This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2007 Travels May 1

TUESDAY 1 MAY     BENDIGO TO MILDURA     415kms   

Grandson got to do his routine of waking up grandma – early! We had the expected cuddle in bed, before he had to go in for breakfast, and we got organized. It always surprises me, the simple things that give little kids so much joy.

We pulled out of the Bendigo driveway about 8.30am. Although coming across town yesterday, in what was after-school traffic, had been somewhat tense, the bonus for today was that we were on the “right” side of town, only a few blocks from the highway to the north west.

It was very foggy for the first hour or so, as we drove up the Calder Highway.

Stopped at Wedderburn to refuel – $1.30cpl.

Stopped at Ouyen, eating the sandwiches that I’d made this morning, and making coffee with hot water from the thermos carried in a basket in Truck. This always contained items that could be needed for a roadside break – plates, mugs, a knife, wipes and so on. It saved having to open up the van for such stops.

Ouyen has a very pleasant rest stop, centred around a feature made from a huge Mallee root. Looking at this, one could see why clearing this Mallee scrub country was such a challenge for the early settlers – and why the stump jump plough was invented. This machine, invented in the late 1800’s, as the more arid Mallee lands were being opened up, simply lifted up the plough blades when they hit a stump, and dropped them down again when the plough was over the obstacle.

Our overnight destination in Mildura was the Desert City Caravan Park. After discount, the powered site cost $20.70. This park was conveniently located within easy walking distance of a major shopping centre. Having been very good and not carried vegetables or fruit into the exclusion zone, we needed to stock up a little, here, on fruit and greens, so we made a brief foray over to the supermarket.

Sat outside in pleasant late afternoon sun, just chatting.

On Sunday, I’d cooked three chicken maryland pieces. These were rather a traditional first meal on the road for us. Marinated in lemon juice, sherry, soy sauce and garlic, then baked, they were really tasty – and kept well in the fridge. With some coleslaw – also made on Sunday, they were an excellent meal. I would not be catering, most of the time, for M, but some times when we were just overnighting in a place, it saved her having to unpack her cooking stuff from the Troopy.

Our fridge was definitely not cycling properly.


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2006 Travels December 10

SUNDAY 10 DECEMBER   PETERBOROUGH TO MILDURA   420kms

We slept in a bit later this morning.

Today was a much shorter day of driving. It was also much cooler, compared to what we’d been used to. We lost another 30 minutes of time when we crossed into Victoria today.

Refuelled at Morgan – $1.31cpl. It was wonderful to see the wide Murray River there – hadn’t seen a decent river for a while.

Now that we were – comparatively – close to home, John thought we could ease off the travel rate a bit, so we stopped for the night at Mildura. Took a powered site at the Desert City Caravan Park – $20.70, after discount. Had to unhitch the van. Having green grass around the van was a novelty!

Walked across to the big shopping centre across the road and spent some time wandering and browsing. Bought lunch – a bakery pull apart loaf. It was pleasant to have some of the day for just walking about and relaxing.

I had a long and lovely swim in the park’s pool. Bliss.

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2004 Travels September 14

TUESDAY 14 SEPTEMBER  PORT AUGUSTA TO MILDURA   590kms

We refuelled on the way out of town, at the servos by the long causeway that the trucks use. $1.11 cpl. Then got fuel again at Parina, later in the day – $1.07 cpl.

It was yet another long, uncomfortable driving day. All covering routes we had done before and which were quite familiar.

Turned a little south of Port Augusta, and headed up through Horrocks Pass to Wilmington, then Orroroo, Peterborough, Burra, Morgan, Renmark, Mildura.

We stopped at Morgan to eat lunch. This little town beside the Murray River had a very good park area by the punt crossing of the river. We had to turn right to go into town to this park, but it was worth the little back track we had to do to get back on the way to Renmark. We had previously stayed at the caravan park that was across the road from the park.

In Mildura, went into the Desert City Caravan Park – Top Tourist. $18.90 for the night, after discount.

We unhitched Truck and went and bought pizzas for tea.

John decided that he still wants to go to Canberra to see his daughter and grandson. More long days in Truck! I was contemplating a slow few days travelling beside the Murray, as far as Echuca or Corowa, then home. Damn!

In occasional phone calls, he had mentioned that we might end the trip by visiting them. Now he phoned and confirmed our intentions.

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2004 Travels March 27

SATURDAY 27 MARCH   MARONG TO MILDURA   386kms

Today’s was a comfortable stage.

Refuelled at Wedderburn. Diesel was 97cpl – making it 7c a litre dearer than at home.

Along the way, John realized that he’d left the plastic diesel jerrycan at home – hence the “empty” space in back of Truck, where he couldn’t remember what normally travelled there.

We took a break at Ouyen, at the very pleasant travellers’ rest stop there. I took a photo of the Big Mallee Stump that had been made into a display. This was a very large root system of the Mallee eucalypt that is endemic to the region. These trees are not all that tall, have multiple trunks, but have these massive root systems beneath the ground. It was evident why it had been so hard to clear this land for farming – and why the stump-jump plough was invented to deal with the problem.

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Big Mallee stump at Ouyen

It did not seem all that long until we were approaching Red Cliffs and then the outskirts of Mildura, moving from the arid mallee scrub country to irrigated farm land.

We booked into the Desert City Caravan Park. It was quite pleasant and adequate, and central. After discount, $18.90 a night.

Although the Park was by the main highway, traffic noise was not an issue.

We unhitched, but did not do a major set up, as we did not intend to stay here more than a couple of nights.

Went off to have a quick look around the shops in the complex across the highway. John bought some sneakers – Colorado ones. Costly, but comfortable on his hard-to-suit feet.

We bought fish and chips, from the supposedly good Sweet Lips shop. Very greasy and definitely not to be recommended by us!

We’d changed mobile phones shortly before coming away, and were still learning its tricks – much more convoluted than our very basic old one. I sent son a message – just to surprise him that I could do so. Received a reply about teaching an old dog new tricks! Also messaged daughter and she replied about how surprised she was!

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1999 Travels April 14

WEDNESDAY 14 APRIL   KERANG TO MILDURA   301kms

I had a very restless night, for some reason. Maybe there is something subconscious about heading off into the unknown again.

However, we woke to a great morning – crisp and sunny.

We got away well. Stopped to buy a newspaper in Kerang. John was not hassled by driving around the streets there, with the van on.

It was a very pleasant drive along the Murray valley, towards Mildura.

We refuelled in Swan Hill – 78cpl. That is a huge jump from what we paid at home!

At Boundary Bend, we found an area where we could park and eat lunch, overlooking the river. Saw a white plumed honeyeater.

Stopped at the Information Centre in Robinvale, mainly because it was easy to access, as we were passing. Bought almonds there – the area is a major almond producing one. There was a notice that was a job advertisement for casual harvest process workers, so we asked about it. It involves packing pistachio nuts, for $11 an hour. It would be standing all day and monotonous work it would be. They want females only for that. They also need a fork lift driver, which would be right up John’s alley – if only he had a fork lift licence! We decided not to apply.

We have discussed doing some emergency teacher work in another couple of years, in order to get the $3000-$4000 for the new computer that John wants. In the course of discussing work with the staff person at the Info Centre, were told that they are short of emergency teachers around here, and also need sessional teachers at the TAFE to teach basic computing. All is food for thought. But now that we have begun moving again, I really do not want to prop again for the length of time that something like that would involve.

In the meantime, we pushed on for Mildura, crossing the Murray at Robinvale, into NSW, and going through Euston.

Just out of Euston, we were pulled over at a mobile fruit fly inspection point. We had not given any thought to quarantine zones, and had not seen any signs about same on the back roads we had travelled. They took our new apples! And – brought from home – our kiwi fruit, lemons and figs. We hope we will not be fined – the inspector left that up in the air! It was not a nice feeling. I actually forgot we also had cumquats and guavas from home, tucked away, so they were not taken – whoops!

We were quite subdued as we continued on.

We booked into a very pleasant caravan park, on the northern edge of Mildura – a river front one – the Big 4 Golden River Caravan Park. It is not cheap, though. This week is holiday time, so we pay holiday rate – $109.80. And that is after the discount, and with the seventh night free. If we stay longer, subsequent weeks will cost $14.40 a night, with the seventh night free – that is better.

We had a calm, late afternoon set up, on a pleasantly shaded site.

This is an “organized” caravan park, with holiday activities and the like. We decided not to go to the organized wine tasting happy hour this afternoon. We would probably only have bought wines we can’t afford!

Tea was vegetables left over from last night, and sausages.

Phoned K to report our whereabouts.

I started up my computer. It says the printer is not installed!! What printer? It does not want to proceed further. While we were in Melbourne, John insisted on changing many of my computer programs to “bring them up to date” – even though I wanted them left as they were. Now, I don’t know what I’m doing, and it appears the computer does not, either. John gets very impatient if I ask him for help with such things. I feel un-empowered!

The night was cool. Maybe it is the effect of the nearby river?

I am pleased to be in Mildura, with time to look around. We have passed through several times previously, but never did more than overnight here.

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