This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2015 Travels August 23


About 5am, Couey indicated, by nudging John and grunting, that she had an urgent need to be outside! Yesterday’s illicit snack had worked its way through her system and the results were not pretty. Nor easy to clean up after. But I did my best. John passed on that chore.

After that drama, John slept in a bit. Sleep had been vanquished, for me. I gave dog, who was now perfectly happy, a couple of runs in the enclosure, read and pottered about getting my breakfast, while we waited for him to arise. His sleep in was ok, as we had a much shorter distance to go today. He had done well to manage such long drives, until now, even if they were not actually required. Why do it the easy way?

Tocumwal camp

Left the park at 9.40. There had been showers through the night, and it was a cool morning. There were more showers just after we crossed the border into Victoria – naturally.

We should have taken the truck route around Shepparton, but John had not set the GPS truck setting today and then didn’t believe me when I told him to turn onto the OD route. So we trundled through the traffic and got stopped at every possible set of lights.

I had been planning a coffee stop at Lake Nagambie. But since we last came this way, Nagambie had been bypassed and we sailed on by before even realizing.

Around Seymour, could see big cumulus clouds over the distant mountains. Quite pretty.

Cloud over the Great Dividing Range

Stopped in Yea for the usual bakery lunch. That was not a good move today. Note to self: avoid Yea lunch stop on Sundays. Especially Sundays in winter. The town was crowded – a local football match, tourists, a mass group of bikers, people on their way back from the snowfields. Lots and lots of vanners too.

There were no multi grain rolls left at the bakery, so I settled for a cheese and salad sandwich, which was not as easy to eat, as the filling went in all directions. John got the last pepper pie. We ended up eating standing up on the grassed central area, as all the tables and seats there were taken. It was 1pm when we left Yea, so we really had landed in there at peak lunch time.

Refuelled at the really easy to access servo at Glenburn. $1.229cpl. That meant the tank was still going to be quite full whenever we began our next trip.

Had a bit of an alarm at the servo. John noticed that the Terios parker lights were on, even though he said he’d turned the Bus lights off. He asked me to sort it while he went and paid for the fuel. I couldn’t turn the damned things off. Nothing worked, not even turning off the ignition key. I disconnected the bus-car power lead and put it back in again – and the parkers came back on. I was starting to wonder if we’d have to try disconnecting the car battery.

Then John came back and, as he walked around the front of Bus, he realized its parkers were on, after all – and the car was controlled from the Bus. He hadn’t turned them off at all, and I couldn’t tell from behind the Bus because the sun was shining directly on it. I was not impressed.

When we approached the corner of the Melba and Maroondah Highways, between Yarra Glen and Lilydale, the traffic lights facing us were red. There were a couple of motorbikes at the front, waiting to go, then a couple of cars, then us. We waited … and waited. An inordinate time. One bike took off through the red light. Then the car behind him moved up into that space – and the lights changed. For some reason, the two bikes would not trigger the lights.

Reached home at 2pm.

I thought I would put dog in the house and back yard whilst we unhitched the car in the street, then drove both into their parking places. Thought dog would be happy to explore her yard again. Not so. I had to work hard to drag her up the drive and into the house. Then ,while we were unhitching she was trying to jump the gates. No way was that Bus moving an inch without her on board! So out she came, and onto Bus. Once it was parked, we let her roam with us whilst we were unpacking, and she was happy.

It did not take long to get the remaining perishables, electronic gear, cameras, our medications and so on, into the house. That was it – another trip over, bar the washing. Almost six weeks away this time.

Hopefully, the worst of Melbourne’s winter was now over.


Nights away: 39

Kms travelled (Bus): 3314kms

Fuel Cost: $802.05

Accommodation cost: $1534.00

Savings through discounts: $151.50

Dearest accommodation: Broken Hill Tourist Park  $42.30 pn

Cheapest accommodation: Travellers Rest Charlton $28 pn

Just for interest I calculated an average for Bus fuel and accommodation per night of this trip. Came to $58.90. Then we spent extra money on fuel for the Terios, and – obviously – food and the like. As a contrast, when we set out on our full-time travel in 1998, we budgeted $400 a week to cover fuel, accommodation and living expenses, and managed comfortably. I think that, now, we’d need just about double that.


2015 Travels July 15


Early start today, getting up around 7am. John was surprised that I willingly did so, and even beat him into the shower. Definitely keen to go…

Had a very calm final packing, and hitch up of car to Bus, out in the street. This was mainly because we left dog in the house until all was done. Then I went and collected her, and locked up. By now, Couey was so anxious not to be left behind that she bolted into the Bus. Score one to me!

So it was a 9.15am departure. Just about a record for us, in recent years at least. The day was grey, damp, cloudy, cold. Normal Melbourne in July. Later, we had occasional small patches of blue sky.

Had the customary stop in Yea at the old station rest area.

Rest area made around old railway station at Yea

It was too early for bakery food, so we did not need to park near there. Gave Couey a bit of a run on the open, grassy area of the old rail line area.

Great for a dog run

Just after we got going again, and turned onto the Seymour road, John realized his dash cam wasn’t working, so pulled into a parking space at the kerb to re-set it. We were all set to move on again, when a works truck pulled up beside us, blocking us from being able to drive away.

Blocked in…

Two men got out and began removing temporary signs from nearby poles. It was obvious we were about to move – the engine was going – but they took no notice. Eventually, after several minutes, one got in and moved their truck just far enough forward for us to be able to get out. John opened his window and said to the nearest man “Did you enjoy that?” He got a grin in return.

Why not park there in the first place?

A routine run, after that, to Heathcote, where we stopped for a toilet break – for all three of us! There is usually plenty of parking down the side street, next to the park and oval – good place for dogs!

Stopped at Heathcote for a break

I went to the well-known bakery and bought us both coffees, and a scroll for John, who’d asked for “a cake”. Don’t think the scroll was the sinful, cream-filled confection he’d had in mind, judging by the look on his face when he opened the bag.

Near Axedale, could see glimpses of the waters of Lake Eppalock, to the south. This was a novelty worthy of comment. The drought years were still so recent that we were not used to seeing water there.

Trusted the GPS to guide us through Bendigo on the truck route, to the Calder Highway. There was some traffic, and a few sets of lights on this route, but it was not too bad. I’d earlier had a text from daughter to be careful, as there had been black ice in town and several resulting traffic bingles, but the ice had melted by the time we were going through.

We were not stopping in Bendigo, as we’d just had grandson staying in the school holidays and had seen daughter then.

Once clear of Bendigo and able to see whether John was OK to continue, I phoned the hotel at Charlton to book us a place at the Travellers Rest there. Was told they no longer handled bookings as there was an on site manager and they gave me his number. I then played phone tag with Phil, and we were almost to Charlton before I managed to confirm a spot for us.

We reached there at 2.15pm and after minimal set up, ate the sandwiches I’d made this morning for our lunch.

Our en-suite, with power, at the Travellers Rest, cost $28. It was better than a lot of caravan parks we have stayed at.

Travellers Rest Camp Area Charlton

We had a patch of grass between Bus and the en-suite. There were two buildings with four of the parking bays and en-suites each. One lines up in marked spots on the asphalt. The bathroom was spotless. There was a large glass door on the shower. There were heaters as part of the light fitting. Even the toilet paper was good quality.

We could tether Couey to the Bus bull bar, with room for her to move about, and walk her across the nearby footbridge over the Avoca River, to an area where she could free range.

Footbridge over the Avoca River

All very good. The community was to be congratulated for the work they had done on establishing this facility.

Across the footbridge, there was a fairly basic caravan park and this and the Travellers Rest were now run together.

Much had been done to make the area attractive to travellers, with landscaping and a kitchen herb garden.

Kitchen herb garden

There was a free camping area at the back, and cheaper powered sites at the caravan park.

There were some lovely old river red gums lining the small river. We read on a signboard that there were plans to make a walking path along the river, to a weir. That would be an added attraction.

The manager was pleasant and helpful. He gave us a booklet – think he’d had a hand in its preparation – about things there were to do in the area. Obviously making the most of what there is. We decided that, next time coming through this way, we would stay a few days and explore the area. Having the manager in his office in the daytime would mean that the parked rig would be secure while we travelled out and about.

In between rain squalls, we gave dog a walk and run. She was obviously very tempted by the river and plotting a way to catch us off guard, but we headed that off.

Ventured to the main street and walked up and down it. Some interesting older buildings, including the theatre, which had an art deco air about it.

Old Charlton…

By nightfall, there were only four other rigs at the Travellers Rest – two caravans, two camper trailers.

Tea was the usual cold chicken marylands, that I’d cooked at home, and coleslaw.

We watched a little TV, then turned in.

The rain clouds cleared to make for a really cold night.

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2015 Travels May 31

SUNDAY MAY 31     BENDIGO TO HOME     230kms

After the usual morning routine and pack up, we left the park at 9.55am. It had rained during the night and now the sky to the south looked quite threatening.

Leaving Bendigo in lousy weather

The GPS directed us onto the OD route through the outskirts of Bendigo to the Heathcote road. All very easy – a benefit of having a truck system. “She” wanted to keep us on the route to the Calder Highway, though, but eventually re-adjusted as we tootled off to Heathcote.

The way home from Bendigo, through Heathcote, Tooborac, Seymour and Yea was a very familiar one. Not boring, but routine. About the only unusual event was sighting a live, rather than the usual dead, wombat by the side of the road.

Again, the GPS had some difficulties with our route choices. After Heathcote, she wanted us to continue down the McIvor Highway towards Melbourne. Then, at Seymour, she thought we should take the Hume towards the city. I could almost hear her grumbling to herself after about the twentieth “do a U turn…”

Just beyond Seymour, came up behind a line of several vehicles following a fairly large caravan. The tail back built …and built. A few cars took some risks to pass him – this stretch of road is fairly hilly and winding. There were several places where he could have slowed down and pulled over to let followers through, but was not considerate enough to do so. Eventually, just before Yea, he turned off onto a side road to somewhere else.

We followed this rig…and followed…and followed

We stopped for lunch in Yea. That town has a very wide grassed area between the road lanes, with picnic tables on. It had become our practice for one of us to wait there with dog while the other goes and buys their food from the excellent bakery, then to swap over. I love their freshly made cheese and salad rolls! I bought a vanilla slice and a beesting, to be tonight’s dessert.A final trip indulgence…

Today’s lunch was somewhat livened up by a carriage pulled by two grey horses, going up and down the road. Dog was interested but happy to be so at a distance. Showed no signs of wanting to go and investigate those large critters any closer up. Wish I could have said the same thing about the fountain, near where we had parked Bus. She was so strong when there was a water goal in mind. I could see one of us, one day, actually ending up in the fountain pool with a very happy dog.

After Yea, the rain was steady, as we traversed the Great Dividing Range.

The hills of home…

Reached home at 1.30pm.

Unpacking these days was fairly easy, as so much was permanently left in Bus. By late afternoon all was done and the washing was happening. Couey was rediscovering her toys and spreading them out all over the house. John was back on his big-screen computer.

It had been good to be travelling again, and using Bus, rather than leaving it sit there.

Before we’d left, I had wondered how well I would cope with the two leg wounds. Changing the dressings every couple of days had been a chore, and was done in less than hygienic conditions – dog hair anyone? But it was very clear by the end of the trip that there had been really significant improvement and progress. I was surprised by this, but very pleased. The scales at home also showed that I had lost several kgs of weight…good stuff, this travel.


Nights away: 33

Kms travelled: 3017 kms

Fuel cost: $635.28

Accommodation cost: $1320.60

Savings through discounts: $90.40

Dearest accommodation (after discounts): Eaglehawk Holiday Park Sutton $43 pn

Cheapest accommodation: Gilgandra Caravan Park $29.70


2013 Travels September 19


As we hadn’t had to unhitch the Terios last night, it was easy to get away this morning, after giving Couey a run in the back paddock.

It was a noisy departure, though. I took Couey on the lead with me and walked to the office to turn in our gate card and en-suite keys, after John had driven out through the boom gate. Dog thought Bus was going without her and complained loudly. Had she been IN the Bus, she would have complained equally loudly about me walking off without her. At least, she was then fast to get onto Bus!

Routine run down the Hume Freeway, to Seymour. Turned off there, for Yea. There was the usual hold-the-breath moment when going under the railway bridge at Seymour. It suddenly occurred to me to wonder if those extra few pounds of pressure in the tyres had made us higher? But there were no nasty scraping noises. I am sure there  was quite adequate clearance above us – but the optics were uncomfortable.

Stopped for lunch at Yea. We could always find a place to easily park the rig there. Walked to the bakery. John bought a pie and I had a lovely, freshly made salad and ham roll.

We were home by mid-afternoon. Couey obviously recognised the area and got all excited as we turned the corner into our street. Beats me how she knows, especially after months away.

Had to park the rig in the street, a bit before our first driveway. I took dog and put her in the house, then  unhitched Terios, which I drove up into the carport. John then drove Bus into its parking bay.

We managed most of the unpacking before dark. A lot of stuff stays permanently in Bus, so unpacking mostly involved some clothes, perishable foods, the electronic gear and all the dog’s gear.

Our house gas hot water service and ducted heating were a bit slow to fire up and required some fiddling about by John. We have never before left the house un-lived-in for such a lengthy period. However, John’s car, which had been on a trickle charger all the time, started first try.

The place looked good. M had mowed the lawns recently.

Tea was fish and chips from our local shop. Always delicious.

It had been so good to have an extended trip away again. It had been too long since the last big one in 2009. But it was also nice to get home again, to the garden in its spring finery, and to a normal width bed again! The house always seemed so huge after months spent in a confined space. 


Bus: 7611 kms.

Terios: towed for 7611kms, plus driven 2287kms independently

Accommodation: $2599.10    86 nights away.

Chain discounts gained: $67.30

Number of different places stayed at: 27

Dearest accommodation: Cool Waters Kinka Beach $58 per night

Cheapest paid accommodation: Theodore Showgrounds  $15

Cost diesel (Bus)  $2044.99


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2003 Travels April 8

TUESDAY 8 APRIL     HOME TO YEA     80kms.

We have never been known for early starts on the first day of a trip, but today had to set a record that, hopefully, will never be beaten!

Left home at 5pm.

It was a surprise that we got away at all, this day.

Yesterday, John completed most of his building work on the cot and change table. I’d worked on Sunday and yesterday, thoroughly rubbing linseed oil into them, and then applying a coat of sealer over that. The finishing touches were completed about 11am this morning! The cot and change table would be picked up and shipped by professional removalists, to Canberra – which daughter was arranging. (Later, because her work involved moving her belongings overseas, she had the items valued. We were amazed that the cot alone was valued at over $2000! An endorsement of John’s work)

Resize of 03-21-2003 assembling sarahs cot.jpg

John then cleaned up his shed, located and packed the camping gear, his extra tools and the like. The packing of Truck came together really quickly. Room was made and my Barina car was moved up through the backyard and into the shed.

John took truck to fill up at the local servo – 97cpl. He also filled the 23 litre jerry can of spare fuel that we carry.

I’d done the van packing well in advance, whilst John was woodworking, and yesterday cooked chicken maryland pieces to go in the fridge for tea, our first night on the road.

I think we needed to feel that we were actually on the move, before something else intervened. 80kms was better than none!

We travelled our usual route north over the Great Dividing Range, to Yea, arriving there just as dusk was falling. We took an overnight site at the Yea Family Caravan Park, that allowed us to stay hitched up. $18.

We ate the pre-cooked chicken I’d made yesterday, with some coleslaw – also pre-prepared.

The night turned really cold. Winter had come early to Victoria.

I thought our house sitter – L – was really surprised that we actually managed to leave today. She had been back at uni for weeks by now, and living in the back part of the house, sharing the kitchen – an arrangement that worked well. She’d watched the recent rather frantic activity with some bemusement. She said she would – kind-of – miss us, as she had enjoyed having people to come home to, and would be a bit lonely again, at first.

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L checking out the finished cot

I hoped the two cats would still be alive when we got home again – they were getting so old.

After all our original lovely plans, we now had about a week to get to to Adels Grove, in time to work over Easter. Via Canberra, so John could meet his first grandchild.

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2002 Travels December 19


As we were not due home until tomorrow, today’s was a more leisurely start, and a short stage to Yea. NOW we have slowed down!

It was a hot day, again.

Refuelled at Shepparton – 87cpl.

There was a stop for an indulgent pie and pasty  lunch for John, at a favourite bakery at Nagambie. I had sandwiches. It was pleasant by the lake there.

We reached Yea early in the afternoon. Booked into the Yea Family Park – $18.


Resize of 12-19-2002 Yea cp.jpg

The last overnight for the van, this trip

After the basic set up, we went for a wander around town. It is a very pretty place, so this was quite enjoyable walking.

I commented to John that this was much nicer than the only previous time I’d stayed in Yea – some twenty years previous. Then, I’d spent several hours in the local hospital, suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, due to a faulty hatchback fastening on my car, that allowed exhaust fumes to be sucked in as I drove.

Today was a much more pleasant one than those we’d spent coming through NSW.

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