THURSDAY 18 APRIL LAIDLEY TO ASPLEY 100kms
We talked for a while to a couple in a neighbouring van, who were originally from Victoria – they saw our number plates and made themselves known. They were an electrician and an ex-teacher. They were now permanently on the road and do fruit and vegie packing. They had been in Laidley for the vegetable harvest in the area, and were about to head to Bowen for the tomato season. They indicated that they made quite adequate money doing the packing. We found it an interesting insight into that way of life.
We set out for the suburbs of Brisbane.
I directed John around what was shown as a ring route on my map, to miss the city centre. It was not really a great ring route – there were lots of uphill starts at traffic lights and stop/start work. If we have to go back via Ipswich and Toowoomba I decided we would give the ring route a miss and go the long way round via the motorway and toll road and miss the hilly parts with the van on.
John felt the brakes were a bit soft. Maybe we’d worn them out yesterday, coming down the range?
We booked into the Aspley Acres Caravan Park. At $110.70 for the week, it was cheaper than the nearby Big 4 one, but did not have a pool, and there were lots of permanent residents. It was fairly noisy from the main road out the front, but adequate. There was a hypermart next door and I walked there for a paper and bread for lunch.
After setting up and having lunch, we walked around to the local bowls club. John booked in for a game on Saturday. He tried to pressure me into playing with the ladies, but I successfully resisted. It cost $7.50 to play, anyway, and I would prefer to conserve the money.
We went to the hypermart and I bought some silverside for John’s tea. He bought a Railway Tycoon computer game from ToysRUs. I made him buy some decent leather walking sandals – he had a big split under his foot, caused by wearing thongs. Back at the van, he realized that his glasses were missing and went back, eventually finding them in the shoe shop. He uses two sets of specs – one lot for normal getting about, and another lot for looking at anything close up – it is not unusual for him to mislay a set when swapping them around.
I phoned J, yet again, and explained where we were. At least he did answer his phone, this time. He gave us the name of the man in Brisbane who manufactures our solar panels. And that was the full extent of his assistance! With hindsight, I wished we’d kept a good chunk of the thousands we paid him, subject to satisfactory performance of the system he set up for us. We certainly would not be recommending him to any travellers who might ask about solar power installation – I doubt he fully realizes the power of word of mouth marketing! I will also let Trakmaster know what we think of his services, though I did get the impression recently that they were cool on him too.
It was too late today to get on to the solar panel man. John had a couple of phone calls with the people at Bushtracker. They were, understandably, very reluctant to have anything to do with a van that was not one of theirs, but did not say an outright no. But it looked like the panel man was the best avenue, for the moment.
Having booked in here for a week, I hoped we’d be able to do some tourist things, as well as get the power sorted.
We had pencilled in 6th May at the Sunshine Coast, in case Bushtracker would look at the van, but really did not think that would come off.
Phoned daughter to let her know our saga. One of her friends just died from an asthma attack, which rather put our woes into a different perspective.
Checked in with the house sitter. There appeared to be an issue with the home phone not going to message bank, so John would have to contact Telstra about that.
A friend from school and Uni days lives in Brisbane and I thought there would be a chance to meet up with her again, but could not find her number in the phone book.
Tea was Greek salad and coleslaw, with silverside too for John. The heat seems to have really diminished my appetite.
So – to sleep, with much background urban noise and the smell of the city, instead of the wonderful bush. This was not what we had in mind for this trip!