MONDAY 13 AUGUST HOME TO BENDIGO 238kms
We got away from home mid-morning – an improvement on our last departure. I did a fast, last minute shop at the local IGA – for a newspaper and something for tonight’s tea.
There was rather a gusty wind blowing, which kept “catching” the bus side-on. The Driver could not relax.
However, the dog was somewhat calmer – the drops, and the spray on a bandana around her neck did seem to have some effect. I set up her bedding on the floor towards the back of the bus, and an alternate lot on the floor behind the engine bay. Attached her lead to the harness and the lead to the restraining hook, so she could roam between the two.
I found Bus quite comfortable, as a passenger, though after dropping a knitting needle down by my feet, I wished the sash part of the seatbelt was a bit longer, so I could move about more. I had no problems getting into my seat – had quite a bit of prior experience with Coasters as school buses. Simply stepped up onto the lid of the engine compartment, turned 180 degrees, then stepped backwards down into the foot well in front of my seat. As the TV ads say: “simples”.
John had transferred his new toy, the Garmin GPS to the Bus. It was a lot harder for him to read, there, because the windscreen was so much further away from the driver than in the car. Said GPS was hugely annoying on the run to Seymour. Having been “informed” we were going to Bendigo, the GPS lady was determined to send us via the Calder Highway – any which way she could. Virtually from the time we left home, we were being instructed to do a U turn, or go round the block and head the other way. It was a bloody good thing we knew which way we were going, because she certainly didn’t. Even at Seymour, we were told to take the Hume Freeway south……At this point, what was to be a forever distrust of the Garmin was sown in me. John might like fiddling around and setting destinations in the infernal thing but, me, I’d be cross checking the mechanized instructions with my trusty paper maps!
We drove straight through to Seymour – no stops in Yarra Glen, this time! Bus pulled well and easily up the range, and the exhaust brake was really great to have, for the downhill stretch.
Stopped at the Lions park in Seymour. This expansive area has frontage to the Goulburn River and some picnic tables and seats. Parking Bus there was easy. Took dog for a walk – on the lead – and gave her a drink. We ate our packed sandwich lunch.
Then continued on through the familiar route to Bendigo, with no further stops.
We were no longer going to park in daughter’s driveway. Doing so, on their slope, had been alright with the van as it usually stayed hitched to Truck, or if unattached, had big chocks behind the wheels. Either way, we could manage to sleep on what was not too much of an inside slope. But Bus was a different proposition. To achieve anything like level would take a hell of a lot more chocking than we could envisage. The slope would see our heads, in bed, very downhill.
Went into the A Line Holiday Village, at Big Hill, on the southern outskirts. Our en-suite powered site cost $30 a night. It was a very pleasant site and park, with bushland around. We could walk the dog around the park, but there was nowhere around for her to run off lead.
The ensuites were in A shaped buildings – hence the park name.
The park was well situated for us. Unfortunately, the owner told us that they may discontinue their dog-friendly policy. That would be a pity. The usual story – he was sick of dog owners not doing the responsible thing and picking up their dog’s mess. What I did notice after a little time here, was that it was a couple of permanent dwellers, down the back of the park, who were the regular offenders.
John intended to get our setting up done, before we notified daughter – who knew we were coming here – that we’d arrived. He was expecting that there could be some “oops” moments in our first setting up of Bus on site, and wanted to avoid a distracting audience – or any audience. However, daughter arrived – on the off-chance – just after we’d parked Bus. John was not best pleased, but daughter and grandson being there did not impede the setting up.
Our greatest apprehension had been setting up the awning. We had not had a roll out one on the van, nor the space to practice on this one at home. So this was the first time. I had Googled the process and made notes, and we actually managed it without any dramas. So much easier than the van one!
They stayed for about an hour, and had a good and admiring look at Bus. We arranged a BBQ tea here for tomorrow night and I gave daughter a little shopping list. I also gave daughter the crocheted blanket that I’d made to order for the younger grandson, now nine months old.
John could not get the TV to go. Bus had a good quality wind up aerial, but he wondered if wiring was broken.
Tea was chicken noodle soup, and some skinless frankfurts for John – I hadn’t been feeling hungry this morning, when I bought those. I had some dry biscuits and cheese after my soup.
After tea, in our screen-less state, we played Yahtzee. Better than TV, to my mind, anyway!
The first night’s sleep in our new beds was not great. For some reason, we had assumed that we should sleep with heads to the back of Bus – beside the little cupboard and bench top between the beds. It was a tight space between that and the wall and I found it very constricting. John got the panics during the night, and turned himself around, so his head was next to the sink, but with open space on one side.
The new memory foam mattress toppers I’d bought and adapted to the bus dimensions worked well, providing just that crucial extra width to the body of the bed.
We’d set up the dog’s night bed up by the engine bay, but she was a bit restless and prowly during the night.