This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2013 Travels June 27

THURSDAY 27 JUNE     GOL GOL

We slept until 8.30 again. I was first up, took Couey for a walk, then fed her. After that, she just wanted to stay inside, close to John, while I had my breakfast sitting outside.

John and I spent much of the morning using our laptops. The new Telstra modem gadget worked well and allowed us both to be online at once – a big improvement over the previous dongle. I looked up directions for setting up the awning!

A few days ago, John’s daughter had talked about us bringing her an exercise bike she was probably going to buy, from Mildura. John phoned her to see about that, but then thought she may have changed her mind. She told him she would investigate it, but then we didn’t hear any more from her through the day.

I walked down to the river bank and took some photos. The Murray River level was down a little from when we were here last year, but still at a healthy height.

Murray River at Gol Gol

After lunch, drove into Mildura. Compared to last year, it was so good to be able to get in the car and go somewhere. On the way in, drove into and had a look around the river side caravan park at Buronga. It looked much better than where we are. Whilst not en-suite, the sites were spacious and the outlook over the river much nicer – not blocked by cabins like at Gol Gol. Thought we’d go there next time.

Did a supermarket shop, mostly for fruit and vegies, having not previously stocked up because of the quarantine zone.

At Auto Barn, bought window shades for my side windows in Bus, to keep the direct sun off as we are going along. Yesterday, it had become quite hot through the big window.

At a pet supply shop, bought a couple of dog chew bones, but not the sort I’d hoped to get. I’d managed to leave Couey’s good one at home. It occupies her for ages, without getting noticeably smaller.

Back at camp, took dog for a walk along the nearby street. John came too, but he couldn’t go very far, so we turned back.

John had suggested spag bol for tea, but I’d bought some fresh fettucine instead. He loved that.

Couey came inside at teatime and just crashed. Somehow, she’d had a tiring day.

I didn’t think the sullage hose was draining the grey water tank. If that was the case, it must be getting pretty full! Only a dribble seemed to be coming out of the hose John had attached to the outlet. I went out in the dark after doing the tea dishes, to have a look at it. Thought that the stop cock tap wasn’t turning anything. It seemed to be both bent and loose. I wondered if it had been like that since we bought Bus, last year? John didn’t seem convinced there was a problem, but said he’d investigate tomorrow, as he was watching football on TV.

The bruise on my arm looked worse today – darker and almost up to the elbow.


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2012 Travels August 20

MONDAY 20 AUGUST     GOL GOL

I did the usual morning routine with Couey.

Was a reply on Facebook from John’s daughter – not a phone call. She would be away all the coming week, for work, and then spending the weekend in Wilcannia to be at the rugby – a recent interest, it seemed.

I told John we would not go to Broken Hill, after all. It would be over a 700km round trip, just to spend a couple of days at the Menindee Lakes. I thought we could slowly progress back along the river and eventually head home again. John suggested a stay at Beechworth – his ancestral home area. I agreed, thinking he meant having a day or two there, after our slow jaunt back along the river.

In the afternoon, walked Couey along the bush track beside the main road and back around the big block formed by Carramar Drive. She picked up a three corner jack in a back paw, yelped, stood still, then stuck out the leg for me to “fix”. Quite comical.

Interesting phenomenon: in our van travels, we had quite often propped in a place for days in a row, without going anywhere, or doing anything except walking, reading, John’s computer game playing, my sewing and writing. But here, I really wanted to go somewhere – anywhere – just because I couldn’t. That really got me thinking some more about this bus based travel and what was starting to seem a real limitation.

Murray River


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2009 Travels April 24

FRIDAY 24 APRIL     ECHUCA

Some rain set in through last night and today was cooler and cloudy, with some rain spells.

We spent a quiet day: some emailing, John gaming on his laptop, me studying share prices and trends on mine, and then reading the daily paper.

Between rain sessions, we managed a walk to the shopping centre, keeping a wary eye on an ominously huge cloud build up to the north.

I bought a newspaper, and a postcard for grandson – predictably, of a paddle steamer. Hardly a novelty for him, who has visited  Echuca himself a few times, but there wasn’t much else on offer.

The drought had lasted so long that vegetation had regrown on banks where the river level had dropped

The caravan park partly filled up as the afternoon wore on. Our new neighbours were from Qld. They were not happy about the weather.

Being Friday, indulged in the weekly fish and chip treat. We found a promising looking, award winning establishment, and ordered our usual meal of fish, chips, potato cakes and a dim sim for John. It cost $31. Ouch! That was definitely NOT usual! It was very nice; the barra really was barra and not the Nile Perch that is often substituted, but the serving of chips was miniscule. If that was gourmet fish and chips, I’ll take the plebian variety, thanks.

Echuca was a costly place to stay. I was not sure I would like to live here, subjected to a tourism-determined local economy.

On TV at night, watched St Kilda demolish Port Adelaide: the season had begun well for “my” Saints.


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2000 Travels December 12

TUESDAY 12 DECEMBER   MORGAN TO SWAN HILL   485kms

We got up at 6am and were away at 7.

Today seemed slightly cooler than yesterday.

We paralleled the Murray River much of the way to Renmark. Occasionally we caught glimpses of the river down in its valley.

Refuelled at Renmark – $1.06cpl.

Eastbound traffic does not have to stop at the quarantine checkpoint near the Victorian border, but we still did not want to carry plant material from other areas into the fruit growing area along the Victorian Murray, so I had not stocked up.

Thus, we stopped at the shopping centre on the edge of Mildura where I bought bread for lunch, and some salad materials for tea. Also bought an Age newspaper – great to have one of these again!

We had decided to follow the Murray for a couple of days, rather than drive the more arid and hot route to Melbourne through the Mallee. So we headed off into NSW for a short time, then crossed the river back into Victoria at Robinvale, and from there along the river to Swan Hill.

Ate lunch as we went.

We lost more time today as we crossed the border back into Victoria.

The Swan Hill Caravan Park, beside the Murray, was very pleasant. It cost $20 for the night. We were able to stay hitched up.

John holed up in the van, being justifiably tired, and read, with the air-con going. I walked along the river bank to town and back.

In the late afternoon, we sat outside the van, watching the sunset being reflected in the river water – beautiful.

Tea was again cold chicken pieces and salad.

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2000 Travels December 11

MONDAY 11 DECEMBER   COFFIN BAY TO MORGAN   691kms.

We got up at 5.45am, and were away just before 7am, after a final feed of our magpie friends.

Today was a long, hot, day of driving.

The first stage was along the eastern coast of the Eyre Peninsula. Our schedule did not allow for stops to look at, or explore, the number of potentially interesting small settlements along that coast.

We reached Port Augusta in good time. Refuelled truck at $1.02cpl.

The forecast here was for 38 degrees by midday!

We continued on, up through the Horrocks Pass, where the long climb up did raise the temperature level on Truck, somewhat.

Then it was on through Wilmington, and the rather flat grain growing country of the mid-north. As the road bent around, there were occasional glimpses of the blue Flinders Ranges behind us.

We stopped for lunch near Orroroo, at the giant red gum tree, an impressive specimen thought to be hundreds of years old.

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Very elderly red gum tree at Orroroo

Rather than stop at Peterborough or Burra, we decided to push on to Morgan, because that would break the back of the hot, arid country driving.

The last part, through the hottest part of the afternoon, was really hard going, but worth it because the dreariest part was over.

We got to Morgan at 4.15pm. It was still very hot.

At the Riverside Caravan Park, beside the mighty Murray River, we were able to stay hitched up. That cost $15.85.

I bought a few salad items from the park shop, to go with tea, but not much because I was not sure about fruit fly quarantine checks tomorrow.

With a salad, we had the chicken I’d cooked yesterday – very nice.

After tea, we walked along the river and through the historic area of this once busy riverboat port. Watched the vehicle ferry or punt, take the odd vehicle across the river.

The river level was surprisingly high.

With the sun gone, the walk was quite pleasant.

There was a huge, pink, anvil shaped cloud in the distance and, later, a huge full moon.

12-11-2000 to morgan


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1999 Travels April 16

FRIDAY 16 APRIL     MILDURA

We were up at 8.30. Again the day featured blue sky and sunshine, but the morning had a chill to it – long trousers were needed.

We drove to the town centre – like yesterday – but today were able to complete the tasks I had in mind.

We walked around the Mall shops. I put photos in for printing. Bought lottery tickets. Just got a sense of what shops there were, here.

I posted a birthday card and cheque to V.

Went to the Information Centre, and found it a most comprehensive one. The library was in the same place. I was able to join this, for a fee of $10, refundable when I was leaving town. I borrowed two books – all that is allowed at any one time. Can see I will be coming back here frequently, while we are here! But it is great to be able to read for free.

We visited the new Plaza shopping centre, but did not find it anything of note. Did a Woolworths shop, so we are stocked up again.

After lunch, we drove to Lock 11, which is not far from the bowls club.

The Murray River, of course, was extensively used in the 1800’s, by river boat traffic, although Wentworth, near the junction of the Murray and Darling, was the important settlement of those times. Then in the late 1800’s, it was decided to establish irrigated farming and Mildura began. A system of locks and weirs was built along the river to control the river levels; these also had to permit river boat traffic to continue.

Lock 11 at Mildura is in a channel that was dug through a bend of the river. There is a weir across the river at this point, so the Lock allows boats to miss this and continue on the river. Digging the channel created Lock Island.

We spent a couple of hours walking on the island, accessible across the top of a Lock “wall”, and watching paddle boats go through the Lock. It was kind of fascinating. One of the boats was the paddle steamer “Melbourne”, one of the original Murray River paddle steamers, with really interesting construction lines – wide and squat, because of the side paddle wheels.

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The paddle steamer Melbourne approaching Lock 11 from upstream

We watched the “Melbourne” approach the Lock from upstream. The downstream Lock gate was shut, so the water level in the Lock was the same as that for the boat. It maneuvered carefully into the Lock, the gate was shut behind it and the water level lowered, dropping the boat with it. Then the downstream gate was opened and the boat sailed out – at the lower level of the river, downstream from the weir. Nifty!

 

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Churning shows water being released from Lock; the boat is dropping inside the Lock

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The Melbourne steaming out of the Lock at the lower river level

At Lock 11, it is usual or average, for a boat to drop about 3.7 metres, in the Lock.

The river looked to be at a reasonably high level, though I guess it can be hard to properly tell, due to the system of weirs and locks.

There is a flood marker pole at Lock 11. Red lines on it indicate the flood levels of various years. It is hard to credit how high floods have been. The 1956 flood marker was about 2.5 times John’s height on the pole – and it is quite a height above the river, itself!

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The red lines on the pole show water height in various flood years

Tea was fish and chips. I felt they were too fatty – might try a different shop next time?