037. 18th October 2008. Pinevale and Melissa joins us for an afternoon…
but already it has been suggested we go there at least twice a year. Some campsites the Sugarloafers attend are great, especially if you are retired and plan to leave home Thursday and return the following Tuesday. Donnis and I would love to do that but work and study commitments restrict us to weekends. So campsites near Airlie Beach or Mackay are ideal. Campsites such as Marion Creek is on the outer limits of our travel. Destinations such as St.Lawrence and Lake Elphinstone are around 400 klms each way and simply off our radar. It would take the best part of a day to arrive, sleep then turn around and drive home.
Pinevale on the other hand is part of the Pioneer Valley behind Mackay and is no more than a 2-hour drive.
I am not sure what it is about Pinevale which is so relaxing. On this trip we had the Monday off so did not need to leave until after lunch. Most everybody else had left sometime on Sunday so numbers were a bit thin on the ground. After we helped dismantle the marquee the campsite looked almost empty. In fact there were only two rigs and they were going the next morning. We on the other hand were camped about 100 mtrs away and it was feeling a bit desolate with all this empty space around us.
I guess I like being able to take a walk and get a good workout or a bit of exploration or both.
I have walked along the dry riverbed at least twice and find the going a bit tough in dry sand or loose river stones, which shift under your feet. It also seems to be a sun magnet. Next time I will walk the riverbed early morning or late afternoon.
On this trip we called Melissa, who lives further up the valley at Finch Hatton about a 30 minute drive from her property. She made the trip in her beat up Toyota Landcruiser Ute and we spent a good couple of hours together. The ute is good for this type of trip as it is reliable, and as she was unsure of the conditions it did not matter if there was a bit of water or sand or scratches. She could not stay for dinner as Steve, her husband was at work out at the mines and she had to feed her 16 horses alone. It also meant feeding them as it grew dark.
Saturday night we had a wonderful communal dinner, roast pork and as usually seems to be the case, there was no cracking when it came my turn to be served. Good thing probably as I have broken a few teeth over the years crunching on crackling. In fact whenever I visit the dentist he asks if I have been eating crackling. Hmmm! Perhaps the Sugarloafers know my weakness and hide the stuff from me. I am sure Donnis clued them in. After all she is always telling me at home not to eat pork crackling. In fact she prefers not to eat pork.
Strange behaviour for a Canadian!
As is my habit I arise early and go for a walk. There is usually somebody else awake in camp but few walk for exercise. The river water had a low mist rising slowly and from the opposite bank our campsite had a veiled look about it. I also noticed a cow come to drink and
there was a mist rising from its back as well. On my return there was a troop of horses grazing the grass around camp
as well as being a bit inquisitive about camp in general.
Sunday is our usual meeting at 10am and a time when all sorts of goodies for morning tea are paraded before us. Usually there are cakes for birthdays and anniversaries and we sing “freeza jolly good fellow” and similar stuff. Then we have a quick meeting ably chaired by Sandra who once again reminded us the AGM is in December and to think about a change of office bearers. I am sure Phil, her husband, would like to see her with a bit more free time.
Instead of packing up after the meeting or after lunch we still had another 24 hours to sit around and enjoy ourselves. A further 100 metres along the river bank was a couple set up with a camper trailer with a large outdoor area tarpaulin and groundmat. Everything was set up so only dressing and sleeping was reserved for inside the trailer tent structure. We went to visit them. Seems he is a Councillor on the newly amalgamated Pioneer Shire. He can work with his laptop and mobile pretty much anywhere provided he has mobile and wireless signal. He was working this weekend.
She on the other hand teaches a TAFE course, a form of scrap booking, mainly with photos and photo albums. Of course she was working this weekend as well. Both had their laptops, she even had her scrap-booking materials and was designing something as we arrived. She even had her printer set up. Remember all this was run off batteries and charged via solar panels. Modern technology can allow so many of us to carry our work anywhere these days.
Down at the other end of camp one of the Sugarloafers was demonstrating how to make a cake in a camp oven over hot embers. He has made a few cakes for morning smoko and he is in demand to keep making them and to teach others.
It was at this weekend we discussed what to do for Christmas entertainment. This year we had decided to move away from Louisa Creek and use Sarina Showgrounds for our Christmas meeting. It also meant we would have hot showers and 240v power for all who wanted it.
We also decided with a unanimous vote at an earlier camp to have Christmas dinner fully catered.
I volunteered to prepare music from my collection as well as a slide show of photos of places visited over the past few years. I have hundreds of songs from the 50’s and 60’s, which will the type of music most likely to stir memories of Christmas past. I asked members to bring any digital photos to the next meeting at O’Connell River for me to copy and add to my own collection for the eventual club slide show.
Nevin was to bring a slide projector as well as external speakers so all the music and slides could be operated from my laptop but projected onto a big screen and big speakers. Nevin also has a good laptop and would be able to offer his as a backup system if needed.
With the Christmas meeting only 6 weeks away we needed to ensure we had it all together. Otherwise there would be no entertainment at all.
Until next time. Chiao.