Oct 27, 2011

Adelaide - Mannum - 28th Oct 2011

We spent nearly three weeks staying at our daughter Erin's and her partner Scott's new home, Erin and  Scott had just moved in and here we were ready to invade their privacy, they say they didn't mind and it did give me the chance to fix up a few things that needed doing so i guess that was the trade off.

Vickie's appointment with her Dr went as expected, it has been confirmed that she will require another operation within the next 6 Months or so to peel back the membrane on the retina plus at the same time perform cataract surgery. Again it has made us think just what we should be doing as far as travelling goes, at this stage we will just continue on and wait for any phone calls informing us of any surgery date.

We stayed a bit longer at Erin's so we could attend their house warming and Erin's 30th Birthday party, it was a good night but the Doof Doof Music from DJ Scotty G was not my style of music, and some neighbours thought the same as the Police turned up at 2 AM asking them to quieten up. Everyone was cool though and the party was over and the last of the guests left at 2.30am.

We were keen to leave and hit the road and catch up with our mates the Parker's, they left us at Quorn and had continued along the Murray River visiting friends along the way before making their way back via Mt Gambier and along the Coast and Coorong. Before we could leave Erin's i had to wait until Thursday as i had bought a 2nd hand Mountain Bike from a German Uni Student and i couldn't take ownership until then as she needed it as her transport. Up early Thursday i went and picked it up and by lunch time we had left and were heading to Mannum to meet up with G&V.

We have stayed at Bolte Reserve before 3 or 4 times and it is a lovely spot on the edge of the Murray River opposite the town of Mannum. We had heard a rumour that a fee was now charged by Council so it didn't surprise us to see a sign up stating Camping was $10 per vehicle per night. Part of me feels like it is unfair considering the amount of money we spend in a town and that we personally do not require any services nor amenities, I would prefer to see a time limit on camping enforced rather than a cost. Geoff and i rode the bikes around the town and gave the legs a solid workout. We also replaced the pivot blocks in our caravans suspension, usually not a difficult job but this time some bolts gave us some hassles so it took longer than expected.

This was one of a few Possum's that live in the tree's around us
View at Night across the river

Our Camp

The Paddle Steamer, Marion

Mannum is home to many houseboats, The Marion is a well known Paddle Steamer,and is unique, as she is the only vessel of her type left in the world today, Another well known Boat is the Murray River Princess, both are moored opposite our camp.

We are staying a few nights here, today we walked into town and the girls visited all the shops, tonight we are going across to the Community Club for tea, tomorrow it's another bike ride and try and fix our blocked drain in the Van, when we do part Geoff and Vickie are heading to explore the South Australian Peninsula's and us going East.

Oct 7, 2011

The Gap - Minlaton - 8th October 2011

We spent four nights at the Gap during that time we just relaxed, went for the odd walk and mucked about doing some maintenance on the rigs. The weather was overcast for most of the time and it was one of the few times i have got the Honda generator out to charge up the Van batteries. The Honda is 5 years old and has performed faultlessly in the time's we have used it, i topped it up with fuel and started it up and after a few minutes it gave a cough and started running rough. Thinking it was a dirty spark plug i checked it and also gave the filter a clean but the generator would only run on full choke.

Bob had an on line service manual for it and after having a quick look decided to check and clean the fuel filter, easy said than done as it required the plastic body to be removed to gain access. By this time Noel had wandered over and gave me a hand, after stripping the body off and finding what we thought was the filter and giving it a blow through with compressed air we put it all back together only to have it not start at all. IT WAS THEN the penny dropped!! i had filled the tank with DIESEL !! ....... talk about a dumb moment, with Noel walking away mumbling to himself about dumb bastard awards i quickly emptied the tank, gave it a flush and refilled it with unleaded petrol, a pull start and away it went running better than ever.

On the last night we had a lovely meal with each camp contributing, mains was a lovely camp oven roast pork cooked by Muzza and Judy, Vickie made a potato bake and Judy P cooked the veggies with Denise and Noel making a lovely chocolate pudding for desert.

We left the Gap and drove to Maitland for a restock before heading to Rob and Glenda's property just out of Minlaton. With 4 vans to start with we formed a square and produced the fire pots for our 2nd Fire Pot Challenge, we had a new contestant with Bob's SS Keg conversion which was named the Holy Pail, along with Muzza and Judy's Pig, Noel's Tankard & our Kimble we soon had the fires roaring which was just as well as it was a chilly night. David and Maureen Walker also turned up and camped alongside us all.

I enjoy looking around old property's especially at their 'Bunnings' section - the old tip. A lot of history can be seen in the old dumps with plenty of car bodies and machinery. Farmers throw nothing away, they never know just when they might need some steel, wheel, cog etc to bodgy up some useful piece of gear.

The main reason we had come was to celebrate Rob's 60th Birthday, they had around 50 - 60 other guests attending on the Saturday night. Friday prior Rob had two large lambs to cut up and get ready for the BBQ. I helped bone out the legs & forequarter's and Rob and his SIL took care of the rest with a dangerous looking band saw. Bob had a semi secret recipe for marinating the shoulders so that is where they ended up for 24 hours.

Late Saturday afternoon the friends started arriving so that was time to have a beer or ten, I helped Bob cook the BBQ shoulders and carve them up, Adrian was cooking up the chops and snaggers. The girls helped by contributing salads and Vickie made 3 large potatoe bakes, no one was going hungry here. We all enjoyed ourselves during the evening but due to the early start by most of us we headed back to our vans by 10.30, all starting to show our ages.

Glenda and Rob

Next morning it was the Bacon and Egg Recovery breakfast which went down a treat. Not long after that we had said our goodbyes and headed towards Adelaide where we would be based at our Daughters for a fortnight helping them do some jobs on their newly purchased home.

Oct 3, 2011

Quorn - Yorke Penninsula

On Saturday we went on the Pichi Richi Railway, the BOGGERS filled two carriages and we drew the most uncomfortable with seats not suited to my back and hips i was feeling very sore by the end of it. The train ride itself was nice, one way would have been plenty as all we saw going back was the same as heading forward. Back at camp i settled down on the bed and watched the AFL Grand Final and saw the result i was hoping for with Geelong beating Collingwood.

It was a thrilling ride back for some with Julie and John beside themselves with excitement...

What we didn't know was they were just catching some rest before taking on the Inaugural BOG Race and coming out winners.

We had originally decided to leave Quorn and the BOG Muster on Sunday but the weather was so lovely and the Camp Oven Cook Off being on we decided to stay another night. This also gave me the opportunity to attempt some baking in the camp cooking of my own, usually we just use the Furphy for cooking our camp roasts or making a stew but the rules for the BOG Cook Off was it was to be a cake or something along those lines. I choose to do a Continental Damper which is basically any simple damper but with olives, sun dried tomatoes and some chives, 4 Cups of self raising flour, one stubby of beer, mix well without over handling the mixture and place it in the camp oven with a trivet and baking paper underneath.

Camp Oven Cook Off

Winners are Grinners

With approx 20 other 'contestants' each making their chosen recipe i certainly didn't expect to do any good, but to my great surprise and delight my Damper was given 1st place in the Damper section and Overall winner. To be honest i was lucky to win as the damper had not cooked fully in the middle but it met Judge Judy's criteria and i wasn't about to protest. All in all it was just a bit of fun and we all enjoyed sampling all the dishes that had been baked, it was also a great learning experience myself and i am determined to experiment and attempt a few harder recipes.

Monday morning we said our goodbyes and left Quorn, we drove back the way we came just so we could go to the Stone Hut Bakery for lunch, there we caught up with Turist and Muzza who were also heading to the Yorke, after mentioning that we were going to the Gap it was a pleasant surprise to arrive and find them already there, an hour or so later the Flavs also turned up so the 8 of us are having an UN-Official Mini Muster before making our way to mutual friends Rob and Glenda's property to celebrate Rob's 60th on Saturday.

Stone Hut Bakery - Laura

Sunset at the Gap