This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2013 Travels July 4

THURSDAY 4 JULY     COPI HOLLOW

It was so quiet out here. I slept really well and, despite the previous early night, didn’t wake up until 8am.

During the morning, the wind got up and it was quite gusty through the day.

We spent the morning relaxing, reading, computing.

Lawned lakefront reserve at Copi Hollow

After an early lunch, John tackled the grey water problem. He’d packed a small heat gun, in case of needing to work on the hot water service again, so he used this to soften, then remove without damaging it, a section of the drain hose under the bus. He then poked a piece of small diameter pipe up the opening – and liquid began pouring out! He had been smart enough not to be directly under the pipe he was working on……..

It drained for ages and was a bit smelly, but nowhere near as bad as I’d anticipated. There must have been over fifty litres in there.

The pipe was left open, and draining, to be repaired tomorrow.

It was all not as hard, nor as nasty, as John had feared. Now he knew what to do, this was something else that could  be fixed if it happened again.

He thought the problem might be related to the fact that there were a number of right-angled joins in the drain system, rather than one smooth curve. I would try to lessen fats and larger food particles from going down the sink hole. To that end, I made up three small, square flat strainers, from my wire mesh. One can be slapped over the sink outlet as soon as the plug is pulled out, so wash up water will filter through it. The actual plug hole was really small and I couldn’t find, back in the hardware store, a ready made strainer small enough to fit inside it, hence my home grown solution.

After that success, took Couey for a walk along the levee, again.

Welcome to Redfern???

On the way, we noticed a back section of the park dwellings that seemed a bit divided from the rest. I wasn’t sure if it was an exclusive little enclave, or what, but there was a sign in front of it saying “Welcome to Redfern”. Hmmm……A joke in poor taste?

The wind had dropped a bit by evening and there was another great sunset.

Tea was steak, mushrooms, potatoes, beans.


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2013 Travels July 3

WEDNESDAY 3 JULY     BROKEN HILL TO COPI HOLLOW     110kms

We got up earlier than usual, to pack up. That went smoothly, and we were out of the park by 9.30am.

Started off driving the two vehicles separately, because John was going to the local caravan repair place to see if they could fix the grey water drainage.

This business had not been open for the last two days (I wonder how the guy with the damaged wheel fared?). Today, they said they couldn’t do anything to help us until next Friday week! John booked a slot for then, in case, but we really did not want to still be hanging around these parts by then.

Fuelled up both vehicles. Diesel was $1.499 cpl.

Went to Home Hardware, where a very helpful young man got John some hose fittings and pipe lengths, suitable for the Bus drainage system, including a very small diameter piece that could be used to poke into hoses to try to unblock same. I bought a small piece of flyscreen mesh, so I could make a basic sink strainer, to try to reduce food particles heading for the grey water tank.

In the hardware shop car park, hitched up Terios to Bus. Great service at that shop – a very big contrast to the caravan place.

Bought a pull apart loaf for lunch, at the Woolworths centre.

At midday we left Broken Hill. It was a pleasant drive SE towards Menindee, through slightly hilly country initially.

We drove straight to the Copi Hollow Caravan Park, which was rather like entering a time warp. It resembled  what I remembered of coastal caravan parks  of about the 1960’s, with streets of old vans with attached solid annexe structures.

Lots of permanent structures at Copi Hollow; amenities block centre right.

But there was also a very nice, grassy, lakefront camping area. with power, if wanted, but only untreated lake water available. Knowing how much farming, cotton growing and hence chemical use occurred further upstream on the Darling, I wouldn’t be using this water supply for anything other than washing dishes.

We found a great spot, railed off on one side, so unlikely to have anyone else park close by. There were only three other rigs, spaced around the water front area. Our powered choice cost $25 per night. It was some distance from the amenities block, but the lakefront position more than made up for that inconvenience.

Prime waterfront camp at Copi Hollow….

There seemed to be few other people occupying the park, which belonged to the Broken Hill Speedboat Club. In summer, I don’t think it would be a great place for the casual tourist, because there would be much boat activity on the lake, but at this time of year it was very quiet.

The lake – Copi Hollow – was quite extensive, and full. Not always the case – in times of drought and with the way the man made water storages are managed, the lakes system can dry up. That would impact heavily on the way the Menindee Lakes are used as a playground for Broken Hill residents.

Some of the Menindee Lakes system. Copi Hollow the small lake, centre left. (Zoom)

After setting up, and a late lunch, we sat for a while enjoying the view across the water and the sound of little waves lapping the banks in front of us. Really serene and peaceful.

Took Couey for a walk along the channel that linked Copi Hollow to the main Menindee Lake. The banks were raised up, levee style, so there was a clear walk route in the scrubby area. Dog could free range and had a great time following all the new scents, though she never ventures very far from us. We walked about 3kms.

Back at camp, I took photos of the dusk and sunset across the lake – absolutely beautiful, and alone worth coming here for.

After our late lunch, tea was tomato soup, bread and cheese rolls, and yoghurt.

John discovered he could only get one channel on the TV, but it was the ABC, so could be worse.

Since there is only lake water available here, we would have to be careful with our water usage from the Bus tank.

I was ready for bed by 8.30pm! My internal time clock certainly changes when we travel. I think it relates to spending much more time in the open air, and in natural light.


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2013 Travels July 2

TUESDAY 2 JULY     BROKEN HILL

As I was having my breakfast outside under the awning, a departing caravan went past, with a horrible noise coming from a wheel. People were yelling at the driver to stop – he must not have realized the screeching racket was coming from his rig. The wheel was very wobbly. A couple of the wheel studs had sheared right off. He said he’d had a tyre repaired, on that wheel, a day or two before he even got to Broken Hill. He said the tyre place had used a rattle gun and must have over-tightened the nuts.

It was quite scary to think that he’d probably been doing a fair speed on the highway, with a wheel like that – because the missing studs were nowhere to be found on the site he’d occupied. He set off again – very slowly – to limp around town to see if he could somehow get it fixed.

We got going about 11am. Drove to daughter’s office and I went in and collected the glasses. I thanked her, politely, refused to engage in any discussion, and left.

I wanted to drive out to The Pinnacles, about 20kms SW of town, to see them closer up. The road was unsealed, but quite good to drive on. The first venture of Terios “off road”.

Closer up, they looked really interesting, so I was looking forward to some walking and exploring there. Then we came to a locked gate with No Entry on, and were passed by a mining type truck that had come through it.

The Pinnacles

I took some photos from a greater distance than I’d hoped, and we turned back.

Different Pinnacle shapes

Subsequent research, which I hadn’t thought to do before hand, indicated that there was mining for silver, lead and zinc at The Pinnacles, for a hundred years, from the 1880’s. It seemed the closed mine was now re-opened.

After that anti-climax, drove back to town, to the Perilya Twin Lakes Park again, to give dog a good walk.

Being a week day, the adjacent Perilya Mine was working and of interest to the male of the establishment. I preferred the park without the background noise and dust.

Mining memorabilia at Perilya Park

With our tourist venture for the day completed, John decided he could fit in a game of bowls, so it was a quick change for him at Bus, and to the bowls club. I kept Terios, in order to do some shopping, then had computer time and walked dog again.

I bought a sink plunger to try to unblock the grey water tank, which had not received any attention since Gol Gol. As a plumber, I was a definite failure. It didn’t occur to me that there was an outlet from the shower, too, into the tank – and it was lower than the sink. The shower base was being used to store things like shoes and dog food. All I gained from the plunger exercise was a big, unpleasant, clean up job of the shower and its contents, after my efforts  caused some of the grey water tank contents to take the line of least resistance.

I collected John from bowls, where he’d had an enjoyable afternoon that took his mind off personal issues. He was less than impressed with my DIY plumbing effort, but did concede there was definitely a problem. I thought we’d established that days ago!

I made tea of ham steaks, pineapple, potato wedges, eggs.

After tea watched an interesting episode of a TV program called Kitchen Cabinet – personal encounters with various politicians on their home turf.


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2013 Travels July 1

MONDAY 1 JULY     BROKEN HILL

First thing, I trotted up to the office to try to book us in for an extra night. Luckily, we were able to have just one more night on the site we occupied. How good was that, in school holiday time, in a very busy park?

I did a load of washing, and walked dog around the park. Daughter appeared about 11.30 and she and her father set out for Menindee, in her car.

Menindee Lake

I went shopping for foodstuffs, leaving Couey in Terios while I did so. Had some computer time in between trips to the washing line, and began to organize the cooking of fried rice for tonight’s tea. Daughter had wanted us to eat at her place again, but John didn’t want to – partly because it would be a late meal, and partly because she had talked of making an eggplant moussaka. Definitely not his sort of food. It would also take the pressure off daughter to rush back to make a meal.

I really enjoyed the calm and leisurely day.

Unfortunately, it was evident when they arrived back, about 5pm, that the day had not been a successful father-daughter bonding exercise! Father was deposited, daughter drove away, with no farewells or see you laters. I guess the dog had a good day out, though.

I presumed, then, that there would just be the two of us for tea.

John was not happy, obviously. A bit later, he couldn’t find the glasses he needs for any close up work – reading, TV, computing. He hoped he hadn’t left them in daughter’s car, He was just about to phone her, when a text came in saying that she had found them and that I – and only I – could collect them from her office tomorrow, after 10am! Efforts to arrange to collect them sooner were not successful.

We passed a pleasant evening playing Yahtzee and Mhing – a card game – about all John could manage with limited vision.

John thought the Menindee area was attractive, so he wanted to go and spend a few days at a place he saw today.

Guess I hadn’t needed to book that extra night, after all……


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2013 Travels June 30

SUNDAY 30 JUNE     BROKEN HILL

Daughter had said that she had to go into the office to do a few end-of-financial year things, in the morning, so we had arranged that she would contact us when finished and we would go do some walking.

At 3pm, after we’d waited, and lunched, decided to do it alone, and drove to the Perilya Twin Lakes Park, where it was pleasing to find they allowed dogs on leash.

The park was lovely and the walk around its perimeter long enough for us to feel exercised.

Perilya Park

The adjacent Perilya lead and silver mine contrasted with the green lushness of the park, which had been established by the mining company.

Part of the Perilya Mine

Drove up to the Line of Lode, as I wanted to take some photos looking over Broken Hill.

We had, on previous visits, explored the cafe and display centre, located up here, and the Miners’ Memorial, in its distinctive rusty building. The huge mining waste “hill” shows the line of where the original ore lode stretched, in the low jagged range that was the “broken hill”. The position on top makes these buildings visible from much of the town.

On the Line of Lode

From the top, one looks out over the main, central part of the town, in one direction, and South Broken Hill in the other. It is very much a physically divided town. As well as the Line of Lode bisecting the town, the east-west railway runs just below the hill line.

Broken Hill central city area, north side of Line of Lode

I was hoping to be able to take a photo that showed the Pinnacles in the distance, having previously bought a Woodroffe painting showing these hills. They were more distant than I realized.

The railway from Line of Lode. Pinnacles just visible in distance

At the adjacent visitor centre, I collected some tourist material. Looked for polo shirts, but could not find any that tempted purchase.

On the way to the Line of Lode, John had “discovered” where the Bowls Club was located.

To Woolworths to shop for food, but with no idea whether I was catering for two or three, tonight, then back to Bus.

Daughter eventually appeared. She hadn’t gotten up till 3pm! She stayed to tea, of fettucine with a tomato sauce (no meat!), followed by strawberries with yoghurt and cream.

After some discussion about possible arrangements for tomorrow, it was decided that daughter should take John out to Menindee, for a look around out there, and take her dog out for the treat of a day out for it. I said I wanted to stay at camp with our dog, and do our washing. I quite looked forward to just dog and me, for the day!

We planned that, on Tuesday, John would spend the day doing handyman work around daughter’s house and garden. There were quite a few things she wanted done, and found it hard to find tradesmen she trusted – or the money to pay for same. She had arranged to be off work on Tuesday, so tomorrow I would see if I could book us an extra day here.

My wrist seemed almost better, in terms of pain. Just the occasional twinge if pressure was put on it at certain angles. But the bruised area still looked bad – pretty sure I had somehow broken a blood vessel in there.


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2013 Travels June 29

SATURDAY 29 JUNE     BROKEN HILL

Up at 8.30 again. After seeing to dog with a walk around a large open area at the end of the park, followed by her breakfast, I drove to the Centro shops. Got papers, postcards and some food supplies.

This trip was going to be an exercise in fridge management, probably with frequent small re-stocks the norm. We would certainly see whether we could manage extended trips without the supplementary Chescold portable fridge that had travelled in the Landrover. Both of us now had bodies that could do without the lifting a heavy fridge in and out of the vehicle, every time we moved camp.

I had been making adjustments to the way I used the fridge, as we went. One of the two plastic containers I bought to go where there should be crisper drawers, now holds a night’s supply of beer and Zero cans for John – five or six all told. The other holds vegies – limited capacity here equals frequent shopping, especially as I like to eat salads most lunch times. John now had a small bottle of the tomato juice he liked to drink, instead of a two litre one. I had started to sometimes eat an orange for breakfast, instead of drinking juice. So far, so good……

The indulgence of a morning orange juice…..

John spent some morning time on his laptop. I read the papers I’d bought.

My step-daughter showed up after lunch, later than the mid morning we had expected. She brought her dog with her, who immediately tried to eat Couey, so had to be taken home again. Not going to be a friendship there.

Daughter really wanted us all to go out to Silverton, though we had been there lots of times before. We loaded her into the back seat of Terios, with difficulty – it really was not designed for a sizeable adult, and it seemed the seatbelt did not work – it wouldn’t stretch far enough. Couey liked having company in the back, though!

No problems parking in Silverton. As the name suggests, it was the site of a silver “rush” in the late 1800’s and quickly grew to a town large enough to have a rail connection and station. But the much richer finds in nearby Broken Hill caused people to leave, and it became an “almost” ghost town. A handful of people remained, some picturesque old buildings still stand, it became the base for a number of artists, and also some film making. So it continues to exist in all its quirky glory.

Part of Silverton’s commercial centre – Horizon Gallery and Beyond 39 Dips

First stop was at our favourite Horizon Gallery, though we were determined not to buy anything. We already had four works from there – and no more wall space at home. The artist Albert Woodroffe was there and we talked with him about his work, for a little while. God, it was tempting to buy! There was very little of his late wife’s works left there now; I do treasure the two of hers that we have.

Daughter spent ages browsing and talking in another shop, 39Dips, so called because there are that many of them between Broken Hill and Silverton. I found it a bit kitchy.

Abandoned again…..

Then we walked around the Silverton perimeter and Couey had an off lead run. She was not very good at being tied up outside shops while we all went in – that old separation anxiety.

Silverton

Had a beer each at the Silverton Hotel which, like the rest of the village, had changed little since our last visit.

Once used on the railway……

And so, back to Broken Hill. Daughter had invited us to tea, so we had to first go via the shops, so she could buy supplies to make us the roast dinner she planned. It was after 5pm by now, so it was clearly going to be a much later meal than we were used to. Deposited her at her place, then went back to Bus and relaxed for a while.

Back across town to daughter’s place at about 7.30pm. Left dog to sleep in Terios in the driveway, which she seemed to accept with no problems. On his own, we found the other dog quite a friendly, eager-to-please fellow, but he did need some consistent training. He was a strange mix of ancestry – beagle, red cattle dog and something else. Not long after we arrived, he peed on the carpet in the living room – then daughter realized that he’d been shut inside all day without relief.  Poor dog!

We ate about 8.30pm. Obviously, daughter had gone to some effort to produce the roast lamb and vegies, which were very nice. She then told us she doesn’t eat meat much as she no longer likes the taste…..hmmm, not sure how we were meant to take that.

We went back to Bus about 10.30, watched tennis on TV for a while before bed.


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2013 Travels June 28

FRIDAY 28 JUNE     GOL GOL TO BROKEN HILL     323kms

We seemed to be settling into a sleep till 8.30 routine! I remained surprised that Couey was so good and didn’t stir from her seat nest until I was up and dressed.

After breakfast, John took out the stopcock part and drove off to get a new one. It seemed he had, tacitly, agreed that there was a problem, after all!

I packed up as much as I could and took Couey for a couple of short walks around the grounds, while we waited……and waited…..

It was nearly midday when John got back. The park manager had stopped by to see if we were leaving. I offered to pay for an extra day because we were still here, but he said no to that.

John fitted the new part, but still nothing drained out of the tank. So I then wondered if the outlet was blocked by grease or the like? Would just have to worry about it later. It was high time we got going.

Refuelled just up the road at Buronga. $1.509 cpl. This time my calculation had us achieving 5.8kms per litre. Better fuel economy on flatter ground, than going over the Dividing Range.

Stopped at Orange World, a citrus farm sales outlet on the road to Wentworth. Bought oranges and mandarins. As had become normal, to get out to buy the fruit, I had to deal with dog jumping at me and the door, frantic to get out too. It was so weird, how desperate she was to get out then, but once we were camped up, was happy to wander in and out with no drama.

There were fairly frequent “comfort” stops for John.

Stopped beside the Silver City Highway

The skies ahead of us were vast and quite dramatic, with big cloud banks. I wasn’t sure whether rain was forecast, or not. Somehow, the large windscreen area of Bus accentuated the sense of space outside. Perhaps the small Defender windscreen had limited our outlook more than we realized at the time.

I experimented with taking photos from the moving Bus. Stopping to take photos was not going to happen, with dog prone to making such a fuss. John had never been encouraging of photo stops for me, anyway. I was fairly pleased with my photo results through the large front window.

Through the Bus window…..

We had a proper stop at Popiltah Lake, for a late lunch, and to give dog a ball chasing session.

Rest area at Lake Popiltah
Lake Popiltah

Reached the Broken Hill Tourist Park just after 4pm. local (S.A.) time. So 4.30 to us. Again, I’d phoned yesterday to make a booking.

I was so pleased with the en-suite site we’d been allocated. It was huge. There was a wood chip base – acceptable in this arid region. We were on the end of a row, against a fence, so the site was quiet and private, and the bathroom roomy and clean. The dog had plenty of roaming room on a long rope.

Broken Hill site

Putting the awning up was easier, but I thought we were still not doing things in the right sequence.

The site cost $41.40 a night, after discount.

After we were set up, texted John’s daughter to say we had arrived and invited her to come share a fish and chip dinner with us. After a while, she phoned – just as John was about to set off to buy our tea. That was lucky!

Having visitors in Bus was so much easier than in the van, because the beds could be used as lounge seating, even though the dinette table only works for two.

The fish and chips , that John went out and bought, were not great. It was a long way from the sea!

Daughter didn’t stay long, but said she had arranged to take some days off from work while we were in town. That was positive, if easy, as she was now running her own business.

My arm  was not as sore today, but looked really dire – black to the elbow and bruise streak 4-5cms wide.


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2013 Travels June 27

THURSDAY 27 JUNE     GOL GOL

We slept until 8.30 again. I was first up, took Couey for a walk, then fed her. After that, she just wanted to stay inside, close to John, while I had my breakfast sitting outside.

John and I spent much of the morning using our laptops. The new Telstra modem gadget worked well and allowed us both to be online at once – a big improvement over the previous dongle. I looked up directions for setting up the awning!

A few days ago, John’s daughter had talked about us bringing her an exercise bike she was probably going to buy, from Mildura. John phoned her to see about that, but then thought she may have changed her mind. She told him she would investigate it, but then we didn’t hear any more from her through the day.

I walked down to the river bank and took some photos. The Murray River level was down a little from when we were here last year, but still at a healthy height.

Murray River at Gol Gol

After lunch, drove into Mildura. Compared to last year, it was so good to be able to get in the car and go somewhere. On the way in, drove into and had a look around the river side caravan park at Buronga. It looked much better than where we are. Whilst not en-suite, the sites were spacious and the outlook over the river much nicer – not blocked by cabins like at Gol Gol. Thought we’d go there next time.

Did a supermarket shop, mostly for fruit and vegies, having not previously stocked up because of the quarantine zone.

At Auto Barn, bought window shades for my side windows in Bus, to keep the direct sun off as we are going along. Yesterday, it had become quite hot through the big window.

At a pet supply shop, bought a couple of dog chew bones, but not the sort I’d hoped to get. I’d managed to leave Couey’s good one at home. It occupies her for ages, without getting noticeably smaller.

Back at camp, took dog for a walk along the nearby street. John came too, but he couldn’t go very far, so we turned back.

John had suggested spag bol for tea, but I’d bought some fresh fettucine instead. He loved that.

Couey came inside at teatime and just crashed. Somehow, she’d had a tiring day.

I didn’t think the sullage hose was draining the grey water tank. If that was the case, it must be getting pretty full! Only a dribble seemed to be coming out of the hose John had attached to the outlet. I went out in the dark after doing the tea dishes, to have a look at it. Thought that the stop cock tap wasn’t turning anything. It seemed to be both bent and loose. I wondered if it had been like that since we bought Bus, last year? John didn’t seem convinced there was a problem, but said he’d investigate tomorrow, as he was watching football on TV.

The bruise on my arm looked worse today – darker and almost up to the elbow.


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2013 Travels June 26

WEDNESDAY 26 JUNE     BENDIGO TO GOL GOL     438kms

We slept surprisingly late in the morning – it was 8.30 when I woke up. The beds, though narrow, were now quite comfortable, with their memory foam base.

Couey seemed to have decided that her night time bed would be the front passenger seat. I was pleased – and surprised – that she’d made no attempt to disturb us until we woke ourselves up.

It had been a cold night. There was frost on Bus and Terios when I got up, but inside Bus had been quite snug. It must be well insulated  although the large areas of glass windows would always be a source of cold or heat. That’s one drawback of this style of motorhome.

It was a frosty night.

Packing up went smoothly. The hitching up of Terios to Bus was easy. On the level ground there were no problems at all. We got away at 10.30. I was pleased with this caravan park and the fact they were very welcoming of dogs. We said we’d use it on future Bendigo visits. (Unfortunately, by the time we returned to town, their policy had changed to a “no dog” one.)

I had consulted my trusty paper maps and was able to direct us on a route that circled around the busy centre of town, to the Calder Highway. It was an easy way to go.

The first 100 – 150kms or so, today, seemed to take us ages. The collation of pills that John now had to take caused him to require several “comfort stops” in the mornings. We no sooner got going than he needed to stop again, it seemed. And each time we did so, the dog set up her barking act, until we were mobile again.

Had a morning tea break at a very pleasant park in the centre of Wedderburn where there was parking, toilets, tables and seats. Worth remembering that one.

We ate fruit for lunch, as we went along.

Refuelled at Wycheproof. $1.489cpl. I calculated we got 5.3kms per litre, so towing the Terios has obviously had some impact on  Bus fuel consumption.

At Sea Lake we swapped drivers and I drove to Ouyen, where we had a break in the excellent rest area there.

Reached Gol Gol at 4.30pm, having had to negotiate quite a bit of traffic through the centre of Mildura.

I’d phoned ahead this morning to book a site at the Rivergardens caravan park, asking if it was possible to be put on the same one as we’d had on our shakedown trip last year. It was not available, but the man said he’d put us on a similarly good site. He didn’t – basically because there wasn’t another like it. We were on the far side of the park, on the end of a row, so there were vehicles coming past regularly, and  Couey had to go on a really short rope. It was a small site and we had to park Terios on the road in front of the bus. The en-suite was small, with a funny little corner shower. It cost $34.20 a night, after discount.

At least there was no one on the site behind!

So neither of us was particularly impressed with the park, this time, and we said we’d suss out alternatives for the next visit.

Setting up was quick and easy, except we couldn’t remember how to put out the awning. There was some trial and error and it may not have been totally right.

I hoped we wouldn’t have too many long driving days like this one. I was really over those times.

John took Couey across the park for a ball chase along the road verge on the other side of the road.

Neither of us was very hungry after the day spent just sitting, so tea was light: soup, followed by a toastie for John and biscuits and cheese for me.

Watched TV coverage of the unexpected ALP leadership challenge and Rudd’s win. A significant event, clearly showing desperation at the prospect of an electoral wipe out. I thought the question now was to what extent Rudd would be able to lessen the scale of the loss. I didn’t think there was any way the ALP would win, Rudd or not. Unfortunately, some talented people had been lost in the turmoil of the internal factional upheavals. I wondered if the proposed election date would now be changed, and thus my plans to work in it be affected?

Yesterday, I’d developed a really sore arm, possibly from some heavy lifting when loading some of John’s stuff into Bus the day before. Maybe from gardening? Now a dark bruise had developed up along the central vein area, as if a blood vessel had burst. Strange, and it was still painful, though not quite as bad as yesterday.


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2013 Travels June 25

TUESDAY 25 JUNE     HOME TO BENDIGO     202kms

Departure day. Was it actually going to happen?

I loaded last minute things into Bus. John had to put his car onto a trickle charger, then lock up his shed. He then backed Bus out onto the road and drove the Terios out, to hitch it to Bus, for the first time since we did it under the dealer’s supervision – and that was seven months ago!

It took us a while. Being new, all the parts were quite stiff and tight. The sloping road didn’t help, either, as the car tended to move forward when we didn’t want it to. We had to move Bus forward a couple of times before the hitch “arms” would lock down as they should. By the time we achieved complete hook up, we were part way up the road! My keys were in Terios, with ignition turned to Accessories, the handbrake off, the car in neutral – all steps remembered, I hoped.

Couey, of course, chose to be uncooperative and reluctant to get on board Bus. When coaxed on with a biscuit, she commenced the loud barking and howling that was usual until we got moving. John had no tolerance for her noise, and was already on a short fuse. So it was a hurry to do a check that the external lights were all working, then get me onto Bus, and get mobile so dog would shut up.

Couey subsided into a sulky, but quiet, heap, and I began to relax, telling myself that it would all get easier with practice, just as it had done all those years ago, with hitching up the van. First time with that had not gone smoothly, either.

As we trundled along, approaching Yarra Glen, and I was reflecting on the morning’s events, I realized that – with all the drama and pressure – I hadn’t actually gone back to the house to turn out the lights and lock up! The front door, through which I had dragged dog – would be wide open to the world. Oops.

John was definitely not up for turning around and going back, so I phoned M, who agreed to go round and close up. Later, got a text saying all was well, shut down, locked up. Thanks M – owe you!

John was really pleased with the way Terios tracked behind Bus. It was nothing like towing the van, or a trailer – possibly due to it being on all four wheels? He said he couldn’t feel that the car was there at all – but at least we could see it in the reverse camera screen! He was also pleased with the ease with which Bus pulled up the range beyond Yarra Glen. Much better than Truck had, towing the van.

Had the usual toilet stop at Yea, and gave Couey a run, then on to the Lions Park at Seymour to eat our packed lunches and give dog a ball chasing session to tire her out. That park was a great stopping place – good for dog and so easy to park our rig.

Lions Park Seymour

Couey still barked when back on Bus, before we moved off, but settled down really quickly then. That might just be something we have to put up with.

Easy parking at Lions Park Seymour

The GPS, yet again, could not cope with our chosen route to Bendigo, and carried on with ceaseless mis-directions, determined to steer us to the Calder Highway!

John got really sleepy as we neared Tooborac, so I got to have my first drive of the rig for this trip. Agreed with him that towing the car was a non-event – no drama at all.

I drove as far as Junortown, on the outskirts of Bendigo, when John took over again.

We were booked into the Ascot Holiday Park at White Hills. I had selected, from my paper map book, a back road route directly there, but John preferred to follow the Garmin’s directions – exactly the same as mine!

The caravan park staff were really helpful and gave us an en-suite site where we could drive through, unhitch the car, then back Bus to exactly where we wanted it. All without drama, though it took a little while to remember how to hook the folded hitch arms up at the back of Bus.

The rig parked up for the night in Bendigo

The ensuite site cost $45 for the night, after discount. The bathroom was really nice.

Then ensued the usual trip start reshuffle of things inside. We didn’t put out the awning. John set up the new Kogan TV he had recently bought and was very pleased with the picture quality. Obviously, the new Wineguard TV aerial he had fitted to Bus at home, was working.

We took Couey for a couple of short walks around the park, before dark. She was very well behaved, and sat out the front of Bus, tethered on her rope to the bull bar, quietly guarding us. She was a bit restless, inside Bus, after tea, trying, I thought, to work out the best place to bed down at nights.

After tea, of sausages, potato, tomato and eggs, all cooked outside in the electric frypan, we drove Terios to daughter’s place on the other side of town.

Delivered presents we’d bought for grandson. He was thrilled with his new – very first – hockey stick and associated gear. He had recently taken up this sport and been using borrowed equipment. A friend of M’s was a veteran hockey player and had selected the appropriate items for a ten year old.

John fixed the email function on his computer – an earlier present from us – while we were there, and showed him how to do some other things on the computer.

It was only a short visit as we were tired after a stressful day, and they had an early start tomorrow, flying to Brisbane to visit daughter’s father there.

Couey stayed out in the Terios during our visit and seemed fine with that, in the dark.

It was nearly 10pm when we got back to Bus. Driving in Bendigo at night was soooo much easier than in Melbourne.