This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2015 Travels May 6


This morning, the antenna man finally turned up. He came into Bus, fiddled about a bit, and got a great picture. I suspected the usually tech-savvy other half may not have had the controls set for digital TV. But no-one said anything, and – on further inspection – the man did find something wrongly wired outside, on the antenna. He rectified this. When the new antenna was installed, in 2013, the work was done by John and a mate and that is when the wrong wiring must have happened. Mind you, it all worked perfectly well through our 2013 trip….Anyway, all fixed, we were told, at a cost of $110, which seemed quite reasonable.

Now we were free to play tourists,  after an early lunch.

I had looked online for information about dog parks in the ACT and found that the place seemed quite well endowed with places dogs could play off leash, and also places where they could swim. Too cold for that, now, though.

We drove to one of the special dog parks, at Forde. This was not a very large area, but was securely fenced, with water bowls, agility equipment, and even some tennis balls lying around. Not very hygienic, that! We tried to get Couey working over the agility equipment, with varying success. She definitely liked going through pipes – and running along the top of same; ditto walls. But she could not be persuaded to jump the set jumps, even though they were all lower than she jumps at home in order to short cut through the garden. Anyway, we all had fun. She encountered a couple of other dogs there, too, with no dramas – always good to see.

After that we were in the mood for something panoramic. The obvious candidate, the Telstra Tower, is contained in the Black Mountain Nature Reserve, where dogs are not permitted at all. So we did not try to revisit that- had been up there in 1998.

Instead, drove to the top of Mt Ainslie to look at the view from there, across Lake Burley Griffin, to Parliament House.

In line: Australian War Memorial, Anzac Parade, Lake Burley Griffin, Parliament House

Across to the eastern end of the Lake, we could see the reclaimed area and the lakefront apartments where the family was living in 2013.

From Mt Ainslie: central Canberra, looking towards Scrivener Dam

We walked around the pathways that were up there and read the information boards.

Telstra Tower on Black Mountain

We set out, then, to drive around the Lake, towards the western end first. Back in 1998, we cycled around the Lake, which took us most of a very hot day. Formal bike paths did not go all the way round and we did some riding on roads. Today, the driving was easy, on multi-laned roads, though the Driver didn’t get to look around too much, in the traffic.

Visited the Scrivener Dam at the western end of the Lake. This dam wall across the Molonglo River created Lake Burley Griffin, and controls its levels. It was named for an early surveyor of the Canberra area. I was surprised to find that the dam wall was not completed until the 1960’s. Had assumed it was created at the same time as Canberra was commenced.

The Molonglo is not a big river – seems more like a creek to me. Like a number of the water courses in the area, it is lined with weeping willows, planted by well-intentioned early settlers. It makes for picturesque scenery but is not great, environmentally.

Molonglo River valley

Not far from the dam wall was the Government House Lookout, with its views uphill to Yarralumla, the official residence of the Governor General of Australia.

Yarralumla House

Again, I found new information: that Yarralumla was not purpose built, but was originally a private residence of major pastoral families of the district. The original pastoral property was a large one. Walter Burley Griffin, the designer of Canberra, had included in his plans a grand vice-regal residence, but – as with quite a bit of his original plans – a cheaper option prevailed.

From the Lookout, we could look towards the valley of the Molonglo and see the large former woolshed of the original farm.

Looking across to the grand old woolshed

By this time, the afternoon was getting on and we decided not to continue round the Lake, but to head back to Bus to avoid the late afternoon traffic build up. The GPS took us round the back of Black Mountain, on Caswell Drive, a way we hadn’t been before. Saw yet another traffic rear-ender accident.

John re-glued the wardrobe door back together. I had to help him get the strap clamp round the outside edges of the door.

Tea was steak, with green peppercorn sauce, and vegies.

A decision was made that our next destination would be Cowra – a place we hadn’t previously stayed at long enough to see its attractions.

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2015 Travels May 5


John went off, after an early start, for him, to watch the boys compete in the inter-schools cross country competition. It was out at the Stromlo Forest Reserve – across the other side of the city from us, naturally. John and the GPS managed to get themselves rather lost, and did a lot of extra kms.

I did the washing. One feeds a token into the machine. But first, one must do the long walk up to Reception to purchase said taken – for $4. I wasn’t sure of the point of the token. Did it deter people breaking into the machines, for coins? I couldn’t conceive this would be a significant problem…Did it mean the price of a machine load could be changed without having to adjust the machine> Or was I missing something here?

During the morning, the wind – which initially had signalled a good day for drying washing – became much stronger. It then signalled good idea to wind awning in, before it got damaged. But there was only me and it took a while to remember the various steps. It was not something I usually did and not since 2013. There was some trial and error. But I managed it in the end, despite some periods where I was just hanging on to the awning in the wind. It probably looked quite comical, had there been anyone watching. I was quite proud of myself. It was good to know this was something I could do by myself, however inelegantly.

I exercised dog, spent some time on laptop, and went to rescue the washing before our underwear ended up in Yass or parts beyond.

There was a small group of red-rumped parrots that foraged around, near Bus. I tried to get a decent photo of them, but the zoom on my new camera was not all that effective, and they were a bit camera shy.

Red rumped parrots

I had, earlier in the year, bought a new “retro look” Pentax digital camera and this was its first outing.

John returned mid afternoon. The boys had both qualified for the next level of competition and he was pleased with the photos and videos he took on the tablet. He’d been to Masters on the way back to get stuff needed for the wardrobe door repair.

I made a healthy version of hamburgers – on a slice of toast, instead of in a bun – for tea. John liked it.

The nights were getting much colder – heater needed – and the chill was tending to persist into the day.

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2015 Travels May 4


Today was a rather boring, even wasted, day. But, I had accepted that the main purpose of being here was for John to visit his family and have time with grandsons, not for playing tourists. We had, in any case, spent some weeks here in 1998, early in our retirement travels, and enjoyed extensive sightseeing back then.

John phoned the antenna man – again! He said he would come about 4pm and would phone first. We weren’t convinced…

We needed to shop – for door repair materials, and some food. Not wanting to repeat the Belconnen experience, I suggested there might be a Bunnings in the new, spread-out retail complex we’d passed, by the airport, yesterday. Off back down the Majura Parkway. This was being made when we were here in 2013 and there was still work in progress, with a detour at one section.

We saw a Masters hardware store, but John decided to drive around the spread-out complex, to see what was there. Spotted a Big W and supermarket. John was cruising slowly, looking for a parking spot. As he was turning left to pull into one – with the indicator going – we were nearly hit by a woman driving a big 4WD, who went past – on our left –  at some speed. She just fitted between us and the parked cars. I said that ACT drivers are aggressive! Had never had that happen in a supermarket car park before. John certainly let her know he was not impressed with her driving.

Checked out Big W to see if John’s preferred type of track pants was in this store. No – but it gave me the chance to buy a couple of windcheaters, having decided I had not brought enough of these with me, given the cold weather.

John spotted a retailer of computers and similar goods, and decided then and there that he really must buy a tablet, so he could film the boys running in their races tomorrow. Apparently, a standard camera was no longer preferable. He was interested in a Samsung one, but had trouble finding anyone in the store who was able to show him the features of same. Very poor service. Then, they didn’t have one in stock, despite it being on display, so we would have to go to Gunghalin to collect one.

Did a very quick whiz around the supermarket, collecting the items on my list. There was no time to go to Masters, because we needed to be back for the antenna man. Maybe? That tablet purchase had taken ages.

The GPS directed us to Gunghalin, which at least was in the same direction as the caravan park. Tablet duly collected – another toy.

Sat around at Bus, waiting for the antenna man, who, predictably, did not come. But he did phone, very late in the day, and arranged to come Wednesday. I could see another boring day coming up! My suggestion that we not bother about TV until back home, was not well received.

Our site, with large grassed area in front

At least John was distracted by trying to work out the operation of his new toy. I spent some time checking emails and catching up on the news on my laptop – my toy…

Tea was poached chicken thighs with potato and bok choy.

After visiting with his daughter today, John had decided we would stay on here until next weekend, as the boys had a variety of activities happening that he wanted to see

Today was the birthday of my son and his girlfriend. Since they were overseas, there was no contact.

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2015 Travels May 3


We had an early-ish start again, as daughter had asked we get to her place about 10am, as they had other things to do from 12.30. Was going to be an early lunch!

This time, we took the Majura Parkway and skirted the eastern end of Lake Burley Griffin, to Griffith, an inner southern suburb. I hadn’t been to this house before and really liked the way an older house had been extended and made over. Very light and spacious. There would be very little outside upkeep, as the back yard was mostly swimming pool.

Couey managed to distinguish herself by falling in the pool, within five minutes of our arrival. The elder grandson adores dogs and spent much more time outside, playing with Couey, than he did inside with his grandfather. The boy would dearly love a dog, but the family’s regular overseas postings mitigate against that, so he was a willing player of ball games and general dog loving.

The younger grandson spent most of our visit jumping on the trampoline.

Daughter made a most interesting salad for lunch, involving farro – a grain I had not previously come across, but which I would like to use back at home. It was rather chewy when cooked. The salad – Middle Eastern flavours – was delicious.

Once lunch was done, we were hurried out.

Our drive back around the parliamentary precinct gave an interesting an new perspective for us. This part of the inner city was really dominated by the new Parliament House.

Driving in  Canberra – up ahead is Parliament House

On the way back to Bus, called in at the Visitor Information Centre to see what I could find of interest. I was intrigued to see they had special parking places for electric cars, with plug in charging points. First time I had seen this, but suspected it would become more common.

John had an afternoon nap. I changed the dressings on my leg. Definitely yukky. Decided I should start myself on the emergency anti-biotic tomorrow.

Couey was actually tired after her grandson games, and quiet for the rest of the day.

When I was putting my dressing stuff away, the wardrobe door fell apart. We had noticed previously that some of the joints were becoming unglued. I opened it, and it came to pieces, which nearly fell on my feet. John put the bits in the ensuite, to await fixing. He would need to buy glue, some clamps and a new catch. In the meantime, dog could sit and look yearningly at the box of her special treats, up on the now exposed top shelf.

Lunch had been light enough for us to be able to enjoy tea of lamb backstrap with potatoes, zucchini and tomato.

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2015 Travels May 2


On a fairly cool morning, we had to leave the park by 10.45 to drive across the other side of the city, to Mawson, for the younger grandson’s soccer game. It was quite a distance to the southern suburb, but the GPS guided us well. If one ignores the Canberra traffic, it really is a picturesque place, with the surrounding ranges of the Great Divide often to be seen.

The distant Brindabella Ranges

We passed a three car road bingle, on the main Northbourne Avenue, near the city centre. It seemed to be damage to vehicles, rather than people (unless one counts damaged egos). Drivers here travel far too close to the car in front – like, often less than a metre of separation, and change lanes very suddenly and aggressively, often without signalling. So I guess such accidents are not surprising. Melbourne drivers have a bad reputation, but I’d been driving in Melbourne for over fifty years and I reckon ACT drivers are in a class of their own. And not a good class…

The soccer was at a very large complex of playing fields. John had to phone daughter to find out which way to go! We took our camp chairs and had to carry them quite a way to the right pitch. Dog had to stay in the car, for fairly obvious reasons. Ball games on a large scale!

I am totally ignorant about soccer, but grandson seemed to play well. Can’t say it was the most engrossing hour or so I’d ever spent. We didn’t really get any chance to chat with the daughter.

My cough, which sounded much worse than I really felt – was impressive enough to get me excused from attending the afternoon’s soccer game of the other grandson. John drove me back to Bus and after some lunch, he left to drive – to the NW outskirts of the city this time – for the next game. After that, he went back to daughter’s place for a while.

Dog and I spent a very pleasant afternoon in camp, with occasional ball throwing interspersed with me downloading photos and doing other computing. While not ball chasing, Couey spent her time watching anxiously for John’s reappearance.

Sausages and mash for tea.

A quiet night, without TV. I read. John played computer games. I have never succeeded in getting him interested in card or board games, even though I have a great card game that I bought many years ago, in Singapore, called Mhing, that is a card version of Mahjong. Also carried in Bus, just in case, are Yahtzee, Canasta, a 2-person version of a Bridge game,  and a cribbage board. Should be something there that would grab the attention of most people? But no…

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2015 Travels May 1


Bus was level enough for us to sleep alright, despite the slight heads-down angle.

When we got up, all six of the tour groups coaches – and contents – had gone. We hadn’t heard a thing.

John couldn’t hold out any longer…after some laptop research, he phoned Jims Antennas. Was told their Canberra person would contact him.

We needed some food supplies. My turn to Google – for Woolworths. No  way was I just going to launch forth in Canberra and assume the required shops would magically appear. There was one in Belconnen, which did not seem too far away from Sutton. I fed that address into the GPS and forth we sallied.

GPS led us unerringly – to a major shopping complex, with the shop I wanted tucked securely away inside, along with hundreds of other retail outlets. Plus multitudes of people, and their vehicles, going every which way. Not what I’d had in mind. It always seems so hard in Canberra.

Undeterred (mostly), we parked, left dog in Terios, and walked, got the requisites. Although John still assumed we would be dining with daughter tonight and tomorrow, as we passed a butcher, I took the chance to buy meat for a couple of meals “in case”. Also got some rolls to take back for lunch.

Somewhat surprisingly, we even managed to locate car and dog again, first attempt. The place felt like one of those where you could wander forever, lost…

Back to Bus, where we lunched and just hung about, waiting for contact from the family. Mid-afternoon, John’s daughter phoned. Each of the grandsons has a soccer match tomorrow: one morning, one afternoon, on opposite sides of town, which we were welcome to go find, in order to watch. They have some arrangement for Saturday night, but we could go to Sunday lunch, which would have to be brief because they had things to do in the afternoon.

Well, that sorted out the meals…as well as our place in the overall scheme of things!

Our scruffy site

The TV antenna man also phoned. John wanted him to come today, but man was not sure he could make it. None-the-less, we waited at Bus for rest of afternoon, in case. No show.

I walked up to Reception – quite a hike. Wanted to get some tourist information from the display, since it looked like we would have more time on our hands than originally envisaged. The ladies at the desk were occupying themselves folding a mountain of pillowcases – washing from the tour groups that had departed this morning.

I dressed my leg. One wound seemed a bit smelly – not all that happy with it. These were not ideal conditions to be dealing with it as I did it outside again. John was playing games on his laptop and didn’t like me interrupting to spread all the dressing stuff around inside.

We nearly had a real disaster. Dog was pestering John for a ball throw session, so he went out and tossed the ball some distance for her. But – brain fade – she was still tethered! The resultant charge to the end of the rope and sudden stop just about broke her neck. Could have been absolutely horrible, but she seemed to sustain no lasting ill effects.

Having had a late lunch after the shopping, we only felt like a light tea: tin of soup, cheese and biscuits.

There were a lot of kangaroos grazing in the caravan park, from dusk on. I was not sure if the Canberra roos carried paralysis ticks, but gave Couey one of the new anti-tick pills today, in case. It should last a month.

In the morning and late afternoon, it was really pleasant sitting outside in the sunshine.

I got my little portable radio tuned to a local station broadcasting the AFL match of the night, so John was able to listen to his beloved Carlton take an absolute hiding. He then decided it was probably good that the TV wasn’t working, because he wouldn’t have enjoyed viewing same.

I think John was pretty disappointed at the underwhelming family reaction to our visit.

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2015 Travels April 30


Woke to a lovely sunny, blue sky morning, after the cold night. Had been able to hear some truck noise from the highway, through the night.

I was awake at 7.45 and started the day with a lovely hot shower. That process was complicated by having to seal the bandaged leg into a waterproof shower bag…

I had to wake John up at 9.15, so he had no problems sleeping soundly.

We got away at 10am. Couey was anxious not to be left behind, and got straight onto Bus and didn’t even do her usual barking before we started moving. So hope this improvement lasts….

The road was a long, steep-ish pull up out of the town, before we got back onto the Hume.

Seen on the Hume…

By 11am it was getting grey and cloudy and the day stayed that way.

We had to slow for several lots of roadworks, mostly indicated well in advance by several moving warning vehicles with lit up signs. At a couple of them, there were so many advance warning vehicles that we wondered when we were ever going to encounter the actual roadworks.

It seemed no time at all before we turned off the Hume and onto the Barton Highway at Yass. This is a really pretty road to drive. Makes up for the fact that it is single lane, each way, for much of it, and fairly heavily trafficked.  A rather unassuming approach to the nation’s capital city. There were the blue, distant, mountains of the Alps, autumn leaves on the poplars that were common in this region. There were the occasional more stunted eucalypts – the multi-trunked snow gum types.

Barton Highway on the way to Canberra

At one point, the Telstra Tower on Black Mountain, in Canberra, appears directly ahead and really stands out.

Arrived at the Eaglehawk Holiday Park just after midday. Had been there a couple of years ago, knew the way there, and – hooray – knew that it did not involve negotiating Canberra’s confusing circular roads and huge roundabouts.

Our en-suite site cost $43 per night. No discounts, but a surcharge for paying by credit card. However, the office staff were very pleasant and helpful.

Our allocated site was not level, so we had to mess about with putting chocks under Bus front wheels and even then, there was still a bit of a front-down lean. Took our time setting up, with the awning out and ground matting down.

It was rather a strange set up here, really. There had been no attempt to landscape or beautify these en-suite sites. It seemed the little buildings had just been plonked down an some concrete, a bit of gravel thrown around where rigs would park, and that was it. Right up the back of an otherwise highly developed park – literally and figuratively. On our last visit here, we had thought that caravanners were regarded as second class citizens in this place.

I made our lunch and appreciated having a plate of salad again.

John napped for a couple of hours. I did a leg dressing, sitting outside. Wasn’t all that happy with the way it looked.

There was a phone message from grandson – did John want to come and see him act in a play tonight? John hadn’t been clear about what we would be doing with the family members over the next few days. He phoned son-in-law, who seemed surprised we were in Canberra! He didn’t know what was happening, or when. Daughter was in Sydney for work. He thought we might be having dinner with them tomorrow night. And with that, John had to be content.

A big black cloud that formed about 4pm seemed to guarantee rain coming, but it went somewhere else. A weather check on my laptop showed another east coast low forming – more bad weather for southern Qld – and a little cyclone off Exmouth. Glad this rather late-in-the-season one was not further north, where M was cruising around the Kimberley coast.

By late afternoon, three of the four en-suite sites in this area were filled. A final van arrived about 9pm – unusual for vanners to arrive at that hour. By tea time there were six large coaches parked in the bus area near us. Presumed they were school tour groups, but didn’t see or hear any kids, thankfully.

The grey water drain that had appeared to be blocked ever since we left home was now dribbling, under the influence of the purple-bottled enzyme cleaner that I put in yesterday. John was pleased.

Tea was fresh linguine pasta (well, “fresh” from the chiller section of a supermarket, back home), with bottled stir through chargrilled vegetable sauce. The chorizo salami that John had for tea last night gave him huge indigestion through the night, so I threw out the remainder.

Message from my daughter that the young grandson was having abdominal lymph gland biopsies done next week, to rule out any cancers as being the cause of his ongoing leg issues. A worry.

Still no TV signal. I thought it was nice without it, and just the radio on – good clear sound there. But not sure I could  convince John.

When John took Couey out, after dark, she saw a roo grazing in the distance and nearly pulled John’s arm off.

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2015 Travels April 29


Last night was really cold. I slept better than I’d expected to, given the head cold and bouts of a tickly cough. Using two pillows to prop myself somewhat upright was not all that comfortable, but at least I was warm. Couey was good all through the night – not a peep from her.

I woke at 7am. There was a lot of road noise, for some reason and I didn’t think I’d get back to sleep, so got up, took Couey for her morning walk and fed her. Then cleaned the leg wounds and put on fresh dressings. Sat on my bed to do it, because leg has to be stretched out in front of me while the ulcer areas are soaked with special stuff, and also because that way I can reach it all. It was all a bit awkward and I thought it might be easier next time if I waited till John was up and used his bed to rest foot on. It was all a bit experimental still.

Had my breakfast sitting outside, the way I like. An addition to the Bus gear, before this trip,  had been a two mug sized coffee plunger. No more instant coffee for me at breakfast.

Left the park at 9.55am. Another benefit of shorter day stages is less pressure to rush away in the mornings. Before we left, I put some more of the Bunnings enzyme stuff down the sink drain.

Back onto the Hume Freeway.

The day was cloudy, with a few blue sky patches.

Refuelled at BP Logic Centre, a km off the freeway, just south of Wodonga.  We were getting quite low on fuel. Despite the strange name it was an easy place to go to and fuel at, and then to get back to the highway from. It was very modern and separated cars from trucks and buses. We went to the latter section and found there was only hi-flow diesel at those bowsers. Great – no room for errors there! $1.309cpl – John got a discount, not sure why. Maybe because we were in the truck/bus area?

The driver of a cattle truck filling up next to us asked me if A frame tow hitches were legal in Victoria? I thought they were accepted all over Australia…That led to some talk about travel  in general. Meantime, Couey resolutely ignored the all-pervasive smell of cow…

So onwards. The new-ish Wodonga Albury bypass highway is so great – love it. The bridge it takes over the Murray is called the Spirit of Progress Bridge. I wondered if that was to commemorate the train that used to travel from Melbourne to the NSW border, where Sydney passengers would have to change to a different train to complete the trip. After the standard gauge rail was completed in 1962, they could go all the way on the Spirit of Progress which remained in service until 1986.

Crossing the Murray

The day became less cloudy and hotter  as we progressed north, to the point where I swapped the windcheater I’d started out in, for a polo shirt.

Stopped for lunch at Holbrook where a slip road goes to a parking area by a bakery, housed in a former servo, so there was plenty of parking space.  It featured a good choice of food at good prices. I bought a salad and cheese multi-grain roll. That’s my measure of a good bakery – that they do that sort of food. I couldn’t resist buying a couple of vanilla slices for tonight’s dessert – they looked so tempting. After I’d made my purchases and returned to John and dog, he went in and got a pepper pie and sausage roll.

We set up our camp chairs outside Bus, by a large grassed area and sat and ate, whilst throwing the ball for dog. So she got a good workout while we indulged. Civilized living…

There was a caravan park behind the bakery that looked alright – just a basic one. Worth knowing about.

The Hume in NSW

The Hume really is a great road, these days, though the cement-type surface in NSW takes a bit of getting used to, because of the peculiar road noise the joins create, which, the first time, always makes one wonder if something has gone wrong with the vehicle. I noticed that on some downhill sections, the surface was roughed up – to make them less slippery if wet or frosty, I guessed. But also even louder.

Textured road surface on a downhill stretch of the Hume

We had a taste of the “old” Hume north of Holbrook, where about 5kms of the new road was closed off for works and we were diverted onto the old single lane, two way road.

Stopped again at Tarcutta as John was getting tired. We all got out to walk around and stretch the legs. Couey did the hugest wee – went on and on. Poor thing must have had crossed legs for ages!

Looked at the Memorial to Truck Drivers who had been killed whilst driving. It was both sobering and impressive. So many names and so many relatively young ones. Really drove home the hazardous nature of that work. It was very tastefully done. The old Hume Highway used to see so many awful accidents involving trucks. Tarcutta  was about half way between Melbourne and Sydney, so this seemed an appropriate place for such a memorial.

Truck drivers’ memorial Tarcutta

Our last deviation from the Hume was into Gundagai, to the Gundagai Tourist Park. Here we paid $41.40, after discount, for an en-suite site. This was an unusual park, clearly designed for overnight transit. About half the sites were en-suite – all roofed at 3.25 metres high. Believe me, I checked first!

Roofed Gundagai sitesthey don’t look that high…

The en-suites were like dividing pillars between each pair of sites, which were all cemented drive through, with a small patch of grass. It made for easy setting up – no awning needed. It was near the freeway, but the noise from this was muted – nowhere near as loud as last night’s place.

Yes, we fit under…and the car can stay hitched on

The park also had cabins and grassed powered and unpowered sites. All  needs  catered for?

We were told that TV reception was good there, so was no need for travellers to put up antennas, which would be hard under the roof, anyway.  Couldn’t vouch for that as there was definitely something wrong with our system – no signal again.

I walked Couey on the lead on a grassy area between the cabins and a little creek.

We had a relax for a while – it had only been 2.15pm  when we arrived here. Then walked to a Woolworths supermarket, only a couple of blocks away. I wanted a cheap calculator, to work out bus fuel consumption, mainly. I needed to buy some tea towels, as all but one of the Bus ones had been washed, ironed and put away neatly  – in the linen cupboard at home. Can’t remember what I was thinking at the time, but it probably had something to do with leaving the ironing basket to pile high over several months, before tackling same.  John had to buy a toothbrush and toothpaste – guess why!

I also bought Turkish bread rolls, salami, ham, some cheeses. John had said he didn’t fancy the pasta and sauce I’d planned for tea tonight, but he didn’t know what he did feel like. Lot of help, that. So bread, meats and cheese it was – he usually loves that sort of meal.

We’d obviously had to take Couey walking with us. She was, these days, quite happy to amble along footpaths on the lead, ignoring other people. But  she got very anxious when one of us disappeared into a shop. There was no way we could leave her tied up and both go off shopping. The harness/collar/lead that she can’t get out of has not been invented yet. John minded her while I was in Woolworths, and said she fretted a bit. Then we swapped. She watched him go into Woolworths, intently, and whined a bit and paced up and down.

As we put up the new camp chairs outside Bus, earlier, John had noticed a problem with one chair leg, where a rivet hadn’t fastened properly, so he wanted to find a hardware store and get some screws. I’d walked far enough with the sore leg, so said I’d wait on a seat, with dog,  by Woolworths, while he went and did that. Well, dog watched him retreating into the distance and just howled, loud and long. As in – made  people turn around and stare loud. All I could do was put on my “I’m really not mistreating this animal” face and wait it out.

We’d never before stayed at or explored Gundagai. I would have loved to be fit enough to walk around more and explore. We had seen some beautiful historic buildings and on the walk read some displayed information about the town’s history. Settlement in the area dated from about 1830, so there would be much of interest. The town is beside the Murrumbidgee River, so it has  experienced a number of major floods. One, in the 1800’s, killed over 70 people. There were extensive parklands alongside the river which added to the town’s attractiveness.

We vowed to return another time, stay for longer and really look around.

Back to camp where we sat outside with a beer each, relaxing. Very pleasant. Chatted with some neighbours – older than us – with an A-Van and two collie dogs.

Plenty of room to sit outside

John had a nap before tea. Again, he couldn’t get the TV to work.

Before we left, John had been in contact with daughter and arranged to be in Canberra to visit them. After that, we would decide what to do next – depending on how my leg was travelling.

Once the sun was down, it cooled down really fast. Tonight would be another very cold night.

The last two days of travel had been really pleasurable – not too far each day, and with regular stops. I was enjoying just mooching along like that.

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2015 Travels April 28


Finalized getting ready to go. For once, we managed it all in a calm and methodical way. The only drama was that, when it came time to get on Bus, Couey baulked, slipped her harness and was loose. But she didn’t run right away, just circling around us. Then she came to John when called and the inducement of chew bone coated with peanut butter got her on board, where she settled quickly.

The day was not too warm, lots of fluffy clouds, even some blue sky.

Left home at 11.15am. God, it was good to be heading off again.

Melba Highway – crest of the Great Dividing Range

Five years ago, this was blackened trunks and white ash, no green then.

Took our normal  route to Seymour, where we stopped as usual at the New Crossing Park for lunch. I’d made sandwiches before we left home. Couey got to have a ball chase, but only after she’d taken advantage of a momentary distraction on our part, and managed to lie down in a large, muddy puddle. Swamp dog!

The picnic table and seats had been removed, and the old toilets were closed up. I wondered if they were trying to deter people from stopping there?

Took the Hume Freeway northwards, stopping after only 9kms at the Grass Tree Rest Area – where there were toilets! Couey got a bonus walk around too. It was a well set out rest area, with car parking separated from truck and bus parking places.

Further along we stopped again at the Balcattah  Rest Area, for John to have a wake up walk. We all wandered about for a bit.

After this morning’s protest, Couey had no more reluctance to get on board Bus after stops.

Before this trip, John had bought a new Garmin GPS – a truck model with a larger screen. Because of the distance of the windscreen in Bus from the driver, he’d had trouble reading the screen on the old one. Set for truck use, it would plot routes that avoided nasties like low bridges – in theory, anyway. It seemed to take us on a slightly round about route to our caravan park in North Wangaratta. Perhaps that was because, being truck enabled, it avoided the centre of town. But it had not taken us via the Over Dimensional route at Seymour, so that didn’t make sense. There, the way we went, had we been a truck, we would have been seriously embarrassed at the very low railway bridge!

Arrived at Cedars North Wangaratta at 3.45pm. Long enough for the first day. The very nice man gave us an en-suite site where we could drive through and keep the Terios hitched to Bus. $45 after discount.

Staying hitched up at Cedars North

We were a bit slow at setting up, as we tried to remember how to do it. Both the awning and the TV aerial were stiff from disuse.

John fiddled about setting up his Blackvue dash camera, which he hadn’t done at home, for some reason.

A walking trail on part of the old highway bordered some of the park and we went walking along that, for a while. That was an unexpected benefit of the park. It was a pleasant walk with lots of interesting smells for Couey. There were some rabbits which she didn’t even see, and some cattle near a fence. These she gave a very wide berth to. Cattle dog? Who, me….nah! I even raised a sweat. walking, but then I was hopelessly unfit.

John couldn’t get the TV to acquire a signal – something was wrong, somewhere.

Tea was cold chicken marylands that I’d pre-cooked at home. I made a wombok coleslaw and a Greek salad to go with that. Dessert was passionfruit from our vines at home.

The night was rather chilly, but not quite enough to warrant getting out the heater.

My leg was hurting a bit; I would need to dress it tomorrow, probably. At least the cold was getting no worse.

In the absence of TV, we both spent some time using laptops and I wrote up the diary.

We are away! Done it – at last!

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2015 Travels Monday April 27


When grandson had been staying here earlier, John had the idea of taking him away for a couple of weeks, up to Lightning Ridge. Unfortunately it turned out that he had an important information night about next year’s secondary school, right in the time we would be away. Medical appointments limited our capacity to be flexible about the timing. But the idea had been sown…

The friend that John was occasionally bus driving for was a very interesting man, who had done a lot of varied occupations in his life. He had mined opal and run tours of opal fields, amongst other things. He still had a claim and camp at Lightning Ridge, and it was this that had given John the impetus for us to go visit there again.

The lovely Practice Nurse said that she was not doing anything for my leg that I couldn’t manage myself, for a while. God knows, after the past year or more, I could probably pass a qualifying exam in wound management. I  stocked up on supplies needed for the regular wound cleaning and dressing I would be doing, and obtained some precautionary anti-biotics, hoping like hell I wouldn’t need to take same. My leg “stuff” filled a small suitcase!

John didn’t have the next appointment to do with skin cancer until June.

It could happen….

John wanted another chance to see his grandsons in Canberra, so lined up to visit. There was one positive to the leg problem – John accepted that long days of travel are not good for me (or him, for that matter), so I hoped we would be travelling in more sedate stages than previously. In that spirit, he agreed we could take three days to get to Canberra, rather than the usual one or two.

The day was spent packing, and preparing Bus for travel. Our forays between house and Bus were watched with interest by some of a flock of corellas that had recently taken up residence in the area. Although they were a nuisance, damaging some of the trees, they were also really funny to watch – the clowns of the bird world.

Corellas watching us work…and showing off

John found he needed a special gauge to measure Bus tyre pressures, because of the dual wheels on back, so went off and bought one of those. The Coaster is still a discovery in progress.

M texted from Wyndham that sandflies really liked C. He hadn’t ever encountered them before.

I’d come down with a nasty head cold a couple of days ago, but was determined not to let that change our plans, even if it meant that I had to sleep sitting up!