FRIDAY 29 APRIL HOME TO POREPUNKAH 301kms
We were up early. John still had a lot of his packing to do. Somehow, a lot had been left till the last minute. Yesterday, he’d mowed the lawns, and the exertion had left him quite breathless – bit of a worry.
Dog seemed to know something was afoot – she wanted to stay really close. Over the past couple of months, it had become evident that she had separation anxiety. This had manifested first in a pup training session when the trainer had us each leave our dog with her, then walk around a corner out of sight. It is the only time I have ever heard a dog properly scream! She was really upset. At home, she’d carried on and tried to climb the fences, if we both went out. We’d eventually solved that problem by spreading her rawhide bone with peanut butter and giving her that as we were leaving. Being a cattle dog, stomach took precedence over all else. So, us going out no longer worried her too much.
The van hitch up went smoothly. I thought we might be a bit out of practice. We were to meet up with friend M at our destination. This would be her first outing with the Troopy newly converted to a poptop camper.
Left home at 11am, on a lovely autumn day. Driving was pleasant, through Yea, Bonnie Doon, Benalla, Milawa, and thence to Porepunkah. It felt so good to be on the road, with the van, again.
The first Truck travel of any distance with the dog went fairly well. She had never been enthusiastic about car travel, unlike a lot of dogs. She would jump in alright, and accept being harnessed up, but then would bark and be agitated, until we started moving. Then she just wanted to get right down on the floor, or as close to it as her harness would allow, and stay there for the duration. Once we stopped, up she popped, and the barking routine started again, until she was let out. This pattern had developed over any short drives we’d done at home, like down to the Lake for a walk, and nothing we tried could alter the performance, even food.
Stopped in a pull-in area by the toilets at Bonnie Doon, where there was a little picnic area with a couple of tables. I’d packed lunch rolls before we left. Dog handled the nearby people and traffic alright, just wanted to stay by us.
Stopped just out of Milawa, by the roadside, because we thought dog might need a toilet stop and drink. This time, she was really scared; being on the roadside, traffic was passing close by. She panicked and got out of her harness. Luckily I managed to grab her before she did something crazy, like run on the road. More acclimatizing to this sort of thing needed!
I had booked us into an ensuite site at the dog friendly Porepunkah Pines Caravan Park. It was a pleasant park, not too large. There was frontage to the Ovens River and lots of large trees in autumn colours, shedding their leaves. Our en suite was very nice. $308 for the week, less $20.80 discount.
When we stopped in the Park, Couey, of course, was agitating loudly to get out, so I rope tied her to a nearby seat, while we backed the van in and unhitched. She was pretty good while we did that, then tethered her to the back bumper while we set up the van. Behaviour good. She seemed to be accepting of passing people, there were the occasional little barks at passing dogs.
M arrived after us, surprising, because we’d expected her to be earlier and faster than us. The site she had been allocated was too small – she had an annexe at the back of the Troopy and there was no room to put that out. She was moved to a bigger site; it was not all that level, but she was happy enough. The Park was quite full, so there were not many options. Her setting up was a bit slow – a new process.
When all was done, we got together at our van for an extended happy hour. I gave her some of the cauliflower and bacon soup brought with me, and some coleslaw, towards her tea. We had cold cooked chicken maryland pieces, brought from home for tea, too.
There was a large group of people of overseas origins staying in the cabins and congregating in the camp kitchen/BBQ area, which made it difficult for anyone else to access the barbeques or sink.
Dog was good sitting outside with us at happy hour, then inside when we went in for TV watching – John’s Carlton team was playing football. There were several forays outside during the evening, in case dog needed same. While we were watching TV, she slept on the floor at the bed end of the van. When we went to bed, she made no fuss about being transferred to under the table, and slept there throughout the night.
The night was chilly, but it was great to be out in the lovely fresh air again.
So far, so good, and so much better than our only van foray with Birdy.