Archive for December, 2011

231. Sunday 25th December 2011. Travel to Corrimal, Christmas Day and a mix of weather…

26/12/2011

Monday 19th December

We left Forster a little after 11am…pretty close to the time I hoped to leave. As planned we met with George C

Almost 50 years has passed since George and I last saw each other at high school. We re-connected via Skype about two years ago.

for lunch in a park at Buladelah.

George and Frank. Different hairstyles.

George is a high school friend who I have not seen for around 50 years.

George and Donnis. George had an unfortunate incident with a verandah overhang the day before we met.

After lunch we were back on the road again and the rain started falling, getting heavier as we drove south toward Newcastle. We decided to pull into 12 Mile Hill Rest Area for the night to use the last two hours of wan light to make a wall hanging form driftwood, shells and jute cord. We went to sleep lulled by the soothing sounds of zillions of trucks zooming past all night.

Tuesday 20th December

We were on the road by 6.30 am to what looked a promising sunny day. We drove the F3 Motorway, a distance of 128 Kms.( The most impressive parts of the  engineering of this road are the approaches to the Hawksbury River section and the cutting through the Hawksbury sandstone in various places. The bridge, linking Brooklyn on the south side to Mooney Mooney on the north side runs parallel with the original Peats Ferry Crossing Bridge.

Peat's Ferry Bridge over the Hawkesbury River linking Brooklyn and Moonie Moonie. The original bridge replaced the umm err Peat's Ferry.

Historical photos are here   http://www.ozroads.com.au/NSW/Freeways/F3/historicphotos_s2.htm ) Despite warnings about school holiday traffic and Sydney peak hour traffic, we arrived at our first stop, North Rocks, just after 9am. We had planned to call into a specialist motorhome repairer to look at the cracks appearing in the fibreglass exterior wall near the refrigerator vent. The original installation made an attempt at waterproofing the vent but water still seeped behind the vent cowling and rotted the plywood behind. The fibreglass is no longer attached to the plywood. The job involves cutting the section out, as far as good solid plywood, cleaning the remaining timber, glueing a new piece in place and once the bond is cured, fresh fibreglass laminate is resined into the area, allowed to dry then sanded smooth. Then the area is colour matched with gelcoat and finally fresh decals are put in place. The job will take a week and a huge chunk of savings. They cannot fit us in until mid January and in fact cannot even give us a date as they need confirmation material will be available.  From there we travelled the M4 and M5  Freeway systems and entered the longest tunnel we have ever travelled which brought us out beside Sydney Airport and near our destination of La Perouse where we surprised our friend Geoff C with our visit.

After lunch we drove to Gymea Bay to sister Bev and husband Pete’s house where we will park WWWGO for a few days while we sort ourselves out for Christmas visiting. The GPS directions took us, in my opinion, by the longest route along parts of the Princes Highway and via Tom Ugly’s Bridge over the Georges River.

Tom Ugly's Bridge over the Georges River.

Worthwhile historical information is here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Uglys_Bridge

Wednesday 21st December

We drove to Wollongong today where we caught up with the CO-PILOT son, Errol, his wife Nicole and their daughter Amelia.

Thursday 22nd December

While the CO-PILOT  baked Gingerbread cookies, I drove to Wollongong and met up with a workmate and squash player mate from 25 years ago, Peter D and his wife Sharon. We caught up over coffee beside the delightful Wollongong Harbour. It was fun talking about old times, old workmates and new adventures.

In the evening we drove back to Gymea and our own bed in WWWGO.

Friday 23rd December

It was a lay day for us. Mostly catching up with our spread-sheet of expenses and enjoying some time with Bev.

Also… Yesterday afternoon the CO-PILOT was offered a 5 week nursing posting at a 12 bed hospital at Henty NSW. Although the offer is earlier than planned we have decided it will be an adventure as well as bringing in some valuable income. For a good part of the day the CO-PILOT was busy getting applications and declarations completed. She still has some inoculations to arrange but she starts work on 16th January.

For a look at what’s in store for us, have a look here,   http://henty.nsw.au/

Saturday 24th December

We left Bev n Pete’s house just on midday after a slow morning cleaning, packing and washing. We set up camp at the building site in Corrimal

WWWGO at the worksite of the house that Errol built. (Still building)

and went to a church service with Errol, Nicole, her mum Merrilyn and of course baby Amelia. Then it was back to their unit where we enjoyed a late dinner around a crowded table as Nicoles brothers, Greg

Nicole with brother Greg.

and Scott had arrived along with Scott’s Peruvian wife, Monica.

Scott and Monica

While the CO-PILOT, Nicole and Merrilyn went driving to look at Christmas lights I went back to WWWGO and caught the last half hour of the RockWiz Christmas Special on SBS Television.

Twas the night before Christmas

And all through the house

Not a creature was stirring

Not even a mouse

We are a good distance off the road here and there is no traffic noise, no hoon cars, no sound of doof doof car stereos. Just a few quiet neighbours in this little cul de sac.

Sunday 25th December Christmas Day

I trust that everybody had a happy and safe Christmas and will enjoy an equally safe and prosperous new year. I further trust all readers will practise sensible drinking over New Years Eve.

Another busy day in the life of a retired couple.

Huh! How can we be so busy?

Christmas morning we arrived at Errol’s

Nicole is 4 months pregnant. What is Errol's excuse?

unit for morning coffee and a couple of slices of cheesecake.

Merilyn with son, Greg.

After the opening of gifts, mainly for Amelia, we moved on to a turkey lunch.

Christmas lunch around a crowded table.

After lunch including with one beer, the CO-PILOT and I drove to Sydney to have dinner with Bev n Pete. They were not yet home when we arrived so we took a side trip to Cronulla beach

Cronulla Beach with a gusty uncomfortable noreasterly onshore wind blowing.

and then on to the birthplace of our nation, Kurnell on Botany Bay.

Entrance to National Park at Botany Bay. Although there are no signs indicating where this anchor came from. There is some inference that it was from the Barque Endeavour.

We visited the spot where a member of the Barque Endeavour skippered by the then Lieutenant James Cook, later Captain Cook, stepped ashore on Australian soil. That crew member was Midshipman Isaac Smith (a cousin of James Cook’s wife) who stepped ashore on 29thApril 1770. Within minutes some 40 other crew members had joined him and they were confronted by two indigenous males who made it clear by threatening spear actions, they were not pleased with the intrusion. After some spear throwing and musket shooting, the locals ran off into the bush and the rest, as they say, is history.

Monument to Captain James Cook at Kurnell landing site.

After walking around the area absorbing the ambience we drove back to Gymea and had dinner.

Donnis with Chris, son of Pete n Bev.

We decided after dinner, dessert and a couple of wines we would be better off staying the night.

In the coming week we will explore more of the Leisure Coast from Gymea Bay to Nowra.

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230. Sunday 18th December 2011. Port Macquarie, Camden Heads, Forster and places in between…

18/12/2011

Monday 12th December 2011

Lots of photos again this week.

There was some heavy rain during the night. So heavy in fact, little rivulets were running under WWWGO causing me to wonder if the road at the low end of the street would be flooded in the morning. I woke at 6am and was surprised to see half a dozen cars in the car-park, workers from the council depot. By the time we left at 8am the car-park was filling up. “Onwards” was the cry from our lips as we drove through the Monday morning work traffic of Kempsey. It was raining again and a cold wind was blowing as we travelled the 60 Klms to Port Macquarie where it was too wet to explore the beaches. Instead we went to a laundrette and did a load of washing. Just as we were finishing Tony called to say he had lunch ready. After lunch he took us for a drive to some local beaches and down the coast to Lake Kathie (pronounced Cat Eye???) and Bonnie Hills. (Hmmm! The house prices are a mix of little old shacks with fantastic view to grand palaces worth $1million plus in the same street built on two or three levels to get the same view the little shacks have) Then it was back to their house where Dawn cooked us a steak dinner and we chatted until the yawns and droopy eyes arrived.

It was a cold night and needed an extra blanket on the bed.

Tuesday 13th December

Tony went to work in the morning and a weekly game of lawn bowls in the afternoon.

It was quite cool for this time of year so we mooched around WWWGO while I pulled out the Black Box and re-calibrated the settings. In the afternoon we did a little shopping and got an LPG gas bottle swap. When not on shore power we use LPG to run the refrigerator. Tony and Dawn are seriously researching caravans and tow vehicles so they can get on the road for a few months next year.

Wednesday 14th December

Christmas is beginning to rush up at us. Although we have only 400Klms to travel and could easily do that distance in a day we still have family and friends to visit. We have made a tentative appointment with an RV repairer in the Sydney suburb of North Rocks. They will assess the cracks in the fibreglass and make an appointment to carry out the repair work as well as fit the inverter and repair the no longer functioning electronic igniter on our stove.

Today was overcast with a cool wind blowing. The sun made a few teasingly brief appearances, forecasting what days could and should be like at this time of year.

Tony n Dawn had prior commitments so we said our farewells, promising to catch up, somehow, somewhere,  somewhen in 2012 when they will hire a motorhome to test out the lifestyle for themselves.

Before leaving Port Macquarie we visited historic ROTO House  http://www.midcoast.com.au/~rotohous/

ROTO House. Home of the Flynn Family.

and the Koala Hospital. The hospital looks after up to 20 sick or injured Koalas at any one time. The photographic and informative display panels tugs at the heart strings and underscores the marvellous work the hospital staff does in returning sick or injured Koala’s to the wild or giving them a safe home to spend the  remainder of their years.

http://www.koalahospital.org.au/

This is a beautiful Koala christened Kaylee by the Koala Hospital staff. Koala's need strong arms to move around and although Kaylee only has one leg she should soon be well enough to be re-habilitated to the wild.

We drove less than 40 Klms along Ocean Drive to Camden Heads to visit friends of the CO-PILOT, Lionel & Maryanne P. They sailed across the Pacific Ocean in 1985 in company with the CO-PILOT and her family in their respective sailboats. On arrival we were whisked next door for Happy Hour with the neighbours and a Swiss couple who are staying with them.

Maryanne, Lionel and Donnis

We had a happy two hours with them before returning for a chicken curry, a shower and off to bed. We can hear the surf not far away and are looking forward to a walk to the beach in the morning.

Thursday 15th December

It was a BIG day for us.

Before breakfast Lionel n Maryanne took us on a bracing 5 Klm bush walk to Perpendicular Point

Perpendicular Point

then through the bush to Pilot Beach

Pilot Beach at Camden Heads

where the bravest amongst us went for a swim.

Although not included in the photograph with Maryanne & Lionel, Donnis was brave enough to go for a swim.

After a huge breakfast Lionel drove us on a 400 Klm round trip taking us to North Brother Mountain about 400 metres above sea level and overlooking Camden Heads, Camden Haven, Laurieton, Bonnie Hills and North Haven and along the coast to Port Macquarie.

View from North Brother Mountain, overlooking the "Haven" area including Laurieton and Camden Heads.

Lionel, Maryanne and Frank at North Brother overlooking "The Haven" area.

Maryanne & Donnis at North Brother

Then we travelled to a bush camp and picnic spot called Swans Crossing in the heart of tall timber country. We had sandwiches and a beer for lunch. Then we travelled on narrow timber truck tracks to the highest point in the State Forest where a Trig Point and Fire Lookout Station are located.

Highest point within Kerewong State Forest.

The position was about 1,000 metres above sea level and set atop a large group of rocks with a sheer drop all around.

View from the fire observation point in Kerewong State Forest.

I am normally nervous of heights and I felt exposed and apprehensive moving around. The compensation was the incredible 360 degree views. The tiny perch atop the rocks included a Trig Point

A Trig Point in Kerewong State Forest.

A cave-like gap between two rocks. The narrow gap led to a sheer drop.

and a Compass Rose to pinpoint a bush fire.

Then we drove on through spectacular hills and valley’s finally emerging into rolling green hills of the dairy country around Comboyne where we had a surprisingly good coffee in a coffee shop which was once a wood fired bake house.

Old bakery with old Honda and even older "old fart" outside.

Outside we met a man dressed in black who drives around on an ancient Honda motorcycle with sidecar.

Old Honda with sidecar. Only a kickstart model. No electric start on this vintage.

Both black of course. He told us he has 300 motorcycles on his property along with 48 twin tub washing machines, twenty cars and oh my goodness the list goes on. He loves a good chat while enjoying his mud cake and a strong cup of coffee after which he rolls himself a cigarette and sits back to talk. His jacket proudly carries badges declaring he is a member of the Old and Rooted Motorcycle Club.

Finally back at Camden Heads we had a late dinner and talked on until late….beyond the yawns and droopy eyes stage. We finally dropped into bed at midnight.

Friday 16th December

Another walk this morning. This time it was down to the river and along the Riverwalk Pavement. Then a walk along the beach and back to the house for breakfast. After saying our goodbyes to Maryanne and Lionel we were on the road by 11.30am and arrived at Allan & Rae’s Forster, NSW home a little after 1pm. We went for a walk along  the southern Forster breakwall and saw several dolphins frolicking. With my sharp eye I saw a fishing boat coming across the bar at the entrance to the river and noticed some strange black shapes at the prow. It was several dolphins riding the bow wave.

Dolphins riding the bow wave of a fishing boat.

More and more dolphins joined the group and we realised the reason for so many coming from all parts of the harbour. The fishing boat was heading to the Fish Co-Op wharf to unload. The dolphins obviously were expecting a handout of fish parts. Seeing dolphins in the wild is not an everyday occurrence but to see them riding the waves was something special to watch.

Saturday 17th December

Al & Rae drove us around to look at the beachside towns north of Forster. Towns such as Harrington,

Harrinton Trig Point.

Redhead, Blackhead, Halliday Point

Halliday Point Surf Beach Pool

and Crowdey Head. We were taken by the history of Harrington but more so by the old lighthouse at Crowdey Head. The lighthouse is still in place but only the foundations of the keepers cottage remain.

Crowdey Head Lighthouse

We also saw a Trig Point at Harrington and Crowdey Head.

Crowdey Head Trig Point

For some reason these trig points are interesting to me. Perhaps we have not noticed them in our travels before but after seeing three of them in as many days, I have begun to look for them. http://www.waymarking.com/cat/details.aspx?f=1&guid=18b359b3-84e5-42f9-bbcf-c40ae533c962&wo=True&wst=1&sg=03fa963d-acc5-47f7-9ae8-7f94ddcf18f9&st=2

Tonight we had a barbecue with Al & Rae’s son Brian, his wife Grid and their children Josh and Mindy.  Well, no longer children. Josh has finished high school and is already enrolled in University at Armidale while Mindy is 16 and still has another year of schooling. It was our first chance to catch up with all this side of the family after many years when they were overseas working in the UK.

Sunday 18th December

Still at Forster.

The sun came out late in the morning but the breeze was cool increasing to strong cold gusts in the evening.

In the morning we walked along the headland at Bennetts Head to the main beach at Forster. After lunch we walked over the Forster – Tuncurry bridge and along the northern breakwall and back. About 2 hours in all. The water was clear and with the different bottoms, sand, weed, rock and different depths, the colours were incredible. While crossing the bridge we saw several 2m Hammerhead sharks patrolling beneath us. We also saw a number of dolphins. Further around the breakwall a small boat with mum, dad and four children was motoring. We could hear squeals of delight and noticed dolphins were coming from every direction. The more the boat people cheered and squealed the more dolphins arrived. It was just as exciting for us, standing on the wall. Watching the dolphins interact with the family in the boat.

Tomorrow we resume our journey south.

Happy Christmas to everybody.

229. Sunday 11th December 2011. We have escaped the clutch of Queensland and are now drawn into the clutch of New South Wales…

13/12/2011

Monday 5th December

Noosaville.

One thing I forgot to mention is that a couple of months ago I bought a DOD 600 which is an in vehicle HD video recorder, GPS logger and vehicle Black Box. I have not had time to install it until this week. I could get the recording light to um err light but could not view the results. After a bit of research I believed that my laptop does not have the latest Codecs programme. I searched the Web, found a Codec download and suddenly I can see the results of the HD video. The video not only records what we see through the windscreen but also stamps the date and time, stamps the GPS co-ordinates, stamps the vehicle speed and vehicle direction every second. When the results are viewed on a laptop, not only do we see the video but we see a Google map tracking and all the stamped features as well. In the event of an accident the camera locks the recording as a black box feature.

Today was cold and windy with patches of rain drops.

The CAT scan revealed nothing of any real consequence. It is probably a residual of the torn cartilage injury from almost 12 months ago.

We have the all clear to go “on the Wallaby” tomorrow.

The CO-PILOT was busy all day making lasagne and a baked mango cheesecake (with additional taste explosion of slices of brandied cumquats) It is Chris’s mother, Regelyn, birthday and the CO-PILOT wanted to bring a gift.

Tuesday 6th December

Today is the tomorrow I referred to yesterday.

We left Noosaville around 11.30am a good two hours later than I had hoped. It rained, on and off all day. We travelled down the Bruce Highway, linking up with Pacific Motorway and the Gateway Motorway and Tollway until we reached Yatala. We found the Showmans Guild of Australia Club set on a couple of acres of ground in an industrial area. The Guild allows all financial members of CMCA with a self- contained vehicle to camp beside their cricket pitch and football field for $10 per van per night. All club facilities are available including bar and dining room, toilets and showers although the ablutions are closed when the club closes, usually around 9pm. There is no garbage, no dump point, no water, no grey water discharge and no power. It is a little isolated but only 20 minutes from Woodridge where we went to visit grandson Chris.

The GPS got a good workout for the first time in 6 months and I must say has been very helpful especially getting into and out of Woodridge at night.

The cheesecake was so good we ate most of it this afternoon.

Gluttons!

Hmmm! Maybe she should have made a few cheesecakes and put the brandied cumquats to good use.

Sadly there is no room in the fridge or freezer for such luxuries.

Wednesday 7th December

It rained all day and was the coldest December day in Brisbane since 1960.

The CO-PILOT daughter, Alecia, called via Skype phone from Somalia where she is working as a nurse for the International Refugee programme with Medicins Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders). The CO-PILOT was overjoyed  that she can now call Alecia via Skype on the iPad but only in the afternoons when it is 6am in Somalia and Alecia has a few minutes before catching the bus to the refugee camp.

The CO-PILOT went ten pin bowling with Chris and Regelyn while I travelled to Fairfield to discuss a possible house sit for three months commencing end of March next year. After dinner we drove around the burbs looking for houses with outrageously large Christmas light displays. It was a probably a little early in the month for many houses to be lit up. At one house I fully expected to see Chevy Chase standing on the front lawn. By 9.30 pm we said our goodbyes and Happy Christmas to Chris n Regelyn

Regely, Chris and Donnis as we prepare to say our goodbye's.

and drove back to Yatala in heavy rain. Once again the GPS kept us on track and we were soon tucked up in our cosy cocoon and drifting off to sleep to the sound of rain.

Thursday 8th December

YeeHar and Whacko the Didlio.

We have made progress today.

But first…

The day started out grey, wet and cool. A gauze like haze hung in the distance whichever way we looked.

We hooked up TERIOS in the rain and were on the road by 9.30am. Once we crossed the NSW border our mobile phone clocks jumped ahead an hour and the Bruce Highway became the Pacific Highway and the north coast of NSW beaches beckoned.

This area has had a lot of rain over the last couple of weeks. The creeks are all flowing swiftly and the fields of sugar cane and other crops are all standing in water. Water is puddled everywhere we look.

We stopped near Wardell at a roadside Rest Area to make lunch. The area had about a dozen chooks and roosters , living, we understand from talking with other travellers, on the scraps and handouts given by travellers.

The traffic noise was tolerable only as far as eating lunch was concerned. No way could we stay here overnight.  I had planned to stop at freedom campsites or Rest Area’s listed in our Camps 3 and Wanderers Mate books.

Sheesh.

The CO-PILOT called Alecia via Skype and got through after several attempts. Communications in that part of the world is a bit iffy.

We checked out several Rest Area’s including those at Woodburn and New Italy. All were beside the highway and therefore traffic noise would be a problem and there were no dump points to empty our cassette toilet. We were approaching Maclean and I was prepared to stop at a caravan park for the night when we saw a sign to Iluka and as neither of us has been there before turned off the highway and followed the signs. On the way we saw another sign to the NSW National Park at Woody Head and decided that was for us. We were surprised the fee was a $7 admission for the vehicle and $14 each to stay the night which would work out dearer than a caravan park but with no power, water or garbage service. However the location was just special and as we had driven this far and I wanted stop, we um err stopped. The lady at the NP office waived the $7 fee as I am a pensioner. She also suggested we apply for a parks pass which is free to pensioners and will give us free admission to all NSW parks except Kosciosko.

Our site, within sight of the water at the National Parks camp at Woody Head, northern NSW.

Once the decision was made to stay we set up in our campsite, the sun came out, most of the clouds rolled away and the remainder of the afternoon was spent at the beach.

We watched this rock fisherman pushing his luck to the limits with big waves breaking on the rocks in front, beside and behind him.

Waves were beginning to look a little serious to us and no doubt to the rock fishermen.

You can see the tip of the fisherman's rod protruding above the waves. After we took this photo he decided discretion was the better part of valour and beat a hasty retreat to higher rocks and safety. We noticed a few people walk over and talk with him about his close call.

Donnis playing in the foam created by the pounding waves over the rocks.

We would both like to spend a few days here but at $28 a day is too expensive. It does highlight that we may have problems finding accommodation as we travel south. Caravan parks are likely to be booked out due to the school holidays.

Yamba as seen from the rocks at Woody Head.

Friday 9th December.

Queensland schools close today and according to the NP lady the campground is booked out for the rest of summer. In fact even after school holidays the park is booked out every weekend all year round.

Re-joining the Pacific Highway we drove into Grafton where we crossed the dog legged bridge over the Clarence River.

The old, tired and dog legged bridge over the Clarence River at Grafton. Barely wide enough for two lanes of traffic it certainly felt a bit hair raising manouvering 13 metres of vehicle around those bends.

With both black and grey water tanks emptied and full fresh water tanks and few groceries on-board we continued south towards  Woolgoolga but took a left hand turn before reaching the town, “just to see where the road would lead”. We ended up at a place called Mullaway Beach where we decided to stay for the night on the dunes overlooking the wave and wind swept beach.

We camped across the street from this photo on level ground and closer to the beach, the wind and the constant roaring surf.

The view of Mullaway Beach from our kitchen window.

Across from WWWGO was a man sleeping beside his car on the grass. Near him was a white Angora rabbit with about 7 kittens. They all waited patiently under the shade of the car for the man to wake and resume their journey.

Mans best friends...Rabbits!

About two hours later they were gone.

We met this thorny fellow at the beginning of the cliff top walk.

Coffs Harbour council have built a wonderful cliff edge walk which meanders into a boardwalk through sub-tropical jungle to South Mullaway Beach.

Woolgoolga as seen from South Mullaway Beach.

We enjoyed the walk and the vista along the coastline. Woolgoolga can be seen in the distance.

Ti Tree Forest walk at Mullaway Beach.

Another visitor at Mullaway Beach.

Remains of very large Puffer Fish at Mullaway Beach.

We dined on stir fried veggies and chilli Tofu while serenaded by the sound of the constantly crashing waves. In fact we fell asleep to the oceans eternal music.

This piece of driftwood looks like a poodle. What type of dog does it look like to you?

Tonight, when about to boil the kettle, we ran out of gas (LPG). The last time we filled an LPG cylinder was 23rd August. That’s pretty good economy for a 9Kg cylinder. We use it for cooking at least twice a day and while on the road it also runs the refrigerator when are parked without shore power (240 volts).

Saturday 10th December

Today was a good day.

Today was a not so good day.

After leaving Mullaway Beach and driving into increasingly heavy rain we drove into Sawtell for a look see and were impressed by the community.

Main street Sawtell.

We could stay here a few days or even weeks but we can only camp at a caravan park and they are waaaaay too expensive, especially at this time of year.

Next we travelled to Nambucca Heads where we lunched at a place called Swimming Beach Creek and afterwards took a walk along the beach. I was intrigued by the geology of the cliffs and the layers of different material which seems to have been laid down over a long period of time and then at some stage pushed up and tilted on its side.

Enlarge and look closely for the striations of different material laid down over millenia.

Some Google research is in order.

I am fascinated by Pandanus wherever they might be.

That’s the good part. Finding a camp spot for the night was the not so good stuff.

We decided to drive to Macksville then turned off the highway and travel a pretty (with steep hills and lots bends) valley to a place called Taylors Arm where reportedly it was THE PUB which was the one which inspired Gordon Parsons to pen the song A Pub With No Beer which most famous recording was made by Slim Dusty in 1959.   www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/s/slim_dusty/a_pub_with_no_beer.html

This is THE Pub With No Beer.

Incidentally Slim Dusty lived in the Kempsey area, not far from Taylors Arms. Have a look at    http://www.pubwithnobeer.com.au/barry.html

Pub With No Beer words by Gordon Parsons and made famous by Slim Dusty. Both now deceased.

We had planned to camp here as it was advertised in our book as motorhome friendly with showers and toilets for a gold coin donation.

Hmmm! The campsite was across the street at the cricket oval and a game was in progress. The grounds were all soggy from the rain and the only dry part where we could drive through had trees with low hanging branches. In drier conditions it would have been nice to stay and soak up some of the local historical ambience. We had a beer at the pub, looked at all the historical photos and newspaper cuttings then elected to drive back to Macksville and look for a place to spend the night.

A church was relocated from away in the valley to the pub. The walls of the church are lined with beer cans.

Hmmm. Every Rest Area we visited along the highway, from Macksville to Kempsey had No Camping signs or too close to the highway . We tried to stay at the Kempsey Showgrounds but they are closed. After looking at and rejecting a nearby van park and finding Crescent Head van park was $36 a night we parked in a car park at the back of the Showgrounds beside the football fields. The spot is a bit isolated and apart from a group of teenagers who walked past on their way to wherever, we were not disturbed and had a peaceful sleep.

Sunday 11th December

The day dawned bright and sunny. On the suggestion of brother Allan and friend Tony J we backtracked 26 Klms to Hat Head for a day visit.

Pig Face on the beach at Hat Head.

Lovely spot and the day area is within a caravan park. The town is worthy of a longer visit but at $42 per night for the caravan park would have to wait for the low season before we could stay there. Even in the low season the fee is $26 per night. We had lunch and a look around then down to the beach for a bit of a surf.

Dog seen on the beach at Hat Head.

Ummm. In reality only the CO-PILOT went in the water and it was more of a dump than a surf.

A photographer was trying to photograph this pregnant woman draped in cloth which blowing the wind. at Hat Head beach.

Footbridge at Hat Head.

We kept a close eye on a big black storm which was building up somewhere to the northwest.

Storm brewing beyond Hat Head beach.

We decide to bake a chicken and a pudding and when they were near done, turned off the gas, packed up WWWGO and drove back to our spot behind the showgrounds and beside the football fields to spend another night. The storm finally broke on us as we were eating dinner and the rain bucketed down and was so loud the TV volume could not keep up.

Another quiet night on the carpark.

228. Sunday 4th December 2011. Wooo Hooo. We are on the road again…

05/12/2011

Monday 28th November… Lots of photos this week. Perhaps it was a subconscious decision on my part to make up for the lack of photos over the last few weeks.

Escape Day!

Simple huh! Just load the vehicles and go. No problems. No worries. No impediments.

NO.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Woke at 6am and some quick mental arithmetic told me we would not be on the road by 7am. As it was we got out the front gates at 9.02 am. Yay.

Except.

The CO-PILOT had an appointment with her nursing agency and sort of forgot to tell me.

So.

We arranged to drive separately and meet at Bakers Creek south of Mackay where would hook up TERIOS and get on the road. The target was a long day of 466 Klms to reach Calliope River for an overnight stop. I had a few back up plans to stop at St.Lawrence or Waverley Creek or Woolwash Lagoon near Rockhampton.

Finally met at Bakers Creek and after a coffee hitched up TERIOS and away we go.

Hmmm! WWWGO seems to be a bit underpowered. About 1 Klm down the road I noticed the frightening injector light was glowing. Uh.Oh! Not good. I called Iveco at Mackay and they agreed if I could drive there they would run a computer scan. Halfway back to Mackay, the penny dropped. The TERIOS handbrake was still ON. That explains the lack of power but not the injector light. When I got to TERIOS the smell of burned brakes was a bit strong.

Pulled into the Iveco workshop, unhitched TERIOS and true to their word they ran a computer scan. Hmmm! The handbrake did show as a fault but all clear now.

We drove separately to Sandy Creek and re-hitched and away we go again. Uh. Oh! The dreaded light is on again and when I pulled up the brake light on WWWGO was on.

Grrr!

I decided to ignore the lights and pressed on. After another 40 Klms the injector light went out. On arrival at our lunch stop at Clairview

What a great spot for lunch beside the first view of the sea along this stretch of coastline...CLAIRVIEW.

I noticed WWWGO brake light was also off.

After a delightful lunch beside the sea, in the shade with a cool breeze we were on the road again with the intention of making Woolwash Lagoon by 5pm. At 5.15 and in peak hour traffic  I missed the turnoff in Rockhampton and after a bit of hesitation decided to drive to Calliope River. First we stopped for fuel at a Truck Stop called Marmor where we also had a shower (imagine a couple of old farts like us having a shower at a truck stop! It is all part of the adventure) and a hamburger for dinner.

We arrived at Calliope River just on 8pm very tired and ready for bed.

We found this spot overlooking the Calliope River in the dark.

This is a wonderful freedom campsite maintained by the local council.

I sure hope tomorrow is a bit easier.

Tuesday 29thNovember.

Looking upriver at Calliope River.

WWWGO campsite reflected in the Calliope River. Photo taken from the old bridge which formed part of the original Bruce Highway. The bridge is now closed to all but foot traffic.

We both slept straight through the night, sleeping the sleep of the innocents. I was awake by 5.30am but we took a leisurely attitude to getting on the road and we left by 8.30am.  There were no extra or warning lights shining when we pulled away. I should mention that even with towing TERIOS  and with having the air con on at all times, WWWGO is still averaging around 16 litres per 100 klms. Today was a different story. With all the road works, hills and stopping and starting the fuel consumption at fill up was 18.2 litres per 100 Klm. The fuel price here was $1.57.9 cents per litre, the dearest we have encountered since last year.

Nearing the town of Tiaro, I decided to stop for lunch. The other reason for stopping were the signs as we neared the town. Trays of mangoes for $10 and a kilo of cherries for $5. There were extensive roadworks on the approach to town and there, beside the road next to the cemetery, was a truck selling the cheap fruit. There was no way to get out of the long line of traffic created by the roadworks. After lunch we pushed on to our overnight stop at Kandanga, in the beautiful Mary Valley, near Gympie. We last stayed here at the end of March when we first left Traveston. After a swim in the pool across the street and a hot shower we were once again ready for bed after an early dinner.

Wednesday 30th November

We were away from Traveston by 9am and drove the Bruce Highway to Forrest Glenn to have WWWGO assessed for some work.

Hmmm! Yes they can do the work and solve the cracked fibreglass issue but cannot fit us in until 14th December. We cannot wait that long so thanked them for their time.

Around the corner from the repair works we found a Natural Food Company

Photo taken with my mobile phone.

and spent a half hour wandering around the huge barn like building looking at the products they had on sale, including fresh organic fruit and vegetables.

Next stop was Hi-Way 1, truck repairs. They are Iveco specialists and I wanted them to repair the horn which does not work, the cigarette lighter which does not work and the two way radio which is not connected to the ignition switch.

Those items are now sorted and we drove to Noosaville for a couple of nights visit with sister Enid and her husband Ken.

During the night I developed another nose bleed and the flashing lights in my eye, which developed on Monday has not gone away.

Hmmm! A visit to the doctor is in order tomorrow.

Thursday 1st December

Went to the doc in the morning with a long list of medical problems. Well, not a long list. Actually, just three items.

The nose bleeds. Despite previous advice from other doctors, the close to the surface capillaries can be cauterised with silver nitrate to stop further nose bleeds. OK. That was done in the surgery quickly and with as much discomfort as I was warned there would be. The discomfort continued off and on all day.

The light flashes in my right eye. I have not mentioned them before. Long story short I was sent on to an optometrist and after lots of examination pronounced OK for my age and the suspected retinal delamination was not evident. However age activated flaking of the retina was occurring and is worthy of regular check-ups. As well, my spectacles are several years old and a couple of new pairs are now on order. The optometrists at OPSM have arranged for the specs to be picked up when we arrive in Sydney at their Miranda Fair store.

I have not mentioned the lump and occasional pain in my left chest either. An x-ray was carried out and further tests are planned tomorrow.

Sigh.

I suppose it is a good thing to be on the Sunshine Coast where medical services are delivered quickly and cheaply.

A southerly change came through this afternoon bringing strong wind gusts and light rain accompanied by a temperature drop.

Friday 2nd December

It was an overcast, windy and cool day. Not something we are used to.

Woke with a great deal of pain in my chest. Any movement just sends waves of pain through the chest. However in my mind I believe it is more a muscle problem associated with a pinched nerve, perhaps in my neck.

The x-ray people did discover some sort of darkness (mild prominence of the hilar bilaterally) which they feel warrants further checking with a CT scan. The doc and I agree we should get the scan done. In the meantime she feels the pain is associated with a pinched nerve and muscle inflammation. The CT scan cannot be done until Monday so she has prescribed some anti-inflammatory medication as an aid in providing relief. The tablet took several hours to kick in but taken regularly each day should see me pain free.

The wind increased during the day while the temperature fell. I did not try to get on the roof of WWWGO to replace the broken hatch over the bathroom. We will have to wait for a less windy and less painful day to tackle this task.

Saturday 3rd December

Today I took the CO-PILOT to the Eumundi Markets

A small part of the Eumundi Markets.

because she has not been there before and this could be our last opportunity for a long time. Although I normally do not like markets but have visited these markets before, I do not have a problem visiting them again. The CO-PILOT really enjoyed her visit

The co-pilt enjoyed her visit to the Eumundi Markets.

and like many other conversations we overheard, she said similar things. “These markets go on and on and on”, “there are so many stalls”, “there is such a variety of food”, “there are people everywhere”.

It was all true.

There was Indian, Mexican,

Mexican food stall.

Dutch, German,

Malaysian, Chinese, Japanese,

Tibetan and other food I cannot even recall. Of course things such as baked spuds,bagels,

ice cream, yoghurt, chips, snow cones, curly potato on a stick, pancakes, profiteroles, potato pancakes, coffee vendors, perogees, home style ginger beer and oh my mind is spinning.

Hmmm! Now that is strange. We did not see a Fairy Floss vendor anywhere.

Apart from the food I enjoyed looking at the photographic and realistic art on show and sale.

In the afternoon the CO-PILOT and Enid went to a Tea House and had a high tea of unusual  flavoured teas. I just like a tea that tastes like tea thank you very much.

All four of us went to Chutney Mary’s Indian Restaurant for dinner. However the restaurant has built up a strong clientele has a good reputation and now calls themselves the Raj Indian Restaurant. (http://www.rajindianrestaurant.com.au/ ) They have a traditional charcoal tandoor oven and make the best Tandoori Chicken. It’s finger lickin’ good.

Sunday 4th December

Although we left early for Noosa Beach,

Our delightful shaded spot at Noosa Beach at a place called The Woods, well away from the overcrowded main Noosa Beach.

9.30 is not really early and parking was difficult to find. We managed to get to the beach in brilliant hot sunshine and had a good hour

The co-pilot was first into the water.

surfing and being bashed around by the waves.

Enid choosing the best surf spot.

Ken is focused on his launch site.

We just loved it then returned home for an early barbecue lunch

Ken cooking up a huge lunch for 4 people. Would you believe only one sausage and one potato were left? Hmmm! Surfing sure works up an appetite.

before Ken left for Bundaberg to visit his son.

Enid n Ken

After such a wonderful time at the beach it is going to be difficult leaving here in a day or two.

This afternoon we decanted the remaining Cumquat Brandy which has been fermenting for 6 months. We filled two 750 Ml bottles. On this decant we also squeezed the cumquat fruit to gather the remaining fruity liquor pulp. Although some pulp is in the brandy it has added to the flavour and smoothness of the liquor.

In the late afternoon Enid, Donnis n I took a walk to Weyba Creek Footbridge.

On the way to Weyba Creek we encountered a colony of Flying Foxes / Bats who were just waking up in readiness to fly away for their evening hunt for food.

Enid n Donnis on the Weyba Creek footbridge.

On our way home a couple of noisy Noisy Miners chicks caught our attention. (Click to enlarge)