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.
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.
We stopped at a local bakery for lunch and bought a loaf of rye bread.
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.
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 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,
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.
From the safety of a lookout we could see the sheer precipices and the sharp granite tors
worn and shaped over millions of years. The granite tors appear like giant sharpened knives.
Even within the safety of a chain fence I still felt nervous looking over the edge to the valley floor almost a kilometre below.
We followed a walking track
and ooohed and aahed at each secure lookout
until we reached the breathtaking plateau where the chalet is located.
We then continued to be enchanted at the wonderful vista from the viewing platforms at 1,337m.
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
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.
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.
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
to visit Eurobin Falls and Lady Bath Falls
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.
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.