This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2015 Travels August 22


This morning, I took Couey for her morning walk, to the back area of the park where John had walked her yesterday. She suddenly made a great lunge away from me, pulled the lead from my hand  and scarfed down something that sounded crunchy. A bone of some sort? She must have noted it, somehow, yesterday, because there was no preliminary investigation this morning. Could only wait and see if whatever it was upset her system. For a cattle dog, with dingo ancestry somewhere back in the breed, her system is remarkably intolerant of a range of things. Very much at odds with the instinct to scavenge.

Left the Forbes park at 8.55am. Wearing long trousers and polo tops now.

I noted for future reference the good looking dog walking areas by Lake Forbes.

Yesterday and today we saw lots of truck loads of hay going north – fodder for drought affected areas, we thought.

Today we were into more irrigated crop land and plenty of sheep and cattle grazing areas. The more arid mulga country was left well behind us yesterday.


We encountered one of those vanners who speeds as soon as a section of road with overtaking lanes is approached. Grrr. We’d come up behind him fairly quickly – a dead give away that we were going faster than him. We then tootled along behind him, at 70-80kms, for more than 15 minutes, until coming up to the overtaking section, when he suddenly speeded up. We did get past him, but had to use the whole length of a long overtaking section to do so, and just managed it. The, of course, we left him totally behind. Why do drivers feel the need to do that?

The GPS took us around the West Wyalong Truck Route. Very nice of it.

The damned fridge door sprang open again. A chunk of frozen meat fell out when it opened, scaring Couey, who apparently does not like meat airborne. Another quick stop for me to close it. Definitely going to have to install a strap fastener or something, at home.

Took a break at Narrandera, near the Information Centre. Couey had a good run in the park area there. Ate the sandwiches I’d made this morning.


I tried to persuade John that we could stop the night in Narrandera, but he was in get-home-fast mode, it seemed. I phoned the caravan park in Tocumwal, where he decided we’d aim for, and booked us in.

Refuelled in the town. $1.319. Getting steadily cheaper as we come south. My calculations showed we got 7kms to the litre on that tank of fuel. We’d had a tail wind for much of the last two days.

Crossed the Murrumbidgee, which was fairly low.

Stopped for a coffee break at the pleasant Bundure Rest Area. Quite an extensive area, in amongst trees.

Bundure Rest Area

John was tired, now, of course. We should have stopped at Narrandera. I drove the rest of the way to Tocumwal. Arrived at 2.50pm. Not quite such a long day as yesterday.

At the Tocumwal Caravan park paid $36 for an en-suite site, after discount. The site was drive through – a bonus, and we could keep the car on the back. The en-suite was adequate, but a fairly flimsy transportable unit, so starting to show wear and tear. It was almost impossible to get the door to close, for example.

This park had a dog run area, fenced, where dogs could run off lead. It was not a huge area, but long and narrow, along the side fence, an area that would otherwise just be lawn and garden. The run was clean too – a bin was provided inside. We could throw the ball for Couey and she could gallop around. This was an excellent facility and I wished more caravan parks would adopt it.

Dog run at Tocumwal caravan park

John napped for the rest of the afternoon. The dog too, after her first, long gallop about.

I walked to the shops in the main street and found an IGA supermarket that had the Saturday Age and Weekend Australian. Wonderful! My reading matter for the rest of the day and night.

I cooked John fish and fries for tea. I was not very hungry – the effect of long travel days, so just had a few fries and an egg.

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2015 Travels August 21


Departure day could not be delayed any longer, much as we were thoroughly enjoying our time here. There were medical appointments to keep, at home, in four days’ time.

Left the caravan park at 9am. Fuelled up in town. $1.389 cpl. Headed roughly south again.

The day was warm. The were wearing the t-shirts and shorts that had been weather appropriate for the past few weeks, but wondering if we’d need to rug up before the day was out.

Between the Ridge and Walgett, we were passed by a smallish, European made, lightweight van, heading north. It was swaying from side to side really badly, on the uneven road. I would not have liked to be towing it!

Near Walgett, we picked up truckies’ talk on the CB radio, about a caravan jack-knifed by “the bridge”. We didn’t see anything amiss as we went through town. Thought it might have been out on the Brewarrina road, where there is a series of bridges.

On the uneven road between Walgett and Coonamble, the fridge door suddenly swung open. We had to stop so I could close it. That had never happened before. On our very first trip in Bus, the spring on the freezebox door broke away; since then, the little door was held shut by the main fridge door, and stayed shut when I was delving into the fridge – didn’t really need the spring. However, it seemed that now on the rough surface, the couple of blocks of frozen meat that were still in there had shifted and forced both doors open, even though the fridge door was latched. On the way again, we discussed whether we’d need to install some sort of extra closing device before our next trip.

Took a coffee break (using the trusty thermos of hot water) in Coonamble, at the very pleasant rest area there, where there was plenty of parking.

Taking a break at Coonamble

We had seen seas of yellow canola flowers along the road verges and in some of the paddocks.

Near Gilgandra, the distant Warrumbungles were hazy in the heat.

Had lunch in Gilgandra. I had originally thought this would be tonight’s destination, given that John often tires easily. But he was feeling fine and wanted to go on, so we stopped in one of the parking areas beside the Windmill Walk.

Windmill Walk Gilgandra

 Dog and I had a pleasant short walk along part of this. As we ate our sandwiches, admired the big old trees beside the Castlereagh River.

Castlereagh River Gilgandra

South of Gilgandra we started to see more and more roadside wattles in bloom, which added cheer to the day.

We were stopped – naturally – for roadworks. After all, we were on the Newell Highway! As we waited for the lady with the Stop/Go sign to let us move, I noticed something new to me. On the edge of the bitumen, near where she had taken up her station, was a white painted stick figure. No room for misunderstanding about her position, then!

Stand here!

At Dubbo, John was all for continuing on to Parkes, so I phoned a caravan park there and booked us onto a site for tonight. In preparation for today, I had not done any research into parks further south than Gilgandra, so had no idea about the quality of the park I phoned, but it did have en-suite sites.

Refuelled at Peak Hill. $1.365cpl.

The Dish near Parkes

When we went to book in, John came in too. He heard the man on Reception tell the lady in front of me that they were in a TV black spot, so he hoped TV wasn’t important to her. John announced we were not staying here –  and walked out. I apologized to the man. Not much else I could do. Hell – it was only for one night, but you can’t separate an addict from his screen.

Back onto the highway and on to the next town Forbes. It was 4.30pm when we reached the Big 4 Holiday Park there. Yes, they told John, they did have TV in the park, but no available en-suite site. The addict was happy, me less so. They gave us a site right by the amenities block, where we could keep the car hitched onto Bus. Very helpful staff. Our powered site cost $30.60 after discount.


There was a small grassed area at the back of the park where John was able to give Couey a run.

It had been a long day’s travel. Not recommended for the health of my leg. I was surprised at how well John had held up.

We had happy hour drinks with a couple parked nearby, who were going north to Qld. Very pleasant people and it was after dark when we went back to our respective rigs.

Tea was simple: pasta with a stir through sauce from a jar.

John watched cricket. Obviously of importance to him, even though Australia had already lost the series.

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2015 Travels May 26


Woke to a cool morning. There had been a heavy dew, so we managed to track a lot of leaf litter inside Bus.

Left at 9.50. Southwards on the Newell, yet again.

There did not seem to be too much truck traffic – something to be thankful for. However, a bit north of Dubbo, a truck with a wide load pulled in from the side. He was some distance in front of us, but we thought he might have waited until we were past. We stayed behind him for ages. He was bowling along at 95kmh – just a bit too slow for John’s preference. The road was winding and when we came to overtaking lanes, we did not have enough revs to pass him safely in the distance provided. But it was interesting watching how oncoming traffic dealt with him. He was only 4.5 metres wide – had an escort vehicle in front. Most oncoming vehicles pulled much further to their left than they needed to – some even getting right over into the gravel sides. Trucks were much better at judging the width and not going too far over.

We trailed this wide load for a long way…

I wondered whether the magic GPS would be smart enough to have a truck route around Dubbo to give us, coming from the north, that would avoid the dreaded roundabouts in town. But no detours were offered, and John managed the roundabouts beautifully – much better than me. I guessed the river to the west of town precluded other routes to that side. Our over-dimensional travelling companion didn’t seem to have any issues, either.

I was surprised to see a very active looking mine near Tomingley, a little place north of Peak Hill. Knew the Peak Hill open cut mine had ceased operating a few years ago, but it looked like there had been a revival of mining in the area. Gold? I didn’t remember this from our last time through, in 2013.

For several years, I had wanted to overnight at the caravan park in Peak Hill, and have a little explore of the area, but to date, our stages hadn’t fitted in a stop here. No change today – John wanted to press on.

We needed a brief stop just north of Parkes, as the phone rang, and the lady on the other end wanted to speak to John. We were able to pull over. The Baker IDI Research Institute was trying to get John to take part in a diabetes medication trial and the call was about that. The biggest problem with agreeing to do something like that – apart from having to often drive from home to wherever in Melbourne – was that it would tie us to home for regular appointments. Now that I was starting to feel a bit liberated from the constraints caused by leg ulcers, I was not sure we needed another tie.

We had to stop again, soon after, as a long goods train crossed the highway in front of us. Then the same damned train held us up again, a bit further on.

North of Forbes, the heavy vehicle inspection point was working – on both sides of the highway. “Our” wide load had disappeared into the distance while John took his phone call, but here he was again, pulled into the check point and being inspected. It looked like they were pulling over all trucks. I wondered if that was why there seemed to be a lot fewer on the road – were some going another route?

We stopped for lunch at Forbes. Were almost through the place when spotted a bakery by the highway, just north of the Orange road corner. Looked like it was part of the Services Club. It was a good place to get lunch because we were able to park on a side street and walk back. John had his usual bakery items, I had a very nice cheese and salad roll and an excellent coffee. Future lunch point noted! The side road was nice and wide for us to be able to turn around in, too – always a consideration when reversing is a no-no.

Our oversized friend trundled by while we were eating lunch, so he had passed inspection, presumably.

Roadworks south of Forbes – yet another stop.

Refuelled at West Wyalong. $1.379cpl.

Proceeded to the Ace Caravan Park, where I managed to direct us in the “out” way. It was a bit complicated there. Our en-suite site cost $37 for the night.

West Wyalong site

We had stayed at this park when it was fairly new, some years ago, and were really impressed with it then. The young owners who were setting it up were catering well to the overnight trade, with long drive through sites – less common then than they are now – with planted beds separating sites. They had scattered interesting old pieces of machinery about, set up a seat overlooking the canal, and the place had been very neat and clean.

Unfortunately, we felt rather let down on this visit. The place looked tired, as if more energy and upkeep was needed. The garden bed edging beside our site was broken, the plantings between the sites was sparse, as if a lot had died off from lack of water. Some previous grotty occupant had left a bag of rubbish in the garden of our site, and birds had broken it open. So I had to pick up the rubbish before Couey went investigating. There were not bins by every site, but they were not far away. Just laziness.

The en-suite was portable style, but at least it was fine – and clean.

After set up, took Couey for a walk around the park. I was annoyed to see lots and lots of dog poo on the otherwise attractive grassed area that was the tent camping section. There was far too much of it, and too recent, to have been left by just incidental travellers like ourselves. A large van set up, opposite the grassed area, with a couple of large dogs, was clearly a long-stay resident, and it was odds-on that the dog mess came from there. Some people are really gross.

Grassy area in distance once was a pleasant tent camp site…

When we’d booked in, there had been no “rules” or information given out at all, which is unusual. If it is not stressed what is expected of guests, then some assume there are no rules at all. It seemed to me that the impressions given by appearance, staff attitude and the like, translated into the way the customers treated the place.

So, it was a let-down, and we were unlikely to return.

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2002 Travels December 16


Today was another long driving day. I would really have liked to slow down just a bit, but John was focussed on home. My legs got quite crampy, sitting for long periods without a break, or any exercise, and I was sure it was not good for our circulation.

Today was my 57th birthday – and it was a lousy way to spend it, too! Hot, dry, dusty.

Refuelled at Moree – 82cpl. This seemed to still be a Qld type of price.

We passed through the broad acre farming country of central NSW, on and on, through the day. The only real area of interest was the more hilly country around Coonabarabran, with the Warrumbungles in the distance. From here on, we were on ground we’d covered before.

Refulled at the hamlet of Tomingley – 97cpl. Big difference from what we had been paying recently.

I was relieved when John decided to stop for the day at Forbes, about 4pm.

We booked into the Carapark, for $16. Did a quick set up, just for overnight, again. John immediately decided to have a nap and went soundly to sleep.

I needed some exercise, so went for a walk down the side of River Road, where the park was located. Given the name, I hoped I might come to the river, or a similarly attractive spot, but it was just a narrow road that went on much further than I could walk, so eventually retraced my way. In all, walked for about an hour and stretched out some of the kinks.

Resize of 12-16-2002 Forbes cp

Hitched up at Forbes

I’d hoped we might have a meal “out” – maybe a counter tea, or a take away Chinese meal, just something a little festive, but John wanted to keep Truck hitched up and we were too far from the shops to walk it in the dusk.

So, like yesterday, it was then shower, cook a basic meal and fall into bed.

I’d had much, much better birthdays – in fact, this was amongst the worst!

Resize of 12-16-2002 to f