Archive for January, 2011

173. Sunday 23rd January 2011. Traveston and nearby territory and some fine weather returns…

28/01/2011

Monday 17th January – Traveston.

Woke early and went for a walk. At this time of day, with the sun just rising the hills are seen in stark contrast of light and shadow. The sky is a cobalt blue with just a few wisps of white cloud over near the horizon. After the walk I did my back stretches as I have fallen out of routine for such a long time. I need to walk and do the back stretches every day – despite the rain. Despite the fact we have been travelling. Despite the fact I read my emails and other peoples blogs when I first rise. I have to get to that routine I maintained while working. Without Donnis here to push me perhaps readers can post a reminder from time to time?

Grrr! Went for a blood test at 8.30 but had forgotten to FAST! Have another appointment for Wednesday.

Did manage an appointment with the doctor later in the morning and discussed a number of mounting health issues.

OK. The thumb. Seems to working a lot better with a  little discomfort from time to time.

Blood pressure is back to normal with the new medication but I have been asked to reduce and or eliminate salt from my diet. Will review in two weeks when the blood tests are back.

Torn rib cartilage. Still slow to heal and could be another few weeks. Will also review in another two weeks.

Muscle below the left knee is numb. Could be related to my spondilyitus especially L5 (spine) Review in two weeks.

Lump in breastbone area. When eating last week food lodged here and brought me to tears – twice. Doc thinks it is hiatus hernia. Review in  two weeks.

Now for some rant time.

I drove 150 klms round trip to Caloundra to get the “X” key on the laptop fixed under the Toshiba warranty. They first told me it would take 5 days to get a replacement keyboard and then install it. Hmmm.  Cannot see why they cannot order it over the phone. When I arrived I was told it could be two days before a technician inspected the laptop to determine the fault and to determine that it was covered under warranty and not self-inflicted damage. Only then will they order the part which could take 5 or more days as deliveries have been slowed by the recent floods. That means the repair, under warranty, could take two weeks or longer.

So much for service under warranty.

When will my visits to health practicioners end?

Tonight I found a tick on my side in a position difficult to see or reach. A visit to the hospital – a round trip of 97 klms – and two hours later I was home again after the tick was removed.

Tuesday 18th January.

I was woken at 3.30am by something soft and damp landing on my body. I thrashed around in bed trying to find a light switch in my sleepy state. I found a little green frog on my bed. How does a frog get into a closed motorhome with screens on all windows and doors?

Later in the day I explored many of the dirt tracks in the nearby National Park but each required a stop and a reverse out due to fallen trees or boggy sections big enough to swallow the Terios.

Traveston Station. Yes, trains do stop here only when pre-booked.

Traveston deserved an explore especially as it seems the weather may fine up. Traveston is a little village of around 8 or 9 houses, a community hall, a tennis court and a Country Fire Station. No stores, doctors, garages or any other commercial activity. Trains do stop at the station but not as part of a regular scheduled service. The underpass which can be used to access our road, is terribly chopped up due to the flood waters of the past few weeks.

Traveston Underpass. Note the torn up roadway. After this photo was taken floods once again filled the underpass and the road was closed for two days.

I drove around and near many of the local mountains in the area. There are many ancient remains of volcanic plugs in this area. Names such as Mount Cooran, Mount Pinbarren, Mount Pomona, Mount Cooroora, Mount Timbeerwah, Mount Mooloo and there may be others I have yet to identify. At a guess I would say these volcanic plugs are similar to those further south nearer Brisbane which are collectively known as the Glasshouse Mountains. I cannot find collective names for those mountains in this area. I am guessing those in this area are older, as none are anywhere near as high as the Glasshouse Mountains. More weathering and erosion I suppose, so that would make them older. Perhaps a local geologist in the area may know more. I can research the Glasshouse Mountains and find lots of information including names of the individual plugs (mountains) however I cannot find any information on the local mountains except the location and height. The day was oppressively hot n humid with a hint, nay, threat, of a storm. I was not disappointed as thunder, lightning and rain arrived late in the afternoon. Lots of rain. The bridge will probably be underwater again.

Wednesday 19th January.

As is customary these days I am up before 6am often before 5am and get in a brisk half hour walk. On those mornings when it is not overcast, the sunshine shafts are filtered through the tall trees and a hint of eucalyptus haze hangs in the air. Most mornings I see some sort of wildlife, mostly birds including a pair of big fat geese. What were they doing walking down the road at that time of day?

Remembered to fast today and had my appointed blood letting and have an appointment with the doc two weeks hence to do a review of my health issues. The bridge was not underwater but it was up just below the bridge deck.

This is how our bridge at Six Mile Creek looks when the water is at normal levels.

Did not do much today, although each morning I have been mowing a section of the property for a half hour or so. Today I just stayed around the house occupying my time and watched as the rain clouds built up and finally there was another downpour or two during the afternoon and evening. At times the rain was so heavy making it virtually impossible to hear the TV.

Thursday 20th January.

Today I drove to the Jabiru Bird Trail and Hide on Lake McDonald.

Part of the Jabiru Bird Trail.

A bit disappointing really as the hide was more like a picnic shelter and I could not get anywhere near the waters edge due to the mud.

Water lilly amongst marsh grass at Jabiru Bird Trail.

The bird path which follows the lake was cut off by a large section being underwater.

Evidence of flood level on the Jabiru Bird Trail fenceline.

Worse, I did not see one bird. I also discovered there are several of these bird viewing areas scattered around the lake and each is designated a name such as Jabiru.

Friday 21st January

Today I visited the Noosa Centenary Botanical Gardens on the shore of Lake McDonald near Cooroy.

Wow! These gardens are quite extensive and a great deal of work has gone into their design and creation. The showpiece, known as the Amphitheatre, is a tiered Roman ummm errr amphitheatre.

Noosa Centenary Botanical gardens Amphitheatre over looking Lake McDonald.

Without the ruins. Although impressive, the gardens were not presented in their best manner due to all the rain, storms and wind experienced over the last month or so. Many branches were fallen and the staff were flat out just trying to clean up. The paths were in most cases still running with water seeping from the gardens higher up the hill but that did not detract from many people having a picnic, walking like me or bird watching.

There were many water lillies in the several ponds within the botanical gardens.

It is a must visit again when the weather has been kinder for a bit longer.

Giant Burrawong Palm.

A very large palm caught my eye. The following information is provided via the Cooloola Land Care Group Website.

“This species is sometimes called Burrawang Palm and is part of an ancient group of plants known as cycads. Cycads are plants found all over the world but the genus Macrozamia is native to Australia.

Macrozamia pauli-guilielmii is one of 14 species of these palm-like plants endemic to Australia and is distinguished by a spirally twisted rachis (column of plant from which fronds develop) through at leat two complete turns and grows to 1.1 metres. Produces 2-12 dark green fonds which arch outwards from the top of a mostly underground trunk..

Macrozamias do not bear flowers but reproduce by means of cones and each plant produces either a male or female cones. The female cone fruit, 1-4 per plant, resembles a pineapple in size and shape and the seeds are orange to scarlet in colour when ripe and will germinate readily to provide means of propagation. The pollen producing male cone is more cylindrical and is sometimes curved when old. The seeds, being rich in starch were an important food source for aborigines, after the toxic compounds were leached out, by a special and laborious process.

Grows in sandy soils in open eucalyptus and banksia forests and generally only found in the Wide Bay area, although may also be found in sandy soils on the Darling Downs. Listed as endangered under the Nature Conservation (Wildlife) Regulation 1994 and its amendments – Queensland.”

I also took a drive around the leafy suburb of Lake McDonald near Cooroy. It looks as though most properties are on five acres. Most of the houses are substantial and attractive.

Every third house is for sale!

Saturday 22nd January

Today I made a return trip to the Buderim Ginger factory at Yandina where the annual Ginger Flower and Food Festival is held.

Whooee! What a difference a festival makes. Cars were parked along both sides of the road and both sides of the median island in the middle of the road. The place was just chock a block with people, despite the irregular showers of rain. I had to line up for 15 minutes just to get a scone and a cup of coffee. The main reason I went was to see a couple of cooking demonstrations. Both sessions I attended were taught by a lady who was a contestant, with her sister, in the My Kitchen Rules Cooking competition on TV. She was entertaining and popular. All cooking demonstration sessions were totally booked out. Tomorrow I plan on making the wonton soup she demonstrated. I also saw a plant propagation by cuttings demonstration. For lunch I decided not to get in the long queue again but walked over the road to the Macadamia Nut factory where I only needed to queue behind one other couple to order lunch.

Sunday 23rd January

Today was a domestic duties sort of day including some more of my favourite activity – cutting the grass.  Not! I have got into a kind of routine of cutting grass for about 30 minutes each day, in the morning, before it gets too hot. Even so I end up needing a shower when I am finished. In reality there is about two acres of grass to cut, much of it a collection of various grasses and weeds and at least half of it is on gently to steeply sloping ground. All this is done with a hand mower, not a ride on. Sometime during the morning I could hear the tinkle of water and looked outside to see the rain. Nope! Still sunny out there. On investigation I found the hand bidet in the bathroom had sprung a pinhole leak and was spraying water all over the walls, floor and a small table with old magazines on it. Yikes! After turning off the water and mopping up with a couple of super sponges I carry in WWWGO I tried to repair the flexi hose. Hmmm. I need parts. As expected the parts cannot be purchased so a replacement flexi hose was purchased from Bunnings in Noosa and within minutes of arriving home it was fixed. While out I also purchased the makings for wonton soup according to the recipe I received at the cooking demo yesterday.

Hang about. The recipe calls for three litres of stock plus so many vegetables I could feed a rugby league team, including reserves. These are restaurant quantities so I cut everything down by two thirds. That’s better but even so I ended up with a filling wonton soup for dinner, two containers frozen for the future and tomorrow nights dinner as well.

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172. Sunday 16th January 2011. Noosa to the Gold Coast and back to Traveston plus the worst floods…

16/01/2011

Monday 10th January.

Here we are still in Noosa unable to get to our motorhome as several creeks are in flood.

I managed to get a cancellation at the local doctor and he agreed to arrange an ultrasound of my thumb. In fact he called the sonographer and set up the appointment for me. The sonographer agreed I had two swollen tendons and agreed my recollection of what might have caused the injury fits the nature of the injury.

Back at the doctor he believes a cortisone injection will be the cure. (hope hope) He actually called me on the phone and then arranged for me to see the sonographer tomorrow at 11.15 for the injection. After that we will be on our way to collect Chris from Regelyn then on to Parkwood for a few days until it is time to catch the plane on Saturday.

Today Ken drove us around to look at the nuisance flooding around Noosa. Some of the roads had salt water across the road due to the river level rising and a high tide.

Raining, wet and sodden but still busy Hastings Street at Noosa Beach.

Yesterday our moon roof had developed a leak and drops came from the overhead light fitting. Today I bought some duct tape (I prefer to call it 100 mile an hour tape as it is so powerful) and sealed all around the moon roof. We also kept the Terios under cover – just in case.

Tonight on the news we saw how the flood situation has escalated and a further two deaths and several people missing. Terrible scenes of damage from a flash flood in Toowoomba and warnings that Brisbane should prepare for floods. Geez, we have to drive through Brissie tomorrow!

Tuesday 11th January – Noosaville

This has been a long day for many reasons.

The radiology people called at 8.30 to say there was a cancellation and I could come in at 9am for my cortisone injection. The injection itself was a bit uncomfortable and left the thumb, numb with the large amount of anaesthetic and cortisone injection. The thumb remained numb up until the time I went to bed including the events later in the day.

Donnis was keen to get away and collect Chris before his mum, Regelyn, left for work. The rain was constant and concerned me considerably but agreed to the travel. Some water was beginning to lap at the road edges on the Sunshine Motorway but we made it onto the Bruce Highway and I was confident we would be in Brisbane in 90 minutes. That confidence soon turned to concern when in the Beerburram State Forest area at Johnston Road, a Police road-block brought reality back into our plans.

The road block due to floods on the Bruce Highway.

We were turned on to the service road to the garage and food hall located there. Those people who needed to stop such as trucks and buses as well as private vehicle were all parked along the side of the road. Presumably the passengers were all inside the food hall staying dry and eating. It would have been chaotic in there as the regular parking area was full as were all available spaces along the service road and the bridge at Johnston Road. We opted to turn around and head back to Noosaville. We discovered later the road at Caboolture was flooded in a couple of places and the highway remained closed for two days.

The duct taped moon roof performed magestically, no more leak.

I was feeling a bit overwhelmed from the cortisone so went for a sleep. Enid was sent home early so she and Ken left for a medical appointment while Donnis snoozed on the lounge.

I woke to heavy rain and Donnis calling that water was 6 inches deep along one side of the house and was threatening to come in the laundry door. We put on our wet weather gear and got to work firstly trying to set up a barricade at the door, then bucketing water away from the area. Ken n Enid arrived and set about digging a trench to the road. Although we were working furiously it seemed we were losing. Even standing beside each other we had to shout to hear above the sound of the falling rain.

Long story short. The rain eventually eased, the water level went down and of course I injured my back. Of course my emergency stash of Panadene Forte is on WWWGO.

There are too many flooded roads on the way to Brisbane, in Brisbane and on the way to the Gold Coast. Flood levels are likely to peak tomorrow.

Donnis travel plans have changed. She is now booked on a direct flight from Maroochydore to Sydney on Thursday and Linda and Alecia will pack her clothes which are already on the Gold Coast. They will bring her clothes when they fly out on Saturday.

Wednesday 12th January

The anaesthetic in the thumb has almost worn off so the digit feels tingly but I can move it with less discomfort.

Today after watching the horrific events unfolding in Toowoomba, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley and Brisbane we decided to try to reach WWWGO on the hillside at Traveston. Remember on Sunday we could not even reach the nearby village at Cooran let alone the dirt road to the top of the hill. Today after leaving Cooroy, 6 Mile Creek was open, allowing us to reach Pomona and Cooran only 6 klms away. One Klm outside Pomona we encountered a road block at the second 6 Mile Creek Bridge. We were turned back. Darn!

The Pomona Post Office told us there was a back road via Mountain Road and Jam Pot Road but to take care as it was steep, winding and slippery after all the rain. They were not kidding. It may be the only way to get from Cooran to Pomona and vice versa. The road is also potholed and badly rutted and guttered as well as narrow and probably now carries as much traffic in an hour as it would have carried in a week previously.
Eventually we reached Cooran but one road under the railway bridge was flooded up to the bridge – at least three metres deep. We then found another road down into the town and at last we were on our way to Old Noosa Road but still had one more 6 Mile Creek to cross. This bridge is normally at least three or more metres above the water.
Our creek was now a river and the bridge was at least 2 metres under the swift current.

Our bridge at 6 Mile Creek under 2 metres of floodwater.

This bridge was impossible to cross so we turned back to Cooran and went to the post office for information. Seems they have not seen any of their regular customers for a week. There is also a rumour the power has been out since the floods commenced in Gympie on the weekend.
That means we face a couple of fridges with rotting food in them.
Oh dear!
We have no idea when we can get in but I will try again on the weekend once Donnis is on her way to Canada.

Thursday 13th January

The anaesthetic seems to have completely gone and the thumb is now operating on cortisone alone. It feels much better today and I can use it almost as well as the right thumb. Still a bit of stiffness and soreness but not the constant ache as previously.

Today I spoke with former workmate Bill L. He mentioned it took 8 hours to get home from work on Tuesday night. He works at Murrarie on the south side of the Gateway Bridge and lives at Twin Waters on the Sunshine Coast. The trip normally takes less than 2 hours.

Hmmm. That strengthens our decision to fly Donnis out of Sunshine Coast Airport. I dropped Donnis at the airport then went to Twin Waters to see Bill L at his home. After coffee with Bill I decided to drive back to Noosaville along the coast road. Although the road follows the coastline and incorporates twists and hills, it is all behind the first line of sand dunes so only a few glimpses of the beaches are seen.

I also tried to buy fuel but it seems deliveries have not occurred this week so the garages I called into only had diesel. The Shell at Noosa Junction only had V Power Super at $1.47 a litre. I need a full tank to get to the Gold Coast tomorrow so filled up.

Donnis arrived in Sydney at Errols home just on 7pm so we do not have to worry about her missing any flights due to Qld floods.

The night was spent watching the unfolding flood stories which now accounts for 75% of the state. I have heard the highway has been closed several times but should be open tomorrow. The news is just devastating and I feel so helpless and not be able to do anything to help.

Friday 14th January.
There was a reasonable amount of traffic on the highway. Probably a little less than normal but I do not drive the road regularly to be able to assess. I do know that traffic came to a halt then bumper to bumper for about a half hour on the southern side of the Gateway Bridge where 4 lanes merge into two.

Linda, Alecia n Doug are all packed ready to leave. The alarms are set for 3am and I will drive them to the airport – a 40 minute drive – at 4am. I fell asleep watching a movie on TV then tossed n turned for ages after I went to bed.

Saturday 15th January.

I woke at 2am and realised it is still too early and went to sleep until 2.30.

Linda has decided the flight loadings do not favour them so instead of flying out of Sydney today they are now booked to leave on Monday. There will be no complaints from Donnis as she gets more time with granddaughter Amelia. After dropping off the three passengers at the airport I headed back to Parkwood. Somehow I ended up in the Currumbin Valley after making a wrong turn. I eventually found the Gold Coast Highway and followed it through Surfers Paradise etc. It only added 10 minutes to the trip and it felt like every traffic light was against me.

After an hours sleep and a good breakfast I was on my way by 8am arriving at Traveston at 10.30. All roads were open. 6 Mile Creek has returned to being a gentle watercourse although it still has a chocolate brown colour.

No damage that I could see in either the house or WWWGO. Our rubber mats under the awning have been washed away but easily located in the gardens. Inside, the house smells musty with mould growing on lounges and doors. After a bit of a cleanup and a load of washing I headed back to Noosa for the night. Enid, Ken n I went to the river and had a drink at the Boathouse on the river then found a cheap Indian Restauarant for dinner.

After a couple of wines and a filling, satisfying meal we headed home and I was in bed by 10pm.

Sunday 16th January

Today I visited the Noosa Farmers Market. I found a loaf of Hand Made Lovingly prepared and baked Spinach n Fetta bread loaf. I also found a loaf of Rye n Carroway seed..

Mid morning Enid, Ken n I drove out to Traveston for lunch. Now they have left I am facing my first night alone.

Sob. Sob.

Not much else happened today apart from washing, tidying, and putting stuff away which we have been carting backwards n forwards for the last two weeks.

PS. The EKS key on the laptop no longer functions. I have to drive to Caloundra tomorrow to have it repaired under warranty. I have been told this could take a week. So, I may be late getting the NEKST post on line.

171. A review in photos…

13/01/2011

While the mood and the free time was upon me I thought I would provide some photo’s which did not make it into the weekly posts since we left home.

Do not forgot you can see a larger version of each photo simply by clicking on it.

Here they are in no particular order.

Painted sign of the Glasshouse Mountains near Maleny.

Artesian Hotel Barcaldene and across the street from the Tree of Knowledge. Note our previous car, the Impreza parked outside.

Artesian Spa pool at Pilliga.

Disused open cut minesite at Lightning Ridge. This method of mining is and was an unpopular method.

Water baby Donnis in the Gwydir River near Bingarra.

Part of the Pioneer Arabians Stud at Finch Hatton where we started our mostly wet voyage.

Frank n Santa at South Burnett Wanderers Chapter meeting at Kenilworth. This turned into a wet wet wet weekend. Hmmmph. Every week has been wet. We are looking forward to some lengthy periods of sunshine in 2011.

Coffee shop at Guyra with Greg n Donnis. Coffee Shop? It was also a craft store, toy store, hobby shop, outlet for craft cottage goods, sports store and in a a back room over half a million dollars of specialist cycles.

High in the hills above Tenterfield. The area is well known for the zillions of rocks spread over a huge area.

Some of the houses and farmlets in the Cooran and Traveston area are substantial and epensive.

Misty damp morning at Cooyar.

The nearest neighbour at Traveston. It is across the valley and this photo was taken in the afternoon after a day of heavy rain and suddenly the sun came out.

The old disused bridge over the swollen Moonie River at Nindigully. Ther river was in flood then and has been in floods twice as bad, twice since the photo was taken.

The original Tenterfierld Railway Station. It is so sad to see so many towns which are no longer serviced by rail. In most cases the local community has put the railway infrastructure to good use.

Another view of WWWGO and a Qantas plane at the Qantas Aviation Museum. This museum is at Longreach and was the western most point of our travels so far.

The historical Surat Post Office with a stone marker outside to honour the very last voyage by a Cobb and Co coach.

This looks like an outback dunny but is really a phone booth at the back o Bourke.

The storm is coming over Mt.Cooran towards Traveston.

Theresa Creek Dam during a flood. It has flooded a few times since.

After the flood on the Ward River near Charleville.

Lagoon (in the rain) at Buderim Ginger Factory located at Yandina.

170. Sunday 9th January 2011. Cooran to Gold Coast and back with more rain. Lots more rain and the floods begin to impact on us…

10/01/2011

Monday 3rd January

Not much happened on this day. Except of course, the terrible floods up north.

To say today was a lazy day would have to be an understatement.

In fact nothing more need be said about it.

Grrrump.

Tuesday 4th January

Wow! What a change since yesterday. A little bit more happened. We packed our luggage and headed off from Parkwood to Cooran about 11am.  A couple of hours later we stopped for fuel for the Terios and the inner person at a very busy service centre at Caboolture on the highway. We elected for food from The Coolibah Café. Let me state right here and now the food (questionable choice of word for animal and vegetable products) was deplorable.

On arrival at Cooran (AKA Traveston) the grass needed cutting.

As expected.

We got the mower started and tackled about a third of the grassed area before nightfall. I believe we can knock over the rest tomorrow.

Easily.

Wednesday 5th January.

A busier day than yesterday and much busier than Monday.

I did not mention in my last post that the GPS has died. This is the replacement GPS I am talking about. It lasted a month.

Today we dropped the Terios off at the auto electrician to sort out the air bag warning light. While the car was in his care we took a walk around Pomona. First thing I did was call Navman and after 18 minutes they answered and told me the GPS software had failed and I needed to re-install. Well alrighty then. I will give that a try when I get home.

Shortly after that call, the auto electrician called to say the Terios was fixed. There was a short in the left hand seatbelt pre-tensioner. He de-activated the fault code and re-set and we were right to go.

So… we coffeed at Pomoma, then tried a pie from the bakery and looked at all the Lifeline/StVinnies Shops in town before heading home.

After re-installing the GPS software it still fails to work.

Sigh!

Another twenty minute call tomorrow.

Donnis pushed the mower around until it ran out of fuel. A storm was brewing and approaching from the west. Lightning and thunder all around. Then the rain began. Light but constant at first, then thunderously heavy and constant.

All night.

Geez I just cannot help but think about and sympathise with those poor devils still in the flood zones, watching their house sink under the running water OR huddled in a refuge centre not knowing what condition their house is in. According to the news there are 10 dead, 5,000 evacuated and in care and 1,400 homes and business flooded and or destroyed.

That is not good.

Tonight I finished the statistics for the time we have been on the road. That is, from 19th September until 31st December. A total of 103 days. Fuel costs have mostly been in respect of diesel as I did not include the fuel for the Impreza. Since the purchase of the Terios I have included its fuel costs.

I have not included items of repair, parts or primary costs. The figures below are only intended to show daily living costs. The costs are broken down into the following categories;

Food                                      $2,148.23

Fuel                                       $1,556.74

Camp fees                          $  785.20

Entry fees                           $  136.80

Drinks                                   $  398.58

Eating out                            $  455.05

Pharmacy                            $  179.54

Total                                      $5,655.14

This works out at $54.90 per day.

We have had some major repair and or primary purchases which easily doubles our expenditure.

Hopefully those purchases will not be repeated in 2011 but I did buy a 300 watt pure sine wave inverter last week and will pay to have it installed.

Although we are self-sufficient with solar panels, the recent rain has brought home the realisation that several days of rain and overcast will severely limit any solar input. Staying at Freedom campsites will be limited to some degree by power input. This was expected but until the constant rain it was not a problem.

Water will also limit how long we can stay in one place. Our tank holds 150 litres of fresh water and with careful use and sponge baths instead of showers we can stretch the water out to 5 days.

The three-way fridge will happily run on LPG for weeks.

The grey water tank also holds 150 litres and provided we can discharge sensibly and ethically it will not be a problem. If we do have to discharge in an approved facility we are limited to 5 days.

Black water cassette. Using constantly will allow 3 days use. By incorporating public facilities and or bush toilets this can also be stretched to five days.

Theoretically we can stay in one spot in a Freedom camp for 5 days before we need to top up fresh water and batteries and discharge grey and black water tanks. That is when we would get washing completed and do any required shopping. All the above still falls within our projected expectations.

Thursday 6th January

The rain is still persistant and we are back to living in a pond.

Sigh!

Today I called Navman and explained once more about the blank screen on the GPS. This time they emailed me instructions to temporarily “fix” white screen”. The fix involved deleting some files from the GPS and installing a patch. I do not usually like to delete files unless I know what they are and why I am deleting them. I followed the instructions carefully. After deleting and installing a downloaded file I now have my regular screen and even better, as far as I can see, my favourites and previous history has been retained. The third part of the fix involves copying the log file and sending it back to Navman so they can analyse why the fault occurred and prepare a permament fix.

While all this was going on Donnis called Alecia. She was at Southport Hospital as Linda had been admitted with an emergency which I will not go into details. Suffice to say Donnis wanted to immediately go to the Gold Coast. I had a doctors appointment at 2.15 so she had to wait. My BP has been “high” for a couple of weeks. Result? I am now on a new BP prescription called Micardis Plus. It is the same as the old Micardis but also contains a Diuretic. That means I will have to go pee” more often. It also means in the first week I could experience some dizziness when standing up. The doc asked me to come back in a week, eliminate salt from my diet and get back to my regular morning walking routine.

By 4pm we were on our way, to drive 250 Klms to the Gold Coast in very heavy rain. There were a number of cars pulled off the road and several accidents but for the most part drivers drove to the conditions.

Thank goodness.

By 6.30 when we were within 50 klms of our destination, Donnis called a halt as she was beginning to cramp. We called into the Hyperdome Shopping Centre just off the expressway and had a toilet break and a Nando’s Chicken dinner. Yay! For the same price as the terrible lunch we experienced at the Coolibah Café a few days ago we had a satisfying  and filling meal. We ate everything on our plate except for the bones.

On arrival at Parkwood just on 8pm we were surprised to be greeted by Linda. She was looking pale but otherwise her usual exuberant self and unwilling to say much about her ordeal.

More heavy rain fell overnight.

Friday 7th January

I was up and on my walk by 5.30. Water is still draining out of the yards and drains. The walk involved a good deal of uphill work and honestly I did begin to feel the effort. By the time I was back tiredness was creeping up on me so I went back to bed and woke at 8.30.

Nicole was leaving today, joining her brother and mother down on Surfers Paradise for a few more days before she returns to Sydney. I held the baby Amelia for the first time.  I have been too nervous previously as I cannot hold anything in my left hand.

Frank n Donnis with baby Amelia.

During the morning, Canadian holidaying friends of Linda n Doug, Julie n Perrin arrived to say hello. They are traveling the east coast of Oz for three weeks. We managed to convince all and sundry to get out of the house and drive down to the coast, particularly Coolangatta. I wanted to see Greenmount Beach and Rainbow Beach

All the visiting Canadians, Perrin, Julie, Linda and Doug with part time Canadian, Alecia on Rainbow Beach.

and Snapper Rocks, places I had surfed, way back in the early 60’s when surfing was becoming mildly popular. There was a strong wind blowing and I was annoyingly surprised to find parking was a problem all along the strip, even on a week day. The beach was busy and surfers were out in their hundreds. What the…?

We drove up to the lookout at Point Danger, which also includes the Marine Rescue and Coast Guard stations

Point Danger Marine Rescue Station.

as well an unusual lighthouse, the Captain Cook Memorial Lighthouse.

Captain Cook Memorial Lighthouse on top of the VMR at Point Danger. It straddles two states and during summer months, two time zones.

Apart from the unusual design and construction it also straddles the NSW and Qld border so you can step from one time zone to another. The other unusual feature was this was the first lighthouse to use laser technology. This turned out be a failure and traditional lights, mirrors, magnifiers and reflectors were installed.

From the VMR vantage point we watched this ketch leaving the Tweed River and out into the large swells. Look at the enlarged photo. Only one person seems to be on board.

Next we had a spot of lunch at Rainbow Beach

Lifeguard tower at Rainbow beach.

and Donnis had a surf

Baby in a bucket at Rainbow Beach.

then we battled the traffic of the Gold Coast strip

Surfers paradise as seen from Rainbow Beach.

to drive to the Southport Surf Life saving Club where we planned to have dinner. There we were joined by more family members and or friends of friends. We ended up with 13 people in our dinner party.

The wind was still blowing when we left and sand was being whipped off the beach and across the parking area and road. I loved that feeling especially at night but it does plaster a film of salt on the skin so I really looked forward to a shower when we returned to Parkwood.

Saturday 8th January.

Up and on my walk by 5.30. Water is still running out of the yards of the houses.

I had the first three hours of the day to myself before anybody else woke.

In fact most of the rest of the house were still asleep when Donnis n I left just after 10am.

First we visited a new “Retirement Resort” for over 55’s over the hill at Arundel. The concept and design is similar to the one we visited in Maleny except the weekly rent is dearer. They also have rainwater water tanks for each house which is plumbed to the laundry and toilet. As well all the run off water in the streets is collected in a 2 million litre tank under the “Country Club”. The whole idea behind these over 55 active resorts is the emphasis on healthy living and not intended as a place where people require care. The clubhouse has dining rooms kitchens, indoor n outdoor pools, spas, saunas, gym, theatre, dance floor, stage,  craft room, mens workshop, massage room, tennis courts, 10 rink bowls green, putting green and golf driving practise nets. All fitted with good quality equipment.

Only 7 klms from Surfers Paradise.

Interesting.

We next drove to another resort at Tweed Heads and travelled the expressway.

Expressway! Expressway???

Warning. Rant coming on.

We drove this same stretch of road yesterday. At a long sweeping bend in the road, workers were setting up barriers and merging all traffic into one lane while they set up to trim trees and shrubbery well off the road. At the beginning of the barriers there was a car with an illuminated sign saying to merge as road works were in progress. The signage was at the beginning of the works. There were also workers directing traffic. The barriers stretched for almost a kilometre.

Hmmm! I mused. There seems to be a lot of men to carry out trimming on a small number of bushes.

Today the barriers are still in place. The illuminated sign is in the middle of the barriers – well after all vehicles have merged- there is no warning further back on the expressway. There are no workers on site. The barriers are still in place and around a dozen plants have been trimmed. The traffic was backed up for kilometres. These @#$%^& idiots downed tools on Friday afternoon and left all the barriers in place for the weekend. They will probably arrive back at work on Monday with no idea of the traffic chaos they created.

Rant ends.

We visited what we thought was an Over 55’s Resort but which turns out to be an older caravan park across the road from the Tweed River. It is much older the buildings are very tired and much cheaper as per the price tag. It has none of the facilities except for a swimming pool and a spa.

We spoke with one elderly resident and listened to her story. She has been living here since 1983 and in her particular unit for the last two years. Her husband died two years ago. According to her she went to the river to spread his ashes with 5 yellow roses. In the course of spreading the ashes it seems an oily slick formed in the shape of a face and the roses formed a four sided area then drifted off in the direction of another rose. Later a pelican followed her every day she went to the river. She is now convinced her husband has returned as a pelican. By her own admission she has not been able to grieve. She also cannot let go of her husband and senses him every day. By telling us her story she finally came to terms with her loss and may now be able to accept her situation and let her husband go. Donnis n I could both feel the powerful need this woman had to unburden herself on somebody other than close friends n family. She can only live within the confines of her house and little yard. Even a trip to the shopping centre leaves her terrified of outdoors. After a few tears she brightened up and we said our goodbyes. Hers was a very sad tale.

On our waqy back to Parkwood we heard that Maryborough and Gympie had very heavy rain this morning – over 100mm in a couple of hours. Flooding has now commenced in parts of those towns.

Hmmm. Traveston is near Gympie and I have an ultrasound there on Monday.

We left the GC at midday about 2 hours later than I would have liked.

After an hour on the road Donnis called a halt as she was cramping. The rain was still falling constantly so it was we stopped at Nundle for a wee break and some food. This time we chose a couple of quarter chickens from Red Rooster. Hmmm. Not bad.

Donnis went to the Terios while I went to the boys room. When I got outside Donnis was standing near the car with a distressed look on her face. She had put the keys on the front seat while she went to the back door to put her purse away. Then closing the door she stood waiting for people in an adjoining car to move. It was then she heard the clunk as the auto door lock activated. We were locked out! Her phone, purse and RACQ card were also locked inside. After a few moments of stressing at each other we found a pay phone to dial information and got the RACQ number which we called on my phone. They were terrific. I was able to answer enough questions to identify us and they promised a breakdown man would be there in 60 minutes. He was there closer to 6 minutes and had the door open in 2 minutes. The rain got heavier as we drove further north.

Bruce Highway outside Ettamogah Pub in driving torrential rain. (we developed a leak in our Moon roof which cannot be fixed until we have more constant fine weather)

The news indicated local flooding around Maryborough and Gympie and Traveston Crossing. We turned off at Pomona and within 6klms of being home found the road was closed at one of the many 6 Mile Creek bridges.

UhOh!

That means the 6 Mile Creek bridge near our base would also be flooded. We turned back towards Noosa but soon found our way blocked by more flooded road signs. We drove back to Pomona and onto the highway and took the next turnoff to Cooroy, about 10klms along the highway. Midway to Cooroy at another 6 Mile Creek bridge, we found the road and bridge were under water. A raging torrent in fact with a council truck complete with flashing light and a man in heavy duty waterproofs ensuring nobody tried to cross. He said the only alternative was to drive 40 klms back along the highway to Yandina and head towards Coolum until we found the Sunshine Motorway then follow it to Noosa where Sue n Ken would put us up for the night. Once we arrived and settled down and watched the local news on TV we discovered flood warnings have been issued for Noosa, Yandina and the Maroochy area.

So, tonight, we are at Noosa wondering about tomorrow. For the moment we are dry and safe. We will worry about the three doctor’s appointments for tomorrow, tomorrow.

Sue n Ken had some minor water problems today and with the constant heavy rain, local streets and waterways are likely to flood. In fact driving along the Noosa River this afternoon we noticed the water is at a higher than usual height.

The opening sentence in this post refers to the poor souls up north suffering from the floods.

It seems the floods have caught up with us and we are now potential poor souls

169. Sunday 2nd January 2011. May auld aquaintence be forgot and welcome to 2011…

05/01/2011

Monday 27th December

We are camped at Cooran, (or Traveston – choose one).

I am not going to mention what time I woke up. The most topical topic of the day is…the rain.

Because we have had rain almost every day, the solar hot water service is not doing what it orta do. That is, heat the water for washing up and more importantly…showering. Christmas night I had a lukewarm shower. Last night I wanted to wash my hair. The water coming out of the shower head was just a smidgin above frigid. I did not shower last night. I worked on the theory that if there is no solar energy then the electricity kicks in during the night and heats the water. When I woke at a ridiculous hour this morning I waltzed off to the shower ready for a hot shower. After waiting a reasonable time for the hot water to kick in, I leapt into the shower only to be struck by cold water!!!

Hmmm. Eventually a little water about the temperature of yesterday’s toast started to emerge from the shower head. I washed my hair, shivering and teeth chattering all the while. I was so traumatised I went back to bed and woke up around 8am.

Today we drove to Gympie for some essential shopping.

Donnis ran out of chocolate.

No, seriously we needed a few things.

Including chocolate.

We turned left at the top of the driveway instead of turning right as we usually do. About 2 klms along the gravel road we found a sign pointing to the Bruce Highway. A couple of hundred metres further on the road disappeared into a creek crossing. Water was at least a metre over the road and flowing…swiftly. Oops. So we backed up to a farm gate turned around and took a chance on another gravel road. Eventually we found the Bruce Highway with rain bucketing down and it seemed an exodus was in progress. Where was all this traffic going on this miserably wet public holiday?

Hmmm. It might be nice to have a look around Gympie one day when it is fine. When will that be?

Tonight there was still no hot water so I turned on the hot water system in WWWGO and enjoyed a lovely hot relaxing shower. No problem with water. We have heaps of the stuff.

The only difference in the rain all day is how heavy it is falling. It is either raining OR raining heavily.

Tuesday 28th December.

We have exceeded our 3Gb of download allowance from Telstra. However the service does not cease. The download is slowed. I was able to upload last weeks entry but it took three hours to upload text and photos. Our 3Gb allowance does not kick in again until 4th January so we will have to rely on the iPad for email. It is a good thing we use Thunderbird for our email. (thanks Geoff). Thunderbird saves the emails on both iPad and the Toshiba Laptop. Any photos sent to us by email can be viewed on iPad but can also be viewed on the Toshiba and photos downloaded if required. In particular we are sent lots of photos of the new granddaughter Amelia. When on the Toshiba we can save those photos to the hard disc drive. So too when daughter Shelley sends photos and niece Kelly sends regular newsletters and photos of their travels. They can all be saved to the HDD. But… only with the Toshiba. The iPad has limitations.

Wow. The information below can be filed under OMG!

This morning I was reading the blog for the Retro Roamers whose blog site has a link on the panel to the right. Their post for Christmas Day mentioned and had photos of their dear friends Ray n Vera. OMG Ray n Vera are friends of mine too! They look no older in the photos. Are they living in a time warp from 10 years ago? Hello to Ray n Vera if Paul passes on our blog and email address to you.

Today was wet and windy. The winds got up to 35 knots according to the weather bureau. Today can best be described as a lay day. OK OK OK I really mean LAZY day. Well, what else can you do on a wet and windy day? Watch videos of course. We watched videos from our snug as a bug in a rug bed in WWWGO.

You know, I have not watched an episode of Survivor since we left Airlie Beach. Tonight there is a 2 hour final episode and I have no desire to watch it.

Same thing for The Amazing Race.

However… now that I have a home base for the next three months, who knows? I might just start watching them again if they have new series in the early part of 2011. Hmmm. For that matter I have only seen one episode of CSI – the original – since we went on the road.

Wednesday 29th December.

Woke this morning with a thick lip. No, not the sort of thick lip you get when somebody hits you in the mouth. It is the sort of TL you get when you go to the dentist and he injects novocaine. The gum is also numb. OR it could be the sort of TL you get when some unpleasant Arachnid or related creature decides to bite you.

Hmmm. I had some sort of nightmare early this morning. I woke up screaming that my arm was cut and I was bleeding all over the place. It took ages for Donnis to find the light switch and show me my arm was not cut and there was no blood. Perhaps, perhaps in my nightmare I have hit my lip against the wall when I was thrashing about or perhaps punched myself on the lip!!!

I cannot get in to see the local doctor until tomorrow. As I have no other symptoms I can wait that long.

Today we went into Noosa to sort out an item or two with CentreLink. It was raining and strong winds blowing. The bridge over Six Mile Creek had the swiftly flowing water, just below the bridge. From the accumulated debris I can see where the water has been over the bridge sometime during the night or earlier today. On our return this afternoon, despite more heavy rain, the water level is below the bridge.

It is terrible to see and hear the news about the flooded communities throughout Queensland. Many of the rivers and or towns are those we drove through and who had floods in September October and November. The roads are beginning to break down so will need a ,assive injection of urgent funds to fix the roads when the rain finally stops. I sure hope the money gets to the towns which really need the repairs and does not somehow get siphoned off to the south eastern corner of Queensland. Due to the massive crop losses in the floods there is talk that many fresh fruit and vegetable items will double in price.

Just before we went to bed I noted no stars could be seen. I light drizzle was falling. If only the weather forecasts were correct and tomorrow brings clear skies. It will be nice if the mud under our door step dries up.

Some months ago, prior to retirement, our laptop died and needed to be replaced. At the time all photos and word documents and the blog were all created and edited on our PC. The photos were edited using MGI Photosuite, a program I have been using for many years and has served me well. I did not install the program on the laptop, deciding I would do that while we were on the road and when I might have some free time to tweak the installation. Whilst on the road I have simply downsized the photos and loaded them on to the blog. No other editing occurred. I have, on a number of occasions, wanted to edit and crop photos before putting them on the blog. This week I decided to install Photosuite on the laptop. Oh No! It is not compatible with the new operating system Windows 7. I will have to continue to leave photos unedited until I can justify and afford a new photo editing program.

Darn!

Thursday 30th December

Met with the local Cooran doctor at 9.15 as my left thumb is more uncomfortable than ever. As part of the process of listening and learning about my health, she took my blood pressure. 155 over 93. Wow!

It should be no more than 140 over 90.

Several readings on my own machine during the day and night did not show any improvement.

Whoa! What’s going on here?

After the visit with the doctor we drove to Parkwood on the Gold Coast (three hours driving) where we will stay for a few days.

Frank relaxing in front of a great photo of a rope bridge on the wall at the Parkwood property. The Royal Parkwood International Golf Course is in the next street.

I dropped Donnis at the security front gate along with our luggage and drove off to Coolangatta Airport to collect Alecia, Linda n Doug. That evening Alecia was pining for a real Ozzie Steak sanger complete with barbecued onions and canned beetroot as this is a luxury she has not been able to find in Canada. Linda n Doug had their first steak sanger tonight. Alecia n I ate ours in the time honoured method. That is, pick it up in both hands and eat. Allow the combined juices of the steak, beetroot and tomato sauce to run down your arms and drip off the elbows. Donnis, Linda n Doug ate in a more dignified non Oz way. That is, they used a knife n fork. Very clean, very tidy, very dignified but boy oh boy  did they miss out on the fun of really getting the full impact of the smell, taste and feel of this eating experience.

Friday 31st December. New Years eve.

BP 154 over 94. That is not good.

Perhaps I have not been exercising enough so at 6am I went off for a walk. The sun was shining but the forecast was for showers later in the day. Then it will rain for another week.

Donnis, Alecia, Linda n I drove to Robina Town Centre for a shopping experience. The underground car parking had an illuminated board at the entrance to indicate which levels had empty parking spaces were available on each level. Once in the car-park there are green  lights in the roof to indicate where there was an empty space. This shopping centre is huge! The four of us wandered around goggle eyed, slack jawed and realised we would not see all the centre has to offer this year.

Doug stayed at home with Nicole and maintained the pool.

Doug at his favourite place. The pool and hot tub area.

Donnis’ son Errol, his wife Nicole and their baby daughter Amelia arrived in time for Errol to do the barbecue.

Errol, Nicole and baby Amelia at Parkwood.

For dinner we had barbecued chicken and later watched the fireworks at 9pm. Due to our distance from the coast we could see the fireworks before any noise reached us seconds later.

Linda n Donnis in the huge gourmet kitchen at Parkwood.

Before midnight Errol’s school and lifetime mates, Steve F and a Mark F arrived and we watched the next set of fireworks. I struggled to stay awake and welcome in the new year. I woke several times during the night to hear the voices chatting in basic alcohol fuelled bullshit of those younger people in the hot tub.

Saturday 1st January.

Should I start a new page just for this event? Naaah!

I was awake at 6am and the voices of Errol, Mark n Steve were still droning on from the hot tub. Mark was waiting for his dad to pick him up and take him to the airport to fly home to Perth. Steve was waiting on Mark to leave so he could have a couple of hours sleep before heading off to his home at Biggera Waters. Errol was too tired to wait so he drifted off to bed.

After breakfast Donnis n I met a friend, Glenda at Jupiters Casino at Surfers Paradise. Glenda is a Gold Card member of the casino and took us to a private, security controlled gambling area where free drinks, food and other beverages are provided. She also took us on a tour of the casino and showed us a restaurant which has an $18.50 Yum Cha lunch every day.

Closing BP today was 161 over 99. Whew it is going in the wrong direction.

I was sitting reading a paper from Noosa today. There was a story about how a couple in their 80’s have made this the last year they will do the Christmas lights. They are from Cooran and have been doing the lights for thirty years. Those lights were mentioned in my last post, dated 26th December.

Strange that I had to drive 250 klms to read that local story.

Sunday 2nd January.

This morning we drove to Biggera Waters to see Steve F house. It is about 12 years old and is a block back from a canal development. Nice two storey house with a pool in front. Then we joined the masses of traffic heading to Surfers Paradise. In fact most of the traffic was heading to The Spit where a huge rock concert was being staged. We drove on through the streets of constant shadows to

Jupiters Casino and the Zen Restaurant for the Yum Cha lunch. We were joined by Errol n Nicole, her brother Greg, Linda, Alecia and her friend Sarah.

There is now a giant ferris wheel in the centre of SP on top of the bus transit centre.

The giant Ferris Wheel at Surfers Paradise. We must go on this before Donnis leaves for Canada. Nicole brother, Greg, lives across the street from the ferris wheel in a high rise apartment. He claims to see more and further from his balcony.

Back home we had more visitors, Jacqui and Lucas, friends of Nicole. Donnis n I made sushi for everybody, using our new sushi maker. Sure makes the job easier and gives a more constant and better packed roll than we can achieve by hand. It all got eaten with requests for more. The product is called Sushezi and can be found here

http://www.eziconcepts.com.au/Products/SusheziSushiMaker.aspx

and here is a demo video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eY3QygknqN

BP reading this evening was 153 over 87. Still too high.

I have discontinued the Clonac anti inflamatory tablets I am taking for my torn rib cartillage and the trigger thumb. It may be causing the increase in BP.