Mar 20, 2017

Mt Eliza, The Coorong and Adelaide

We did not have long to stay at Sister Sue's home at Mt Eliza, the main reason was we were needed at our Daughter Erin's home in Adelaide to look after her two young boys whilst she flew to Melbourne to undertake a refresher course for Qantas so she can get back to working as cabin crew on domestic flights. We stayed a week and in that time we visited friends Graham & Debra Koch, we talked about doing a cruise with them later in the year which will be a different experience. We also called in and visited my 2nd Mum, Pat Mossenton, I love this lady dearly she was a big influence on my growing up as she was the mother of my best mate John. It was lovely seeing her, Mumma Pat is 90 and even though a recent hip replacement has slowed her down her mind was as bright as ever. 

It was very sad to hear that another old friend of my mothers and my God Father, George Ball had succumbed to cancer, Geo was 98 I believe and an absolute Gentleman, I visited George last time we came to Victoria and I will cherish those memories. 

A trip to Sue and Gregs always involves a visit to the Casino, not my thing but I go along and Greg and I usually have a few drinks and people watch whilst the wives have a bet. One night we caught up with Sues daughter ( our niece) Lee and husband Sam with baby daughter Charli along with Sues eldest daughter Dannielle and husband Shane and their two boys. It was Tysons birthday and we celebrated it in style at a nice Indian Restaurant in Carrum, Patterson Lakes. 


With the week over it was time for us to start heading towards Adelaide, because Mt Eliza is not far from the Ferry that crosses from Sorrento to Queenscliff we chose to travel that way instead of battling with the Melbourne traffic. It cost us the early bird special price of around $130 which was worth it. 

Getting off the ferry we followed the signs for the Great Ocean Road, we have driven along here many times and there is a lot more to see than taking the  highways. We also had the invitation to stay the night at a BushTracker owners property at Timboon. We had not met John & Heather Reynard but had communicated about all this Bushtracking so it was a lovely opportunity to meet them. Retired dairy farmers they have a beautiful property which they often get Caravanning friends stay at. For us it was a one nighter and sampling some lovely Port and Sherry. 







The next day it was onwards, our idea was to get to the Coorong and rest up for a few days before our grand parenting duties commenced. 
We stayed at Port Lonsdale a night and then 42 Mile Crossing for a night, it was stinking hot and a drive to the ocean in the hope of a swim was dashed when we got there the waves were way to rough to attempt a swim, instead we sat on the beach and let the waves wash over us. Another Camper told us off another camp area, Parnka Point, unbeknown to us at the time that we had already visited it we decided to go there and stay a night or two. Once we arrived our memories came back to us but we choose to stay anyway and we had a lovely view of the water from site 6 at Pelican Camp Ground. 

Another caravan arrived as did a BushTracker later in the day, we didn't get to speak with them and we left the next morning. We decided to visit Rapid Bay again, we hadn't realised it was Friday and the place gets very busy on weekends, we stayed one night and left, camping like sardines is not my idea of fun. 


We are now camped in the front yard of our daughters in Adelaide, our grand sons Oakley nearly 3 and Tate 18 months know us well but it's been fireworks and mighty explosions when they decide to throw a tantrum and want their mummy. Luckily they both go to a day care two days a week and their father is at home at night, they are a handful but we love them and do what we need to do. Saying that three weeks cannot come quick enough and we can finally get back on the road to home, we only have two - three weeks and we're away again to Ningaloo and I have so much to do in that time. 



Mar 19, 2017

BushTracker repaired, back on the road.

After three weeks we finally picked up our BushTracker from the factory. As usual they had done an awesome job in fixing the damage, it took longer than they first thought because of some water damage that involved removing and replacing all the internal walls at the rear of the van plus a section of flooring was also replaced. Also I had BT repair a cracked ceiling panel near the bed. How that happened I have no idea other than possibly hitting my head whilst standing on the shoe cupboard, I certainly don't recall doing it. 

Mysterious cracks and damage appeared on the ceiling.

Above and below, the caravan getting the damage repaired 

Prior to leaving the factory Daniel from Leisure Entertainment came to make sure the Oyster Sat was working properly after having its LNB replaced, it's just as well because it wasn't. After an hour of checking everything over he then discovered that the LNB had been fitted in the same way it came off and it was out of its settings, we had always complained that our signal strength wasn't very good and that gusty wind would cause the signal to drop out. Well after realising that and refitting it in the correct position it tuned in straight away and signal quality was up in the high 90's

Finally after that delay we hit the road, heading to Kilcoy for the night. 1/2 way there we got smashed by a huge storm that threw rain down like rivers at us, visibility was about zero and we crawled along with our hazard lights flashing. Pulling into the free camp at Kilcoy the rain miraculously stopped. It was then we found we had a water leak in the ceiling, the same place where the panel had been replaced. We had no choice but to return to the factory the next morning, fortunately the guys were quick to find the problem, a screw had become loose on one of the original solar panels. The panel was taken off and new sikaflex was used to reseal and attach the panel back on. 

So take two and away we go again, this time we got past Kilcoy but we did stop at Blackbutt again .... yep, the Bakery lured us in again, this time it wasn't the Jacks Ribs that won us over but the Rodeo Pie .... Bloody Hell if this place doesn't make the best pies in Australia it would be up there that's for certain. 

With our stomachs full we ventured on before stopping at a free camp site 'Mothers of ducks lagoon' It was here that I heard the familiar "We have a water leak" Grrrrr ... water was seeping out under the shower door, a quick check of the HWS system and I found no problem there, shower taps and connections all fine, eventually I discovered a split hose that carries water from the potable tank to the drink tap. The easiest fix was to isolate it, so I just cut the hose underneath the van so if the pump was turned on accidentally any water flow did not enter the van. When I'm home I will fit a new high pressure hose, whilst I'm at it I'll fit a water filter and new tap as well. 

Another job to do is replace the chine bars, some know them as girder straps, they are a strengthening brace made from steel flat bar or rod that is welded below the drawbar of the caravan. It's fairly common for the early BushTracker's to snap the original rod, the fix is to cut it off and weld on 40mm x 12mm flat bar onto 40mm square hangers which is welded the bottom of the drawbar. To get us home without stressing the drawbar I have welded up the break. 

Above is the broken chine bar, below is what I will change it to

Our reason for heading down the way we did was to catch up with good mates Kimbo & Ned, we arranged to meet at Bretti Reserve in NSW not far from Gloucester, it was a very scenic drive but the last section was coming down some very steep hills, even using all my lower gears and adjusting the caravans brakes to get more stopping power the Landcruisers brakes were stinking hot. I have since found out that the disc rotors have overheated and I intend to replace them with some better DBA T3 rotors and better disc pads, another job for home. 

Catching up with our mates is always good fun, the weather was stinking hot though and without a river flowing by us it would have not been as enjoyable. Three days of sitting around, in and out of the river and it was time to say our goodbyes, hopefully they will make the trip West for our next catch up. 

Bretti Reserve

The day we left I was not expecting to get to my brothers place in Canberra but that's what we did, it was a decent day's drive and we had to stop and seek shelter from a hail storm that came pelting down.  I did not want to get hail damage especially after just having the caravan repaired let alone damage to our Landcruiser. All was good though and after 30 minutes or so we were able to venture on. We arrived at my Bro's place late in the afternoon. It's always good to see Roger & Cheryl, we may only speak a few times a year but we just catch up as if it was only last week, I was particularly taken by Rogers Porsche 911E, a beautiful old classic in mint condition. Poor Old Rog has just had a knee replacement and wasn't able to drive which was not good for his sanity. Roger also had a great collection of guns which like everything he does was given 100% effort. 

Leaving Canberra the next day we travelled through Cooma and the Snowy Mountains, eventually coming down to Cann River where we stopped at the beautiful Bellbird Creek Hotel. The owner Jurgen kindly allows camping behind the hotel, it is lovely location and we were quite taken by the place, and then we found out it was for sale ....... $450k freehold with licence.

No we didn't buy it, but had we been 10 or 20 years younger and a lot fitter we could have seen ourselves doing so. 

Bellbird Creek Hotel
A night at Bellbird Creek and then onto Kurumburra where long time friends have moved to. Rob & Marg had a horrendous experience in their old neighbourhood where a younger drunken lout targeted them with his car after they intervened and stopped him assaulting his girlfriend. Both were injured after being hit by the idiots car, Marg receiving some very serious injuries. Plenty of charges have been directed at the driver including attempted murder and he should be put away for a while. Physically our friends are healing, but mentally they are doing it tough so it was just awesome that we were able to drop in and talk about other things and have a few laughs. 

After our visit it was a relatively short drive to Mount Eliza where we were staying at Vickie's sister Sue's home for a week.