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…

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

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