This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2015 Travels April 30

THURSDAY APRIL 30     GUNDAGAI TO CANBERRA     175kms

Woke to a lovely sunny, blue sky morning, after the cold night. Had been able to hear some truck noise from the highway, through the night.

I was awake at 7.45 and started the day with a lovely hot shower. That process was complicated by having to seal the bandaged leg into a waterproof shower bag…

I had to wake John up at 9.15, so he had no problems sleeping soundly.

We got away at 10am. Couey was anxious not to be left behind, and got straight onto Bus and didn’t even do her usual barking before we started moving. So hope this improvement lasts….

The road was a long, steep-ish pull up out of the town, before we got back onto the Hume.

Seen on the Hume…

By 11am it was getting grey and cloudy and the day stayed that way.

We had to slow for several lots of roadworks, mostly indicated well in advance by several moving warning vehicles with lit up signs. At a couple of them, there were so many advance warning vehicles that we wondered when we were ever going to encounter the actual roadworks.

It seemed no time at all before we turned off the Hume and onto the Barton Highway at Yass. This is a really pretty road to drive. Makes up for the fact that it is single lane, each way, for much of it, and fairly heavily trafficked.  A rather unassuming approach to the nation’s capital city. There were the blue, distant, mountains of the Alps, autumn leaves on the poplars that were common in this region. There were the occasional more stunted eucalypts – the multi-trunked snow gum types.

Barton Highway on the way to Canberra

At one point, the Telstra Tower on Black Mountain, in Canberra, appears directly ahead and really stands out.

Arrived at the Eaglehawk Holiday Park just after midday. Had been there a couple of years ago, knew the way there, and – hooray – knew that it did not involve negotiating Canberra’s confusing circular roads and huge roundabouts.

Our en-suite site cost $43 per night. No discounts, but a surcharge for paying by credit card. However, the office staff were very pleasant and helpful.

Our allocated site was not level, so we had to mess about with putting chocks under Bus front wheels and even then, there was still a bit of a front-down lean. Took our time setting up, with the awning out and ground matting down.

It was rather a strange set up here, really. There had been no attempt to landscape or beautify these en-suite sites. It seemed the little buildings had just been plonked down an some concrete, a bit of gravel thrown around where rigs would park, and that was it. Right up the back of an otherwise highly developed park – literally and figuratively. On our last visit here, we had thought that caravanners were regarded as second class citizens in this place.

I made our lunch and appreciated having a plate of salad again.

John napped for a couple of hours. I did a leg dressing, sitting outside. Wasn’t all that happy with the way it looked.

There was a phone message from grandson – did John want to come and see him act in a play tonight? John hadn’t been clear about what we would be doing with the family members over the next few days. He phoned son-in-law, who seemed surprised we were in Canberra! He didn’t know what was happening, or when. Daughter was in Sydney for work. He thought we might be having dinner with them tomorrow night. And with that, John had to be content.

A big black cloud that formed about 4pm seemed to guarantee rain coming, but it went somewhere else. A weather check on my laptop showed another east coast low forming – more bad weather for southern Qld – and a little cyclone off Exmouth. Glad this rather late-in-the-season one was not further north, where M was cruising around the Kimberley coast.

By late afternoon, three of the four en-suite sites in this area were filled. A final van arrived about 9pm – unusual for vanners to arrive at that hour. By tea time there were six large coaches parked in the bus area near us. Presumed they were school tour groups, but didn’t see or hear any kids, thankfully.

The grey water drain that had appeared to be blocked ever since we left home was now dribbling, under the influence of the purple-bottled enzyme cleaner that I put in yesterday. John was pleased.

Tea was fresh linguine pasta (well, “fresh” from the chiller section of a supermarket, back home), with bottled stir through chargrilled vegetable sauce. The chorizo salami that John had for tea last night gave him huge indigestion through the night, so I threw out the remainder.

Message from my daughter that the young grandson was having abdominal lymph gland biopsies done next week, to rule out any cancers as being the cause of his ongoing leg issues. A worry.

Still no TV signal. I thought it was nice without it, and just the radio on – good clear sound there. But not sure I could  convince John.

When John took Couey out, after dark, she saw a roo grazing in the distance and nearly pulled John’s arm off.


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2015 Travels April 29

WEDNESDAY APRIL 29     WANGARATTA TO GUNDAGAI     267kms

Last night was really cold. I slept better than I’d expected to, given the head cold and bouts of a tickly cough. Using two pillows to prop myself somewhat upright was not all that comfortable, but at least I was warm. Couey was good all through the night – not a peep from her.

I woke at 7am. There was a lot of road noise, for some reason and I didn’t think I’d get back to sleep, so got up, took Couey for her morning walk and fed her. Then cleaned the leg wounds and put on fresh dressings. Sat on my bed to do it, because leg has to be stretched out in front of me while the ulcer areas are soaked with special stuff, and also because that way I can reach it all. It was all a bit awkward and I thought it might be easier next time if I waited till John was up and used his bed to rest foot on. It was all a bit experimental still.

Had my breakfast sitting outside, the way I like. An addition to the Bus gear, before this trip,  had been a two mug sized coffee plunger. No more instant coffee for me at breakfast.

Left the park at 9.55am. Another benefit of shorter day stages is less pressure to rush away in the mornings. Before we left, I put some more of the Bunnings enzyme stuff down the sink drain.

Back onto the Hume Freeway.

The day was cloudy, with a few blue sky patches.

Refuelled at BP Logic Centre, a km off the freeway, just south of Wodonga.  We were getting quite low on fuel. Despite the strange name it was an easy place to go to and fuel at, and then to get back to the highway from. It was very modern and separated cars from trucks and buses. We went to the latter section and found there was only hi-flow diesel at those bowsers. Great – no room for errors there! $1.309cpl – John got a discount, not sure why. Maybe because we were in the truck/bus area?

The driver of a cattle truck filling up next to us asked me if A frame tow hitches were legal in Victoria? I thought they were accepted all over Australia…That led to some talk about travel  in general. Meantime, Couey resolutely ignored the all-pervasive smell of cow…

So onwards. The new-ish Wodonga Albury bypass highway is so great – love it. The bridge it takes over the Murray is called the Spirit of Progress Bridge. I wondered if that was to commemorate the train that used to travel from Melbourne to the NSW border, where Sydney passengers would have to change to a different train to complete the trip. After the standard gauge rail was completed in 1962, they could go all the way on the Spirit of Progress which remained in service until 1986.

Crossing the Murray

The day became less cloudy and hotter  as we progressed north, to the point where I swapped the windcheater I’d started out in, for a polo shirt.

Stopped for lunch at Holbrook where a slip road goes to a parking area by a bakery, housed in a former servo, so there was plenty of parking space.  It featured a good choice of food at good prices. I bought a salad and cheese multi-grain roll. That’s my measure of a good bakery – that they do that sort of food. I couldn’t resist buying a couple of vanilla slices for tonight’s dessert – they looked so tempting. After I’d made my purchases and returned to John and dog, he went in and got a pepper pie and sausage roll.

We set up our camp chairs outside Bus, by a large grassed area and sat and ate, whilst throwing the ball for dog. So she got a good workout while we indulged. Civilized living…

There was a caravan park behind the bakery that looked alright – just a basic one. Worth knowing about.

The Hume in NSW

The Hume really is a great road, these days, though the cement-type surface in NSW takes a bit of getting used to, because of the peculiar road noise the joins create, which, the first time, always makes one wonder if something has gone wrong with the vehicle. I noticed that on some downhill sections, the surface was roughed up – to make them less slippery if wet or frosty, I guessed. But also even louder.

Textured road surface on a downhill stretch of the Hume

We had a taste of the “old” Hume north of Holbrook, where about 5kms of the new road was closed off for works and we were diverted onto the old single lane, two way road.

Stopped again at Tarcutta as John was getting tired. We all got out to walk around and stretch the legs. Couey did the hugest wee – went on and on. Poor thing must have had crossed legs for ages!

Looked at the Memorial to Truck Drivers who had been killed whilst driving. It was both sobering and impressive. So many names and so many relatively young ones. Really drove home the hazardous nature of that work. It was very tastefully done. The old Hume Highway used to see so many awful accidents involving trucks. Tarcutta  was about half way between Melbourne and Sydney, so this seemed an appropriate place for such a memorial.

Truck drivers’ memorial Tarcutta

Our last deviation from the Hume was into Gundagai, to the Gundagai Tourist Park. Here we paid $41.40, after discount, for an en-suite site. This was an unusual park, clearly designed for overnight transit. About half the sites were en-suite – all roofed at 3.25 metres high. Believe me, I checked first!

Roofed Gundagai sitesthey don’t look that high…

The en-suites were like dividing pillars between each pair of sites, which were all cemented drive through, with a small patch of grass. It made for easy setting up – no awning needed. It was near the freeway, but the noise from this was muted – nowhere near as loud as last night’s place.

Yes, we fit under…and the car can stay hitched on

The park also had cabins and grassed powered and unpowered sites. All  needs  catered for?

We were told that TV reception was good there, so was no need for travellers to put up antennas, which would be hard under the roof, anyway.  Couldn’t vouch for that as there was definitely something wrong with our system – no signal again.

I walked Couey on the lead on a grassy area between the cabins and a little creek.

We had a relax for a while – it had only been 2.15pm  when we arrived here. Then walked to a Woolworths supermarket, only a couple of blocks away. I wanted a cheap calculator, to work out bus fuel consumption, mainly. I needed to buy some tea towels, as all but one of the Bus ones had been washed, ironed and put away neatly  – in the linen cupboard at home. Can’t remember what I was thinking at the time, but it probably had something to do with leaving the ironing basket to pile high over several months, before tackling same.  John had to buy a toothbrush and toothpaste – guess why!

I also bought Turkish bread rolls, salami, ham, some cheeses. John had said he didn’t fancy the pasta and sauce I’d planned for tea tonight, but he didn’t know what he did feel like. Lot of help, that. So bread, meats and cheese it was – he usually loves that sort of meal.

We’d obviously had to take Couey walking with us. She was, these days, quite happy to amble along footpaths on the lead, ignoring other people. But  she got very anxious when one of us disappeared into a shop. There was no way we could leave her tied up and both go off shopping. The harness/collar/lead that she can’t get out of has not been invented yet. John minded her while I was in Woolworths, and said she fretted a bit. Then we swapped. She watched him go into Woolworths, intently, and whined a bit and paced up and down.

As we put up the new camp chairs outside Bus, earlier, John had noticed a problem with one chair leg, where a rivet hadn’t fastened properly, so he wanted to find a hardware store and get some screws. I’d walked far enough with the sore leg, so said I’d wait on a seat, with dog,  by Woolworths, while he went and did that. Well, dog watched him retreating into the distance and just howled, loud and long. As in – made  people turn around and stare loud. All I could do was put on my “I’m really not mistreating this animal” face and wait it out.

We’d never before stayed at or explored Gundagai. I would have loved to be fit enough to walk around more and explore. We had seen some beautiful historic buildings and on the walk read some displayed information about the town’s history. Settlement in the area dated from about 1830, so there would be much of interest. The town is beside the Murrumbidgee River, so it has  experienced a number of major floods. One, in the 1800’s, killed over 70 people. There were extensive parklands alongside the river which added to the town’s attractiveness.

We vowed to return another time, stay for longer and really look around.

Back to camp where we sat outside with a beer each, relaxing. Very pleasant. Chatted with some neighbours – older than us – with an A-Van and two collie dogs.

Plenty of room to sit outside

John had a nap before tea. Again, he couldn’t get the TV to work.

Before we left, John had been in contact with daughter and arranged to be in Canberra to visit them. After that, we would decide what to do next – depending on how my leg was travelling.

Once the sun was down, it cooled down really fast. Tonight would be another very cold night.

The last two days of travel had been really pleasurable – not too far each day, and with regular stops. I was enjoying just mooching along like that.


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2013 Travels September 18

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 18     SUTTON TO WODONGA     374kms

Left the park about 10am. We were a bit slow to get going this morning, possibly because of sitting up late last night. The port wouldn’t have had anything to do with it!

The day was grey and cool, but Canberra’s rain soon turned to light showers only, which became more intermittent through the day. By the time we stopped in northern Victoria for the night, they were only occasional.

The drive was uneventful. We went my way this time: down the Federal Highway to its intersection with the Barton Highway and thence to Yass. Very preferable to the back roads of Gungahlin!

The suburban neighbourhoods of the planned city gave way to the lifestyle small acreages of the fringes, often with grape vines growing,  interspersed with grazing country.

We did not need to go into Yass so were able to use the bypass to get straight onto the Hume Freeway.

John continued to be happy about the results of the changed tyre inflations.

We took a break at Gundagai, at the Dog on Tuckerbox stopping place. Had coffees. Bought a bag of apples.

Couey was totally indifferent to the ancestral dog on tuckerbox statue – but would really have liked to get into the pool at its base! Again, we spoiled her idea of a party.

No – it is not a fancy dog pool…

Stopped for lunch at Holbrook – always a great place for a break. We didn’t need to visit the tempting bakery there, though, because I’d made us lunch sandwiches before we left this morning.

Refuelled at Holbrook – $1.619cpl.

I didn’t want to do any driving today. Had lost a bit of confidence after the Dubbo effort.

The Albury bypass had made a great difference to progressing through that city. So much easier now.

We found the Borderland Holiday Park at Wodonga, on the Victorian side of the Murray, with no problems. Our en-suite site there cost $38.70, after discount. The park was pleasant enough. Very dog friendly, with a big off lead exercise area in a van storage paddock at the back.

En-suite site at Wodonga

I cooked up a chicken stir fry, with rice, for tea.


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2002 Travels April 5

FRIDAY 5 APRIL     ALBURY TO CANBERRA   360kms

It was cold through the night, but the day was clear and sunny and a very pleasant day for driving.

We didn’t rush to get up too early, or hasten over breakfast. I made sandwiches for later.

The drive to Canberra was uneventful. It is a route we have travelled before, so there was little novelty about it.

We stopped at Holbrook for fuel – 88cpl.

Ate our pre-packed lunch at The Dog on the Tuckerbox complex, on the northern edge of Gundagai. There was ample room there to park the rig, and we were able to sit outdoors and people watch while we ate. At the apple sales stall there, we bought a $6 bag of Batlow new season’s apples – good value.

We had just passed through Murrumbateman, on the highway from Yass to Canberra, when son-in-law phoned to check our progress. He said he would go home and wait, to let us in.

There were a lot of roadworks on Canberra’s outskirts, which slowed us down.

We found S and J’s place with no problems: through the centre of Canberra, across the Lake, and then it wasn’t far to Deakin.

SIL was waiting for us. The driveway looked very narrow, but John and SIL between them directed my backing in and all was fine. Then SIL went back to work and we unhitched Truck and set up. There was not room for the awning, or any of our outside table and chairs, so it was not a big set up.

04-06-2002 narrow space.jpg

It took some very careful backing to get in here!

John went to suss out the nearby bowls club and returned with the news that he would be playing tomorrow.

The family got home about 7.30pm. We had been told that S would be bringing things home for tea – we were expected to eat with them. It was, for us, very late and we were very hungry by the time S produced a meal of spag bol.

After tea we chatted for a while, before we retired to the van.

The red gum dining table that John made for them – and which they came down and collected earlier this year – looked really good.

04-05-2002 to canberra.JPG