This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2009 Travels June 26


For once, managed a sleep in – till 9am.

After breakfast, we set out for Townsville. There, did a grocery shop at Castletown. I also bought some new thongs because one of mine had broken, and some postcards. We fuelled up Truck. Had a Subway lunch – a treat John had been really looking forward to. Went across to our favourite fish sales place and bought three lots of barra and 2kg of prawns. I was happy that the 10% discount reduced the cost of that lot, somewhat.

Those chores completed, on the way back out of town, called in at the place that had repaired Truck, because John had been checking the bank accounts and realized that his internet payment for the repairs had not gone through. We had to wait some time for the guy to get back “from town”, then he and John sorted out the payment. The guy agreed to do a major service on Truck, if we were up this way again next year, which, at this stage, we were kind of planning to be.

That place was amazing – literally acres of (mostly) dead Landrovers, of all vintages.

Thus, back to Rollingstone. The day was cloudy and that cloud was low enough to be down over the ranges to the west. But it was still hot.

Cloud formations in this part of the country were often unusual….

After putting everything away, I went for a swim.

We then took our chairs across to the lawn area at the back of the beach and had happy hour, looking out over the sea. Very serene and pretty.

The park was filling up fast. It was the Townsville Show public holiday on Monday, so a long weekend for locals. We had a neighbor, for the first time. He had been staying a couple of sites further away, but decided to extend his stay and they told him he had to move.

In my daily trips to Reception for my papers, I had noticed that some of the staff seemed very tentative with the new computerized booking system. I didn’t think they were managing it very well – or were able to think laterally where juggling bookings was concerned. I was not sure how well these computerized systems were able to move campers around to maximize the use of sites. I’d had lots and lots of practice at that in my working seasons at Adels Grove! But we did it the old fashioned way, with lead pencil and eraser! And plenty of scraps of paper to play around with moves on. More advanced technology may not always be better…..

There were now lots of little kids around, on bikes and scooters and being noisy. We appeared to have a “compound” of family and friends on the sites across from us, now. I was glad they weren’t next door to us – at least our nearest neighbors were olds, like us.

Tea was fries and barra in beer batter – yum.

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2000 Travels August 17


We managed to depart camp before 9am.

Drove back into Halls Creek, where we refuelled, for $1.13cpl.

Then turned west again on the highway.

The scenery was less spectacular between Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing, but there was still enough variety to be interesting.

In these days of easy travel through the Kimberley, one forgets that the highway was only sealed, between Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek, in 1986. That was only seven years before we came up this way in 1993. The last frontier….

About an hour out of Halls Creek, we began to notice a strange noise coming from the area of the back left wheel, like a stone caught somewhere in there. It would go away for a while, then come back. John tried stopping and reversing, as one does to try to get rid of a stone, and that seemed to stop it for a while. We stopped several times to check it.

When I looked out my side as we were going along, I thought the wheel might have been wobbling a little, but I wasn’t sure. John was becoming increasingly terse, so I didn’t pursue that line.

We stopped for morning tea at an area of really spectacular cliffs and jump up hills. There were some dramatic hills in the distance too.

The need to get to Karratha was curtailing our ability to slow down and explore some of these interesting parts, but there was always next year.

The noise became worse after we started up again. John wondered if we had a broken axle, but I remembered that, when we broke the axle on the Hilux, in 1993, it didn’t move at all.

He slowed right down and we crawled along. I pointed out the wobbly wheel, which was much worse by now, and John agreed that it really was going from side to side!

The last 100 or so kms to Fitzroy Crossing took us ages, and seemed a really long way.

We talked about possible scenarios. It seemed most unlikely that repairs could be done in Fitzroy Crossing, given what we remembered of the place, from ’93. A tow truck trip to Broome for Truck seemed probable – and I resigned myself to an extended stay at Fitzroy Crossing, with van and no vehicle.

We reached the Fitzroy Crossing Lodge, with its very pleasant campground, and went into the motel reception to book in. The site cost $20.90. John explained our predicament and asked whether – if we had to stay longer here – their weekly rate could be retrospective. The lady was not helpful, and said weekly rates had to be paid up front. We were not prepared to do that until we knew what might happen. That is twice we have stayed here, now, and both times we have felt that the campground patrons are not a staff priority, but the second class citizens.

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At Fitzroy Crossing – we look normal enough, but……

John phoned Landrover Assist and they said to leave it to them to find a solution. Shortly after, while we were setting up camp, a tow truck driver called John. He said he would come from Broome and take Truck and van back there.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that he would take the van too. I really was not looking forward to a solo stay at Fitzroy Crossing.

John said the driver sounded pleased to have the job – a nice long one. He was very obliging – would drive out to here, camp overnight, and hitch us up early in the morning.

I did not envy him a night time drive with the wildlife that is around at night. Guess he got paid extra for being out overnight, though.

We were very impressed with the service from Landrover Assist – one phone call on our part, and all was organized for us. We do not even have to pay for the tow.

Tea was a packet macaroni cheese.

After tea, I walked down to the Fitzroy River which borders the very extensive grounds. It had quite a lot of water in. But it was still hard to envisage the floods that regularly inundate the camp ground where we are.

The sunset was brilliant.

It was a good night to be early to bed! So much tension today. What ever time that repairs take is going to eat into our time available for looking around this northern part of WA. Damn!

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1999 Travels March 25


Today turned into one of catching up with assorted members of John’s family. It rained off and on, all day.

We set out to drive to the Landrover dealer at Frankston, as arranged on Monday, to have the new roof rack fitted. When we got there, they did not have it in – said it was not available as yet. No one had thought to contact us beforehand with this information! John was very annoyed. I was furious with them, and rather vocal about it! Absolutely rubbish service.

We did get the extended warranty documents certified for Monday’s service – it had not been done on Monday.

We continued on, as planned, to see a terminally ill sister of John’s, who lives in a retirement village in Rosebud. She walked us round some of the place – it seems excellent, with all facilities. We ate our packed lunch with her. Another sister and her husband – who also live there – called in to see us too.

Refuelled Truck in Mornington – 70cpl.

John phoned brother C, who – with wife Z – is visiting from Kempsey  with  yet another sister, at Mornington. They are a large family! We were asked to join them there for tea. C is always  so pleased to see us, of course. The brother in law arrived home from work about 7pm, and we all had fried rice for tea.

It was a very convivial evening, but it was very late when we got back to the van.

Drove 276kms today.

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1999 Travels March 22


John had phoned the Landrover dealership a couple of weeks ago, to book Truck in for a service, today, and to get the new roof rack that Landrover is supplying under warranty. This was arranged back in Qld.

So we had to get up really early. Left Healesville at 6.45am, to get Truck to Frankston for 8am. There was – being early peak hour – lots of traffic, so it was not a pleasant drive.

At the dealer’s, there was a mix up and initially they said we were not booked in at all. Not what we needed to hear! Then it got sorted out. Their courtesy car took us to the town centre.

We wandered the shops for a while. John bought a computer game – Alpha Centauri. I spent some time browsing in Myers. We ate lunch at a Greek cafe. At Lincraft, I checked out their Hardanger materials. Much looking through the day, but little expenditure – good!

V phoned us – on her mobile phone – so we found a public phone and called her back. She will come out to Healesville, to lunch, tomorrow. It was great to hear from her. She has been tripping around, visiting friends at Tallangatta and Rochester.

We walked back to the Landrover dealer’s – a decent walk. They say we have to bring it back later, on Thursday, to collect the new roof rack and have it fitted. Seemingly, it was beyond their powers of organization to have arranged this beforehand! That was not news we wanted to hear! While we were there, we paid the insurance on Truck, a rather hefty $850. That was on top of the $620 that the service cost. This is not a great time for bank accounts!

Drove back to Healesville in busy afternoon traffic.

After a more substantial lunch than we usually have, tea was soup and toast.

A tedious day! The round trip to Frankston was 195kms.