This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2015 Travels January to April

2015 TRAVELS     JANUARY – APRIL

The year started in a similar way to last year, with ongoing health issues.

The first few months were a battle to find treatments that would: 1: heal my leg, which now also featured dermatitis caused by previous creams and potions; 2: control the pain from same; and 3: bring down the spiked blood pressure caused by treatments for the previous two. Aaargh…..

Some rare but welcome good news was that special scans of the arteries and veins in the problem leg showed no impairment of circulation at all, so the leg ulcers did not result from issues there.

John started doing some bus driving – a Coaster – for a friend who was running a small local bus hire company. This was done as a favour, not because he really wanted to do it – or enjoyed ferrying partying groups to the football or stags’ nights!

Summer literally ended with a bang – a massive thunderstorm directly overhead that saw Couey barking at the noise.

Bendigo grandson spent some time staying with us. He enjoys spending time with John, and of course, loves the pool in the warmer months. Good that someone can get some pleasure from it…

Early in March, John spent a night in hospital after having five significant skin cancers removed from one leg. According to the plastic surgeon he will be a “work in progress”, and this will probably be a regular occurrence. Fun times!

Cleaning out the used peanut butter jar…

Later in March, the three year old Bendigo grandson spent time in the Childrens’ Hospital with a mysterious swelling in a knee that eventually, after a couple of hospital stays,  turned out to be some obscure condition I’d never heard of. He gave them quite a scare for a while there, as well as much expenditure of time and fuel as one or other of his mums commuted back and forth from home each day, so there was always someone with him. We had the older grandson, now twelve, to stay for some of the time.

Making a new letterbox

This was the year of turning seventy. M had her celebratory party mid-April, a little early in order to accommodate her planned trip to WA. This would be a genuine outback experience for her friend C. Hopefully, it would go more smoothly than last year’s one where he suffered injury and illness. Or the one before that, come to think of it. M’s Troopy boiled going up the Moonbi Range near Tamworth. In playing the knight rescuer heading off to a nearby dam to get some water, C straddled a fence, which he found out, via a tender part of his anatomy,  was electrified…..Then the dog at the house sit M was going to, bit him. One had to say the man was nothing if not game, to go adventuring again this year.

The trip would take them quickly through SA and the NT, across the Tanami Track to WA and on to Broome. A small ship cruise along the Kimberly coast, between Broome and Wyndham would be a real highlight – one I was most envious of. After that, they would explore parts like the Gibb River Road, before making their way back home after about five months away.

Things do not always go according to plan, though. The Troopy broke down on the Tanami Track and the travellers spent a couple of nights camped there, before help arrived. All part of the travel experience, as far as M was concerned, but apparently C was much less sanguine about the experience. Troopy was eventually trucked to Broome for major repairs, like a new engine,  and the cruise was wonderful. The stress of it all appeared to affect C’s health, though, and he returned home rather than venture into more wilderness along the Gibb. M met up with friends, as previously planned. One of these was a solo lady traveller with a motorhome tough enough to tackle the Gibb, so M teamed up with her to do that, whilst waiting for the Troopy to be repaired.


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2014 Non-Travels December 2014

DECEMBER 2014

The mysterious allergy/immune system disorder flared up again. I was getting so sick of myself.

M and friend had a stay on Stradbroke Island and M had experimented with sand driving, apparently scaring herself as well as him. She doesn’t scare easily, either…

A little window of opportunity appeared to present in early December. I was free of appointments for a couple of weeks. Driver could spare five days between his bowls and medical appointments. Yessss…

 The Plan was to head off on a Sunday morning, after the previous day’s bowls, and head to Castlemaine – a new area for us. We would use that as a base to explore some of the nearby old goldfields towns.  M – never one to miss a travel opportunity – said she’d go too. I booked sites at a Castlemaine caravan park, for four nights from Sunday December 7. Consistent with our policy of “saving” closer places for the time when our travel abilities were reduced, we’d never visited this town or area before. The abilities were certainly reduced now!

I went through Bus cupboards, throwing out past use-by food stocks and replacing same. Made up the beds, packed my clothes, dog food and treats. All that was left to do were the Driver’s jobs.

When we woke on Sunday morning, the rain was pouring steadily down. We didn’t fancy doing the final packing and preparation in the rain, so deferred departure until the next day. The rain cleared after lunch so we were able to work on the final things. John checked Bus coolant and oil, drained and refilled the water tanks. The Coaster seems to have such a cumbersome system for adding coolant – or were we doing it wrong, by taking off the driver’s side step cover?

I put enzyme down the sink, so it would slosh around the grey water tank  in travel, and loosen up any grease. We put the car hitch onto back of Bus.

Just about ready to go again…

I then had a really bad night, with nerve pain from the leg ulcers, exacerbated by doing a clean dressing on it Monday  morning. John asked if I still wanted to go away, given the pain I was in. I didn’t. He phoned the caravan park and explained; they were very understanding.

Later in the day, after some extra pain killers kicked in, I was able to unpack Bus fridge and my clothes. The dog was totally confused! At least I didn’t have to cook tea, as I’d previously cooked chicken marylands to take away for our first night’s meal – and podded a couple of lots of broad beans, to reduce the space they would occupy in Bus fridge.

The trip nearly happened….

This episode led to me being put onto Lyrica for pain management.

Thus ended 2014. This was the first year since about 1980 that I hadn’t been away holidaying and travelling at all. Even as a single mother, working full time when my children were young, we always managed at least a week’s camping in the holidays.

Could only hope that 2015 was a better year.


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2014 Non-Travels October to November

OCTOBER – NOVEMBER 2014

Bendigo grandson came to stay in the September school holidays and John took him to the Royal Melbourne Show. A plan to take him out for a drive in Bus didn’t eventuate because John was really tired after the Show day.

Grandson doing “shed work” with John

Clearly, though, Bus needed a run to shake out the cobwebs. After the family had gone home again, we took the tarpaulin cover off Bus and I checked over the inside. Was surprised to find the house batteries were down to 1. Not good for batteries! I couldn’t work out why, because it had been plugged into 240v power, ever since we’d come home last year.

We took Bus out for a day trip, on a day that was cool, grey and slightly misty. Firstly, a detour down to Bayswater to refuel at an easily accessible servo – which our local one definitely wasn’t. $1.489cpl – much less than we paid on last year’s trips.

Back up the hill to Mt Evelyn, thence Woori Yallock and across to Healesville. The Yarra Valley was beautifully green after winter.

At Healesville, we parked a block from the main street and walked to get lunch at the place we’d eaten at, a few times before. This was shut, and a pile of mail on the floor inside suggested permanently so. So we had to lower the lunch expectations. John got some Charcoal Chicken. I managed a ham and cheese croissant from the nearby Bakers Delight, and we got coffee from a bakery cafe.

We’d left Couey at home today. My thinking was that, not knowing quite what was happening with Bus electricals, it would be better if dog was not with us if we broke down.

Back at Bus, parked next to us was a brand new Traveller caravan and 4WD. The owner was taking photos of his rig, which did look rather splendid in contrast with our utilitarian Bus. I could remember when we were that proud of our new Trakmaster and Landrover. Now seemed a long, long time ago.

John wanted to go look at Maroondah Dam – a water storage for Melbourne’s supply, a few kms out of Healesville. As soon as we parked, could hear the roar from the dam. It had been a wet winter. Although we thought the excess water must be coming out through a pipe, it was really boiling up and then coming down the rock faced section into the Yarra River. That was worth seeing.

Surplus water leaving Maroondah Dam, into the Yarra River

The gardens at the Dam are extensive and lovely, a destination for a picnic and wander in themselves. Back in 2008, when we’d had son and his children staying with us, we had occasionally packed the makings and had a BBQ lunch here.

Today, I took a couple of photos of a conifer-type shrub that had eye-catching bright green tips on it.

As we drove to the Dam and back, saw that new dining options had opened, on that side of Healesville. There was an establishment that offered wine tastings and food, seeming somewhat upmarket. There was a Beechworth Bakery too – how long has that been there? Maybe not so surprising that the cafe had shut down, after all. Entry on my mental to-do list: return before too long and try out these options.

Followed the Maroondah Highway to Lilydale and thence home – just in time to do battle with the local school traffic and buses.

Bus went as if it had never had an extended period of inactivity.

It appeared that, as we went along driving, the house batteries were receiving some charge from the engine. That was a surprise – I did not know that was supposed to happen, for those. The two cranking batteries, used to start Bus and power its “car” things, were isolated from the house system, and were obviously not affected by whatever had flattened the latter.

I still had much to learn about this motor homing lark and started to seek advice wherever I could, about what might be the problem.

The slight niggle of worry aside, it had been so good to be going somewhere in Bus, again if only for a few hours. John enjoyed the driving.

 My email queries to the company that had done the Bus conversion, back in 2004, went unanswered as did their phone. I wondered if the guy had retired?

We consulted an auto electrician in Lilydale. The advice was that we needed two new house batteries and a new charger. The batteries were a pity because the ones in Bus were onoy three or four years old. They were Haze brand which I’d never heard of. I ordered Full River batteries. We’d had these in the van, which was all 12v so they got a solid workout and were still going strong, after eight years, when we sold the van.  Decided to go for another Projecta charger, same brand as was there. The electrician said there had been a faulty batch of Projecta chargers some years ago – maybe that was our issue?

When I thought back, wondered if the funny episode we’d had with the smoke alarm, coming back from the NSW coast, last November, was in fact the charger burning out?

The new one came with a remote monitor, which the man mounted next to the other monitors and switches and  wired up for us, so I would now be able to see what it was doing. Previously I would have had to take everything off my bed and open up the underneath, to check this. I was much happier…

The new charging monitor – easy to see

He also explained to me how the electrical systems worked – finally I thought I understood it all….

That lot cost almost $1300.

Bus came home again, after its stay in Lilydale. We did not put the tarp back over the roof, hoping to get in a sort break away, before too much longer.


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2014 Non Travels Part 2

 AND ONTO SOME HISTORY…

A new desktop computer – the first of these I’d had since the children were at school in the 1980’s – led me to get serious about researching my family history. As I’d realized, when we were in Tasmania in 1999-2000, this was an area of considerable sensitivity amongst Tasmanian families, where much information was simply not talked of, let alone passed down the generations. So many ancestors had arrived in Van Diemans  Land involuntarily, courtesy of the British Government – and so many isolated farming families had intermarried…. It proved an engrossing study, one that would continue to occupy me, intermittently, for years to come.

My father’s family members – if not their individual history and experiences – had been documented in the family history book published in 2000, so I knew that family branch originated labouring on farms in Somerset and being enterprising enough to chance their futures in Van Diemans Land as assisted migrants. They bred prolifically, as was usual in those times. Perhaps a bit less usual was that almost all offspring survived to adulthood to, in their turn, produce large families. By the end of the 20th century, the descendents list filled several hundred pages in that book.

What was not realized at the time, or until modern genetic testing and research, was that the “family illness” was also passed down from my twice great grandmother, through most of her children, fortunately skipping the branch that I descend from. Dad had spoken vaguely of Huntingtons Chorea occurring when some first cousins married, but of course that was only a partial truth. Not a great claim to fame for poor old granny.

Much less was known about the family lines of my three other grandparents. My investigations on Ancestry  into this led to some interesting results. Most pleasing was being contacted by a previously unknown cousin – I have lots of those as it turns out – descended from dad’s mother. She was seriously into researching the history of her family in Tasmania, New Zealand and Ireland, and gave me much information. Even better, she lived on the other side of the Dandenong Ranges, so we were able to meet in person and forge an ongoing friendship.

My mother was the youngest of seven, hailing from an isolated area in the foothills of the Great Western Tiers. On a trip to Tasmania with her, in 1971, I had briefly met large numbers of her brothers’ families. I knew that her oldest brother had moved to New Zealand to find work, when mum was young, so about 1916, and the family had lost contact. Seems that migration to NZ was rather common in those times. Although mum was no longer alive to hear the news, I was able to track down his NZ life and family and make contact with a person who had known him. One mystery solved.

Best of all, I was able to track the arrival in the Australian colonies, of mum’s ancestors. The theme of assisted agricultural labourers, mostly from Somerset, continued. But a grandfather’s history was elusive, for ages, and I suspected all sorts of dire explanations. Persistence found an official mis-spelling of a name – also common with semi-literate officials – and so that branch turned up as assisted immigrants to the Port Phillip District in 1849 – just in time for the gold rushes! But twice great-grand-dad died in 1851 and it seems his remains are now beneath the car park of the Victoria Markets. This area was in those days, outside the young Melbourne settlement and the site of its first cemetery.

I found a great grandmother who died exactly 100 years before the birth of my daughter, on the same date – in childbirth! Tragically common in those times. Possibly a good thing I didn’t know about that, back in 1972…They say history repeats itself, and it damn near did!

I think it would be rare to be descended from the Tasmanian pioneers of the 1830’s and 40’s, without having a smattering of convict ancestry and so it proved, with a couple of thieves in there. Again, a mirror of their times – picking pockets, stealing a coat, stealing a piece of bacon…One ancestor was sent to Van Dieman’s Land for stealing his brother’s coat. I suspect that may have been a somewhat disfunctional family?

Another rogue  great grandfather also related to Australian history in an interesting way. Arriving in SA as an assisted migrant under the Wakefield scheme, he soon abandoned the wife who came with him, and their young child, and then resurfaced in gold-rush Melbourne. He married great grandma there – presumably bigamously – and they moved to Tasmania. Eventually he disappeared from there, leaving behind wife and a clutch of offspring, only to appear yet again around the Victorian goldfields of the Wedderburn area where – you guessed it – he married yet again and had another family.

My original university degree was in history and Australian history had been a speciality, so for me it was fascinating to be able to place the key events in the lives of these ancestors against the backdrop of my knowledge of the nation’s history.

So, all of that was about the one highlight of an otherwise dreary year.

I was able to travel vicariously through friend M, who – along with gentleman friend – travelled to Qld for a house sitting stint. They travelled up through Bourke, in order to show the man, who was a novice at M’s kind of travel, some of the inland. Unfortunately, whilst there, he had a camp chair collapse under him, and eventually ended up in hospital in Toowoomba, diagnosed with a couple of broken ribs and pneumonia.


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2014 Non-Travels Part 1

2014 NON-TRAVELS… PART 1

After our thoroughly enjoyable long trip last year, we had been looking forward to a repeat in 2014. But not to be.

The year turned out to be one of dealing with health issues that kept us anchored at home. Just for some variety, this year the bulk of the problems were mine, although John did have  “re-bore” surgery. Can I feel male readers flinching? I will not go into further detail here, except to say it solved the problem that plagued him during last year’s travels. There were also some more lung issues and his breathing capacity was measured at just 66%.

The sore on my leg, that started at Forrest Beach, last year, turned into a nasty leg ulcer that no amount of varied medical expertise seemed able to heal. One solution – by a plastic surgeon – created a second ulcer, worse than the first. Pain from the ulcers led to having to wear morphine patches. Repeated infections led to repeated anti-biotic courses. All this medication  in turn led to an immune system melt-down. Medication for that sent the blood pressure sky high. Eventually I finished up on a pain relief medication I’d not heard of before – a nasty called Lyrica. It dealt with the leg pain and enabled me to sleep but had some drastic side effects, like blurred vision. I really felt that I was on a downward spiral, suddenly.

With visits to assorted medical people happening two or three times a week, and instructions to keep leg elevated, travel was out of the question.

In January friends V and F came to stay for a really enjoyable week. They travelled by bus and train from Griffith – F did not want to drive anywhere near Melbourne and we failed to convince him that they could reach us with minimal exposure to metropolitan traffic. We collected them from, and delivered them back to Southern Cross Station. Fortunately for us – and F’s nerves – they arrived and left on Sundays, so none of us had to brave weekday traffic and hunting for parking places. We did do some driving about with them – mostly to different parts of the Yarra Valley. They enjoyed our pool, as the month was exceedingly hot. Swimming was something else I couldn’t do, due to the leg.

February saw bushfires in assorted parts of the state, but the Dandenongs were spared again.

One of the rare pieces of good news for the year was that son acquired a lovely new girlfriend – if that’s an appropriate term for someone turning 40 this year. She was an old school classmate, which made her a former student of mine, too! A further twist was that she and son had exactly the same birthday. It was delightful to see the both of them so happy with each other.

I occupied my forced sedentary time with quilting, completing my first quilt, started some years ago, made completely by hand. The action of doing the actual quilting caused a fluid build up in the wrist, which had to be treated by injection. I resolved that, although  really enjoying the hand sewing together of the various quilt pieces, the actual quilting of any future ones would be by machine – or someone else. The quilt went to grand daughter and I started thinking about and planning the next one.

The first quilt completed


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2013 Travels November 22

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 22     BAIRNSDALE TO HOME     303kms

We left the Bairnsdale park at 9.30 am and had a very normal run through Gippsland, with no further interruptions from the smoke alarm.

Had no stops at all. From the freeway turn off at Pakenham to home, via Eastlink and Canterbury Road, took us less than an hour. In fact, we were home, unhitched, parked up and unpacking within the hour. What a difference a freeway makes…

 Couey seemed a bit bewildered to be home.

I did some shopping and washed a basketful of dirty clothes, from Bus.

Of course, we were home in time for tomorrow’s pennant bowls, so John headed off to the club for a practice and to check the teams.

This had been a short but varied and enjoyable trip, one for which our Bus was the ideal rig. We had decided, during this trip, that we would have mud flaps fitted to the back of Bus, to help protect the Terios front which was showing some stone chips, and also to put a lockable fuel cap on Bus.

STATISTICS

Kms travelled:  1741kms    

Cost diesel:     $423.59

Cost accommodation:  $394.80    (10 nights)

Accommodation discounts gained:  $16


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2013 Travels November 21

THURSDAY NOVEMBER 21     TATHRA TO BAIRNSDALE     361kms

We were ready to leave Tathra at about 9.30am. The morning was grey, overcast and with a light mizzly rain at times.

From sea level, where the caravan parks are, there is a short but very steep and bendy climb up to the headland where the main town is, and the road out of town. I drove the car, solo, up the hill and John drove Bus. Up the top, we found a place to park, and hitched the two together.

Decided to take the Bega road, then cutting through just before that town, across to Highway 1. Going that way avoided the more hilly route and having to go through Merimbula town – never an easy run. It was a good way to go.

As we passed through Eden, I reflected that this was another town we’d transited a number of times, but never stopped at, or explored. Another for the future trips list.

On, back into Victoria.

Stopped at Cann River, where there is ample parking for longer rigs. Went to the bakery there. It was almost lunch time. John bought a pie. All they offered in the non-pastry line was pre-made soggy looking white bread salad sandwiches. Very disappointing in a town that clearly has regular tourist traffic. With stomach still a bit iffy, I decided not to insult it with their sandwich offering.

Refuelled at Orbost. $1.579cpl.

At Nowa,  took the route through Bruthen thus avoiding Lakes Entrance.

Near Bruthen, we were startled when the smoke alarm suddenly started sounding, from up the back of Bus. After we bought Bus, had tried to make a battery operated smoke alarm adhere to the roof, like we’d had in the van. But the felted material that lined the roof wouldn’t let the alarm stick to it, so we just had it sitting on the bench top between our beds.

John pulled over and I went looking for the problem. Couldn’t find any reason for it to be going off – there was no fire that I could see. So we set off again, but again it sounded, a few kms further on. Another stop and inspection. All I could think of was that maybe the sun had been shining on it through the back window Or fumes from some roadside spraying we’d passed had upset it? Or maybe exhaust fumes from some trucks we’d been behind on a hill? Whatever – it wasn’t a pleasant occurrence and left us both on edge for the rest of the trip to Bairnsdale, and Couey acting quite neurotically. There is something about that noise that really upsets the more sensitive dog ears.

As we passed through Bruthen – another town never explored – noted that the caravan park there looked pleasant.

Went into the Mitchell Gardens Holiday Park in Bairnsdale, where we were put into a separate section allocated to those travelling with dogs – sites only, no en-suites. It was pleasant enough. $27.90 for the powered site, after discount.

There were lots of holes in the ground around our area. Cicada shells on the nearby trees provided the clue that the holes were where the newly hatched insects had emerged from the ground before heading up into the trees.

We were parked next to another Coaster – a short wheel base one, with a Suzuki Vitara on a trailer. They had set up a little shower/toilet tent by the rig. On the back of their Coaster was a sign “Bussebago”. They had a beautiful collie type dog that they said they’d found as a stray in their travels and adopted.

John didn’t feel like any exercise, but I took Couey for a walk along the excellent path that went along side the Mitchell River, from the park. I could have gone further, but she rebelled after a while and we went back.

As we’d driven into Bairnsdale there had been some really nasty, threatening looking storm clouds building in the distance, but the storm passed to the south.

I was still not feeling great, so made John an omelette for tea and I nibbled on some dry biscuits.


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2013 Travels November 20

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 20     TATHRA

A normal morning, where I got up first and took Couey for her morning “ablutions” in a grassed area adjacent to the park.

Eventually John surfaced and we pottered about.

I went to meet my friends at the bowls club at midday. John had put his name down to play bowls, in preference to socializing, so he headed off to that.

The $10 meal deal was excellent value. I ordered lemon pepper squid, but was feeling increasingly unwell, with a clearly upset stomach, so did not feel like eating much when the meal arrived. Lots of conversation – we had much to catch up on – but I found it hard to concentrate. I wondered if yesterday’s ice cream was the culprit?

We decided against walking our dogs – they had two – on the beach, and decided to go back to their  place at Tura Beach. I drove the Terios there.

The new house was very pleasant and they had already made the garden lovely, being great gardeners. The block backed on to the Tura Beach golf course, so they had a beautiful, partly “bushy” outlook to that. They outlined plans to build a deck, roof the back terrace. They had sold their motorhome and said their travelling days were now over.

The two dogs of the establishment were a bit put out by the intruder in their yard, but a truce was declared. Couey was much more interested in staying close to me than exploring their territory anyway.

I left to drive back about 4pm. Got a bit lost trying to find my way back out to the highway through the winding roads of Tura Beach. This relatively newly built locality, just to the north of Merimbula, is really attractive, on undulating terrain, often with a view of the sea or of the large golf course. I could see the attraction of living here.

John was back at Bus when I got back. He had walked back from the club, after bowls finished. He’d had an enjoyable afternoon.

I wished we were here for longer as I’d have liked to spend more time with these friends.

John took the car and drove up to buy some beer at the cellars. He couldn’t get the main credit card to work and eventually had to fish out the back up card. Later, we worked out that he had been trying to enter the wrong PIN number. Senior moment? Given his several attempts, he’d probably stuffed it right up now, and would have to sort it out when we got home.

I made him some soup and salad for tea. I definitely wasn’t eating!


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2013 Travels November 19

TUESDAY 19 NOVEMBER     MORUYA TO TATHRA     127kms

Left the park about 10am.

Topped up the fuel in Moruya – $1.589cpl.

Today’s was a lovely drive, partly within sight of the sea and partly a bit inland. It was all territory we’d covered before. The beachfront caravan park at Narooma looked as pleasant as I remembered, as we trundled past and on up the hill to the Narooma township. Kind of a strange place, with the commercial centre up on the hill, but some homes and the nicest parts down by the inlet.

Decided to take the coast road to Tathra, so turned towards Bermagui, crossing the bridge over the Wallaga Inlet. The road was winding and a bit hilly in places, with glimpses of the ocean.

Our en-suite site at the Tathra Beach Family Park was different to what I was expecting. The park had changed considerably since we were last here, now being privately owned – much development and upgrading. There were two swimming pools! I noted ads for events like special meal nights – like $8 for a baked potato with toppings.

Back in 2008, I had been impressed with the little row of unisex bathroom units near our site. They had disappeared now and, I think, been turned into the row of en-suite sites near the pools, fronting onto the beach. Very nice, but at $60 a night, also much more up market in price.

As we pulled up at the park entrance, to book in, there was a van ahead of us, so I had to wait while that was processed. Then, when we drove around to our site, he was trying to get onto the site before ours. Obviously a new van, and seemingly a couple new to vanning. He made a right meal of backing onto his site. Eventually, we could squeeze past him and drive onto our site, after quickly unhitching the car.

The new guy’s van was really low at the front, on a slightly sloping site, and he had great difficulty getting it off the towball, getting really flustered. He was also trying to uncouple it before undoing the safety chains, which made his task harder. We were fully set up – awning out, table and chairs set up, dog tethered, water and power hooked up, while he was still trying to unhitch his van! Do we miss caravanning? Not at times like that…

Our en-suite was excellent. That, combined with our prime position, made it worth the money. Although, in summer school holiday times, the position may not have been so prime, with heaps of kids in the pools.

After relaxing for a while – and John eventually taking pity on the neighbour and giving him a hand – we went for a walk along the beach. The tide was kind of out, so there was some firm sand to walk on. Couey ventured into the shallows, once John started paddling along in same. However, the sea here behaved differently to what she was previously used to, at Forrest Beach. Not ripples, but waves. She lay down to have a luxuriant roll in the wet sand, and nearly got swamped by an incoming wave. Not impressed, retreated up the beach and stayed well away from the water after that. Unfortunately, there were lots of dead muttonbirds further along  the beach, so dog was back on the lead pronto. I am such a spoil sport.

Back at Bus, John had a nap. I left dog with him and walked across the road to the shops, to buy some onions and potatoes, and was tempted into buying an icecream in a cone.

I phoned an old friend – former teaching colleague – who had recently moved to Tura Beach and arranged to meet her and husband for lunch tomorrow. Then read for the rest of the afternoon, had a shower.

Tea was steak with peppercorn sauce, foil wrapped baked potato, salad.

Watched Keating Interviews next part on TV. Such a brilliant program.

Went to bed and to sleep with the sound of the waves breaking on the nearby beach – just the best way to end the day.


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2013 Travels November 18

MONDAY NOVEMBER 18     SUTTON TO MORUYA     195kms

Left the park at 10am and fuelled up at the adjacent servo. $1.587 cpl. Before leaving, I’d phoned ahead and booked us into a place for tonight.

Morning at our Sutton site – the wonderful grassed area in front of our van

Took the road straight to Queanbeyan, missing the Canberra central city. Thence via Bungendore to Braidwood. This section of road was more hilly than I’d remembered, but was alright. On previous stays, we had travelled out as far as Braidwood, but not beyond.

So the trip down the Clyde Mountain to Batemans Bay was new territory. The descent was alright in Bus, with its exhaust brakes. In fact, Bus did beautifully. I noticed that the red light indicating the inertia braking for Terios was on for quite a bit of the way.

I would not have liked to be going down Clyde Mountain with the van. We passed two different 4WD vehicles stopped beside the road, pointing uphill, with bonnets up, presumably cooling off engines. There was also a hot brake smell on a couple of sections. We resolved that, if ever coming up that way with the rig, we would separate the vehicles and drive the Terios independently.

At the base of the range, Nelligen looked really pretty and could be a really pleasant place to stay on a future trip.

We aimed to get to Moruya this afternoon, because our camping friends V and F (who we’d camped with back in September) were staying in a house there, with V’s sister and brother-in-law, whom we’d also worked with at Adels Grove, years ago. I texted V and we were heading into Moruya.

We went into a powered site at the Riverbreeze Tourist Park at Moruya. $27 for the site, after discount. Set up, had lunch. The park was very good. Excellent, modern, large amenities. Prime sites were ones overlooking the river, but they were all full. Ours was spacious, and we were able to keep Terios hooked  up to Bus.

Moruya site

The afternoon was sunny, but cool.

I phoned ahead and booked us an en-suite site at Tathra for a couple of nights.

Our friends turned up for afternoon tea – just tea/coffee and biscuits. Today was F’s birthday. We talked for a couple of hours and went for a walk around the park – for their future reference.

After they had gone, John and I were sitting outside, with Couey tethered on her rope so she could reach us, which she likes. I’d put her chew bone on her portable bed, to give her something to do.

A woman from the neighbouring van brought her toddler daughter and asked if she could pat Couey. She knew of the stumpy breed. Dog was very gentle with the child. We had noticed before how good she is around little kids. Then while that was happening and we were chatting with the mum, a moronic older man who was walking past, suddenly brought his smaller fox terrier type of dog across and let it have a sniff of Couey’s bone. Absolutely idiotic thing to do, apart from being very rude. Couey’s reaction was really interesting: as the terrier approached, she put herself between the little girl and the intruding dog, and guarded the kid, rather than defending her bone. After us all being initially dumbfounded, we let the man know, in no uncertain terms, what we thought of him.

Tea was pasta with bottled pesto.