10 Days Away – Ocean Grove, Seymour, and Gunning

Time for some timeout so we ventured to Ocean Grove for a few days before some more medical appointments.

We woke on the Friday to bad news that a friend of ours from our time in Papua New Guinea days, had passed away. We decided to divert our break and head to Sydney to pay our respects and to make a speech during the memories of Darryl.

Our motor home often manages to find the Free Camp at Seymour for a night or two. As we made our way out of Gundagai, another Motorhome didn’t like ours and tried to run us off the road. Just as he overtook us, he cut across in front of us sending us into a plastic white post which did some damage just behind the front passengers door. It could have been much worse with a culvert just beyond the post. Our journey became a little tainted with anger at the greedy motor home driver.

We had had good reports of a great free camp at Gunning north of Yass on our way to Sydney. So we aimed to arrive early in the day to get a good spot and leave late in the afternoon headed for Sydney. The donation camp was worth the stay with lots of bird life using the reeds across from us as breeding grounds and hide outs from other birds in chase.

On our way back to Geelong, we’ve stopped back at the Seymour Free Camp where it appears they are endeavoring to make the Old Goulburn bridge at least walkable for us campers to get to the town of Seymour using a walking track.

 

 

 

190915 A Quick Trip North

Once the feeling of a “nomadic” life gets in your blood, there’s no turning back.

I am reminded of our first “try” at motorhome living. We went to the US of A in 1983 for a three month tour in a friend’s motor home out of Los Angeles. Initially, we were to “see it all” but the PNG government devalued their currency 2 months before our departure which meant our PNG savings reduced by $US1000. In 1983, that was a lot of money. But we went on a significantly reduced itinerary and kept to the west coastal regions of USA and Canada. All went very well.

This trip north was planned 50 years ago as Lyn had graduated from a college course and we were headed for the 50th anniversary of that significant event in her life. Many old friends, whom we hadn’t seen much of in those 50 years, had to be searched out, questioned and hugged. Addresses, phone numbers and Facebook friendships were swapped for later referencing and delving into each other’s past. It was a good time of refreshing, and reminiscing.

After the homecoming (yes, an American Term, but it works for those who have called an education location “home” for their early years), We headed north in search of warmer weather, but we were also headed for ‘delays’ along the way. At the intersection at the end of the M1 heading for Hexham, we were in the right lane with a B-Double on our left. The lights turned green and we both headed for the new direction. However, we became a bit ‘jammed’ and came off second-best, loosing our left mirror in the process when the second trailer gathered it on its way through. We were very fortunate, both that the B-Double didn’t hit any of the bodywork, or us, and that an Iveco Truck Centre was within 100 metres of the scene. In 2 and a half hours, we were back on the road with a new mirror, taken from another truck in their yard, heading to Buladelah free camp-site for the night.

Buladelah free camp is a Lions Project to allow nomads to stop over for the night or sometimes two. There has been a donation box but that was missing this visit. The town pub hosts a lot of the nomads for evening meals.

Our journey to Hallidays Point wasn’t too eventful, but the location at Red Head where I had stayed before on my way north while Lyn was overseas, has changed and the caravan park is in the conversion stage to becoming an over 50s village with just a small number of sites for overnighters. The location is sheltered behind sand hills which border a lovely beach to walk along. On chatting to a few of the new residents there, they all found it to be a pleasant place to live with much activity for the park residents coming in the near future.

While here, we met up with a couple of Lyn’s friends from college days, one from over 45years ago since last catching up. Both these ladies have lived in the area for 12 years and neither of them were aware that they were ‘neighbours’. So a good time had here.

Coastal towns have great markets on a Sunday and Black Head was no exception. There were rows and rows of stalls with Lyn finding an island lady giving massages. A short neck and shoulders turned into a good 45 minutes while the others in our group wandered around the stalls.

From Hallidays Point, we made our way to an area which we frequent on most of our trips north. South of Forster/Tuncury, are a few nice beaches which we find is relaxing for us. The campground nearby, only has 4 sites but we have never had a problem having a few nights or even a week there. There are many kookaburras there and a few enormous goannas that prowl around searching for food. The owners are kind and accommodating too. Lyn had a fall coming back from the beach on the Thursday. Kind friends took us up to Taree Hospital to have two little stones removed and 5 stitches to hold the wound together. (No more visits to the beach).

With a surgery procedure due in a weeks time, we set off for Melbourne on the Monday and made our way to a friends place who was doing some major renovations to his back patio. The first work since his retirement has turned into a big project. While sitting quietly chatting, I felt a sensation that I was entering the bad stage of a menieres attack.  By the morning, I was feeling ok to drive the motor home again.

In the mid afternoon at Yass, we had a problem with the starter motor in the motor home and ended up on a tow truck headed for Iveco in Quenbeyan at 11:00pm.  In the morning, the service centre made up some reason why it wouldn’t start. We were not able to be sure what was wrong until we arrived in Geelong the next day when the same problem reoccured. The Iveco truck centre found that a small wire to the solenoid of the starter motor was doing an on again/off again trick. Now we have a fixed starter motor and can travel with less tension.

After the weekend catching up with the 4 grand children, Sunday was departure day for Caleb heading for Finland for 7 weeks on a private school exchange arrangement. A family has been in Geelong for 2 years and the kids and Jay’s kids got on well. They returned to Finland a couple of months ago and invited Caleb to go over for 7 weeks.

The house hasn’t changed much but the tulips were up on our return. I haven’t been able to do the lawns or the garden and kind Lyn has stepped in to carry that load.

 

190819 The Bridges of Gundagai

On our way north this time, we’ve decided to stop at a few little towns we have just ‘sped through’ on past ventures. Yesterday, we decided to stop two nights in the well-known town of Gundagai. Well known (for all the overseas readers), because of the song “… where the dog sits on the tucker box, 3 miles from Gundagai”. A few short weeks ago, the dog was knocked off his ‘tucker box’ in a vandal attack on this icon of the region. Just yesterday, Sunday, there was a ‘restoring of the dog’ and various dignitaries were there to make the appropriate remarks and unveil the restored canine.

It’s obvious that the town has been a very busy town in ages gone as there are many stories posted appropriately on various buildings signifying their importance in the etchings of small towns. There’s a story of the last mail delivery on horseback in Australia.

“On the night of 24th June 1852, the worst natural disaster in Australia’s history was about to happen. Widespread rains began in June 1852 with the levels of the Murrumbidgee River rising every day leading up to that dreadful Thursday night and in to Friday Morning. The white settlers refused to heed the dire warning from the local Aborigines who told them to relocate to higher ground. The river rose, water depths of 14 feet were recorded in the highest parts of town.

People took refuge on the roofs of houses and stables and even trees. Anywhere that may assist in sparing their lives. The stranded were rescued or washed away. By Saturday, the cries of the drowning had ceased. The flooded Murrumbidgee River raged through the Gundagai township drowning 79 of the 250 inhabitants and destroying 72 buildings.”

Every town in Australia has a story to tell that rarely is told to those who come to be sheltered in its shores.

Included in today’s video is Rusconi’s Marble Masterpiece. At 15 Frank Rusconi became an apprentice to the marble trade at Verquinto, Italy, finishing his studies five years later at Neuchatel. He settled at Gundagai in 1905. Then he established a monumental masonry business. As he worked, he collected various marbles and with them he built a magnificent marble masterpiece. You can see it at the Gundagai Visitors Centre. Rusconi also built the stairway at Westminster Abbey, The Dog on the Tuckerbox base as well as many other well-known structures in the area.

Anyway, enjoy the video that shows the bridges of Gundagai as well as a little of Rusconi’s Marble Masterpiece.

190817 Seymour Free Camp & Lake Hume Village

Our first few days on the road after being in “cotton wool” for 8 months or so. Colin is still not 100% after the November accident but looking good once the arthroscopic procedure is complete. We Hope. Continue reading “190817 Seymour Free Camp & Lake Hume Village”

190706 Noojee Trestle Bridge Victoria

Isn’t it interesting that you can live near some beautiful spots for years and you only get to see them after 28 years? Well, this video will take you to an area in the Victorian highlands just 35 kms away (but not above the snow-line) to Noojee and to a wonderful old trestle bridge and some wonderful waterfalls.

190622 Torquay

The Great Life tempted us and we motored through Melbourne to Macedon back a week or so ago. We had no plan where to stay, which is normal, but wanted somewhere to show up before dark.

img_4379We could see a campground at Macedon ($35pn) on WikiCamps but the comments were not too good. Well, we tested them and they were correct with a 120% accuracy rate. The place should never have a license to accommodate humans, really. Enough said, but don’t venture there if you can help it. What made things worse was that we couldn’t get out of the place the following day due to the amount of rain falling, so we had to stay a second night.

Thursday, we moved on to Woodend for lunch and on to Daylesford to Lake Jubilee Campground ($30pn). This has been shown in an earlier video post. Was a nice campground which we would be happy to return to one day.

The next Thursday, Lyn drove Great Life down the mountain range to Torquay where we set up camp at a comfortable site with everything ($27pn). We are just along from the famous surfing shops precinct.

Friday, we walked through the surf clothing shops (wow they only cater for surfers with lots of money) and down to the main Torquay shops for lunch and some supplies for our own fridge.

Saturday has been a pleasant day with good sunshine as we took our morning walk, leaving at midday. (Well, the mornings have been cold and the bed is warmer than the atmosphere at 7:00am). The Torquay beach and coastline looked so inviting but chilly as we walked 6km around the headlands. We’re sure some of the surfers don’t have a built-in thermostat as they catch the cold winter waves.

It’s been a good 12 days of rest and relaxation which is always even better in Great Life.

190615 Lake Jubilee- Daylesford Victoria

We have taken our first week or two away since the push bike accident in November. Our motor home had never really been to the western part of Victoria so we gave it a bit of a run through the Mount Macedon Ranges for a break. I hope you enjoy this 2 minute video of where we stayed for a week near Daylesford.

I Should Be Retired, BUT ….

I’m over the known Australian retirement age and I have ceased that regular work day routine; wake up, get up, shower up, eat up, dress up, turn up. Sounds familiar? But the day’s excitement really isn’t in “turning up”. It’s BEING UP – on the top-side of the grass. If everyone’s going to ‘end up’ on the ‘other side of the grass’, why not enjoy getting there?

Some get to the ‘under side’ very young in life and before they should have. Others arrive there after their ‘use-by-date’. They become a burden to everyone, including their spouse and family, since the ‘three score years plus ten’ has been reached. So what is a good way to enjoy those “days of fade”?

I guess you couldn’t say I was employed, nor could you say I’m retired. Keeping relaxed and calm is the most beneficial lifestyle anyone could undertake. And so that’s what takes up most of my day. (No one ‘pushes’ this little duck around.) Always abide by the rules of where you are. On the outside, people might say that I am lazy. On the inside, I know I am enjoying life doing what interests me, even if it doesn’t bring in the truck loads of money my talents are worth. Ha Ha!

Many save, save, and then save some more for their retirement and for many, beyond retirement. I haven’t! I’m enjoying life now before ‘they’ provide me with a walking frame. Yes, I have seen a variety of walking aids on cruises and tours, but these poor folk have had to do the tour ‘slowly’. Keeping the walker away from the aisle and away from the busy passing traffic, can be a real chore when ‘things don’t work properly’; and I’m meaning the body AND the walker.

Travel opens up the mind. But to get to some places that will fascinate your tastes, you need to be fit and agile. That includes opening up the body by taking in some deep breaths and making a big decision to TRAVEL. I say that because, for many, the first trip is like that breath of fresh air that opens up every cell in the body and mind for those new ventures. You forget all that drags you down around where you live and work. You begin to look forward to those new and exciting “everyone else has done this, so I’m going to do it too” experiences.

Remember when friends returned from their ‘amazing’ trip? Didn’t they enthrall you with tales of what happened when they landed and how they were taken to this luxurious accommodation looking out over the magnificent blue Mediterranean Sea? You were sharing their special moment that is so indelibly entrenched in their mind. That’s what travel is all about; being able to share what you have experienced because of what someone else has experienced and extending your education at the same time. Every trip you do will be that much different to what your friends’ trip was.

Even though there are many modes of travel, each person has their own favourite mode. For me, my preferred mode is fast becoming cruising. However, I have done coach, four-wheel driving, motorhome ventures, river and ocean cruises. Each can be the best mode to do the particular tour you have chosen. Sometimes you have to ride a kayak, or a donkey, or walk a hundred kilometers; it’s up to you.

Each continent has purpose built travel modes to get around that suit the type of tours being offered. South America requires a lot of flying segments to visit the well-known icons we hear from others about. South Africa requires a 4WD truck, or Land Rover, to cover the distances and view the scenery or animals, on sometimes, very hard, rough roads. In Europe, the coach or river cruise boat is often preferred. North America uses trains, coaches and car hire. Of course, each region can be done differently to each other. But I’m sure you get the picture.

So what’s all this got to do with being retired? When you ‘retire’ you have finished work. I have mixed the two so I manage to both work and not work. It’s a hard job to do but I love it. So what is my work? As you may have become aware, I travel a lot. I write, photograph, and take high definition movies of the trips I do, and convert all that into a blog, a photo book, and a DVD. I then make short movies to be used in advertising or promoting a destination to gain an income.

I have experienced whizzing along the Amazon River before breakfast in search of the fresh-water pink dolphin. To see a lion wake up and prepare himself to meet his mate and announce his intentions with an extended period of jungle roaring is spine tingling. Having cascades of water drop straight down on you is ‘cleansing’, both outside and sometimes inside. A morning sunrise while cruising down the Danube is refreshing at the start of the day. The museums of Moscow and Saint Petersburg give a new insight on the goings on in a ‘hidden country’ such as Russia. Even following the Tour de France can be exciting as you walk the roads that soon speeding bike riders will pass without even noticing the effort you have put in to the walk, can reward that ‘child-like desire’ of riding in a big cycling event. That is a sports lover’s interest.

Can I encourage you to believe that you too can enjoy retirement by expanding your boundaries beyond the front gate? Get out there. The world is your address. See and experience it. Your decision will be your own; but ‘live’ your decision.

170414 Lake Mulwala

Easter has come and Lyn wants to “get away from it all” again. I don’t mind that at all. But there is a major problem; at the end of Easter, Lyn will be back at work again. Each short trip away builds the yearning to be full time living in the motor home. It is becoming more and more on our minds to be away full time, but first, we have to get through this year and into next year before we can accomplish that desire.

Easter traffic is often chaotic and this year is no different. Slowly does it for the next 90 minutes after which we turn left at Merton to free camp at the local Racecourse. Quaint really! A big piece of ground for horses to race around and no grandstand; just some stewards boxes scattered around the perimeter, waiting for horses to pass to give their sign of approval. I guess the racecourse is rarely used. After the evening sleep and the sun had risen enough to take away the morning fog, we walked around a racecourse for the first time – ever.

We had had some trouble with the slide-out the last few times we put it out and brought it back in. Now we have a new ladder that closes up enough to store under the bed, I gave the slide-out a full wash and clean and applied a fresh coat of silicon spray. What a difference a wash makes; no problems or unusual squeaking noises on the way in. Thanks for the ladder idea, Ela and John. Much cheaper than having a ladder installed up the back of the motorhome, but then it doesn’t get me on top for the solar panel wash task. Friends of ours who are returning to ‘the mainland’ tomorrow night from Tasmania called on Friday night in desperation as their slide-out was making a terrible noise. They had not been given any instructions to apply silicon spray to their slide-out. Eventually, David found a large piece of rubber was stuck between the walls of their slide out which, when removed, enabled a good closure. Apparently, the large piece of rubber was off their dust seal, so it is booked in for a warranty replacement on Wednesday.

Our destination for Easter is to Free Camp somewhere on the Murray River. We had been to Yarrawonga a few times so decided to head that way. “Shall we camp upstream or downstream?” “Lets try upstream for a change.” Before locating the site, we took a short walk along the ‘coast’ of the lake near Yarrawonga.

I knew there was a Free Camp on the New South Wales side of Lake Mulwala but where, I wasn’t sure. The trusty Wikicamps app indicated a short drive through Yarrawonga, across the bridge to NSW and 10 km further on east towards Albury. We found the perfect site for ‘doing nothing’ for 4 days and 3 nights. There are quite a number of campers but only one other motorhome. No-one would complain having a great view of the lake before them for 4 days with temperatures in the low 20s. This was the first time I had laid the outside floor down at a site. It’s rather good when you find a nice location that you enjoy; you sort of become ‘owners’ of the spot. During our first meal, a mina bird was closely checking us out but really he was trying to alert us to a little snake that crawled over my foot. It was the size of the rubber snakes you ‘fool’ kids at school with, but still a funny sensation as it makes its way through our site.

We look over the lake, which is man-made to hold back the waters of the Murray River for irrigation use and control. There are many bare tree trunks and under water tree stumps but those who are enjoying water sports such as jet skis, are able to manoeuvre around them without incident – so far. Friday and Saturday were perfect blue sky days and encouraged a couple of walks and a sleep in the sun. Weekends are for recovering from the past week and long weekends do even more justice to the 3 hours travel from home. Apparently, in USA, they don’t have public holidays over Easter. A friend of ours is visiting family there and suggested they should, being so avid church-goers.

The nights have been rather chilly getting down to less than 10C. But it is nice to get up and check out the atmosphere before too many other campers crawl out of their swags and tents; refreshing. Each morning and evening, we have enjoyed a 5-6 km walk to get up our 10,000 steps and over, per day. I mentioned last post that we have started CHIP (Complete Health Improvement Programme).

CHIP is a scientifically proven lifestyle intervention program which can help prevent, arrest and even reverse the most common chronic diseases of our day, including obesity, type II diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, etc.

Lyn has often returned a high cholesterol reading and has high blood pressure. I have a history of Menieres Disease, and both of us regularly experience reflux. We figured that with FULL TIME retirement coming up, being ‘health ready’ is important. Who wants a major problem caused by lifestyle, to prevent one (or two) seeing all the wonderful scenery Australia has to offer?

It is interesting trying a new lifestyle while in a motor home. We don’t have a grinder with us or a juicer. (The toilet cassette isn’t of the ‘oversize variety’). And ‘that’ block of chocolate has been in the fridge for a month or so; not even opened. We have a chat group on Facebook messenger and communicate to a few within the CHIP group. I put up a photo of an open packet of chocolate and the CHIP group convener came back and said “a little should be okay, but don’t eat too much” (He doesn’t know how much is my normal serve. But i guessed he meant “only one piece a month”.  HAHAHAH!) Lyn has managed to come up with some stomach filling, good tasting, food that lasts a good while before replenishment is required.

During our last night, we both heard the sound of ‘crinkling’ paper and it wasn’t until the morning that Lyn noticed a little mouse in the plastic rubbish bag. By the time I got to him, he was out of the bag and no-where to be seen. I literally threw everything in that spot near the dining table, outside onto the ground, and went through everything in detail. At least that area had a good clean out, but we don’t know where the mouse is. More surprises next time we are out, I guess.

IMG_2127

Sunday afternoon, those bicycles hanging on the back of the motorhome got a workout. We took a ride in towards Yarrawonga along a made track around the lake. There was a dump point along the way, so that will be our first stop on the way home. (I won’t show you the pictures of that.)

We ended the day, chasing the sunset. Friday night’s sunset was worth recording and tonight is different again, and worth the chase.

Yarrawonga is a great retirees region but for us, it will be a destination to come back to one day. It’s a long trip home when easter traffic has the same idea as us. Our return journey was long and into the darkness back to autumn colours in our yard.