020.22nd June 2006. Where much can be done on a shoestring budget – and it shows…

The Mackay Sugarloafers has hosted a mini rally at Proserpine Showgrounds for the last two years. It is a sort of a lead up rally to encourage travellers to stop in at Proserpine for a few days before they head North to the Dam Fine Rally in Townsville before ending up at Mareeba for the Christmas In July Rally. A sort of a warm up rally for the main event. The Chapter does not get any financial support from CMCA, local council or the show society. Local businesses do see the benefits of around 150 motorhomes staying in the area for a week or even more. After the rally a good number stay at local camping grounds. They spend money on food, fuel, sightseeing, meals out and repairs. Plus camp ground fees. So a number of local businesses sponsor events or donate prizes. One local pub puts on a discount meal on the Sunday night and even has a shuttle bus service for up to 80 people.
All this was new to us of course. We also discovered the work of organising and the Chapter, many of whom are elderly and pensioners, carries out setting up.



Our camp site at the Showgrounds.

Day one of our arrival and we asked if we could help. Oh yes please came the reply, you can set up and organise the disc bowls.


Disc Bowls.

Oh, great! We know nothing about disc bowls particularly the rules. In the end we did a great job of finding visitors who knew what they were doing and left it to them. We also did a great job of collecting the bowls and delivering them to the arena. Our best was saved for last. As soon as the games got underway we arranged to be elsewhere.

These mini rallies are a great way for people on the road to catch up with fellow travellers plus a bit of entertainment, cheap meals


Social Dinner time.

 and cheap facilities. Many of the sites had power although it was originally advertised for “medical purposes only” had first choice. Seems CPAP machines to help people breathe at night are pretty common.

Happy hour is really that. A happy hour where almost everybody shows up with a chair, drinks and nibblies and starts or joins a group. Happy hour used to start at 5pm but by popular demand it starts at 4pm. That is a more civilised time to start unwinding although many of these people unwind all day especially the “Solos”, usually people who travel alone but are part of a larger group who all seem to meet up at appropriate times and places and enjoy themselves.

At this stage I will introduce a serious note for the men. Do you have trouble peeing? Are you still able to pee up the urinal wall as you did when you were a kid or do you just dribble and take ages doing it? Do you get up several times a night to pee? Chances are you need a prostate checkup. Even if you do not have any of those symptoms I suggest if you are over 50, nay over 40, go and get a checkup specifically for prostate. If you are having any symptoms and the checkup says OK then ask for a blood test, a urine test and a second opinion. Let me tell you from experience that many GP’s have no idea how to check correctly – especially the female doctors. I took a long time to finally admit to myself that something was wrong. It’s a pity I did not take heed of the warning signs several years before. Result may have been the same but I would have known and could have done something sooner. My @#$%^& female GP checked for prostate declared me OK then put me on antibiotics for a UTI – urinary tract infection. After taking the antibiotics for several weeks she admitted defeat and called an urologist. Hmmm. Now we had to wait 90 days for the antibiotics to work their way out of my system before blood and urine tests would reveal the truth.

The truth ended up being prostatitis, thankfully not cancer, but a really enlarged prostate requiring surgery. That also put me 12 weeks off work with no lifting and little exercise. It also meant 12 months of antibiotics! I am getting ahead of myself here.

Our next adventure in July would be our last for a few months.

Now back to the Proserpine Rally where we relaxed and did little of anything except socialise for almost a week. We had happy hour and social dinners and played cards and visited other rigs and went for walks and met a huge group of like-minded people from various walks of life. Here is the scene. Parked beside the basic campervan is a rig worth somewhere around half a million. On the other side is a home converted Nissan bus which the owner picked up for a few thousand and spent a few more thousand fitting it out. Beside that is a professionally converted Toyota Coaster Bus while all around there are rigs in between reflecting the owners financial abilities but all going to the same places and enjoying the same company with more or less comfort. Some people are on the road full time and have been for years while others go away for weeks or months at a time while others just go away for a weekend every month.


Foggy dawn at the horse stables.

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