Warmer Winter – 3

We are now in Grafton visiting our daughter and son in law. Grafton is famous for its Jacaranda Festival. Our daughter had her wedding beside the Clarence River nearly 8 years ago during the Festival – so colorful. Today has been a brilliant blue sky day, just like it was for the wedding.

For many years, the town has been in need of a new bridge to join the north and south regions. The government completed a new bridge a year or so ago beside the dual purpose bridge; the north-south railway shared the crossing with motor vehicles. Traffic chaos reigned at peak hour on the vehicle section with a couple of bends along the way.

We’ll stay here through until Sunday.

Yesterday, we took a short trip to Yamba, north of Grafton but on the coast. The town shares the mouth of the Clarence River with Iluka. There are a lot of cafes and up market shops with up market prices. A lighthouse stands on the headland up from Yamba. The sunshine made the sky a brilliant blue so we are happy with the photos of the day.

When our daughter married Paul, she found that he was a “keeper” of both fish and feather. Paul has a large fish tank and cares for many little fellows. The plecostomus spends a good amount of time puckering up to the glass as if he’s searching for a long drawn out “pash”. At first the bird aviary had to be constructed for a good stock of bush parrots and quaint birds. The numbers decreased a year or so ago from a disease and they haven’t been replaced. Harry is still the king of the aviary and often welcomes us with a “hello. Whatcha doin?”

Paul’s fish tank
Plecostomus
Aloo. Whatcha doin?

I have for a long time, wanted to venture into drone photography. Now I can say I’m a happy owner of a DJI Air 2S. It is so easy to get going compared to the $250 drone I bought from China which never worked properly. Just a couple of shots taken at Red Rock so far show what will be my photography and movie work in the future.

One of the main reasons we have come to Queensland is to repair some damage done 18 months ago when driving to Sydney for a funeral. An overtaking motor home cut us off and “pushed” us off the highway enough to brush with a white plastic post. The motor home also needed a service done to many of the components that make living in a Paradise worthwhile. It will be next week before it is ready to continue the “warmer winter” series, so we are having a different kind of luxury for the week in Surfers Paradise.

Warmer Winter 2021 – 2

From living with hundreds of horses, riders and floats for two nights, our next night found us camped at a truck stop on the highway heading north out of Sydney. At times we’re reminded of being a truck when we look at the drivers licence required to drive the motor home, so we took advantage of that for a night. This decision was made after passing a few other rest areas between Goulburn and Sydney. Once you’ve passed the “last” one, there’s nowhere to overnight until you’re through the M7 and on across the Hawkesbury River. There’s a saying in nomadic life that if you don’t get asked to move on, you stay. So we did. This meant we were only 20km from the next planned campground at Morisset Showgrounds.

The Morisset Showgrounds camping area is a little disorganised with the property being used as a COVID-19 testing site most of each day. However, after doing online bookings a week before, we found things fairly comfortable. Monday afternoon and evening and Tuesday were spent catching up with friends from way back. Wednesday we had an appointment in Sydney so took the train trip there and back. For lunch, we found a German bakery. Lots of wholesome breads but a different item we tried was a cheese snail – a rolled dough wrapped in a circle with melted cheese on top. They might see us next time we venture to the Sydney big smoke.

One of our friends turned up to visit. He found his car as a pile of rust down in the Yarra Valley in 1978 and has carted it with him to each address he’s had since then, tinkering as he went. It’s been in a progressive form to 3 states of Australia. We heard this “clapped out horn” noise and outside was what you see in the pictures. Interestingly, his hat was made in Vietnam.

Other old friends arrived during the days we were at Morisset before we headed north, in the pouring rain, for 6 hours or so. We stopped at Nabiac to check out the The National Motorcycle Museum. There needs to be another visit on our homeward journey as there are over 1,000 motor bikes in the museum to view. You’ll have to wait for our return.

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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.

 

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