This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2016 Travels September 12


There was light rain all through the night and the morning seemed distinctly damp and dreary. I was up at 8am and did the usual dog walk.

Had my little radio on whilst I was having my breakfast coffee and did not like the weather forecast I heard. The Bureau was issuing severe weather warnings, with a lot more heavy rain to come, especially around here and to the west and north. It was expected to be a prolonged bad weather event.

When John surfaced at 11am, I suggested to him that we bail out and go home today, before the really bad weather set in tomorrow. Heading further west, as originally planned, was clearly not a good idea now. He agreed, even though we’d paid for another night here. I think he was sick of feeling cold, damp and confined, too.

We got away at 12.30pm.

As we were driving away from the Park, there was a sudden revving type of noise from Bus engine. We both thought “slipping clutch”. I was tense for a while, but there was no repeat, so relaxed somewhat.

I had thought we would head to the Calder Highway, then home on the usual route from Bendigo, through Heathcote. But as we travelled through Daylesford, the GPS issued different directions to mine. John obeyed the machine. I had another look at the map and worked out that we could head over towards Kyneton, which GPS had us doing, but then go on up to Heathcote and home. John was quite happy to travel on C class roads, so we headed on through Lauriston.

The Campaspe River

The roads were mostly fine to good, with a few slightly lumpy sections, in places. It was basically an easy route and a pretty drive, through mostly open country to Heathcote. Another new line for my map of roads we have travelled…

Threatening skies on the way to Heathcote

At Redesdale, there was an unusual warning sign – for a narrow bridge with a curved top.

Don’t see many of those signs

At 4 metres high and 3 metres wide, it was fine for us. But it was a very unusual bridge over the Campaspe River – a narrow stream here – with stone posts in the centre of the roadway. That section was hilly, down to the river valley, and back out again.

Not a truck friendly bridge

Reached Heathcote at 1.45. Stopped in the usual side street area, by the oval. John took dog for a run, whilst I went to the bakery for lunch – a sausage roll and pastie for John and a ham and cheese sandwich for me. Plus a big coffee each.

We had that revving noise happen again, not far from Heathcote. Again, we were in 4th of the five forward gears and on a flat road at the time. It was strange, because Bus had not displayed any issues on the hilly sections we’d been on.

Went straight through Seymour, now both being somewhat anxious to reach home.

There was so much surface water lying in the paddocks between Seymour and Yea, and full dams. There were some ominous low storm clouds hanging on the hills to the north and east.

Turbulent skies near Yea

When we reached Yea, the fuel gauge had just ticked on Empty, so John didn’t take the chance of trying to make it to Glenburn, It took 86 litres in what we thought was a 96 litre fuel  tank! Was $1.209cpl – more expensive than it would have been at Glenburn, for sure.

Around Glenburn, we came up behind some sort of vintage car that we eventually worked out was left-hand drive. He was going a bit slower than us, which was why we’d caught him, but wouldn’t slow to let us past. When there were overtaking lanes, he kept going just a bit too fast for us to be able to get past him, after allowing other tailed back cars to go by. It was really annoying. He was also wandering over the road, noticeably. John though maybe his steering was loose. I thought he may have had a liquid lunch! If it was the steering, it must have been a cow of a thing to drive. We remained stuck behind him all the way from Glenburn, over the Range and all the way to Lilydale.

That car…

From the roundabout on the Yarra Glen bypass, one can usually see the hills of home in the distance, but today they were covered by cloud.

Home is under those clouds…

There was another episode of the revving at the Yarra Gen roundabouts. It went on a fraction longer, this time. Clearly, to me, this was becoming a significant issue.

Reached home at 4.15pm. Bus had trundled up the long, winding uphill road leading towards home with no problem.

Took less than an hour to unpack the fridge contents, other perishable food, assorted electronics and gadgets that don’t stay in Bus – and a large basketful of washing.

So – our planned several weeks trip was rather drastically curtailed. In light of the subsequent weather, and major flooding in the areas we’d planned to be, the right decision had been made.


Nights away: 10

Accomm cost: $384.80

Discount gained: $35.20

Fuel cost: $165

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2016 Travels September 11


The day was fine, but overcast and rather gloomy.

I walked Couey in the Gardens, which was a really pleasant way to start the day.

It was time to move on. We were reluctant to head west and further away from home, with the possibility still of deteriorating weather. We’d never visited Daylesford, just to the south, so decided to go there, whilst we waited to see what the weather would do, next week.

I phoned the Daylesford Caravan Park, on instructions from John to query whether they had decent TV reception and free wifi. The answers were yes, and no. Today was the day of the month when we get access to the next 8Gb of data, so the latter was not a problem. I booked a site with a slab for two nights.

We were out of the park at 10am and on to a route we had not travelled before.

 A day of gloomy skies

The country was undulating green pastureland with some woodland areas. In one area it looked like grapevines had been planted – but I wasn’t aware that this was a wine area?

Grape vines?

We came into an area where there were some rocky outcrops and then old stone walls evident, like those in the Western District that were built of volcanic scoria rocks.

Rock wall craft

From that I assumed that Mt Franklin, coming up on our left, was once a volcano. It had the right shape.

Mt Franklin

We had been passed, somewhat before the Mt Franklin area, by two motor cyclists, then a couple of minutes later, by a third. They had all waited behind us until it was clear to pass. John commented at the time that the last rider did not seem to be riding as confidently as the first two. Then, just south of Mt Franklin, we came around a bend and could see some vehicles stopped in the road a way ahead. We stopped behind a short line of cars that were going our way and waited while a man directed oncoming cars and a caravan past one of the motorcyclists, who was face down on the road, on our side. As there were several people stopped and assisting, including one using a mobile phone, we moved slowly past, when the man waved us through. The downed rider was moving his legs, clearly in much pain, but at least still alive. I couldn’t tell if he had come off his bike by himself, or whether a vehicle had also been involved. There was a bend in the road, just past where he had fallen. It is always horrible, encountering something like that.

The ill-fated motor cyclist

We were not far out of Daylesford and were soon there. An ambulance passed us, heading out, but not with siren or flashing lights – a good sign.

Drove past a big market event, on through town and out the Ballan road, to the caravan park.

Our powered site cost $34 a night. No discounts here.

The slab on our site was actually a bricked area, with gravel and grass around it. It would be more solid underfoot than the Castlemaine grassed site had become with the rain. The site was a good size. There were lots of large conifer trees around this park. The amenities were nearby – good – and were clean and adequate. There was a dump point across from the park entrance, and an oval which would be a good dog run area.

Daylesford site

After set up, we drove back to the markets. It was almost midday by then. Walked around. The area of stalls was quite extensive, but very heavily dominated by second-hand bric a brac and general junk. This sort of stuff seemed to characterize market set ups in these parts. There were a few fresh produce stalls of different kinds – this was what interested me. Also some clothing vendors and the ubiquitous fragranced oils and candle offerings.

The market was by the old station where there were historic train rides on offer. Something a bit different.

I bought some walnuts in shell, a kilo each of Victorian and Tasmanian ones. John bought a bag of chilli flavoured peanuts and a bag of Fuji apples. I bought a home made olive bread loaf for our lunch.

John developed cramps in his legs, so it was back to the car. He let me drive back to camp. Had to be bad for that to happen!

On the way back, went to Coles as John was out of “his” milk. There is a rigid divide in our household between full-fat and low-fat milk consumers… I got him some ham to go with the bread, some Brie, and a bag of mandarins that was on special.

By the time we got back to Bus, John was feeling better and took dog across for a run on the oval while I made lunch. The bread was yummy, especially with the Brie, and the hummus dip – another thing John didn’t eat.

He didn’t want to do anything else today, except play WOW on his laptop.

I drove alone to the Information Centre and browsed there for material about things we could do here. Coming to Daylesford had been John’s spur of the moment idea, but he didn’t really know why or what he wanted to do here. I could not find much that was promising. It was too wet and cold to go walking in the bush. Apart from that, Daylesford seemed to be heavily into eating, drinking and indulging in mineral spas. Sharing bath water, no matter how mineralized, with a heap of other people didn’t appeal, either.

Back at Bus, I had a nap for a couple of hours, having not slept very well the last couple of nights.

Unusually shaped branches on the conifer

Our perception was that Daylesford was a cold, damp and cheerless place. There were some showers – a light drizzle – during the afternoon. Just enough to make it seem rather miserable.

I decided that I liked Castlemaine much, much better.

Tea was roasted chicken drumsticks, cooked in the electric frypan, outside Bus. I boiled some asparagus for John and sprouts for me.

We watched Australian Survivor, then John watched a film and I read. I went to bed around 11 and slept well. John stayed up till 3am playing WOW.