Archive for April, 2012

250. Sunday 29th April 2012. Blowering Dam to Yarrangobilly to Adaminaby to Canberra to Sydney. Whew…

29/04/2012

Monday 23rd April

We woke to drizzly cool rain at our Yachting Point, Lake Blowering campsite.

Yachting Point on Blowering Lake OR Blowering Impoundment.

It was an easy decision to pack up and travel no more than 50 Klms to Yarrangobilly Village campsite located on the banks of the Yarrangobilly River.

Yarrangobilly Village on Yarrangobilly River. The village is nothing more than a convenient, pretty campsite beside the river. The only improvements are an old historic homestead, now in ruins, a sign, several picnic tables and firepits and mens and womens pit toilets.

At this point I should mention there is no permanent occupants of the “village”. It is little more than a convenient picnic area or campsite. On old historical house owned by NSW Parks & Wildlife Service is in the process of being restored. The drive up the mountain was quite steep forcing us back to 3rdgear in a couple of places. After setting up, the sun made a wan but welcome appearance amongst the clouds. We drove TERIOS a further 20 Klms to Yarrangobilly Caves and filled in our afternoon to the point of near exhaustion. We walked the steep 1klm track to

History of the Artesian Bore Pool,

the Thermal Poolwhich runs at 27° all year, summer or winter. The CO-PILOT  had the courage to enter the water but as I am still in the throes of a head cold I was not prepared to risk getting a chill from the wind on my wet body.

Donnis enjoys the warm water but soon changed her tune when the wind chill cooled her wet body.

After leaving the thermal pool we followed the Yarrangobilly River walk back to the caves reception area.

Donnis on the aptly named river walk.

The track became gradually steeper and required a slow and steady climb

As the track increased in steepness the walk became almost a climb among the limestone cliffs.

until we reached another walk to take us back to the parking area or onto the Glory Hole Arch

The Glory Hole Arch.

and The South Glory Cave which is self-guided.

Inside the Glory Hole Arch and beginning the cave walk.

We entered the cave as far as the light would allow, suddenly more lights turned on.

Inside the limestone caves.

As we progressed further, more lights continued to light the path as well as highlights within the cave. We wandered this cave for a good half hour before emerging above the carpark.

Beginning the River Walk from the carpark.

We had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and if the weather is fine tomorrow we will explore another cave and the walk to Bluff Lookout.

Tuesday 24th April

We woke to another wet and miserable morning. Even more wet and miserable than yesterday. Donnis also woke with a sore throat, swollen glands, runny nose and a headache. We suspect it was from swimming and getting a wind chill afterwards. No more cave exploring for us today. We decided to pack up and head to Adaminaby in the hope there was fuel and a caravan park where we can hook up to power and allow Donnis to warm up. The drive up to Kiandra was again steep and opened up onto a majestic valley covered in Alpine Grass with the Eucumbene River running through the centre.

Eucumbene River flowing through a valley covered in Alpine Grass near Kiandra. This is a composite photo of several images stitched together. It is best viewed by double clicking to increase the size.

The roads here rose to 1,500 metres combining steep climbs and tight 35KPH corners. With the constant cold rain the road was slippery and demanded constant attention. The dashboard showed temperature outside was 3°.

After fuelling at Adaminaby we drove out to Lake Eucumbene and plugged into power at the caravan park. While the CO-PILOT rugged up, turned on the heater I drove 37Klms back to Kiandra to take photos and perhaps follow the interpretive walks. The views across the valley were spectacular but from the top of the mountain the wind was an icy blast. I reached the Kiandra Snow Plough station and as I stepped out of TERIOS noticed SNOW was piled up against walls and on the grass and was landing on me.

One of only two houses preserved in the Kiandra town. (it is no longer a town, just a snow plough station and pit toilets. No shops. No garage. No people.)Note the snow on the roof.

No way did I expect to encounter snow at this time of year. I managed to see a couple of ruins

Sign depicting one of many ruins dotted around the hillside attesting to the many houses which stood here at Kiandra in the goldrush days.

The ruins described by the sign.

from goldrush days but the temperature was dropping, the wind picking up and snow falling constantly. I was not dressed for this sort of weather so skipped any further exploration and went back to WWWGO.

Sigh! I really want to see more of the historical sites but the weather forecast for tomorrow is worse. Snow above 1,100 metres. Maybe another time.

When!

Wednesday 25th April – ANZAC DAY

The forecast for today was snow plus strong winds with gusts up to 55 Kph. We did not feel like hanging around especially as we woke to 3° temps and a wind chill factor which sent me running for my ski mittens. We headed down The Snowy Mountains Highway to Cooma and picked up the Monaro Highway and drove on to Canberra, Capital of Australia. Being Anzac Day many places were closed including the camp office at Exhibition Grounds. We found a site, set up and drove to the Australian War Museum.

Pool of Remembrance at The Australian War Memorial.

This place is WOW! The displays need days to view properly and we had less than 2 hours. First task was to locate a grandfather on the Honour Roll on the Commemorative Wall. After some initial help via one of the dozens of volunteers and staff I finally found his name.

Finding a relative on the Honour Roll.

At closing time there were more Anzac Day ceremony’s being carried out including a changing of the guard.

The Honour Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the War memorial.

From the steps of the War memorial you can look down across Anzac Parade to Lake Burley Griffin and beyond to Old Parliament House and on Capitol Hill, New Parliament House.

Afterwards we found our way to the suburb of Kingston and stumbled upon what can only be described as an Eastern eating district. There was Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Malaysian, Indonesian, Thai, Indian restaurants galore. Of course we stayed and had dinner.  In all the restaurants and in the streets it was obvious we were the odd people out.

Lately we have had problems with our internet connection via the Gateway modem. This happened once before in October 2010 when we were at Ilfracombe in western Queensland. Telstra replaced the modem.  Although the modem is talking with the laptop and the modem is receiving excellent wireless signal, there is no internet signal. I called Telstra who asked me to carry out a number of tests including removing the SIM card. At last they declared the modem faulty and would replace it free of charge. Only drawback is it could take a week and we must supply a postal address for it to be sent. We will be off the air until the modem catches up with us in Sydney next week. Then we have to install and re-set passwords and such things.

Sigh!

Thursday 26th April

The sun greeted us this morning although a cool breeze was keeping the air brisk. Once again we had a WOW day.

The first attraction on the list was Parliament House.

Peoples Courtyard and grand entrance to Parliament House.

I knew Julia (Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia) was in Turkey yesterday so there was little chance we would bump into her and ruin our day. I thought we would just do a drive by, admire the building, take a photograph or three and be on our way. The reality was totally different. Just like the War memorial yesterday we took the underground car park option and soon found our way into the building via the main entrance. What an entrance! What a building! It is huge, tasteful, accessible and easy to get lost. We spent three hours exploring and could have spent all day. The displays of art and photography and historic documents and even a video on the building kept us busy. Then we walked into the public gallery and viewed the House of Representatives

House of Representatives. This is a composite photo and is best viewed by double clicking.

and the Senate chamber.

Donnis at the House of Representatives.

The Senate House. Note the pink decor. I wonder if Senator Bob Brown had a hand in the choice of colour?

Entry into the building was simple although a security check was carried out. I declared a knife in my bag and left it with Security for collection when we left. We were impressed by the quality marble stair case

The Grand Hall at the entrance to Parliament House. This is a composite photo and best viewed by double clicking.

and railings, timber artwork wall panels , hush quality carpet and parquetry flooring.

This is a composite photo of the pyramid shaped glass dome which sits below the giant flagpole.

There was staff everywhere to answer questions, point you in the right direction and just be polite and helpful. The interesting visitors were mainly from overseas and included Asian, Indian and Africans. WASPS were in the minority. We enjoyed our visit immensely.

Photographing a Japanese tourist outside Paliament House with the War memorial in the distance.

From Parliament House you can look straight down Anzac Avenue to Lake Burley Griffin, across to Old Parliament House and the War Memorial.

Next we drove over to Black Mountain and the Telstra Tower

Telstra Tower on Black Mountain.

which can be seen almost everywhere in Canberra and for 30 Klms in any direction. The tower stands 880 Mtrs above sea level but is only 182 Mtrs from its base. We visited the observation deck and coffee shop at the 66Mtr level. The views are 360° and clearly shows Canberra sitting in a bowl with mountains all around. There is in interior and an exterior observation deck.

View of Canberra City from Telstra Tower. This is a composite photo and is best viewed by double clicking.

The wind was rather strong and bitterly cold. Cleaning the windows must be a terrible job.

Coffee time at 82 metres in the sky.

Next on the list was the National Gallery but we mistook the signs and ended up next door at the National Portrait Gallery. Once more we parked underground. The gallery displays were incredible and again we need to spend more time here to see all that was on display. We were the last to leave the building when it closed at 5pm.

After a bit more grocery shopping we found our way back to WWWGO at the Exhibition Grounds. We were tired but extremely happy that at the last minute Canberra got included on our list of places to visit. We will stay another day and explore some more.

Friday 27th April

In the morning we visited the Australian National Botanical Gardens. This is a huge garden, growing only native species and is set up to include, alpine, desert, rainforest, savannah and all other plant habitat found in Australia. To see the whole display would take at least a day and we have so many things to do so the garden only got a one hour  visit.

Next on the agenda was the Australian National Archives. Once again the visit was free and the displays were well worth a visit as many of them are interactive. Our main reason for visiting was to carry out some research on family members. Staff are friendly, helpful and patient. We were given access to a computer and a printer and guidance how to find our way through records. There is a Reading Room and it is partitioned off with glass. The room is at a constant temperature and is de-humidified. To gain access to the room requires leaving all personal belongings behind in a locker, obtaining a pass and requesting documents be brought to you. Some documents are over 100 years old and have been carefully preserved. Some documents are classified and requires security clearance. Some documents are “top secret” and can only be accessed by top level authorised persons and can be read in another closed off security room. All very impressive and once again we could have spent a day here. In fact a cafeteria is on premises so visitors can stay all day.

The final visit for the day was the Australian National Gallery and we parked below street level. The building is huge and has so many floors, rooms, chambers and alcoves it is/was easy to get lost. The finish of the walls is mostly bare concrete and is not as attractive as the Australian National Portrait Gallery across the road. Still we managed to stay until it was time to get kicked out and once again we did not see all the displays.

There is so much to see in Canberra and we only visited a few. As always I can only say that we have left the door open for an opportunity to visit again in the future.

As we have discovered, “the more we see, the more there is to see”.

Saturday 28th April

We woke to a cold and heavy fog. As the fog lifted we noticed hundreds of car parked nearby. Unbeknownst to us there was a Farmers Market in the Exhibition Grounds and we could hear singing. We traipsed over to a large covered area and found the market, chock a block full of people looking to score something which cost twice as much as in a Woolies or Coles. Call the food organic and people will flock to it. So it was I bought a organic, stoneground 70% sourdough rye loaf of bread. At $6 it was about the same price we pay in other bakeries. A dozen eggs was $9. Get the picture.

A group of men were singing, in harmony, and their voices carried throughout the building and across the park. They all looked happy. Hmmm! If I ever settle down again I would like to join a singing group.

After spending big at the markets we rewarded ourselves with a homemade cappuccino and a couple of slices of fresh bread. We packed WWWGO and hitched TERIOS and were soon on our way via the Federal Highway in the direction of Goulburn. Instead of looking for somewhere to stay for the night we pushed on to Maroulan where we had lunch – sourdough rye – of chicken salad sandwiches. We then made the decision to drive straight through to Gymea to stay with my sister Bev.

Sunday 29th April.

The day started warm n sunny but soon deteriorated to windy, overcast and cold.

It was a long day of catching up on washing and emptying WWWGO in preparation for work to be carried out over the next week or so.

I also wasted lots of time carrying out ancestry searches.

Sigh!

249. Sunday 22nd April 2012. We escape Culcairn and tonight dine at Lake Blowering…

25/04/2012

Monday 16th April

We woke to another fine sunny day with a cool breeze making the shade briskly cold.

Apart from home duties I spent much of the day reading maps, NSW Parks and Wildlife Booklets, Camps 3 and the 2011 copy of the Wanderers Mate. The last two mentioned items are books providing information about camp sites and dump points. They are useful tools when planning a camping trip. Or, planning an escape strategy. We have been at Culcairn too long and it is time to escape.

On my walk today, I noticed this dog on top of the chimney. The house is beside the Catholic Church.
Hmmm!

Hmmm!
A couple of months ago on one of my walks I noticed these cats on a chimney on a house which is beside the Anglican Church.
What is that all about?

Tuesday 17th April.

With the co-pilot day off today we planned a drive to Albury for some shopping. I needed a new “fly” cable from the F-connector wall socket to the standard TV connector. The cable would be the last item in trying to solve our TV reception woes. I am pleased to report we now have excellent TV reception with clear digital HD picture on all channels once more.

While preparing for our departure this morning we heard a strange train whistle. Hmmm! What was that all about? We missed an historic train journey from Sydney to Melbourne which also passed through Culcairn and stopped at Albury. On 16th April, a new train, the Southern Aurora made the historic journey from Melbourne to Sydney on the new common gauge railway line. Until that date, all train journeys terminated at Albury and passengers changed trains. Rail gauges in Victoria and NSW were of different sizes. The new common gauge opened up the nation like never before. See https://www.google.com.au/search?q=the+southern+arura&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a

To-day was an historic 50th anniversary of the original journey. The train was brought out of retirement for this occasion including silver service in the dining rooms. We knew nothing about this event until we heard on the news as we were pulling in to Albury but the train had already moved on. We did see a great many tourist coaches at the station as we passed. This is how it was promoted locally,   http://www.visitalburywodonga.com/event/glistening-southern-aurora-returns-to-albury-station   we would have loved to have been on board or even up at the station to see it arrive had we known beforehand. Albury streets seemed busier than normal today.

Wednesday 18th April

The CO-PILOT and I spent the day fixing and tidying WWWGO. It is all part of the exit strategy.

I also started to display the symptoms of a head cold. Uh Oh. Not good when we are in the final few days of our time at Culcairn.

Thursday 19th April.

The CO-PILOT is back at work again today although before she left we washed many loads of washing and cleaned mats and anything else we thought needed cleaning. It was a good thing we used the morning constructively. After Donnis left for work the clouds rolled in and by 5pm a thunder lightning rain and with wind. After battening down the hatches and scrambling inside to get out of the heavy rain, it stopped. An hour later another storm rolled in with the same heavy rain which stopped after a few minutes. In all, four storms hit during the evening.

Before the storms arrived I walked to Culcairn Railway Station as the Southern Aurora was due to pass through. I set up at the bottom of the platform and waited. At first the train headlights seemed a long way off and moving slowly. Suddenly the train was hurtling at me. Luckily I had set the camera to shoot multiple frames as long as I kept the button down. Then the train was zooming past almost blowing me off the platform and suddenly I was looking at an out of focus back of the train.

It was all over in a few moments. I watched the neon fluorescent blue name disappearing as it headed north to Wagga Wagga and western NSW before looping to reach the Hunter Valley and follow the coastal track to Brisbane where it will be turned about to follow the same route back to Sydney.

The cost for the 11 day historical journey is $6,500 per person with no shortage of passengers willing to pay the price. Sigh!

The head cold includes sore throat and runny nose. More sighs!

Friday 20th April

After a few morning showers, the clouds drifted away and gave way to a bright blue sky. We continued washing and packing things away. The CO-PILOT went to night shift, her 2nd last shift of the final contract.

The cold has me in its grip so a couple of Panadol every 6 hours or so is keeping the worst of the aches and general feeling of malaise under control. I woke during the night with sweat soaked pyjamas. That could be a good sign as I believe it to be a turning point.

Our washing machine is all packed away so I will need to use the camp washer in the morning.

Saturday 21st April

Woke to blue sky and the promise of fine weather. The CO-PILOT arrived home and was in bed asleep before I had finished breakfast.

This is our last day in Culcairn. The sun was shining and the puffy clouds hinted at cooler days and more rain to come. Two weeks ago I was indifferent if we left or stayed for another contract. Last week I felt ready to leave. The last two days I have been impatient to leave but took my time packing WWWGO. We are both ready to leave. We will not miss the trains at all hours of the day and night. We will not miss the trucks who ply the highway at all hours. We will not miss the burrs growing all over the park. Burrs which have the ability to jump onto socks and clothes and sticking uncomfortably to the skin.

The cold which latched onto me a few days ago seemed to loosen overnight, plaguing me with post nasal drip. At times like this I think I should have shares in Kleenex.

Today I took a walk with the big camera. Culcairn has put on a display of autumn and winter colours in the trees.

As well, there are roses in their last days of glory. They call out to me as I walk past each day “take our photo frankeeg”. So I did.

The roses nodded their appreciation. The trees shuddered their thanks and dropped more leaves.

Tomorrow, oh tomorrow, we leave Culcairn and bid a her/him/it a fond adieu. I have a vague plan in my mind where I would like to be tomorrow night. I expect the universe has other plans for us so we will see where the destination lottery takes us.

We are 90% packed, the awning is rolled away so we are not delayed by heavy dew which would take hours to evaporate.

I am eager, nay anxious, to be away.

Sunday 22nd April.

Oh What a day!

Woke to heavy overcast and the showers began as I was eating breakfast. The CO-PILOT  arrived and we finished the packing and hitching TERIOS and were away from Culcairn by 9.45. The CO-PILOT  went to bed and I drove. (yeah yeah, I know, it is illegal to do that) She slept for 2 hours. We drove through Morven, Holbrook and turned onto the Hume Highway. After an hour we turned onto the Snowy Mountains Highway, passing through Adelong and arriving in Tumut where we had a coffee and snack at Macca’s. We did a grocery shop at Woolworths and were soon on our way again.

I must say that being behind the wheel of WWWGO once more was relaxing, especially once we were on the Snowy Mountains Highway. The roadside signs captured my imagination. – Snowfields ahead, Steep Winding Road, Chains must be carried between June to September, Be prepared for sudden weather condition changes, snow can fall at any time, Welcome to the New South Wales High Country. Aaah. The high country!

Twenty nine klms after Tumut we came upon the Yachting Point campsite within the Kosciuszko National Park. The campsite overlooks Lake Blowering which was formed when Blowering Dam wall was built on Blowering Creek. The sun had come out from behind the clouds when we left Tumut and we enjoyed a sunny afternoon in camp.

During the afternoon we saw lots of Kangaroos, Yellow Rumped Black Cockatoos, Pied Currawongs, Australian King Parrots and lots of Grass Wrens. We saw lots of ducks.

The day was topped off with a bit of social intercourse, sitting around a campfire and talking with 6 strangers. I made a zucchini pie for dinner and we talked about our plans for tomorrow when we want to get into the high, high country.

Our new adventure begins.

248. Sunday 15th April 2012. Trapped in Culcairn. Working on an exit strategy…

15/04/2012

Monday 9th April

Grrr! We are experiencing problems with TV reception. ABC & 7 networks cannot be tuned in at all and the other stations are also beginning to pixillate. Neighbours have no problems with their reception.

The day dawned bright and sunny but with that miserable lazy cool breeze blowing. You know the type of lazy breeze I am talking about. It is so lazy instead of going around you it blows straight through you. It chills the muscles and the bones. It remained cold all day. In the morning it was OK to find a place in the sun away from the wind. In the afternoon the clouds rolled in, the wind gusted more frequently and with more force and we retreated indoors.

During the day Eric took the time to show me various platting methods and how he cuts his leather laces from tanned kangaroo hide. From the laces he makes wrist bands, belts, hat bands and whips.

Late in the afternoon I started to drive Glenise n Eric to Mad Dog Morgans Hideout. About halfway along the road the wind picked up ferociously, swirling dust and blowing leaves and twigs against TERIOS. We turned around as we could also see the big storm clouds getting darker. Just as we arrived back at camp the first big drops of rain fell. I barely had time to ensure everything that was outside was packed under the awning before the heavy rain began. After three minutes of heavy rain, it stopped. The wind stopped and the sun came out but it was still miserably cold.

In the evening we invited Glenise and Eric for happy hour which rolled into a few hours. It was warmer inside WWWGO with the heater turned on. So we sat and ate and drank (we shared some of our final bottle of Cumquat Brandy I made last year) and we laughed. Often.

We laughed so much I almost forgot to take a photo. Eric, Glenise, Donnis.

Tuesday 10th April

The CO-PILOT has the day off and G&E are leaving today. They have a vague plan of driving to the head of the Murray River…somewhere around Khancoban…and camping along the Murray, then drive back towards Wodonga before hightailing to Brisbane where they are housesitting for 6 months. They followed us to Lavington where we all had coffee and they did a grocery shop before we parted with hugs.

We drove into Albury where I purchased a new TV cable with F connector ends, some Sikaflex and a cartridge gun. Tomorrow, weather permitting, I will thread the new cable in place, seal everything with Sikaflex and fingers crossed, enjoy TV reception once more. It sounds simple and easy. Reality is, it will not be so simple especially as I will have to clean away all the old Sikaflex first and somehow thread the cable through the length of the antenna mast.

While in Albury we went to the movies and saw Mirror Mirror with Julia Roberts. The story was good but the filming was different. To me it looked as though it was filmed through gauze or slightly out of focus.

After a grocery shop we arrived home with the obligatory hot chook for dinner. Oh and of course the CO-PILOT brought a loaf of her favourite 96 hour sourdough rye bread which she cut thickly to accompany the chook and baby spinach salad.

The night was cold and the doona is on the bed for the first time this year.

Wednesday 11th April

The CO-PILOT  had another day off so while I climbed up and down the ladder several times removing the old TV cable, removing old Sikaflex, cleaning surfaces and putting in new cable and new Sikaflex. The plan was that with new TV cable we would get better TV reception including Channel 7 and ABC. Well, the plan sort of worked. We can get better reception, including 7 and ABC but both pixilate and both drop to No Signal. Still I suppose that is better than 100% no signal. In fact re-tuning previously, those channels could not be found.

In the late afternoon we took a walk to watch the sunset. Just out of town at an intersection there are houses on three corners. On the fourth corner is a multi-acre parcel of land. On the fence were a dozen fox carcasses, six of them recent. The stink was appalling. What makes a person hang dead animals, just for the sake of it, on a fence? I suppose it must be like the fisherman who catches a large fish and after filleting, instead of returning the carcase to the sea for re-cycling and feeding sea life, the rotting skeleton is left hanging from a street sign.

Sigh! It must be some sort of hunter, chest beating sign. Perhaps translated it means, “me big fisherman, catchum big fish, here proof”, OR “Me big hunter, can catchum fox, no eat but here proof”.

Here proof. Why oh Why did he put the carcasses so close to neighbouring houses.

Thursday 12th April

Donnis has a birthday today. We had a cappuccino and a mud cake with runny chocolate sauce and marshallows topping for a celebration before she went to work. Errk! Although it tasted good going in, the taste kept repeating on me all afternoon and I could not get the sweet sugary taste out of my mouth for hours. Two weeks ago we bought a milk frother from Aldi. We make the espresso coffee in our mocha pot and froth the milk and we end up with excellent cappucchino.

It was another bright sunny day, with a cool breeze early in the day.

We had a bit of internet drama this morning. I was using the laptop to check email and the CO-PILOT  was using the Notebook to speak with her daughter (who is in Mexico) on Skype. The email download was slow and I commented that perhaps we should not being using the wireless at the same time. On a hunch checked our BigPond internet usage meter. (It took ages to load) to my surprise we had just exceeded our 8 Gb monthly allowance with an update not due until 4th May. WTF!!! How could be use 8Gb in 8 days. We do not download movies or games. We called BigPond via Skype on the iPad which has its own download. After speaking with a consultant it seems that between the new NoteBook and the LapTop we have had a heavy few days of updates, particularly from Microsoft. Sometimes a dozen or more updates every day. This is all going on behind the scenes and is part of the features of Windows 7.

Whoa!!! I immediately found the updates  in the control panel and turned off automatic updates.

The BigPond man, who by the way was very helpful and spoke excellent English transferred me to accounts, suggesting they may agree to give me a 1Gb freebie to keep us going until next month. The next BigPond man was very helpful and also spoke excellent English. He offered a once only free top up of 8Gb and suggested I turn off the auto updates…which I had already done.

In one of walks during the week I was lucky enough to have the new camera and this wonderful Blue Tongue Lizard walked in front of me. Actually they more correctly are a Blue Tongued Skink. See...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue-tongued_skink

Friday 13th April.

We still cannot get reception for channel 7 or ABC. I was on the roof again to-day and uh-oh when the antenna is rotated, the loose cable wraps itself around the antenna and starts to pull tight on the Sikaflex sealant. Hmmm. Never thought about that when I put everything together. I will have to think about how this can be fixed.

Apart from house duties I cooked up another big batch of chicken & vegetable soup.

Saturday 14th April

I was up on the roof again today as I had thought of a solution while I was drifting off to sleep last night. I realised that when I threaded the antenna cable inside the aluminium box section, the antenna was upright but turned to where I can get the best reception. The cable should have been threaded while the antenna was in the ready to fold down position. Although I did not need to I totally disassembled the antenna arms, head and winding shoe and cleaned them and lubricated the shoe. The cable was re-threaded while the antenna was in the fold down position. Now I can rotate the antenna in both directions without the cable wrapping around the antenna or pulling on the Sikaflex seal. I also re-positioned the antenna slightly and was able to tune in channel 7, although it still pixillates it is now 90% viewable.

Sunday 15th April

Still art Culcairn. No exploring, no adventures today.

Still cannot receive ABC or 7 networks.

Sigh! Back to the drawing board, more thinking required.

Stay tuned.

Next week is a whole new beginning with new travels, exploration and adventure.

Promise.

247. More wildlife and even some not so wildlife…

12/04/2012

A strong and healthy kangaroo spotted at Traveston.

The beautiful strong endurance horse, Azarlia in traing with Melissa. at Finch Hatton

Scrub Turkey chick no larger than a kilo of butter. Sighted at Noosa.

A Shingle Backed Lizard sighted on a red sand road out the back of Bourke.

It does not matter where these Galah's were sighted. They can be seen almost anywhere across Australia.

When the Big Boppa sang about "feeling real real loose, like a long necked goose", this is not the goose he had in mind.

This strange shaggy horse was sighted at Nindigully in Queensland.

246. Sunday 8th April 2012. It was bright when we went to Bright and we were not buffaloed by Buffalo…

08/04/2012

Monday 2nd April.

Back to home duties for me and nursing for the CO-PILOT .

I finished painting Aluminium colour Rust Guard on the final wheel rim on WWWGO today. It is a fiddly job and due to having to lay and or squat to get paint into crevices, my back protested. So, while the back was protesting and I had the paint handy, I also painted all the wheel studs and nuts except for one wheel which was in full sun.

Tuesday 3rd April

Finished painting the wheel studs and nuts today and my back started to protest before I was finished. But the job is finished and the rims, nuts and covers look great. Probably as good if not better than the day we bought WWWGO.

Wednesday 4th April

The CO-PILOT  has two days off and today turned into one of those wow trips we have come to enjoy and is really the reason why we are living and travelling in WWWGO.

Once again we headed down the Olympic Hwy to link with the Hume Hwy and passed through Albury, crossed the border into Victoria, past Wodonga and picked up the B500 Hwy, The great Alpine Road at Wangaratta. We passed through the busy and pretty town of Myrtleford, the pretty but quiet town of Porepunkah and stopped for a walk around and lunch at another pretty and busy town, Bright.

Delightfully quaint old horsetrough at Bright.

Now let me explain about the towns of Porepunkah and Bright. They must have the greatest number of accommodation choices we have ever seen. Each town has at least six campgrounds. We stopped counting the hotels, motels, guest houses, holiday cottages, B & B’s, ski lodges and so on. It seems the Victorian alpine holiday begins here and is used as a base to nearby mountains and ski slopes.

The Ovens River runs through the Bright town centre and the local council has made the riverside park a pleasant place for families to enjoy.

The banks of the Ovens River as it passes thfrough Bright is lined with these classic Weeping Willows.

We stopped at a local bakery for lunch and bought a loaf of rye bread.

As we walked around the streets of Bright we spied these umbrellas with the sign. Heated Umbrellas. Can you imagine sitting under an umbrella in the beer garden during the winter months and the snow all around while the overhead heaters are blasting away?

While eating lunch we noticed signs taped to the bakery windows that blackberry pies are now available and it seems almost every customer was walking out with a family sized blackberry pie. The locals usually know a good pie and as blackberries are in season we bought a couple of smaller pies for later.

While eating lunch I noticed the flower beds in the roundabout.

The local information office was a little slow in getting around to serving us but once they did they were a mine of information.  Of the many sights open to us we decided to tackle Mount Buffalo as it was not far to drive and is a popular family destination especially in winter. Parks Victoria manages the entire Mount Buffalo area. For some reason I had thought there would be downhill ski runs and chair lifts and all the other stuff you might find at a ski resort. There is cross country skiing and tobogganing at Dingo Dell but no downhill skiing. A basic

Hmmm! Not so. There is a huge chalet at the top of the steep and winding road, standing at the 1,350 metre mark. The chalet is closed and as we now know, closed permanently or at least until government decides what to do with it. See the following site for more information http://www.mountbuffalocommunityenterprise.com.au/.

The chalet at Mt.Buffalo. Walking around the grounds I was reminded of the chalet in the movie THE SHINING starring Jack Nicholson. It was also surrounded by large shrubbery in the form of a maze and of course it was in the winter and snow was falling and it was a psychological thriller. Strange that I would think about that.

The road up the mountain has line markings painted a brilliant yellow on the sides and centre of the road. Easier to see in the snow. The roadside markers (there are only a few Armco barriers but most of the road has markers beside an absolutely scary drop over very steep hills) are a brilliant orange colour with red reflective on the left and white on the right. Again the colours would make it easier to see in the snow. Yes, it does snow here. Chains are required during winter and there is a road clearing team which works all winter long. We first stopped at The Gorge Heritage Walk and watched water running over the precipice,

The water falling over the edge of a 500m precipice at The Gorge.

dropping around 500m before hitting rocks and continuing to run down the rock face a further 300m or so and continuing another  500m drop before joining Buckland River which itself then feeds into the Ovens River.

Balancing rock just above the waterfall.

From the safety of a lookout we could see the sheer precipices and the sharp granite tors

Granite Tors, etched, shaped and carved over millions of years.

worn and shaped over millions of years. The granite tors appear like giant sharpened knives.

A closeup of one of the Tors. Go on, double click the image and tell me if that is an eagle sitting on the very top.

Even within the safety of a chain fence I still felt nervous looking over the edge to the valley floor almost a kilometre below.

500m below where the water, after plummeting through the air makes its first re-contact with the land.

We followed a walking track

Hardy Snow Grass growing as if planted to gain maximum visual appeal.

and ooohed and aahed at each secure lookout

A nice safe seat to sit and watch and admire the view.

until we reached the breathtaking plateau where the chalet is located.

The view from Bent's Lookout.This panoramic view is a composite of seven photographs stitched together. Double click for an enlarged version.

We then continued to be enchanted at the wonderful vista from the viewing platforms at 1,337m.

The impressive near vertical granite cliff faces.

We could have spent days walking the tracks and every turn there were wonderful Snow Gums, twisted and gnarled, growing out of impossible crevices above sheer drops. Snow grass grew in profusion as if they had been deliberately planted to add the right amount of ambience to each view.  At Bents Lookout we took time to have a look at a compass rose

Compass Rose. Double click on the image to see a larger image and so you can read the distances.

which by the markings had been place long before Australia’s Metrification which commenced in 1970 and was completed by 1988. Looking at the distance markings they are all in miles. For example Albury is shown as 44 Miles (as the crow flies) in today’s metric measurement that would be about 72 Klms. The height above sea level, 4,400 feet sounds more impressive than 1,337 Metres. We took time to bring out our thermos of coffee and eat our blackberry pies while an as yet unidentified small wren sized bird flitted around our feet and legs. There are lots of quaint picnic tables scattered around, tucked into private nooks beside rocks and trees in this area.

A lovely stone picnic shelter built on the cliff edge. It has two fireplaces. Try to imagine being here for a picnic with the snow falling. Magic?

Apart from the breathtaking and knee shaking spectacle of the vista, I was attracted to the snow grass, leaf litter and snow gums.

Higher up the mountain non powered camping is permitted at Lake Catani with space for a limited number of smaller motorhomes or caravans. Toilets and hot showers (the 2008 Parks Victoria brochure  states there are hot showers while the 2010 brochure lists the showers as cold) are provided but all rubbish must be carried out. The lake is a beautiful alpine body of water which is safe for swimming. The day was hot but not hot enough to entice us into the water.  We followed the road a little further into the park to Dingo Dell where we were able to see the highest point in Mount Buffalo, The Horn, which is 1,723,m above sea level.

The highest point on Mt.Buffalo, The Horn.

By now the shadows were beginning to creep across the park and the temperature beginning to fall. On the drive down the mountain we stopped

Tight corner, Snow Gums and TERIOS. Note the road markers are in reverse as you go down the mountain. The red reflectors are now on the left and the white are on the right.

to visit Eurobin Falls and Lady Bath Falls

Lady Bath Falls in the afternoon. Although we thought it was late, a family of seven arrived as we were leaving.

and gazed in wonder, looking straight back up the mountain to where the waterfall begins its first drop of 500m and where we stood and watched, looking down, a few hours before.

Somewhere, up there on the left we stood, earlier in the day and gazed down on the water cascading and rushing to this place.

After such a wonderful day of magnificent sights and lots of walking we headed home stopping at Myrtleford to buy some groceries.

Arriving home at 7.30 we were greeted by a new camper next to us, John B who is a rodeo judge (for the last 30 or so years) who is heading over the mountains for three rodeos during Easter. John stopped for a night to say hello as we had spoken about possibly house sitting his property in Warwick later this year. Another couple, house sitting in the same area have already agreed to do the house sit. They had only accepted the position that day and John was good enough to stop, say hello and pass on the news.

Thursday 5th April

Today was a lay day but we had lots of jobs to be done. Our TV signal has been getting worse and stopped altogether last night. The antenna booster light was not working and I suspected a short. I pulled out the clothes from an overhead cupboard to access a panel where the cables are routed. The positive wire looked crimped so I enlarged the opening so it no longer pinches on the wood. It worked. Well, it did work until tonight when I wanted to watch CSI when the booster light went out again. Perhaps the booster itself is faulty.

Hmmm! More thinking and manoeuvring in small spaces is required.

Friday 6th April – Good Friday.

The CO-PILOT  went to work and I received a phone call from dear friends Glenise and Eric. They arrived in Melbourne last night after making a day crossing from Tasmania. Later in the afternoon they arrived and set up camp beside us. We started happy hour under the awning and by 8.30pm the mosquitoes and yawns said it was time for bed. Oops. We all forgot to have dinner. After a few drinks and lots of nibblies and smoked salmon on rye toast and several choices of cheese and a nice basil and cashew dip we really did not need dinner.

The TV antenna booster stopped working again so have decided to pull the plywood panel off again and use the spare length of cable to attach to the mast head. Sounds simple but will probably turn into a day long saga.

Saturday 7th April.

We woke to a sunny but cold morning. The breeze was coming from the western plains and felt more like it was coming from the Snowy Mountains in the east.

The CO-PILOT went to work and I spent time with Glenise n Eric including dinner at the Bowling Club Chinese Restaurant and celebrated Erics 75th birthday.

I had another look at the recalcitrant TV antenna and to get the cable out of the top of the roof I will need to cut through the tough as molybdenum Sikaflex seal to gain access to the roof panel where the TV cable passes.

As the evening wore on it got colder and colder.

Sigh! Winter is on its way.

Sunday 8th April.

We woke to another cold morning, at least the sun is shining.

After the CO-PILOT  left for work and I had eaten lunch another set of visitors called in. Lionel & Rosemary (we stayed with them at Camden Haven last December) are on their way home after attending a Ulysses convention in Mildura and visiting other friends and family in Melbourne.

It has been pleasant to have two sets of visitors this week. Considering we are a long way from home and a long way from any major town or city to have visitors call in lifts the spirits.

245. Sunday 1st April 2012. Of Albury, Rutherglen, Yarrawonga, Mulwala and Corowa old and new…

02/04/2012

Monday 26th March

A quiet day of home duties.

The sun is out, the cold front has moved somewhere else but has given warning winter is not far away.

The CO-PILOT contract with Henty hospital was completed yesterday. Our original plan was to pack up and leave today. The CO-PILOT accepted an extension until 22nd April.

The day was warm enough to be in shorts n T-shirt. I masking taped up our bull bar. The back section of the bar was once black but over the last few years it has faded to a grey. Once masked up I painted it a nice healthy black again. It looks so good I decided to paint inside our hot water system which has some aluminium and some steel parts beginning to show rust spots. I cleaned up the metal and painted it black.

Hmmm! The bull bar and the HWS both look good painted black. What else can I paint? The retractable step looks a bit faded. Tick. The rear bumper bar looks faded. Tick. The Hayman Reese Tow Hitch looks faded. Tick. The Hayman Reese Hitch on the TERIOS looks faded. Tick. By the time I mask up I realise my careful planning was for nought. I do not have any turps to clean the brush and the bristles had already begun to harden. So the job has been put off until another day when I have turps and get a couple of spare brushes.

The wheel rims look a little jaded. Perhaps I should get some silver paint and spruce them up while I am in a painting mood!

Tuesday 27th March

As long term and astute readers will be aware, we do not often share our plans for the future. Even for the next day. The reason for not sharing our plans is as per the Robbie Burns poem, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley.” (The best laid schemes of mice and men / Often go awry.)

The writer John Steinbeck picked up the theme and wrote his novel, Of Mice and Men, in 1937.

But, I digress.

Simply, telling our plans for tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, is a fruitless exercise and one which means I will have to post an explanation why the planned event did not take place. It is OK for us to make plans, then as they are affected by outside influences, we adapt to those changes. Today was a case in point. After working nine straight days, the CO-PILOT was looking forward to a day off on Wednesday. We planned to go to Albury, take in a movie, do a grocery shop, have dinner in town and then head home in the later evening. All planned, agreed by both of us. This morning the Director of Nursing called, in desperate need of somebody to do an evening shift on Wednesday. Another nurse was taken ill and was in Wagga Wagga hospital. Of course the CO-PILOT agreed. Adapting quickly to change, our new plan is for me to drive to Lavington, near Albury and do the grocery shopping and check WOW to see if their computer prices have dropped enough to buy one. Then I have to be back at Culcairn by midday so Donnis can take the new shift.

Unless, of course, nothing else happens in the meantime.

Of course we also subscribe to the universe influencing us. As has happened so many times we have a vague idea of a number of plan choices. The universe will usually decide and let us know in an appropriate time frame.

Wednesday 28th March

The universe allowed us to have the day as planned. Of course that was the revised, alternate plan after the universe tossed a Spaniard in the Works (now if you do not know what the Spaniard means, you need to do some Google research on the life of John Lennon.

Again I digress.

I went to Lavington, did the grocery shopping and was home by 11.30. I have been wondering all day if I have done the right thing.

You see, I bought a computer, (notebook actually) just as I threatened a couple of posts ago. I was waiting for the closing down price at WOW to get to an acceptable amount. As it turns out I bought the next model up because it has a faster processor. It was the last one in a box. I spent the entire afternoon downloading, uploading and transferring programs and data so it is a smaller version of the laptop. I am wondering if I did the right thing because the Note Book comes loaded with Windows 7 Starter Pack. What the starter pack does is remove access to lots of tweaky sort of stuff normally available on Windows 7 Home for example.

The screen background cannot be changed so you always have the Windows background. There is no screen saver. I can live without both. If I want them it is a simple matter of upgrading.

The cost is $140.

Office is not included. That means WORD, EXCEL, OUTLOOK, POWER POINT and several other things are not available. I use WORD and EXCEL daily so it would be handy to have them. Microsoft in their generosity build office, including WORD and EXCEL, into the program and it can be unlocked with certain conditions. WORD for example does not fill the whole screen. EXCEL is the same.  A panel to the right is used for Microsoft advertising about upgrades and other products. I can live with that but it is a nuisance. I do not need OUTLOOK or POWERPOINT.

If I also want the Office upgrade it is $140

Surprisingly the Note Book is about the same size as the iPad but somewhat thicker and only a little heavier. Like the iPad you can watch a movie for example by downloading from the web OR in our case it is set up as part of a home Network and files can be viewed from the laptop or downloaded from it. We can also watch movies stored on a USB device.  That is something the iPad cannot do.

The CO-PILOT  will use it for surfing the web, facebook, skype, email and storing and viewing photos and it can do all those easily – provided we have internet access of course. It is equipped with WiFi and Bluetooth.

After that review I think I have done the right thing.

Oh, for an extra $17 I bought a kit which includes a cooling pad, mouse, card reader, USB hub (much needed as the Note Book only has two USB ports) lock, mousepad, cleaning solution and cloth and a cleaning brush.

Thursday 29th March

Whew! It was a long day starting at 6am and we did not get home until 9.30pm.

The CO-PILOT  had a Stroke Management course to attend in Albury so I drove her and spent the day wandering around. If you have never been to Albury what are you waiting for? I like the town. It is a long way from the coast but it has a lot going for it. In the morning I went to the town park. In fact it is a series of parks, Oddies Creek Park, Australia Park, Noreull Park, Hovel Tree Park, Albury Sports Ground, Mates Park, Aquatic Centre and Padman Park. All are joined by roads and bridges and footpaths and footbridges and follow the Murray River.

Murray River as it speeds past the Albury town parks.

Across the street from the Aquatic Centre are the Botanical Gardens and they are a worthwhile place to visit.

The Smollett Street wrought iron Bridge beside the Botanical Gardens was built in 1888 and crosses Bungambrawatha Creek. Try saying that name after eating a Sao cracker.

Oddies Creek Park has the biggest, most fabulous, fun, exciting, adventurous children’s playground

The wonderful childrens adventure playground in Oddies Creek Park.

which includes a gasp, flying fox! Geez I would have loved one of those when I was a kid.

Hovel Tree Park has the umm err Hovel Tree.

The Hovell Tree with replica inscription plaque at its base.

The two explorers Hume and Hovel ended theire epic voyage at this location. Both inscribed trees with their names and a date. The tree inscribed by Hume burned down a few years later.

Nearby is the community Wood Fired Oven. These are so popular a second oven was built.

Notice and instructions for Community Oven use. Please click or double click on the image to enlarge the image to read the notice.

Every second Sunday the public are invited to bring their bread or cake mixtures or pizza and use the oven for baking. It produces great food and great family days out.

The largest of the two wood fired community ovens.

I then went to the art gallery and viewed the sketches by the famed artist Russel Drysdale. From there I walked to the huge footbridge which spans several railway tracks and four lanes of expressway.

The huge footbridge spanning several railway tracks and 4 lanes of the Hume Freeway.

From there I walked to the Albury Railway Station

Albury Railway Station as seen from the footbridge.

to view the wonderful architecture of this landmark building.

Closer view of Albury Station. The station has the longest platform in Australia.

The wondeful restored and still in use waiting room at the station.

Each room in the station has high ceilings and each room has a ceiling rose decoration.

In the evening we attended a lecture on Science of Anomalistic Phenomena (S.O.A.P.) at the University. The presentation and wine and finger food afterwards was sponsored by The Australian Skeptics Inc. The presenters stepped on a few toes and ruffled few feathers by telling the audience that people who believe in ghosts and galactic visitors and such like have closed minds wheareas the skeptics who do not believe, have open minds.  The audience was an eclectic mix of SOAP supporters, spiritual types, mediums, haunted people and others looking for answers or a chance to have an argument. One uni student came because she thought it was a global warming rally!

Friday 30th March

The problem with buying a computer off the shelf, in a closing down sale, is that there are no updates included. Normally the store would set-up the computer including updates. Of course I needed to do that myself and realised when shutting down after the first set up session, there were 74 Windows/Microsoft updates which were due.

UhOh. Those updates used up all my remaining 1 Gb of internet download monthly allowance. I now have to wait until 4th April before the cycle begins again. We can use the iPad of course as it still has almost 1Gb of allowance to be used but the iPad is limited in what it can do.

Today I started scrubbing and Armour All ing all the external plastic on WWWGO. Over the years the plastic has taken on a dull grey appearance. As I cleaned and scrubbed and polished one section I noted another which needed attention. When I cleaned that I noticed more plastic. What started out as a quick job has taken up most of my day and there is still some to be finished tomorrow.

Saturday 31st March

Daylight Savings madness finishes tomorrow in NSW and those other states with no consideration for others. Yay. When we wake in the morning it will be real time again and I can talk with family in Qld as our times will mesh once more.

Finished the Armour All on the plastic.

Finished painting black metal parts…black.

Finished three wheel rims before calling it a day. The final rim is in full sun and it is just too hot to work there.

Sunday 1st April.

The CO-PILOT had a day off so we did a 250 Klm loop drive to Albury, crossed the border into Victoria to Rutherglen the great wine producing region.

The Rutherglen Hotel is one of at least five in the main street.

We stopped and walked around this historical and largely Heritage listed town.

I was fascinated by the brick paved gutters.

The large spreading Moreton Bay Figtree was planted in 1877.

Some of the sights we saw around Rutherglen include;

This a Talbot 10 Tourer probably from around the late twenties or early thirty's.

An Austin Healey Hardtop. Year and model unknown.

A bicycle built for two. The front half is called "Bike Friday" while the rear section is called "Tandem Two's Day"

The first Post Office was built in 1860. The street of shops is about two blocks long but it seemed every third shop was an eatery of some sort. A good thing there is because we found a bakery, Valentines which makes a sourdough rye loaf. They use a genuine sourdough starter which is now 21 years old. They use a piece of the starter in every loaf, feed the starter with flour water and yeast and put it back in the fridge to continue fermenting. The proof is in the quality of their sourdough bread. We have now found two bakeries which use this method.

In our drives around many regions in three states of Australia, we are overwhelmed by the number of wineries we encounter. Far too many to visit so we do not visit. Except when hunger and craving a nice wine with lunch.

From Rutherglen we continued on to the town of Yarrawonga and were once again amazed at the huge scale of homes being built around Lake Mulwala, a lake formed by yet another dam on the Murray River. Our destination was on the NSW side of the Murray at the sister town of Mulwala. There are two crossings over the Murray. One is over a quirky bridge with a strange undulating approach then over a dogleg bridge to the other side.

The second crossing is, if anything, even quirkier. It is across the dam wall which is controlled at either end by traffic lights. We first visited an over 55 Lifestyle Resort. The resort houses are very modern, tastefully built, fitted with all mod cons and an on-site club house is in the centre of the complex. The price tags are in the same league as similar resorts closer to major centres nearer the coast.

We had lunch at a gob smackingly huge golf club surrounded by native bushland and a billabong, an offshoot of the Murray River.

Billabong at the Golf Club. Lots of happy animal life.

Continuing our drive along the Murray we stopped at a picnic area and stepped out TERIOS to see a pair of black swans and their three signets. How cute.

Black Swand and Signets on Lake Mulwala

Lake Mulwala was formed when a dam across the Murray FRiver was built in 1939. The flooded valleys left this legacy of dead trees. There are also lots of camping spots and the Murray Cod is more plentiful here than anywhere else on the Murray.

For the next 15 Klms there were freedom campsites dotted along the road, all on the banks of the river/lake. We arrived in the town of Corowa and this time visited the Chocolate and Whiskey Factory operating from the old flour mill.

The old Corowa Flour Mill now the Corowa Whiskey and Chocolate

The Corowa Whiskey and Chocolate Factory established 2009 in a flour mill abondoned since 1970. As yet the first run of whiskey is still being worked on. The chocolate flows as does other imported whiskey's and lots og baked on the premises meals. Great ambience and with three dining areas to choose from.

Original steel doors lead to the main dining area.

Apart from hand made chocolates and other yummies they also serve meals and have several choices of dining rooms, even outdoor settings. We bought some hard liquorice which, like sourdough rye bread, is hard to find.

The trip home was back through Howlong, Walbundrie and Walla Walla. In all a long tiring day but one that was very satisfying.

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