Nov 29, 2011

Erye Penninsula - 30th November 2011

Time to catch up on 10 days, ....... After leaving Stenhouse Bay in the Innes National Park we drove across to Warooka to try and find some lizards, these are not the crawling live variety but arty crafty replicas made from road kill by a talented lady by the name of Kylie. Unfortunately we couldn't track her down but we did find out that the Minlaton Visitor Centre had some on display, it was also the town that friends Rob & Glenda have a property that we had previously stayed with some other Bushtracker owners after the Quorn Muster, Time for another visit we thought.

Rob and Glenda were out sailing the day we arrived so we set up camp and made ourselves at home introducing ourselves to some other Farmers who dropped in to borrow or replace items, Friendly lot all of them, but we did think we were just being checked out as to who we were and what we were doing. Late in the afternoon R&G arrived home and joined us for happy hour which then turned into a BBQ dinner. Next day I jumped in the Harvester with Rob as he had to take it over to a neighbouring property, it was the 1st time i had been in one of these machines and was very interesting, i also got to see the B Double Semi get filled up with 40+ tonnes of barley. After that it was back for a coffee and then Geoff and myself filled the vans tanks with fresh rainwater and said our goodbyes.

Reaping at Minlaton

Geoff and I consulted as to which way we would head towards Mambray Creek which is part of the Mt Remarkable National Park. The distance was to far to travel in the day so we chose Bunyip Park at Koolunga to be camp for the night. The camp area is in a lovely corner of the town with plenty of tree's and bird life, All the bikes came off the Vans and we checked out a few trails, that was until Geoff's bike broke a chain so a tow back to camp and we set about doing a bush fix. To make sure all was OK we rode around the town and found the pub so called in and had a couple of frothy's, Friendly people, Cold Beer all was good.

Next morning Vickie and i rode over to a Junk Shop and i could not believe my eyes, there laying on the veranda was a dual bike carrier in excellent condition! Geoff and i had discussed many times about how i should go about making a bike carrier when i get home and here was one almost exactly how we imagined it to be. $30 later and it was mine and we had cable tied it onto the draw bar of the van. Geoff kept muttering about how lucky i was ..... and yep i have to agree.

Yacka Picnic & Camp Ground

Next day called into Yacka and checked out a lovely picnic / camp ground, lots of Mosaic tables and tidy grounds showed that the town had great pride. We were on the road that we had previously travelled when we went to Quorn and we knew that we would be passing by Snowtown and Stone Hut, so they were stops for morning coffee and the Hut for a bakery lunch. We all ate our fill and also bought some take away, were not sure how we ended up paying less and having more, just more luck on our part i guess.

Infamous Snowtown Bank - known for the bodies in the barrells

Mambray Park was disappointing for us, we do not have a Parks Pass so had to cough up $26 for a night, any extra night was an extra $17 which we were prepared to pay but after getting chatted for riding the bike on some of the tracks we decided it was not for us. Our mates have a parks Pass and needed to catch up on some washing so we split with the intention of catching up again down the road. Vickie wanted to visit Melrose so that required another drive up over the Range, no drama's for the Toyota Ute, 3rd gear all the way up the steep windy road. Melrose was also a disappointment, the Blacksmith Store that G&V wanted us to check out was simply a cafe and closed, their was an excellent Mountain Bike shop with some stunning bikes that i checked out, even taking one for a ride, very nice!

With that part of the journey being a waste of time we headed to Wilmington and back over the Range and down to Bush Bay at Fitzgerald Bay, here we would sit for a couple of days and wait for G&V to turn up. Being on the coast we were copping the wind but not a lot we can do about it, Port Gibbon was our next overnight stop, we had been here a few times before but never stayed due to the amount of seaweed usually about, today that wasn't an issue and all we required was space to park up. My back & hips were not behaving themselves so some pain relief in the form of prescribed medicine was taken, the mistake i made was then to follow it up with some Scotch & Cokes, mixing both was not the smartest move as i then lost 9 hours of my life not really being aware of what i was saying or doing.
Port Neil Jetty

Port Gibbon Beach Shelter

Mick wearing Scotty's NIMBIN Jacket

Next day we called in at Port Neil and then onto Cape Hardy, another spot we had not stopped at before turned out to be a lovely camp overlooking a sandy beach. We met another family who came over and shared our camp fire, they were 'local's' and told us about the Eucalypti Gallery back at Port Neil so next day it was back the 10klms to check it out. The owner was there but in the process of packing up and moving overseas but he did take the time to explain the process required for coating the leaves and other objects, suffice to say it was very involved. The girls bought some items and then we were back on the track this time heading to Lipson Cove.

Cape Hardy Beach

Being a Sunday the camp sites were all full but luck was again on our side as a family was leaving in the afternoon so we both were able to position the vans with plenty of space. The family we met at Cape Hardy had given us some Blood Worms and we were keen to finally get the rods out and try for some whiting. I managed to catch 3 and Vickie caught one, some young fella's gave some fillets to Geoff in return for lending them some mineral turps so between us we had enough fillets for a good feed of fish & chips for dinner for all of us. One of the young guys told us he had a scary moment with what he described as a 2-3mt white shark, close enough that it bit his flipper off ...... we are 50/50 on the truth of all this but he did appear to be shaken by it.

Geoff and Vickie were keen to check out Port Lincoln National Park whereas we decided to call into Louth Bay and visit Lawrie who has an excellent display of shells and critters plus sells smoked fish. Surprise !! Geoff and Vickie had beaten us and Geoff walked out with packets of smoked fish in his hands. After a long talk with Lawrie and saying our goodbyes again to G and V we checked out the camp area only to find it full. No worries we changed plans and headed to Sheringa Beach instead, here the wind continues to blow, an attempt at fishing yesterday only produced seaweed, today things are not much different.


Nov 19, 2011

Mitchell Park SA - Innes Nat. Park - 19th Nov 2011

Two weeks after leaving Erin's new home in Mitchell Park we were back, we had arranged to catch up with Geoff and Vickie during our time as they were attending the KD Lang concert on Sunday. We had mentioned to them about 'Chicken and Rice' our favourite meal in China Town in Adelaide and they were keen to find out if it was as good as we had talked it up. Fortunately for us, the Parker's and the business concerned it was given the thumbs up.

Together we checked out the market for inexpensive and delicious food, Geoff and i took a walk to the local Cash Converter store and checked out a large range of 2nd hand Mountain Bikes for sale, surprisingly for a shop like cashies they had some good bikes at reasonable prices. I was tempted but resisted the urge. The very next day [Saturday] i decided to drive back in and take another look, it was also the same day the Christmas Pageant was on and traffic and parking was a PITA. After cruising the streets for 30 mins i managed to park directly out front of Cashies. The bike i was going back to look at was still there but also they had another that had just been put up for sale, coincidental it was the same brand of bike that Geoff has though his is newer and has suspension forks. I took it for a ride and straight away knew that it needed a new crank bearing but at $90 it was still a good deal so i bought it.

Getting it back to Erin's i gave it a clean and decided to take it to a bike shop to get the bearing changed, apart from that and a new gear cable it was set to go, all up cost was $165 a lot cheaper than $500 - $600 for a new equivalent bike that would only end up getting scratched.

We left Erin's on Sunday when the Adelaide traffic was slight, our destination was Port Parham near Dublin. We have stayed there twice before and this time we hoped to 'rake' up some Crabs, alas that was not to be, we saw 5 but all under sized and the tides were not in our favour. We had decided to stay two nights and to our great pleasure Geoff and Vickie turned up the 2nd day, their original plans changed they choose to call in hoping we would still be here, they even bought us lunch of some Dublin Pies! .... aren't they good mates !

We all had bikes so we spent some time riding around the small community of Parham, another great night of laughter and good music and we left the next morning heading to the Yorke Peninsula together. We called in at Ardossan to catch up with Jar & Pam a couple of Bushtracker owners we had met at the Quorn Muster, a lovely couple with great taste in cars, 3 Classic Mustangs and an Italian De Tomaso Pantera ..... SIGH ..........

With the hello's over it was time to say goodbye and we continued down the Yorke, we called in at Port Julia but it wasn't worth a stop, after a chat we decided to just take a drive down a few dirt tracks that headed to the coast. After a few no goes we came across a track that took us down near the Port Vincent Golf Club, here we found a good spot overlooking the cliffs and ocean, the only down side was the wind picked up and we were blown around trying to have our 'happy hour' How inconsiderate of the wind!

Down below us a car had ended up smashed on the rocks so Geoff andi walked down the cliff trail to check it out, no idea of how it ended up there but it wasn't going any where now except maybe further into the sea. Geoff and i got the bikes off and had a couple of good rides it was great being back on a bike, something i used to do regularly but hadn't for a few years.

Next day we found ourselves at Mozzie Flat, a nice secluded camp spot southwest of Yorketown. No mossies around but we had more than enough bush flies to keep us company. We stayed two nights here and we all spent time walking along the beach, Vickie and i tried our hand at fishing and i caught a small Flathead and two stingrays that were released.

Friday morning we broke camp and headed South to the Innes National Park, Vick and i had been here in 2009 and it was here that Vickie 1st had her eye problem, time has seemed to have gone by so quickly since then, and here we were again! Not a lot had changed, Stenhouse Bay camp ground appeared to require some TLC with the grounds looking uncared for, perhaps all the work and money went into Pondalowlie Well Camp that Stenhouse was treated like the poor cousin. Even the Information bureau needed a good clean with bird droppings all around the entrance, not a good look especially when they require you to pay them money to stay. Mind you the scenery is stunning and totally recommended.

Two nights here at Stenhouse and we had filled our time in with riding the bikes around many of the trails, an attempt at squidding and fishing of the fantastic jetty resulted in nothing! Vickie did come close to catching a huge squid but it dropped off the jig when she had half hauled it up. Last night we were entertained by a fabulous electrical storm, here we all were seated in our chairs watching the lightening, listening to the thunder rumbling, and singing all sorts of silly songs .... it's moments like those .......... that make great memories.

Nov 5, 2011

Mannum - Mannum - 6th Nov 2011

Saturday saw Geoff tackle the blocked drain in our Van, this had been annoying us for a couple of weeks, i had attempted to fix it by inserting some plastic coated wire cable down the plug hole but with no luck. My next attempt was to push some plastic tubing down as far as i could and then blow compressed air through it. This resulted in the water & air exiting the drain pipe but didn't fix the 'blockage'. I knew i needed to get down into the bathroom cupboard and remove the plastic T piece but my lack of flexibility just would not allow me, fused spine and hips that no longer bend are limiting me and i cannot stand the frustration of not being able to do things, something i still have yet come to terms with.

Thank goodness for Geoff, he was able to get down and remove the T piece and as i thought it was blocked but not with food scraps but a plastic top off a small bottle had found it's way down the drain and was preventing the water escaping from the bathroom sink and causing an air flow blockage from the kitchen sink. With that removed the water now flows out quickly.

The next thing we tackled was the vans suspension, in particular the pivot block's. These are usually an easy to replace item, they are the main pivoting point on the simplicity suspension and will wear out depending on time and use age. I had already replaced both sides in the 1st year of owning the Van but at the same time i fitted some spring retainer brackets, these are i believe essential with this style of suspension and proof to me was that 3 years had passed since i had to 1st replace the pivot blocks. This time i had Geoff's help and we quickly had the Van jacked up and sitting on some axle stands and the suspension hanging freely, another 10 minutes or so had the suspension undone and removed from under the van. That is when the fun began, getting the stuck bolt of the pivot block out from the spring pack had us trying all sorts of things until we decided that the only option left was to dismantle the spring pack.

Changing out the Pivot Blocks

After working out what we had to do it didn't take long to get the old pivot block out and the new one in. It was just as well we decided to change them as they did not have much life left in the old blocks, had they stayed in much longer they would have damaged the face plate the pivot block sits on and that is a much harder job to repair. An hour or so later we had both sides replaced and just to show that Geoff really was fitter than i am, he then chopped up the fire wood. Of course that made me feel very worthy ......... Geoff & Vickie made a beautiful meal that night with a camp oven cooked Occo Bucco, Vickie cooked the veggies, we even had 'special' chili garlic bread to accompany the meal, simply Delicious!

Occo Bucco - Mmmm Yum
Sunday was a day to relax so we walked into town and the girls visited the shops, Geoff and i went down to the riverfront to check out what looked like a car show from across the river, it turned out to be the MG car club out on a run and lunch at Mannum. Some very nice examples of MG's dating back to 1933 to present day.

MG Car Club

Monday we were both going our separate ways so Sunday night we went out for tea at the Mannum Community Club again for a meal. Next morning it was hugs all round as we left on our separate ways, Geoff & Vickie down to the Fleurieu Peninsula and us further along the Murray River.

We have been through before and knew of a nice camp at Murtos Landing near Paringa and that was to be our camp for the next two nights, we had thought about ducking into Victoria to visit a mate but decided the distance for the time we had wouldn't work so we changed tack and the next night we spent at Thierys Sandbar out of Loxton.
Vickie relaxing at Murtos Landing on the banks of the Murray River

Both of these places are very pretty with great camps on the edge of the River, Our 3rd night was Ramco Point it was here i finally put a line in the river and was rewarded by two Carp not the result i was hoping for as the Carp are a pest in the river system and any caught are not allowed to be released back into the river, so i guess i did my small part in cleaning up the river.

Mick and Carp

The Murray River Paringa SA

Flood Level 1956 even the snorkel would not have helped

Camp Murthos Landing Murray River SA
Next night's camp was at a place we had not been before, Swan Reach. The camp is only 500mts up from the Ferry crossing and we nearly missed it. Turning around we found a nice spot close to the water and away from the only other camper that was there. We had a lovely Morning and afternoon until 5 vehicles came in and almost camped next to us, none of the occupants were speaking English and we found out later that they were from Serbia. They weren't a bad bunch of blokes, they kept to themselves but they did have crap taste in music, it seemed to sound like Serbian Marching music to my ears. I shouldn't complain because an hour later we had a bunch of Aussies camp the other side of us and stuck on their Doof Doof Music ..... I went to sleep wearing ear plugs that night.

Swan Reach our vista for the night
So where to next we thought? .... we had arranged to be back at Erin's on Wednesday and meet up with Geoff & Vickie on Thursday at a Van Park they would be staying in for a few days before we both head West to travel the Yorke & Eyre Peninsula's together before heading for home in December. We choose to come back to Mannum for a couple of reasons, one was to go to the Club for another meal, the other i cannot mention as it is a surprise .....

Two Vickie's
Mick and Geoff

Let me say .... Do Not Bother Camping At Mannum On A Weekend !!!

We arrived to be greeted by dozens of scattered beer cans & bottles from the previous night and being told the young'ns had been playing up all night. After our night with the Serb's and Aussie Doof Doofers we thought ...... great just what we need, but a visit from the local Police soon convinced the party animals to move on and we thought that would be the end of it so set up and settled back watching the river action. Late in the afternoon a family arrived and set up their tents, we were then entertained by the language of the Mother as she swore and cussed at her children. To top it off just as we were going to bed we were entertained again by a phone conversation where she cursed and cussed at [we guessed] another Daughter they had left at home who had broken a glass window and cut herself ....... hardly any concern shown for the hurt child but the window must have been very precious to them due to the amount of screaming and yelling going on.

Next morning we moved camp ..... 300mts away we have a nice poesy to ourselves and all is well with the World.