Jul 23, 2011

Gascoyne Flooded Roads

We really enjoyed our time around the abandonded Big Bell Mine out from Cue, if the rain had not started we would probably still be around the area detecting. We had planned on heading to Leonora and across the Great Central Road to Alice but all roads were closed, we also had the dilemma of Vickie suffering yet another bleed behind her eye, her 3rd in the past few months. Darryl [Fozzie] and Julie received the phone call we all dread that a family member was extremely ill and they left us the next morning to drive back home.

It was decided to spend another night out with Geoff & Vickie at a nice spot called Lake Nerene, at least i think that is what it was called.

Geoff called the challenge for the Great Bread Bake Off and it was taken up by myself, little was i aware at the time that it was Geoff's wife Vickie doing the preparing & kneading, with not much sun about it took a while for the bread to rise and then knock it back down and wait for it to rise again, The Saltwater Cowboy had the jump on us and had his in the Weber Q long before our's was ready to bake, We also had a roast to cook for all of us so it was just as well their loaf was cooked and we were able to use their weber to cook the roast in.

The proof is in the photo's as to who's bread turned out the better. :-)

With G&V heading back to Geraldton, we checked out the Historic Photographic display at the Shire Offices before heading back home ourselves for a week to enable me to re-fit the ute out for the addition of the Stainless Steel BBQ that we bought, what was supposed to be a day's job turned into nearly 4 as there was a lot of cutting, measuring, glueing to get the job to my satisfaction, plus the rain rarely let up and i was having to work in cramped conditions. The end result was worth it though and we are very happy with the finished job.

The Stainless Marine BBQ i fitted into the UTE

We also had the opportunity to see our beautiful granddaughters again, plus Vickie's sister Sue who was still over from Melbourne. We intend to leave again tomorrow, we know where we will end up, just not sure which way we will go to get there. Vickie needs to see her Specialist in Adelaide so all going well with available appointments we may just head straight there.

Jul 15, 2011

Geraldton - Cue - 16th July

We had a purpose for returning to Geraldton and it all went extremely well apart from one instance which i will mention a bit later in this post.

Arrived at long time mates Geoff and Vickie's place around midday and straight away Geoff and i got into the job of replacing all the white cotton fly screens in the Dometic windows with black fibreglass mini weave mesh. The standard screens are useless in Australian conditions, bugs enter the van by crawling around the mesh, the mesh itself shrinks and gets stained easily from dust. Geoff had changed over his a month ago and the job was excellent so it was organized then to do ours when we got back.

Our van has 6 windows plus the small bathroom one and we managed to finish five that afternoon with the sixth getting completed the next day, we couldn't be any happier with the result, the screens not only look good they fit nice & tight, time will tell if they stop 100% of the bugs but we are confident. Geoff had also changed over the tungston downlights in the range hood with some LED style lights, another idea we gladly copied, instead of having 22watt globes the lights now don't even register on the load output on the regulator, the amount of light they put out is amazing! The next job on the list was to replace a gas strut on the bed lifting mechanisim, lucky for us we were in Geraldton and near a very good Caravan repair business that was well stocked with all the goodies. A longer 600mm gas line was also purchased to replace the shorter one that was on our gas regulator, no need to remove gas bottles and swap positions any longer, i can just swap over the gas hose. All these jobs that i have been wanting to do for a while now have just been completed in less than two days.

I neglected to mention that Vickie went with Geoff & myself to the Caravan repair business and spotted a stainless steel BBQ for sale, Vick has been wanting one of these for a long time now, We are very happy with the Weber Baby Q for it's roasting & grilling but we felt the small hot plate that can be purchased was inadequate, So upon spotting the Sizzler Marine BBQ it was suggested we buy it, I wanted to try the other option of getting some Stainless plate cut to suit the Weber and after running around town with Geoff getting some expensive prices just for a plate i decided to just surprise Vick and buy the Sizzler. We used it this morning and very happy with it.

So with all the jobs completed and Geoff having to work on Wednesday we decided to leave and catch up again at Mount Magnet on Thursday, Now getting the van into Geoff & Vickie's wasn't difficult, their home is one of four on a large block and access is via a central drive with tight turn at the end, with the help of Geoff getting in it wasn't a problem .... BUT getting the rig back out with Geoff at work was a nightmare!!! With the front of the ute milimetres away from one fence and the side of the van millimetres away from the other side we couldn't go any further - Then it was mentioned that Geoff unhitches and uses the power jocky wheel to swing the van around the final few feet .... Aaaargh !! Our van has a different mounting bracket and not designed to take the moving weight of 3.5 tons but i had no choice - Eventually THREE HOURS later after having to use the winch on the Ute, dismantle and reassemble the power jocky wheel to replace the tyre that had rolled off the rim, combined with the help from Geoff's Son Aaron we had the Van pointing in the right direction and i was able to hitch it back up and finally left Geraldton.

1st night we stopped at Pioneer well on the Yuna road just before Mullewa, we had a great camp fire all by ourselves, a few bourbans & coke and the stress of the day dissapeared. Geoff & Vickie caught up with us at Mount Magnet around midday the next day and just down the road we met up with Vickie P's Sister Julie and hubby Darryl - The Billabong Bonkers, Together we all drove out along a track and spent the night around another great camp fire with lots of laughter. Next morning we went into Cue before heading out to the abandonded Big Bell Mine, what an interesting place this is! We spent a few hours with the metal detectors out and Geoff found what we think is a small piece of gold, I found some wire, a survey peg and some alfoil.

Geoff detecting, nothing found

Last night it rained and we awoke to more rain this morning, the tracks were already water logged and we wont be moving today so it gives me time to catch up on the important things like writing the Blog.

Geoff doing his Mr Creepy Impersonation

Big Bell Hotel[abandonded]

It got a bit wet

Jul 10, 2011

Back on the road - New Norcia

The 11 days we spent back home went in a blur, the weather was cold and wet the first four or five days then after that it just got progressively colder with temps around 1 and 2 degree's overnight and not much warmer during the days. I did manage to give the Van and the Ute a good pressure clean and re-coat with underbody paint to protect the steel from our recent time camped on the coast. I also had the ute's suspension fixed with a new set of AGM upgraded rear springs fitted, the ute went up 60mm in height in the rear and can now handle the weight of the van and gear in the canopy a lot better. I didn't get around to installing the 3rd solar panel so i have bought that along and will get that done along the trip.

Dan and Elle

Of course the main reason we came home was to attend our Son's Engagement party, we had 14 in our group, Cad & Aaron along with Dave & Jo & their kids & partners we also had Vickie's sister Sue come from Melbourne and our Youngest daughter Erin & B/F Scott flew over from Adelaide. We all booked into the Hilton and caught taxi's to the party which was held at Elle's parents place, they had a big crowd turn up and at times it was standing room only. We all had a great night and it was really lovely seeing our son so happy where he is with his life, we love them both and look forward to the future. Hopefully we can get some photo's of Elle & Dan & the family to share, untill then this is the best i can come up with. That's Elle, Erin & Daniel on the right, Charles, [Elle's Brother] and Chas & Rae [Elle's parents are on the left.]

Today we got up early and had a big buffet breakfast, great hangover treatment that worked for some of us, it was then back home where we hooked the van up and said our goodbyes to the family and headed towards Geraldton, we have stopped for the night at New Norcia, another freezing cold night outside but we are toasty warm in the van with the diesel heater going.