FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 2 HOME TO MARONG 240kms
Bus had been ready to go for a while. The hold up had been waiting for three weeks before John could have the stitches removed from his leg. I’d ben doing some leisurely packing over the previous days.
It seemed timely to start a short trip now – maybe three weeks? The obvious first stop was Bendigo, where we hadn’t been in over a year. Grandson had a semi final coming up, in his hockey, and daughter’s partner a netball grand final. We could earn some family brownie points by attending these events.
Departed home at 10.30am. There were always last minute things to do, like packing those last fridge items, and filling rolls for lunch, and we were not in a hurry.
This morning, an added complication was a call informing John that his sister died earlier this morning. We had known this was coming, so it was not a shock. It was thought that the funeral would be late next week, so we decided to continue with at least the Bendigo part of the trip.
There was definitely an emerging pattern to our trip departures – that we have to stop at the park a couple of kms away, down the bottom of the range, to make some adjustment or another to the rig. In this case it was – again – the tyre pressure monitors. John had put them back on the Bus front wheels. He hadn’t ever gotten around to investigating solid sleeves for the inner rear tyre valve extensions, so we didn’t have the monitors on those, which had been the source of an unpleasant flapping noise on their first trip. But it was evident, as soon as we got up to any speed, that the front ones were making that noise now and would have to come off.
The monitor things are fiddly and hard to remove, which is probably a good thing. He swore a lot. The metal edges of the monitors were chopped about from flexing and hitting on the wheel rims, even over that short distance. Clearly, for this system to work on the Coaster, most wheels would have to have some modification to the tyre valve posts. It might make sense to just keep the system on the Terios, which was what I’d intended in the first place.
While John was working on the wheels, I watched a group of Little Corellas – of which we have a lot in the area these days – playing in a big gum tree a short distance away. They were taking it in turns to swing on “ropes” of bark hanging down and clearly just doing so for fun. They really are entertaining birds to watch. I know they are noisy and can be destructive, but I do like them. Had such a vivid memory from when we were camped at Purni Bore, on the edge of the Simpson Desert, some years ago, and there was a large dead tree containing a huge flock of corellas. A noise startled them and they rose all at once, like a great raucous cloud. Once, we would only see them in places further north – along the Murray, Coopers Creek and the like. But now they are well and truly present south of the Divide. Climate change?
Corella trees at Purni Bore, Simpson Desert
It was 11am by the time we got going again, taking our usual route via Yea and Seymour, to Bendigo. Also, as usual, the GPS was fixated on taking us back to Melbourne first. The only route it seems to recognize to Bendigo is via the Calder Highway.
On the large farms approaching Yarra Glen, workers were busily harvesting crops of Brussels sprouts.
Brussels sprout farm Yarra Glen
Along the bypass route around Yarra Glen, there is one roundabout where the route to the Melba Highway is straight ahead, and the road to Healesville off to the right. John took the latter, then had to find a place to turn around, before playing circles on the roundabout to the correct exit. This is something else that now seems to happen every trip – it gets him every time, and sometimes even on the return journey.
The many hectares of grape vines around Yarra Glen and Dixons Creek had all been neatly pruned and looked very tidy. In one of the vineyards there was a red helicopter parked. I wondered if it was tour related, or someone’s private transport?
As we churned our way up the Divide, some cars coming down towards us were flashing their lights at us. Of course, our initial reaction was to think “police ahead”. Then, when there weren’t, to worry if they were spotting something wrong with the rig. The reason became apparent not far from the top – a broken down 4WD and large caravan, parked partly in the oncoming lane. Traffic cones had been set up around it and there was obviously someone helping.
There were a lot of caravans heading towards Melbourne – the return of the grey nomads…
It was a very pleasant day for driving. Fine, blue sky, cool but not cold.
Topped up the fuel at the servo at Glenburn – $1.149 cpl.
Stopped at the Rotary Park at Seymour to eat lunch and give dog some exercise. I wanted her kept on the lead, to keep her away from water, but he who learns slowly let her off for a run. She promptly found the nearest large muddy puddle and wallowed in it. That undid all the good work of the dog groomers! Wet, muddy, smelly dog now. I was not happy. She was.
Lunch stop Seymour
I don’t think we had ever seen the country between Seymour and Bendigo so green and lush. There were lots of full dams and flowing creeks. Part of Lake Eppalock was visible from the road near Axedale, so it had to be pretty full.
I took a phone call and John was able to pull over to talk. It was to tell him that the sister’s funeral would be on Tuesday – sooner than we’d been previously told. We decided to keep going. Dog and I would stay in Bendigo and John could drive the Terios back to Melbourne for the day. I was pleased that we had set off today and were not now waiting around at home for the event to be over.
The Garmin had finally caught up with where we were, and directed us on the usual Over Dimensional Route through Bendigo. Only one glitch, when John seemingly couldn’t count to three and took the wrong exit from a round about. Again! Naturally, we’d managed to time our passage through the city to coincide with school let-out time…
It was 3.45 when we reached the Big 4 Marong Holiday Park, some 14kms west of the centre of Bendigo. We had not stayed here before, but were still trying to find a really good dog friendly park in the area. By initial impressions, this could be it.
I had previously phoned the park and booked us an en-suite site from today until Tuesday morning. Now, in view of the funeral, they were able to extend it for an extra night. After discount, we paid $36 a night, which I thought was very reasonable for a place of the quality that this turned out to be.
Set up on en-suite sites, which had ample room for us. The bathroom was compact, but clean and quite adequate. I was most impressed with the nearby roofed BBQ area and adjacent camp kitchen room, which was very comprehensively equipped.
Left Marong again at 5pm to drive back to Bendigo for grandson’s hockey match. It was cold, and we had to stand for the whole game, which was murder for the legs and lower back. “Our” team lost, so that was the end of the boy’s hockey season for this year. But he appeared to play well – I think? I would appreciate the game more if I knew something about the rules.
After the game, the boy headed off to spend the weekend with his father, who had come up from Melbourne to watch the match, so we wouldn’t see him again until Sunday afternoon.
Drove back to Bus, stopping at Marong to order fish and chips from the general store’s attached shop, which John drove back to collect at the appointed time of 8pm. Very nice they were too.
We certainly needed the little electric fan heater to warm up Bus.
John watched football on TV. I did some hand sewing of the quilt project.
Bed at 11pm. We were both tired. For some reason, not long after getting into bed, I got a really nasty cramp in one leg. Unusual for me and it sure woke me up again! Was very careful how I moved that leg for the rest of the night.