274. Sunday 30th September 2012. From the beauty of Mt.Beauty to the cool of cool Coolamon…

Monday 24th September

Today was one of those days which just slip by, almost unnoticed because there were no highlights. I should be thankful there were no lowlights. My parcel containing repair tools and a set of gear wheels and prop shaft for the damaged AR Drone arrived. The task of removing the damaged part was not as easy as shown in the tutorial video. The metal shaft pin was bent and was difficult to remove. Once removed it was easy replacing the bent shaft with a new one and using the original gear wheel, propeller and circlip I was back in business. After a quick test flight around the bedroom to check all was working, I packed it all away ready to put on WWWGO.

Tuesday 25th September

Today was beginning to shape up like yesterday but the owners arrived home just after lunch. Hmmm! Looks like I will be moving on in a day or so. Perhaps 5 days earlier than expected. I spent the afternoon re-packing WWWGO with my bits n pieces.

I spoke with Ian who has a mechanical workshop across the road and I have been storing WWWGO there. Ian once upon a time imported used RV’s from the USofA. The RV’s were built on a Chevy Workvan body with a 350 cubic inch motor. Ian would do the conversion from left hand drive to right hand drive add a few touches and on sell. Ian told me that there is still lots of snow at Falls Creek and after 1st October the requirement to carry chains will be lifted. The $25 per person entry into the village will also be lifted. Many visitors will come to Falls Creek after the 1st October to cross country ski. Mostly though it will be family groups come to enjoy the last of the snow and not have to pay the huge prices for entry, car parking, ski lifts and chain hire.

Wednesday 26th September

I left the comfort and security of MB today. The owners arrived home yesterday and although I was welcome to stay I felt it was time to move on. I was on my way by 1.30 pm the sun was shining and it was warm as I drove along enjoying being on the road again. As I drove along the Olympic Highway towards Wagga Wagga, three large Eastern Grey Kangaroos bounded across the road in front of me. As they reached the railway line all three leapt the two sets of railway lines in one bound. That is the first time I have seen Kangaroo jump so high and so far.  I arrived in the small town of Yerong Creek where I expected to Freedom camp for the night. Instead the local council has made power, water, toilets and showers available at the showgrounds for $10. There is no internet signal on the modem and even the phone has no signal bars. Oh well I can live with that. I can see fields of Canola stretching into the distance in all directions. Wow. It looks like fields of gold, especially when the late afternoon sun highlights the yellow flowers.

Canola. A common sight all the way fro Culcairn , through to Wagga Wagga and on to Coolamon.

Thursday 27th September

Dawn arrived… normally these words would be followed by “fine and sunny”… but on this occasion it was overcast skies, the rumble of thunder and big splashy raindrops.  The weather, like our minds, can change. As I drove north and west, through Wagga Wagga the cloud cover was more of a haze, by midday the temp was up around 27° and a hot dusty wind was blowing from the west. In short it was one of those hot windy days which seems to leave a lot of grit in the air and a lot in grit in peoples moods. I arrived in Coolamon around midday and decided to stay for two nights.

Campsite at Coolamon Caravan Park.

The name of Coolamon comes from the Aboriginal word for a basin-shaped wooden dish made and used by Australian Aborigines.In the area around the town are thousands of naturally occurring indentations in the ground called Coolamon Holes which fill with water. This town is in the heart of the Wheat and Canola crops and on one hand appears busy and prosperous while a walk around town reveals lots of old shops closed and empty.

Coolamon streetscape.

Old barn like general store building now the newsagency.

Sign on the side of the current newsagent building once a general store. I am old enought to remember Billy Tea and Mothers Choice Flour.

Balcony on upper level of the old Commercial Banking Company of Sydney premises.

Coolamon Post Office. I wonder if the “S” was layed on its side deliberately?

Coolamon Railway Station

Collapsing cart found in laneway.

Cartwheels.

All the buildings can be accessed by a rear lane. Most of the rear of the buildings have fallen into a state of collapse as shown b y these old stables.

Friday 28th September

I decided to pay for another two nights. I am on level ground, toilets and showers are twenty paces away, I have power, TV reception and excellent mobile phone and internet reception. The main street of town is 250 metres away and a new and large Foodworks store is only 100 metres away behind the van park. The weather is windy and wet and I see no reason to be on the road looking for a freedom campsite without facilities when I am quite snug right here. The town of Coolamon is having their inaugural “Scarecrow Festival” this Sunday. That will give me a chance to look around at more of the old houses.

There are a number of old guns around town.

All the old buildings had toilets at the back. All seemed abandoned but this double dun ny appears to be still in use.

 

I spent an hour looking around the town museum. Basically it was a collection of pre mechanised old farm equipment, which had been collected by a local farmer. Almost all the exhibits had personal notes from the farmer about how he acquired the equipment, how it was used and when he first or last used it. One display of a horse drawn cart caught my attention. The cart was drawn by a team of 8 horses. In order to get 10 hours work out in the paddock, the farmer actually worked 16 hours. That extra 6 hours included getting the horses together, getting each in place and moving out to the worksite. Then at “smoko” all the horses were let off to drink and eat from a nose bag. This was repeated at lunch time and afternoon smoko before going back to the farmhouse and disconnecting all horses and putting equipment away before he got to go inside for his dinner.

It has turned cold again which makes for a nice snugly warm sleep under the doona.

Saturday 29th October

Up early and off for a walk in the cool morning. The railway station appears deserted but it seems a once a week train service goes to Griffith in the west or to Sydney on the return journey. The day was windy and got colder as it progressed. A number of old artillery pieces are scattered around the town but there are no accompanying signs to say what they are or what theatre of war they were used.

another old gun near the railway station.

Coolamon Hotel.

Coolamon main street.

This shop was called “The Up to Date Store” when it was built in 1909. Today it houses the town library, two museums and a coffee shop museum.

In the afternoon (after speaking with Donnis in Canada via Skype) I watched the grand final AFL match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Sydney Swans. I do not usually watch AFL but I thought it would be nice to see the Swans win. I struggled to understand the rules but enjoyed the spectacle and the to and fro of the score line. The Swans won by 10 points in the final quarter and I must admit it was a tense and cliff hanger game for 4 quarters, well worthy of a grand final clash. Tomorrow is the NRL grand final between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Melbourne Storm.

It was a cold night and I had a heater going up until I climbed into a chilly bed and shivered until my body heat eventually built a cocoon of warmth.

Snorezzzzzzzzzz

Sunday 30th September

Woke to cold legs and feet. The window beside the bed was open and a cold breeze was blowing onto the doona which was slowly becoming colder and colder and it was that creeping cold which eventually woke me. Sigh! I am back in long johns and layers of clothing.

The Coolamon Scarecrow Festival

A few of the more than 50 scarecrow entries. First prize was $500.

happened today and from my point of view the highlight of the day was the Australian Army Band Kapooka.

Some of the wonderfully talented musicians in the Australian Army Band Kapooka.

They are very talented and appear at festivals all over Australia including outback Aboriginal communities where they mentor budding musicians. Despite the cold wind and the progressive overcast there was a good rollup at the festival and I am glad I stayed the extra two days for the experience.

The dinosaur and the lamb were a hit with the crowd.

I once drove a Cadillac of this vintage when I visited Canada several years ago.

 

The main street of Coolamon is a divided set of double lanes with a large park in the centre. By closing off the entry and exit points the main shopping precinct park becomes an ideal location for festivals with a large mall.

In the afternoon I watched Melbourne Storm defeat Canterbury Bulldogs in the NRL Grand Final.

The nature strip verge on some streets had a mixture of grass and flowers.

 

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6 Responses to “274. Sunday 30th September 2012. From the beauty of Mt.Beauty to the cool of cool Coolamon…”

  1. RedRoadDiaries Says:

    Cold and rain have arrived in New Hampshire so we leave tomorrow to start south…don’t want to be here if the snows come. RV has no chains. Love the idea of seeing kangaroos bounding across the road. I don’t think I’ve see canola outside of the bottle of oil I use. Travel Safe.

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    • frankeeg Says:

      Hi RRD, yes watching the Roos in full flight is spectacular but that spectacle must be tempered by the understanding that especially from late afternoon to after sunrise those roos can be deadly if you run into one of them. Or, worse, you swerve to miss and hit an oncoming vehicle. Luckily I was far enough away not to have to take evasive action but close enough to see their huge leaps.

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      • RedRoadDiaries Says:

        all wildlife, deer, moose, elk and roos, always get the right of way. I hit a deer once and it wasn’t pretty.

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      • frankeeg Says:

        Hi RRD, you have the same problem as we have in Oz. Lots of road kill. Mostly they are killed by the big trucks with big bull bars on the front and neither would feel the impact. Recently when in Mt.Beauty when I drove to the city of Albury each week I would see Wombat road kill. Now that is a sadder sight than the dead Roos.

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  2. Paul Greenfield Says:

    Hey Frank

    Always great to read your updates every Monday morning. Hope you are handling your solo duties while Donnis is over seas, Seems my bride is off to Melbourne for a week or so, Tuesday week, to see her very sick friend.

    Trust you are well and keep warm.

    Cheers & beers

    Paul

    Like

    • frankeeg Says:

      Hi Paul n Wendy, yeah solo duties much like joint duties except there is nobody to share with. Meeting interesting people and you know, I am hearing more and more saying they prefer Freedom camping and $10 camping to paying $40 or more in a caravan park. That is why the camping ground commercial operators are trying to close down Freedom campsites and council run sites. Sad.

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