3} I find the longest & most boring section was between Norseman & Home, i think that makes it around 24 times we have travelled the 'Nullabour'

Now at home catching up with jobs around the house and having Grand Daughters crawl over us, lovely to see them & family. I probably won't update the site again untill we hit the road again just after Christmas so,

Merry Christmas & Safe Travels to all our mates.

Nov 1, 2009

Coorong - Louth Bay

After leaving the Coorong we headed back to 'home' base Glenelg, It was Erin's Birthday so we decided to come back a few days early. So the van was once again parked on their front yard, we did the usual filling in time things for the week whilst waiting for Vickie's specialist appointment on the 29th. We went and visited Brian & Lis and did lots of walking around the street's.

Vickie's Doctor was pleased with the way her eye was responding to the injections and decided to give her some laser treatment and try and reduce the swelling behind the retina. Her eye sight will not ever be what it was but hopefully with the injections to reduce the blood vessels and the laser it will not get any worse, and it means she doesn't have to return for 3 months instead of every 6 weeks.

So instead of flying back to Perth to share our Granddaughters 5th Birthday at the end of November we have decided to drive the rig back and stay for Xmas as well. This allows us plenty of time to catch up with family and to unload some gear that we have accumulated over time and bring back some things for Erin when we return.

We are taking our time though and have re-visited the Yorke Penninsula and at present at Louth Bay on the Eyre Penninsula. The camp area is almost full with 6 other vans / motorhome and all seem a friendly bunch. Yesterday the weather was beautiful but during the night we heard the rumbles of thunder and saw flashes of lightning and awoke to the sound of falling rain, it didn't last long though and after Breakfast i went to the jetty for a squid, the wind came howling through and it was a battle to hold onto the bucket with one squid and my rods, next thing before i knew it my Akubra went flying into the water, Bugger loosing my hat! so i quickly rushed back to the car and left the gear on the ground, made sure keys and phone were out of my pocket and went into the water to retrieve my hat, by this time the wind had blown it 200 metres out but i wasn't going to lose it so i swam out and got it back, some 'locals' watching me said you must love that hat, plenty of sharks around here ..... lol

yes i do .. a well fitting Akubra is worth risking life for :-)

The bad weather seems to have passed us now so it's time to go back to the jetty and try for a few more.

Oct 19, 2009

Baileys Rocks - Coorong

Cherrypool Camp was a nice camp site ideally suited to owning some Kayaks as the river was so close and picturesque, far enough off the highway so the noise doesn't annoy. We stayed a night and moved South to the town of Hamilton and then started our journey West to Coleraine & Casterton where we decided to take the road North to the Dergholm State Park and Baileys Rocks Campground #646 CAW5.

Bailys Rocks was an interesting place, huge boulders laying around similar to the Devils Marbles in the NT. Again the weather was unkind to us with showers & cold winds, we saw no one else whilst we were there which was surprising as it really is a nice camp site.

Narracorte was busy with a local field day, we needed fuel but it was too busy trying to get the rig into a service station without blocking traffic so we drove another 40klms to Padathway where things were quieter. Just past the townsite we turned South again and headed to Kingston SE where Vickie did a small shop whilst i waited with the rig. Parking was limited so i parked in the main street, even though there were no signs or painted lines saying not to park i was aware i had blocked an entrance to the main parking area but with two other entrances to enter & leave i wasn't to concerned untill i started getting abused by some locals who didn't have the brains nor courtesy to exit the car park at either end, one bloke actually drove up to the rig expecting it too miraculously part in the middle. I guess i didn't make too many friends that day but i don't really give a damn, cars have steering wheels, use them.

We have been through these parts previously and decided to head to a nice camp site along the Coorong, 42 Mile Crossing. This is a popular camping / fishing spot with the Ocean Beach 1.2klms over the sand dunes, last time here we walked to the Ocean and up & down the beach and we didn't feel the urge to check it out again preferring to just relax, Vickie busied herself in the van while i went and looked for Wombats, plenty of burrows around and it didn't take long to find one with a large Wombat sitting at the entrance. We also saw lots of Emu's and plenty of birds, 3 other van's came in but they kept to themselves and we had a quiet night.

Onto Meningie and a stop to get some milk & bread, and then down to Narrung where we checked out Long Point #42 CAW5 a lovely spot but inundated with millions of sandflies or midgees, I also saw two 3' Brown Snakes not far from where we were camped, Vickie hates snakes so that was the icing on the cake to leave and check out Mark Point, here it was a lot less bugs and with short green grass no snakes to be seen, we did have plenty of Pelicans to watch and the Mark Mill Point to look at, it is a lovely camp area and we are staying here for two nights at a permit cost of $5 per night which is very reasonable. Vickie spotted a strange object floating in the water and with our binoculars we tried to work out what it was, Vick got to the stage of trying to wave down a passing boat much to my embarressment, luckily they did not hear her as moments later the 'object' gave a flick of the tail and we could see it was a large Seal just floating along on it's back with no worries in the World.

If we were to camp here again we would take the dirt track off to the left and through the gate to the Mark Point Mill, here there is a windmill, trough with plenty of water and lovely grassed camp area.

Oct 14, 2009

St Arnaud Nat Park - Cherrypool Highway Park

St Arnaud National Park gets a thumbs up from us, a lovely camp site in the bush with basic amenities and a water tap, plenty of fire wood and fire pits and picnic tables, well done to the Shire.

Vickie and i walked to the damn wall it was hard to believe that 10 years ago the valley we were looking at was full of water. We walked around the rim along a man made walk trail, plenty of Kangaroo's grazing and flocks of Major Mitchell Cockatoo's squarking their calls. Back at camp i decided to get some firewood cut to take with us, i went to start the truck and was surprised the battery's were down on power, the truck has two large starting batteries and both were less than a year old, no accessories run off the starting batteries and with no warning they had decided to pack it in.

I have a 3rd battery fitted under the truck to power the accessories but it was down on power due to running the engel but i gave it a go with some jumper leads but with no luck. I could have stuffed around and got the batteries out of the van but being AGM deep cycle and worth a few dollars i didn't want to risk damaging them when i knew there was a farmer down the road, so the next morning i set out to go get some help. The walk was around 5k's and i saw hundred's of kangaroos, this area is very picturesque now that it is green with recent rain.

Peter the farmer drove me back and after letting a good charge get into the batteries i was able to start the truck. With much thanks we said goodbye and drove to Stawell to see about getting the batteries checked out as they were still under warranty. Peter Baker owner of Baker Automotive and authorized Century Battery agent confirmed the batteries had failed and organized two new ones to be delivered the next day, so we went and camped up at the Gateway Caravan Park in Stawell. That evening i had some very painful chest pains, Vickie insisted i get to the Hospital to be checked over. The Stawell Hospital staff were excellent, i was seen straight away and had an ECG and oxygen the local Doctor came in and thought it best if i stay in overnight and have a heart monitor fitted and another ECG, X-Ray plus some blood tests done in the morning. That meant Vickie staying in the van by herself overnight so i was concerned that she was comfortable with that, i shouldn't have been as she jumped at the chance to have a peaceful sleep by herself.

I didn't get the results back untill 2pm the next day and was given the all clear, feeling silly i was told that i had done the right thing and better safe than sorry. Then it was back to have the new batteries fitted and another night in the van park, the weather was cold & wet so we just lazed around playing cards. The next day we drove down to Ararat and then back up to Halls Gap and into the Grampians, what a lovely area this is, but the weather was still wet & cold but we did get to visit McKenzie Falls and walk some of the walk trails. We stayed a night at a camp site called Smith Mill Campground, [# 545CAW] in the Grampians and left this morning to drive to Horsham and then head back down again towards Hamilton.

Tonight we are camped beside the river at Cherrypool Highway Park [#706CAW] at present the sun is out but temperature is still around 11 degree's outside, thankfully we have the Webasto diesel heater working perfectly to keep us warm.

Oct 9, 2009

Paringa - St Arnaud Nat Park

Back to Paringa but this time we had the company of Kimbo & Ned, before getting to the camp we stopped at the cemetary and filled our non potable water tanks whilst the girls walked around reading the headstones, We like visiting cemetarys to get an understanding of the local history but it's always a sad time reading of people who die far to young.

We had the camp area all to ourselves and relaxed and watched the houseboats cruise up & down the Murray. We shopped in Renmark and visited the local Antiques store at Paringa and two days later we moved on down to visit Mally & Lynne at Maldon Victoria, Mally is Bro # 3 and the oldest, another Internet mate from the 'old' Campertrailer days whom i met years ago when my Father died, Mally was there with his huge arms & shoulders. Mal & Lynne have visited us at home in Perth and we showed them Ningaloo, between the 3 Bro's we manage to catch up as we all travel around / some more than others but this was to be the 1st time we had all been together, the Inaugral Bro's Muster ....

Mally met us at Maldon town center and showed us where they lived, a lovely old timber home full of character on 5 acres with a large shed that Mal uses as an Art studio, he has quite a talent and should do more. We were shown around the district and as Mal & Lynne were heading down to Melbourne for the weekend to help their Mum shift we decided to go down and visit Vickies sister Sue again and take Kimbo & Ned with us, so we unloaded the boat and gear out of the ute and travelled down to Mt Eliza together, Unfortunately when we arrived Sue was in bed with a migraine so we entertained ourselves untill Greg arrived home from work, for tea we bought some delicous Pizza's, washed down with a few drinks.

The next day Sue was feeling better so the 5 of us drove down the coast to Portsea stopping at Arthurs Seat along the way. Arthurs Seat was the site of the famous Chair Lift that Vickie and I have ridden on many years ago, it has closed now due to maintaince & Insurance issues. At Portsea we again visited Fish Fetish for another great meal of Fish & Chips and then headed back to Mt Eliza as we were going out that evening to the Melbourne Crown Casino. Greg & our Neice Lee drove two cars which was great as the F250 is not Melbourne Parking friendly.

Vickie & Sue played their usual games, Ned tried her luck but ended up watching and Greg, Kimbo and myself put in $50 each and played Blackjack. Things were going up & down and then started to get worse, we were sharing the playing around and it wasn't untill i got in the seat that things picked up, i'd like to say it was the skill but more so the luck of the cards. Regardless we managed to scrape our money back with a small profit plus drinks etc paid for.

I am not known as a lover of Casino's but we all had a good night and we all enjoyed myself, even the looser Wife's.

On Sunday we drove Kim & Ned up to St Kilda and showed them the street markets and had lunch in Ackland Street, took them to the Tasmanian Ferry terminal so they could see what they had to deal with when they eventually head to Tassie in the future.
Monday it was time to head on back to Maldon and catch up with Mal & Lynne again. We spent the rest of the week being shown around the surrounding districts and just generally having a good time. The Gold detector was given a workout with no luck and the Music Machine was cranked up with plenty of singing and throats being lubricated with cold beverages.

Friday it was time to say our goodbyes as Mal & Lynne were heading back to Melbourne and Kimbo & Ned home to Newcastle, we headed for Saint Arnaud Range National Park where have set up camp in beautiful surroundings, the Satellite dish is set up in preparation for the weekends Bathurst Car Racing event, and here we will stay untill Monday.

Dinner for tonight was a camp oven roast beef & vegies which was superb.

Sep 26, 2009

Mannum - Hogwash Bend

Vickies eye treatment wasn't exactly what we were hoping for, the Dr decided to give her another injection of Avastin in the eye and see how she is in 6 weeks time and then perhaps give her some laser treatment. If that's the case she wont have to go back for 3-4 months which gives us a longer time & further distance to meander around.

But we make the most of our chances and were quite happy to leave Adelaide once again and head for Mannum on the Murray River and meet up with Kimbo & Ned and Brian & Liz who were already there waiting for us. As usual the weather god chucked everthing at us with cold & wind and wet weather but we were doing better than one family who had nothing but a tent and all their possesions inside a car. Three young chidren whom we could see not getting much food, a mother who was ill and all she was drinking was river water and a father who looked down on his luck. Apparently they had been evicted for complaining about no running water in the house they were renting. Brian & Liz cooked them up a meal, Ned kept them supplied with filtered drinking water and Vickie and i bought 3 pairs of shoes for the kids to wear. It made us feel very thankfull for what we have and our lot in life.

We stayed at Mannum for 5 nights even though it was a 48hr camp the weather was lousy and not conjusive to packing up. When we did go we only went down the road a 100k's and set ourselves up at Hogwash Bend just out of Morgan and Waikerie. Here the weather has been all 4 seasons in one day but the camp is lovely with us set up right beside the river. Kimbo & I got our boats off the roof's and set about going for a play to finally see who had the fastest boat. It was a no brainer as i kicked his butt every time and then his motor decided to play up and not idle and hard to start so after a lot of mucking around with fuel / air mixture's and idle screws we decided to best leave to the experts.

Ned's sister Liz and husband Bill also came and stayed with us for a couple of nights on their way back to Newcastle and Brian & Liz also came for 3 nights and will leave this afternoon to head back to Adelaide. We accomplised some small jobs whislt here, mainly making up charging cables with anderson plugs for everyone so vehicle auxillary batteries could be charged from the Van's solar system. Kimbo and i also modified our van door handles by strengthening them with epoxy as they are prone to breaking, Brian did his also but made a bit of a mess and upon cleaning up the solid epoxy sliced his thumb open with his leatherman knife, some Doctoring by Kimbo & myself soon had him fixed and instructions of not to touch anything else.

The Bro's intend leaving here tomorrow and heading to Paringa which is East of Renmark for another few nights alongside the Murray.