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 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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2009 Travels April 28


We both slept in this morning, possibly due to the overcast, dull morning. So, even though already hitched up, it was 10am before we were ready to leave.

The rain had let up during the night, but the ground was still wet.

The Mid Western Highway, eastwards, was wider than the road yesterday had been, but the edges were still very soft and John was very careful not to stray off the sealed stuff, at all. We saw places where vehicles had driven off the black top and bogged.

Stopped for a coffee break at Goolgowi, familiar from previous trips north to Qld. However, this time we would not be going north from there, towards Hillston and Cobar, but continuing eastwards.

While drinking our coffee, watched some ringneck parrots, who appeared to have a nest in a nearby tree – or else be sussing it out for one. It was the first of this type of parrot seen on this trip.

A pair of Ringneck Parrots
The yellow ring at the back of the neck explains the name

Our lunch stop was at Rankins Springs – I’d made sandwiches before we left this morning. Whilst eating, we watched babblers and apostle birds pecking about on the ground nearby.

By this time the previously flat plains had become more undulating, even hilly. Much more interesting and cheerful….

I noted that the caravan park at Rankins Springs would be alright for a future stay, maybe to explore the nearby Cocoparra National Park.

From here, it was a pleasant run through farming country, to West Wyalong. We passed what appeared to be a very large olive growing venture.

Booked into the Ace Caravan Park, for $23. Found this park quite good and would certainly stay here again. It was still being actively developed and improved. Most sites were drive through style and attractively set out. By late afternoon, most were occupied. There was a railway line behind the park, but no trains went through while we were there.

Drive through – stay hitched up sites for greatest convenience

After a minimal set up, we walked the length of the town’s main street. I had hopes of being able to buy some new sneakers. The walking we’d done at Echuca and Hay had resulted in very wet feet, because I’d picked up the wrong pair of shoes from outside our back door at home. Instead of good solid, walking suitable sneakers, I’d brought my older gardening ones, complete with soles cracked right across. From the top, they didn’t look much different.

The only sneakers I could find locally that were anywhere near sturdy enough were also white! Not exactly a practical colour for my lifestyle, so I passed on buying those. Maybe in the larger centre of Dubbo?

Detoured into a supermarket and bought some groceries. There were more than I’d expected to need, so the walk ended up doubling as weights training too.

There was still some cloud about, but it felt like it was going to be a really cold night. I was glad I’d packed my woolly bedsocks.

John was feeling rather frustrated by the short stages we had done to date – not his preferred travelling style – and so said that he wanted to reach Lightning Ridge tomorrow. I had planned to stay at Peak Hill, where we had never stopped to look about and where there was a caravan park I wanted to sample. But, must keep the driver happy, so wasn’t going to make a fuss about that.