This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2003 Travels April 8

TUESDAY 8 APRIL     HOME TO YEA     80kms.

We have never been known for early starts on the first day of a trip, but today had to set a record that, hopefully, will never be beaten!

Left home at 5pm.

It was a surprise that we got away at all, this day.

Yesterday, John completed most of his building work on the cot and change table. I’d worked on Sunday and yesterday, thoroughly rubbing linseed oil into them, and then applying a coat of sealer over that. The finishing touches were completed about 11am this morning! The cot and change table would be picked up and shipped by professional removalists, to Canberra – which daughter was arranging. (Later, because her work involved moving her belongings overseas, she had the items valued. We were amazed that the cot alone was valued at over $2000! An endorsement of John’s work)

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John then cleaned up his shed, located and packed the camping gear, his extra tools and the like. The packing of Truck came together really quickly. Room was made and my Barina car was moved up through the backyard and into the shed.

John took truck to fill up at the local servo – 97cpl. He also filled the 23 litre jerry can of spare fuel that we carry.

I’d done the van packing well in advance, whilst John was woodworking, and yesterday cooked chicken maryland pieces to go in the fridge for tea, our first night on the road.

I think we needed to feel that we were actually on the move, before something else intervened. 80kms was better than none!

We travelled our usual route north over the Great Dividing Range, to Yea, arriving there just as dusk was falling. We took an overnight site at the Yea Family Caravan Park, that allowed us to stay hitched up. $18.

We ate the pre-cooked chicken I’d made yesterday, with some coleslaw – also pre-prepared.

The night turned really cold. Winter had come early to Victoria.

I thought our house sitter – L – was really surprised that we actually managed to leave today. She had been back at uni for weeks by now, and living in the back part of the house, sharing the kitchen – an arrangement that worked well. She’d watched the recent rather frantic activity with some bemusement. She said she would – kind-of – miss us, as she had enjoyed having people to come home to, and would be a bit lonely again, at first.

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L checking out the finished cot

I hoped the two cats would still be alive when we got home again – they were getting so old.

After all our original lovely plans, we now had about a week to get to to Adels Grove, in time to work over Easter. Via Canberra, so John could meet his first grandchild.

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2003 Travels March-April

BEFORE THIS YEAR’S TRIP……

We had been asked to return to work at Adels Grove, where we worked for several weeks in 2002. But this year, we intended to see out the full tourist season there. I had been adamant that I did not want to cook, again, but was happy to take on the other roles assigned to the women. John would rotate over the various men’s tasks.

We were to be there a few days before Easter, which was mid April this year. Our original plan was to leave home as soon as the bowls season finished, in March, and travel a round-about route north, taking about a month to do some sightseeing along the way.

As usual, our plans were things made only for changing, or derailing!

The white patch of skin on an inner ankle, that had irritated me while we were at Doomadgee last year, turned into an open sore which was diagnosed as a varicose ulcer. As I didn’t even have varicose veins, this came as a considerable shock. According to the surgeon, her intervention was the only way to repair the area. Apparently the weakened vein valves causing the problem, were a legacy of my pregnancies, decades earlier.

So, instead of being up near Bendigo, in late February, helping daughter with her new born son, I was recuperating from surgery, at home. Daughter and newborn had to come and visit me! Infections hampered recovery time, and it was late March before I received the all clear to resume normal life, albeit wearing compression stockings for much of the time. That was not going to be fun in the tropical conditions at Adels Grove.

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Recuperating and meeting grandson

By the time I was ready to travel, John had been persuaded to make a very fancy blackwood cot and changing table for his first grandchild, due to be born in late March. The cot was to be a sleigh style, but able to be turned into a single bed when the child was ready for same. By the time the timber arrived from our favourite Tasmanian mill, the boy had been born and March was almost ended. John could have been spotted, slinking around stores that sold baby furniture. trying to surreptitiously take measurements and jot down design details, while I tried to distract staff by acting like I thought an intending shop lifter might.

We had Truck serviced and given a “really thorough overhaul” at a Land Rover dealer we’d begun to use as a closer option to the Frankston one where we’d bought Truck six years ago. John explained to them that we were going rather remote, and needed the vehicle to be reliable. These days, after our Kimberley problems in 2000, he insisted that the wheel bearings be serviced too!


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2002 Travels December 20

FRIDAY 20 DECEMBER     YEA TO HOME     80kms

We reached home mid-morning.

Our house sitter had already departed, on her drive to visit her family, near Sydney, for the holiday period. We had already arranged, via phone and mail, that she would return to us in the new year, and mind the place, and cats, while we went off adventuring some more. It was a mutually convenient arrangement.

The house was clean and tidy, the cats well fed and happy, and L had arranged a lovely array of welcome-home things. Sweet of her!

 

And thus to unpacking, cleaning the van and Truck, doing the washing that had accumulated – since Ayr! And getting the head into Xmas mode. It looked like I would be feeding at least ten people on Xmas night, with a rather short period to plan, stock up and prepare.  Enter real life!

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Gardens well kept by our house sitter

 

THE STATISTICS FOR 2002

Kms travelled:     19,783

Kms towed:         11,998

Cost of diesel:        $2,309.42

Average fuel consumption:   8.0kms per litre

Dearest diesel:     $1.30cpl – Hells Gate Roadhouse

Cheapest diesel:   $0.78cpl – Dalby

Accommodation cost:   $2240.40

Dearest accommodation per night:  $22.50  –  Brisbane Gateway Holiday Village

Cheapest paid accommodation per night:   $6.00  –  Windorah Caravan Park

Number of different places stayed:  39

Longest stay in one place:  7 weeks – Adels Grove

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2002 Travels December 19

THURSDAY 19 DECEMBER     SHEPPARTON TO YEA     125kms

As we were not due home until tomorrow, today’s was a more leisurely start, and a short stage to Yea. NOW we have slowed down!

It was a hot day, again.

Refuelled at Shepparton – 87cpl.

There was a stop for an indulgent pie and pasty  lunch for John, at a favourite bakery at Nagambie. I had sandwiches. It was pleasant by the lake there.

We reached Yea early in the afternoon. Booked into the Yea Family Park – $18.

 

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The last overnight for the van, this trip

After the basic set up, we went for a wander around town. It is a very pretty place, so this was quite enjoyable walking.

I commented to John that this was much nicer than the only previous time I’d stayed in Yea – some twenty years previous. Then, I’d spent several hours in the local hospital, suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, due to a faulty hatchback fastening on my car, that allowed exhaust fumes to be sucked in as I drove.

Today was a much more pleasant one than those we’d spent coming through NSW.

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2002 Travels December 18

WEDNESDAY 18 DECEMBER     SHEPPARTON

After breakfast, set out to drive across to Bendigo, via Elmore.

It was about 125kms each way, but interesting enough, as we had not driven this route before.

Met daughter, and spent a couple of hours with her, at the Mall shops, wandering about, and drinking coffee. She was decidedly pregnant now – only a couple of months to go. It was great to see her, but all too brief, before we made our way back to Shepparton.


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2002 Travels December 17

TUESDAY 17 DECEMBER     FORBES TO SHEPPARTON     520kms

Yet another long day of driving.

It did not have to be this way. We had told the house sitter we would not be home until 20 December, so we could have slowed down a bit!

Again, we travelled through the broad acres of the sheep/wheat belt of NSW.

Refuelled at Jerilderie – 92cpl.

At the Victorian border, the road changed from the Newell to the Goulburn Valley Highway. Since we had three nights to “spare”, I persuaded John that we should stop at Shepparton so I could try to arrange a visit with daughter. He did not want to deviate from the straight line home, with the van, but agreed we could park up in Shepparton, and do a day drive over to Bendigo, if I was able to arrange it.

We booked into the Shepparton East Caravan Park – $18 a night. Could not get into the one by the lake, where we’d stayed before. This was a nuisance, because the park was out of town and we had to drive to get to everything. Again, there were thus no pleasant walking options for me, while John napped or played on the computer – just surrounding road edges, mixing it with the traffic.

I phoned daughter and arranged to meet her for a while tomorrow, in Bendigo. They live a little way out of the city, and since her husband was home, and he and John do not mix well, we arranged a rendezvous at the shops in town.

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2002 Travels December 16

MONDAY 16 DECEMBER     MOREE TO FORBES     540kms

Today was another long driving day. I would really have liked to slow down just a bit, but John was focussed on home. My legs got quite crampy, sitting for long periods without a break, or any exercise, and I was sure it was not good for our circulation.

Today was my 57th birthday – and it was a lousy way to spend it, too! Hot, dry, dusty.

Refuelled at Moree – 82cpl. This seemed to still be a Qld type of price.

We passed through the broad acre farming country of central NSW, on and on, through the day. The only real area of interest was the more hilly country around Coonabarabran, with the Warrumbungles in the distance. From here on, we were on ground we’d covered before.

Refulled at the hamlet of Tomingley – 97cpl. Big difference from what we had been paying recently.

I was relieved when John decided to stop for the day at Forbes, about 4pm.

We booked into the Carapark, for $16. Did a quick set up, just for overnight, again. John immediately decided to have a nap and went soundly to sleep.

I needed some exercise, so went for a walk down the side of River Road, where the park was located. Given the name, I hoped I might come to the river, or a similarly attractive spot, but it was just a narrow road that went on much further than I could walk, so eventually retraced my way. In all, walked for about an hour and stretched out some of the kinks.

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Hitched up at Forbes

I’d hoped we might have a meal “out” – maybe a counter tea, or a take away Chinese meal, just something a little festive, but John wanted to keep Truck hitched up and we were too far from the shops to walk it in the dusk.

So, like yesterday, it was then shower, cook a basic meal and fall into bed.

I’d had much, much better birthdays – in fact, this was amongst the worst!

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