Archive for July, 2015

449. Sunday 26th July 2015. At home on the Goldie, an old friend says goodbye and moving stuff around…

26/07/2015

Monday 20th July

What a delightful sunny warm winters day. A little breeze had a slight cool edge to it but otherwise it was a day for getting out and about and doing a little gardening.

Mid morning a White Faced Heron decided to grace the bonnet of TERIOS.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-faced_heron   At first I was inclined to name this a Little Blue Heron but soon realised the LBH is native to North and South America and does not migrate to Australasia. He stood there, on one foot for an hour. 200715 heron1Thinking perhaps it was injured, I cautiously approached. It lowered the other foot perhaps in readiness for flight but otherwise ignored me. I moved away and the foot was once more pulled up into the chest and was hidden by feathers.

What appears to be a one legged Heron

What appears to be a one legged Heron

Hmmm! I have seen this Heron walking around our village streets and poking its beak into front gardens.

In the late afternoon black clouds began to roll in.

Tuesday 21st July

It rained overnight and most of the day. There is nothing more I can add.

Wednesday 22nd July

What we did today has nothing whatsoever to do with travel…except in an oblique sort of reverse result of travel. Travelling in those years between 2010 and 2014 meant our house and belongings were packed away. There was little thought on what was packed. Everything was packed.

We returned to our house in Airlie Beach in early 2014 and everything was unpacked. Again, little thought was given to what was being unpacked. It was simply put in cupboards or shelves if we had no immediate use for items.

By August 2014 we had bought our “Beach House” on the Gold Coast and it was time to pack again. We sold some items, gave away many items but there was simply too much accumulated “stuff” and it was packed and shipped to our new home. Once more it was unpacked and stuffed into corners, crevices and any opening we could find.

Today we began the long overdue process of sorting through our stuff and essentially made three piles. What belongs to children, what belongs to us and what is to be given away, sold, recycled or thrown away.

The biggest pile by far is the stuff belonging to children. We do not have the room to store it for them. It must be returned. One of us, who will not be named, still wants to hold on to “mementos”.

The third pile, although relatively small, took up lots of space as it was all packed in plastic boxes. Mostly the boxes were half full. (or for the pessimistic, half empty). The kind of stuff are dozens of extension cords and double adapters, old power cables for printers and computers long ago relegated to the dump. Manuals for said computers and printers. What do we do with hundreds of music CD’s now that our music is digitally transferred to the laptop, the iPad and the car entertainment centre. What do we do with old garden pond pumps and accessories. Old pens, compliments of some business in another place,  the ink now dry, propelling pencils for which we no longer have replacement leads. Note pads started but still with 95% of the pages untouched. Old cameras with leaking batteries, torches with ditto batteries, stickers, old screwdriver sets, picture hanging hook kits, a huge box of felt pads for sticking on the bottom of furniture legs.  Old plastic hooks with sticky backs still in the original packaging now yellowed with age. Photos in frames and in boxes, colours fading with age, childhood keepsakes and the list goes on.

And on.

And on.

So far this pile has moved from in, on and around the steel cabinets to floor space inside the house to be further sorted. Some actually made it into the garbage.

I mentioned this was an oblique reverse result of travel. Had we not travelled we would still be in Airlie Beach putting away more stuff to gather dust and age. Travel has shown we do not need most of this stuff and it can be given back to its owners, sold or given away.

Thursday 23rd July

The movement of stuff continues. Some family photos have been hung on the walls of our spare room. The hanging of photos was hijacked by the movement of stuff. We managed to empty one steel storage cabinet and move it into a storage shed where we had made room by moving other stuff out and putting it into aforementioned crevices, corners and openings. Oh, some went into the garbage. We will return to hanging the photos when we move some of the stuff still being sorted.

Sigh!!!

While all this moving and sorting was going on, a man came to look at TERIOS. He wants the car including the towing hitch. He left a deposit and I now have to put all the tow hitch stuff back on the vehicle, re-attach the roof racks ready for him to collect when the roadworthy certificate is issued. My afternoon was spent putting the hitch back on TERIOS.

Friday 24th July.

Our tyres have aged since 2011 and the side walls are now cracking. The tread is fine but due to the cracking in the rubber we need 4 new tyres.

Sigh!

We now have a Roadworthy OR Safety Certificate.

Saturday 25th July.

The man returned with his Mazda ute, hitched up TERIOS, had a quick run through about towing tips and after placing cash in our hands and signing the transfer papers he was gone.

Oh Boo Hoo.

Sob Sob.

The final link with WWWGO is now gone. Our motorhome travels have come to an end.

There was much sadness overnight and this morning.

All is not finished. As has been shown in our overseas trip and life prior to our first motorhome, COASTER, we can and will continue to travel.

Sunday 26th July.

No travel today. Unless you include the trip to Bunnings to buy a new toilet cistern with soft closing toilet seat lid.

I spent the afternoon installing the toilet. The new cistern is a slim line style so the wall around it is discoloured so I have an excuse for re-painting the bathroom.
Sigh!

 

448. Sunday 19th July 2015. More Basa, Tamborine Mountain, and resting at home…

19/07/2015

Monday 13th July

We woke to day two of the forecast 6 days of cold temps and chilly westerlies.

Today, bright and early I am going to continue, just a little bit, my rant from last weeks post. The story will continue on the subject of the fish, variously known as Basa. It occurred to me that I was writing about Basa in Australia and did not sufficiently address the fact that Basa is infecting and being inflicted on nations around the world. New Zealand has the same problem we have in Australia.

For example in the US and Canada Basa is sold as “Swai” or “Bocourti”. Catfish wars about local and imported fish (Basa) are still underway in the US.

In the UK it is sold in fish shops under a variety of names such as “Cobbler”, River Cobbler”, “Pangasius” or “Panga” often with the word catfish appended. In Europe it is often labelled as “Panga Catfish”.

What is the moral of the story? If you are reading this and you live in Oz or anywhere in the rest of the world, ask questions about what type of fish is in your “fish” meal. Reject it if it is called Basa. Remember most fish in fish n chips which are sold a long way from the ocean could be Basa.

Insist on local, wild caught fish.

Next weeks lesson will be about Prawns.

Just kidding.

Hmmm! Maybe that is not such a bad idea.

Tuesday 14th July.

Today we drove to Tamborine Mountain. Just for an afternoon drive to get us out of the house for a few hours. We never visited any of the waterfalls, lookouts, botanical gardens or glow worm caves for which the area is well known.  Instead we chose to walk around the quaint town which has a vineyard and winery in the centre of town.

Outside the winery.

Outside the winery.

The town seems to be disproportionately populated with eating houses many of which seem to specialise in fudge. Fudge? Never in my wildest childhood memory do I recall fudge as being something I would look for. In fact I am not sure I have eaten fudge. Fudge? Who eats fudge?

The town also has a couple of glass artisans and a store specialising in Cuckoo and Grandfather clocks. Wow! All the clocks were ticking and tocking and cuckooing, dinging and donging, not in sync but at their own time. The clocks have Cuckoos and tiny people moving in and out of doors in the clocks. Oh so magical. Personally it would drive me crazy to have a clock audibly ticking and making other noises all day every day but for clock lovers… up to $7,000… this is a must visit.

A wall of Cuckoo Clocks.

A wall of Cuckoo Clocks.

We visited a place with a yard full of…junk.

This was the cleanest, tidiest and most useful piece of junk umm err antique, collectible item.

This was the cleanest, tidiest and most useful piece of junk umm err antique, collectible item.

The sign at the front yard said it was Antiques and Collectibles. Another sign in the yard said Collectables and Freakish Items while another sign said Weird Stuff. Apart from the signs was the fact it was closed but had a steady stream of people wandering through the yard. Hmmm! To my untrained eye it was junk. On our way out was another sign advising we were leaving the United States.!

Leaving the junk yard.

Leaving the junk yard.

Sunday 19th July

This week has been a time to stay home and catch up on doing stuff that needed to be done after a two month absence.

Gardening for instance.

I finished reading the book, The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard. (also a TV documentary) Basically the author tells us as a species we are killing our planet by;

Overpopulation

Some nations are over using resources.

We are pulling finite resources out of the ground and treating them as if they were infinite.

Products manufacture often involve using toxic methods.

Disposing of waste creates toxins.

We have too much waste.

There are many other things we do which are not healthy but I hope you get the gist. It is worth a read.

On that note the week ends and we look forward to a busy travel time in the coming week.

447. Sunday 12th July 2015. Back home on the Gold Coast…

12/07/2015

Monday 6th July

So begins our first full week at home. By now we thought the jet lag would have worn off. We still seem to be getting sleepy (and hungry) at odd hours. Our sleep pattern has changed and we are waking at silly early morning hours.

I must also mention what a joy it has been to drive our new Hyundai i30. We have just discovered we can load music from our iPad into the car radio. Now we can have music wherever we go when away from radio signals without the need to carry a CD or music on a USB stick.

During our first drive through the Rockies using Alecia’s car we were spoiled with Satellite Radio,Station XM 31, The Coffee House Acoustic Singers /Songwriters Station.    http://www.siriusxm.com/thecoffeehouse   This station gave us delightful music all through the Rockies where normal stations just cannot be tuned in. We already have our own acoustic collection so it makes sense to transfer it to the car radio.

*Yes I am still a little sad RALLYE has gone but i30 is doing a good job of replacing it.

We packed a picnic lunch and a couple of cold beers and drove to Cabarita Beach in northern NSW.

Another cliff below Cabarita Whale viewing headland.

Another cliff below Cabarita Whale viewing headland.

Surfers at Hastings Beach.

Surfers at Hastings Beach.

I have been to this beach before, it is very pretty and has a high headland suitable for whale watching in the season. Tis the season now! We cllmbed the timber staircase to the top of the high cliffs and found a dozen or so people on the viewing platform going ooh and aah to the distant sightings. Distant! Yep. Even on 48 times zoom the Lumix FZ200 can only show limited detail. From the photos it seems a pod was heading north.

Whales in their annual migration from Antartica to tropical waters.

Whales in their annual migration from Antartica to tropical waters.

More whales in a pod.

More whales in a pod.

We then travelled a little further south to Hastings Point and enjoyed a little splash in the ocean.  Well, at least Donnis rolled up her jeans and splashed up to calf level. Although the sun was shining and warm, there was a cold wind blowing off the water. No way was I going to shed shoes, socks and roll up my trousers. Then we returned via Cabarita and stopped to buy a piece of fish to share on our way home. Indulge me for a few moments as I explain what happened.

The sign on the wall read “ fish of the day” $8 and “fish and chips” $7.50”. Hmmm! That’s a strange price. Now let me back up a little here. I do not eat the , imported fish from Vietnam known as Basa.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basa_fish

Why? For the following reasons. It is not local fish, it is a bottom feeding catfish and it is farmed on the Mekong delta in questionable quality of water and to us the flesh tastes soft and jelly like. Generally, the fish is prepared as fillets in Vietnam, lightly battered, partly deep fried, deep frozen, packed in boxes and sent to Oz, the US, Canada and other unsuspecting nations, ready for cooking. Each fillet is a clone of every other fillet. Stores use different and dubious names to sell the product. We only patronise shops which proudly name and display their fish as being local wild caught. (not farmed not from Vietnam, China, Thailand etc)

I asked the lady behind the counter what the fish of the day was. Basa, came her reply. I asked if she had any real, local caught Australian fish and what fish was “fish and chips”. Her answer was so quiet I had to ask her to repeat the reply. She said, “we only have Basa”. That’s right, Fish n Chips and fish of the day and all the other options proudly displayed are…Basa . I thanked her and left the shop. The feeding of the farmed Basa in Vietnam is by questionable bottom trawl side catch, ground into a powder, cooked, pelleted and fed to the ugly catfish living in sewerage infected waters of the Mekong. Basa?? Thanks, but no thanks, we have plenty of good local quality wild fish right here. Why we need to import questionable fish is beyond me. No wonder our local seafood industry is struggling.

http://www.marineconservation.org.au/news.php/374/what-are-you-really-buying-at-the-fish-shop-most-aussie-flathead-comes-from-south-america-barramundi

 

End of rant.

Tonight Greg B, a family friend arrived for a few nights. He is moving to Melbourne at the end of the week.

Tuesday 8th July

Nothing much of importance happened today, except…OMG…I was so excited…Finally, after two months Google search and reading my Lumix FZ200 user manual over and over I finally found how to format the SD memory card in the camera. The format instructions are tucked away in the manual in a place I would not have thought to look and did not, look. Even after successfully formatting the SD card I doubt I can remember how to do it again without consulting the user manual in frustration again.

Wednesday 9th July

Just before Donnis left for Canada in March this year, the large vacant block of land next door with creek side frontage was being prepared for building several high rise apartments. Now there are two cranes and a small army of workers on the first and most exclusive of the apartments.

Cranes next door.

Cranes next door.

Crane drivers cabin.

Crane drivers cabin.

This one has the best views and water access. The tallest of the cranes is operated by two men who sit in air conditioned cabins. It takes them 20 minutes to climb the ladder to their work station.

Hmmm! Today is open house for “off the plan” sales and a “demo” apartment at Water Point for viewing.

We took a walk to the sales office and were suitably impressed with the presentation of the display office and the photos of how the interior of the units will look and what views will be available. All very nice of course and the price tag is reasonable. If you are looking for an investment these are worthwhile looking at   http://waterfrontresidences.com.au/waterpoint

Tonight a group of residents went to our clubhouse to watch the final game of the State of Origin. This was an important game as Queensland has won one game and New South Wales has won one game. This is the decider. The venue, Suncorp Stadium, originally named Lang Park when it was completed in 1914 was packed to capacity. In fact it set a seating record. Incidentally Lang Park is considered the best spectator friendly sports stadium in the world. We were in the clubhouse to watch the game on the big screen and to have footy food at half time. Queensland were favourites to win by a small margin. Queensland won, 52 to 6. That’s a bit more than a small margin.

Thursday 9th July

This morning I realised that during our travels I try to give snippets of information about places we visit but have never given such information about where we live. The area was visited by Captain James Cook in 1770 but the region did not begin life until about 1875 when the location of Southport was surveyed. The area remained a little known destination with huge expanse of beaches. It was not until the 1950’s that a hotel was built and an enterprising business man called it the Gold Coast. The name and the beach reputation stuck and the rest as they say is history. Gold Coast is today a major tourist destination with its sunny subtropical climate, surfing beaches, canal and waterway systems, its high-rise dominated skyline, theme parks, nightlife, and rainforest hinterland, making tourism one of its most significant industries. Gold Coast will host the 2018 Commonwealth Games. More information can be found here.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_Coast,_Queensland

Friday 10th July.

Our village Christmas In July lunch was held at Treasure Island Holiday Resort next door. We had 45 residents roll up for an enjoyable meal and fellowship. Christmas in July is a sort of Aussie excuse to get together and have a Christmas style meal at a cold time of year. After all those hot foods in the middle of the day are more suited to the northern hemisphere where Christmas is during winter.

Greg B, left today to head towards Melbourne, safe travels Greg.

Saturday 11th July

I am almost back into my exercise regime. I have started riding my bicycle but am easing into the Klms. Instead of 20 Klms at 5.30am I am doing 10Klm at 7am. It is simply too dark and cold at 5.30. I am still doing my floor exercises but surfing will have to wait until the weather warms up.

Earlier this year we were given a gift of use of day spa facilities at Wings of an Eagle Spa at Mudgeeraba so today used that gift.   http://www.oneaglewings.com.au/index.php

We used the hot spa tub, the sauna and relaxed around the pool. Although the pool is solar heated it is still too cold to use. The spa is on the mountain road to Springbrook and has glorious views across the valley to the Gold Coast below. Darn! I forgot the camera.

Sunday 12th July

The forecast cold snap and blustery westerly winds arrived this morning. Darn!!! It is winter and snow is falling in the Snowy Mountains and just across the border at places like Tenterfield, Orange and Guyra where we house sat two years ago.

We spent the afternoon threading timber slats through our front verandah railings. My my it sure looks good and several people walking by commented on how it changes the look of the front of the house.

445. Sunday 28th June 2015. Vancouver to Vancouver Island and back again…

03/07/2015

Thursday 25th June.

Normally I would call today a lay day. Instead it was a slow day. It was the first day of a predicted heatwave. For the first time since coming to Canada we sought the comfort of shade. We did some activities but without any great haste. Although 24 hours early, we took the Chevvy  Cruze back to Budget Car Hire at the airport. In the afternoon we accompanied Doug n Linda to a marina near the airport where they have their boat berthed. While they set about cleaning we took a walk to the casino next door.

Ready for cleaning. Note the airplane just above the casino building.

Ready for cleaning. Note the airplane just above the casino building.

Linda in full boat cleaning mode.

Linda in full boat cleaning mode.

The airport flight path runs directly over the marina. Luckily the really big airplanes land in the early morning or evening. During the day it is domestics flights which roar overhead  on their landing run. Conversation halts for a few moments, resumes, then halts again when the next plane flies overhead and so on all day. Later we all enjoyed a cold beer sitting aboard the boat.

Friday 26th June

In the morning we went to Locarno Beach near Vancouver City. It was interesting to see the beach, with a cement coloured sand, gravel and rocks beneath the water , no surf and large logs on the beach.

Locarno Beach. Note the logs spread out across the beach and the container ships in the bay.

Locarno Beach. Note the logs spread out across the beach and the container ships in the bay.

I questioned how when where & why the logs are on the beach. Generally the reply was a shrug of the shoulders. However Vancouver Harbour always has lots of deadheads floating in the water. Deadheads are logs…large, extra large and extra extra  large. They are a menace to navigation. Somehow they find their way onto the shoreline and there they stay. If on a public beach they are hauled ashore and placed in rows and used as seating, back rests, to define beach volley ball courts and the thing they do best is look ugly.

Locarno Beach. Note the barge laden with wood chip being towed. Note also the size of some of those logs on the beach.

Locarno Beach. Note the barge laden with wood chip being towed. Note also the size of some of those logs on the beach.

Some people make a business of collecting newer logs and towing them to a buyer. The harbour and Fraser River which drains into it are huge and the number of floating logs is immense. Once upon a time the city and or harbour master had contractors to remove floating logs but no longer do so. Hmmm! Curios!

There must be hundreds of damaged boats every year from these floating logs.

In the afternoon we caught a late afternoon ferry from Tsawwassan near the US border to Duke Point on Vancouver Island.

An unsuspecting passenger aboard a B C Ferry

An unsuspecting passenger aboard a B C Ferry

Lighthouse on approach to Vancouver Island.

Lighthouse on Entrance Island with Gabriola Island in the background on the approach to Vancouver Island.

Joan collected us from the jetty. I enjoy travelling on the ferry as the two hour trip is long enough to sit back and relax and White Spot Cafes are aboard. Generally the food is good and plentiful and the dining area is well set up and near enough to windows so you can still have a view while eating. Nearing the island we passed closed to the Entrance Island Lighthouse with Gabriola Island behind.

Saturday 27th June

We spent the day with Donnis mum and sister Joan as we will be leaving from Vancouver on Monday and have no time left to spend on the island.

Sunday 28th June

Joan was kind enough to drive us to Duke Point to catch the mid- morning  ferry back to Tsawwassan, a two hour trip. Linda was kind enough to pick us up from the terminal and take us back to her house.

Thank you once again for your hospitality Joan. We appreciate your time, energy and help, often at short notice.

Sigh!!! The holiday is almost over.

Looking forward to a 14 hour flight to Sydney.

Yeah?

Really???

444. Wednesday 24th June 2014.

02/07/2015

Wednesday 24th June.

We woke to a glorious sunrise sprinkling the lake and mountains with sunlight eventually the shadows and hollows filled with light. The mountains were reflected in the calm lake water.

Halcyon Thermal Springs.

Halcyon Thermal Springs.

View from Halcyon Thermal Springs.

View from Halcyon Thermal Springs.

We looked at maps to choose a route to Vancouver. One, less scenic would take us to Revelstoke then along the Trans Canada Highway. This trip would be about 8 hours.

The other would also commence at Revelstoke but turn back south and meander along the smaller more scenic towns taking us away from our destination before turning for Vancouver. The scenic route would take 14 hours. Three days of heatwave are predicted (heatwave? Canada?) The car is due in Vancouver on Friday so any delay today or tomorrow will make for a rush trip. Although we will miss out on some wonderful scenery we will take the quick trip.

We followed the eastern shoreline of Upper Arrow Lake to the end of the road at Galena.

First car in line at Galena Point ferry ramp.

First car in line at Galena Point ferry ramp.

Ferry arriving at the ramp. Unlike Crawford Bay two days ago, this departure point has no facilities.

Ferry arriving at the ramp. Unlike Crawford Bay two days ago, this departure point has no facilities.

While waiting for the free ferry to Shelter Bay we looked at a small beach beside the ferry ramp. There were dozens of examples of small Inuksuk stone statues. (   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inuksuk   )

The ferry attendant claimed he was the culprit, making the statues in the several hours per day as he waited for the ferry to arrive. The attendant told me he had quit his high paying IT job in Vancouver to move to the small town life and simple attendant job he now enjoys. Artistic by nature he used his free time to decorate the foreshore. Whether he was telling the truth or note is another matter. However he seemed genuine enough and did not volunteer the information. Regardless it was interesting to see the artistic markers. We last saw a similar display on Mt Tzouhalem on Vancouver Island on 3rd May.

Inuksuk along the beach at Galena

Inuksuk along the beach at Galena

Close up Inuksuk

Close up Inuksuk

More.

More.

We stopped at an Tim Hortons for coffee before turning west to interesting towns and locations such as Salmon Arm, Kamloops, Sunshine Valley and Chilliwack and on to Vancouver.

Upper Arrow Lake.

Upper Arrow Lake.

Mostly the road follows river and valley contours sometimes rising to mountain passes then dropping to the valley again. Speed limit for about 75% of the trip one leaving Kamloops is 120 KPH.

The driver casually cruising the 120 KPH motorway to Vancouver.

The driver casually cruising the 120 KPH motorway to Vancouver.

View along Trans Canada

View along Trans Canada

The goods railway line usually follows the same route from Revelstoke with road and railway crossing each other and river crossings several times. The railway line and the rivers were constant companions along the route. Long train tunnels appear beside the road often highlighted by a scenic lake with railway tunnels.

Goods train tunnel between Vancouver and points west. There are dozens of such tunnels along the highway usually have a river or lake in the foreground.route.

Goods train tunnel between Vancouver and points west. There are dozens of such tunnels along the highway usually have a river or lake in the foreground.route.

The highway also has tunnels. Note the bear  in relief set into the concrete.

The highway also has tunnels. Note the bear in relief set into the concrete.

After a long day of driving we arrived in Vancouver after 8pm ready for a quick dinner, a shower and bed.