WEDNESDAY 13 DECEMBER BENDIGO TO HOME 225kms
Another early morning visit from the grandson – it was a real game for him to come out and knock on the van door and call out to us. Another cuddle in bed. He was a wonderfully affectionate little kid.
I had been really dreading the task of hitching the van and Truck together, on the sloping driveway. John would be backing the truck downhill, in tiny increments – the idea was to get the poly plastic block on the van part of the hitch, exactly into the metal receiving arms on Truck. But not just that – to get the retaining bolt in place, the hole on the block had to line up precisely with the holes on the metal arms – and when they did, I would quickly shove the bolt in and down. I had to direct John, not just in distance to back, but also about the precise central alignment – and at the same time, wind the height adjusting handle on the van to bring the block to the exact height where it could slide into the arms. When we were on flat ground, it was easier, because I could wiggle the van sideways a bit if needed. Here, with the van chocked at the back of the wheels, there was no wiggle room, literally, and John had to stop Truck at the precise moment – no rolling backwards!
We waited till the family had left, rather than put on a display for them! But it went better than I had dared hope. John did a pinpoint accurate job of inching Truck back down onto the Treg coupling, whilst I frantically adjusted the height of the van so the bits would fit. It was a great relief when I could push the locking pin down through its holes, and they actually aligned. Whew!
Refuelled on the way out of Bendigo – $1.21cpl.
It was the usual, standard run home, via Heathcote, Seymour and Yea.
We reached home before lunch time.
It was great to see M again. She had our garden looking immaculate – much better than we do!
It was also great to see the old cat, battling on but thin and rather frail. Getting on for 17 years old now. He seemed happy to see us, too.
It was good to be home again. Now to unpack van, clean it thoroughly, and prepare for Xmas.
Virtually the first thing John did was to get on the phone to arrange for his African mahogany timber to be shipped south.
So, this year’s trip had turned out exceedingly different to what we had envisaged, back at the start of the year. We spent time in all mainland states and territories, except for the ACT. Sort of “around Australia”, but on a mostly inland circuit……..
On 14 December, the men at the South Point Fly Camp were able to move to occupy rooms at RV2, although there was still a considerable way to go to complete that camp.
On 15 December, we received an email from boss lady, asking us to go to RV2 in the new year – exact date to be determined. I replied that we would be available from about 3rd January.
On 20 December, a further email said that a new employee at HO would co-ordinate our travel arrangements, out of Melbourne, probably on January 4, if flights were available. She would liase with us. Head Office would be closed until January 2. They were hoping the project would be finished by the end of January.
So – more work! And a FIFO experience…..
In the last few weeks at RV1, I had been dreaming of green, cold, wet……..Be careful what you wish for………On Xmas Day, it snowed in our part of Melbourne! Real, genuine, cold and wet snow. Huey, you overdid it, a tad!
STATISTICS FOR 2006 TRIP:
* Kms travelled: 18,468
* Kms van towed: 12,991
* Cost of diesel: $3602.92
* Average fuel consumption: 7.95kms per litre used
* Dearest diesel: $1.81cpl – Barkly Roadhouse NT
* Cheapest diesel: $1.21cpl – Bendigo, Vic
* Accommodation cost: $2412.20
* Accommodation discounts gained: $54.10
* Dearest accommodation per night: Hidden Valley Caravan Park Darwin – $109 (cabin)
* Dearest caravan site accommodation: Eighty Mile Beach Caravan Park – $34.45
* Cheapest accommodation per night: $16 – Hiway Inn Daly Waters
* Number of different places stayed at: 30
* Longest stay in one place: Monsoon Cafe, Litchfield NT (employed)