132. Sunday 18th April 2010.About Pinevale and drama at Wintermoon site…

First up let me talk about Monday. It was Donnis birthday. I thought it would be nice to go out to dinner, maybe have a glass or two of wine.

When she got home from her night shift at the Nursing home she called me at work. I suggested dinner out.

“No”! She said. “Too expensive. We can eat better at home.” (I made Thai Red Curry Prawns on Saturday night and she said, as she always does, “why go out for dinner when we can stay home and eat like this”! Maybe I should not cook such nice meals.

A little later she called me back to say she was going to bed for a few hours but did not want to sleep all day as she has to work tomorrow and needs to be able to sleep normally tonight. So she says to me “as long as you want to take me out perhaps we can go and have coffee and cake or coffee and dessert”

OK I thought. Capers Restaurant bakes their own cakes. Perhaps we can eat at home then go out for dessert. I fixed that idea in my mind all day until I called her in the afternoon. “GO out for coffee and cake” she exclaimed “that will cost more than $20. I will bake a lemon meringue pie.” Mind you she has never baked one before and she is not too strict when it comes to following recipe instructions.


“But as long as you want to take me out how about you buy me a bottle of wine, I would like that”.

So I did. We had leftovers washed down with wine for the celebratory birthday dinner.


Of course I went overboard with the birthday gift. An iPod Touch and an arm band carry case along with a set of speakers and docking station in their own carry case. Of course the technology is too much so I have to set it all up, learn how to use it then train her. By default it becomes “my toy” which is not what I intended.

By Wednesday Donnis told me she has to work on the weekend. I had made plans to travel to Pinevale for a campout this weekend (I use the word campout rather loosely here as what we do is nothing like camping out, we have a comfortable time in out of the way places in the bush.) So after Donnis bombshell about working (she claims she told me last week but I have no recollection of such a conversation. Either I have selective memory or…)

At first I rather heroically  said I would stay at home and continue cleaning up Cyclone Ului mess. Donnis then mentioned  she is working nightshift 10pm until 7.30am. When she comes home she has breakfast then will go to bed and sleep all day. That means I will have to tippy toe around all day. No chainsaw, motor mower or whipper snipper.

Hmmm. Getting away to Pinevale by myself seems like a good idea.

Friday night it rained. About 9.30pm I discovered a leak in the TV aerial handle and it has leaked all over the bed. The blanket, top sheet, bottom sheet, mattress protector and mattress are all wet. I stripped the bed and spread the bedclothes around the spare bedroom and turned the overhead fan on high. I took a large fan into the MH and also turned it on high while covering the TV handle with absorbent cloth and placed a drip tray on the bed. There was nothing more I could do.

Saturday I re-made the bed and the sun was shining and I whistled a happy tune. By 7am when I was almost ready to leave the sun was replaced by black cloud and my happy tune turned to a mournful sound. The rain started to get heavier but I resolved to go anyway. After fuelling up at Cannonvalley I met Donnis in Proserpine after she finished her shift at 8am. She was curious that I still planned to hit the road. I promised if it continued to rain I would go to Mackay, visit Bunnings and be home that night.

Driving along the highway I was constantlyvisually reminded of Cyclone Ului’s visit. There were many trees snapped off around the 3 metre mark. No photo’s.

As I got closer to Mackay the weather over the Pioneer Valley area seemed to be fine and the road was no longer wet. In fact only small irregular puddles showed there had been some rain this week. The closer I got to Pinevale the happy whistle returned and the sun came out. Yay!

Saturday arvo was wonderfully fine and I even paddled a ski in the river against the swift current. I carried the ski up a gravel race and continued to paddle until my back protested then turned around and let the current take me down river. I even had a few moments adrenalin rush as I negotiated a small rapids. Whew that brought back memories of my whitewater canoeing days which seem so long ago.

Pioneer River rushing towards the causeway.

Some of the ladies went for a swim, laughing, giggling and sqealing like a bunch of teenage girls having a wonderful time. Some are in their 60’s and some 70’s but they still know how to laugh and enjoy life.

Alas no photos.

Saturday night we had a communal dinner (we cooked and brought our own food) under the club tarpaulin but I was back in the MH by 8.30, washed up and watching a recorded movie on the laptop but started to fall asleep by 9.15. Ahh! The blessed sleep of the innocent. I woke at 5.30 and although I shut my eyes tightly, sleep would not come again so I went for a walk up river and noticed the signs of the floods in February and March this year.

There was a little rain overnight but Sunday dawned fine and misty

Drifting mist across the foothills.

over the mountains.

At my campsite early Sunday morning.

In fact it stayed fine until I started to pack up and it rained long enough to wet the awning and I had to wait for it to dry.

After lunch I agreed to drive with friend Nevin to the Wintermoon Festival site and stake out a campsite. We have both booked for the 4 day event and the ticket price includes entertainment for 4 days as well as camp sites for up to two weeks.

 It started to rain heavily as we drove along the narrow one lane country road. At one stage a cop car gave me a fright by putting on its siren right behind me so I pulled over but he chased Nevin who also pulled over but the Police car kept going.

The road meandered through the back country of Pioneer Valley from Marian to Mt. Charleton and then by gravel road through equally lush countryside to the Wintermoon site on St.Helens Creek about 12 klms from Calen. They have been measuring the rainfall this year in metres not millimetres!

I followed Nevin to a campsite next to Stoney Creek and we drove in. We walked around the area and although the ground seemed a little soft we thought it was OK. OK that is until I drove down a small off camber incline and committed the cardinal sin of using my brakes. I did not want to end up in the creek at the end of the incline. With almost 5 ton under brakes on a wet and slippery incline I slid sideways and got bogged. Yuk! No photos. I was in no mood to record my misshap. We dug around the front and back wheels but soon discovered I could not go forward or back. I was stuck well and good. Nevin came to the rescue with a recovery strap. Next he unhitched the trailer from his Nissan Bus motorhome. I should explain here that Nevin has one leg and uses crutches and or a battery powered 4 wheel scooter to get around. While he directed, his wife Marie took up the slack in the bus and with me in gear and using controlled throttle I was back on dry ground in no time. Whew! I was a bit worried for a few minutes.

Next we went to hitch the trailer back onto the Nissan but Nevin backed up too quickly and  dented his boot when he backed into the tow hitch.

Next I needed to move out so he could get out. I wanted manouvre backwards and forwards until I could drive out forwards but Nevin thought it would be better if he directed me back onto the road while I was in reverse. Unfortunately in the process the back wheel went into a spoon drain, the mud flap went unter the wheel and the wheel dragged the metal bar and plate which holds the flap in place, onto the wheel. Of course I did not see any of this but drove forward again onto solid ground and pulled up. The metal was only a couple of centimetres from cutting into the tyres!

For the next hour we struggled to get the mud flap and attachments off the vehicle but all the metal was bent over the bolt. Somebody saw our plight and drove to Wintermoon to tell Chris, one of the organisers. He arrived in his 4WD and with a bit of push and shove and grunting we soon had the flap and plate off then bent the metal bar back up and away from the wheel. At leat I could drive again. Chris asked us where we wanted to camp and we answered, anywhere dry. He took us up a hill to a campsite he planned to open after the other sites filled up. We staked our claim and celebrated our safe delivery with an ice cream from Nevins freezer. The site is about one klm away from Wintermoon with a long walk up a steep hill. I will get Donnis to take her car and make life easier especially for Nevin.

I did not get home until well after dark but boy was I pleased to be home although tired and hungry.

Bendito son el atascado ya que ellos heredarán el camping seco


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