Monday, 31 July 2017

Monday 31st July

What a great day for travelling!
 .
It was a late start because a lot of friends came to see me off and wish me well. Then when I got to Atherton I needed to get an lpg cylinder filled and buy a new hold-down strap - in fact there were two in the pack so one's a spare and the other is holding the scooter much firmer.

By the time I'd been to IGA and done my shopping it was getting on for 10.30 but the roads were quiet and after I got clear of the twists and hills near Ravenshoe, Yemmy settled down to a good rate and by the time I got to Fletchers Creek we had covered just short of 500km.

A cooked chook from IGA made lunch and dinner easy!

During the day I was talking to my daughter Sue when she spotted something white in the far paddock and rushed off in case it was an alpaca baby. It was indeed and when I Skyped her tonight I got the news that it was a boy 'paca colored very much like his dad - Boomer. Unfortunately his mum isn't having anything to do with him yet so he will have to be bottle fed.

There were others at Walkamin who I didn't see before I left this morning. Could a blog reader from the park pass on my best wishes and tell them how much I've enjoyed everyone's company and friendship. Walkamin IS SPECIAL!
 
Too busy driving to take pictures today but it was a very scenic trip.


Saturday, 29 July 2017

Sunday 30th July

It's pack up day!

Yes - I'm off tomorrow so I've been doing  a bit of packing to save time in the morning.

I may not have Internet coverage for a day or two so there may not be any blog posts - but I'll be back never fear.

Last night's Christmas in July was great. A lot of work went into it by all the volunteers but it was very worthwhile and although Santa was indisposed he sent Mrs Claus to do the present duties after we'd welcomed her by singing Jingle Bells!

This morning was a recovery brunch - bacon, eggs, hash browns, lambs fry and bacon! Wow!

The scooter has succumbed to Murphy's shenanigans. Even though the battery shows fully charged (52volts!) it's not getting through to the motor and when I went for a spin this morning I wasn't sure I'd get back - in fact I pedaled (?) a bit.  Obviously something is wrong with the wiring but there was enough power to get it up the ramp and on to the rack. It's strapped down now but one ratchet isn't working so I'll get another couple of tie-down straps in the morning in Atherton.

By the way - we passed the 2,000 page views a few days ago.

Here's a couple of pics from last night thanks to neighbor Ken
 
Patiently waiting for dinner .....








..... but it was worth waiting for!

Friday, 28 July 2017

Friday 28th and Saturday 29th July

2 in 1 again!

It's Saturday but a few things happened yesterday - although there wasn't too much that was exciting.

I did the washing ready for bush camping from Monday on for a while.

I finished reading an epic outback story on my Kindle, Adam's Empire. Someone lent me the book but the print was too small so I downloaded it for my Kindle. No problems there as you can set what size type you want.

It was so good that I downloaded the sequel and so far it's just as good!

A few trips on the scooter just because I can and it goes like a new one. I used it as a dunny cart today and went to the dump point.

One of the burners on my stove top has been hard to light and when I checked it today I found the igniter was loose and sliding down in its mounting. A spot of super glue fixed that nonsense and it light fine now! My three fix-it items do most jobs: Superglue, Velcro and Gaffer Tape!

Tonight is the Christmas in July and it promises to be a great night. ACC friends from Cairns arrived in the park today but they may be too late to get in. They didn't realize it was on.

More pictures tomorrow

Ready for tonight!
 


Thursday, 27 July 2017

Thursday 27th July

Scooter's 100% fixed!
After jury rigging the new charger yesterday and getting the battery voltage higher that I've seen in a long time, today Chris next door came and soldered the connections to plug it in normally.

It goes like a rocket now and should be easy to load on Sunday ready for off Monday morning.

I'll probably head to Mt Surprise and down the road to Charters Towers with a free camp somewhere overnight.

Max now has my first column, two Readers Rigs and a full review of the Walkamin caravan park. You can get a free subscription at: GORV.com.au

Here's a couple of pics from the Walkamin story









 There are lots of old historic machinery around the park
















There's always a good selection of meat on the barby on Friday nights
 The park's full most days at this time of the year

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Wednesday 26th July

Catching up
I went to Atherton shopping at the Super IGA on Monday - dismantling everything for the last time before I pack up to leave next Monday. It's a supermarket with a fantastic range of goods and of course I spent more than I intended!

I had lunch while I was out - bacon and egg burger with a side of chips. It was a very large helping but I ate most of it.

Yesterday they were decorating the shed ready for Christmas in July on Saturday. There was a good team of volunteers so I just took some pictures for the Walkamin CP story that I finished today. Manager Lynn checked it over and gave it a tick of approval.

That's both readers Rigs stories and the Walkamin one done. I'll finish the Walkamin picture captions today and send it to GoRV. Just the 2nd column left to write for the September issue.

Some pics of the crew decorating for Christmas in July









Ken's up the ladder while the 'Chiefs' discuss what's next!








What secrets do you know little Santa?
The Christmas Tree
At this time of year the park is usually full

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Sunday 23rd July

A blast from the past!

Looking through some early 'On the Wallaby' columns I came across this one that I thought you might like:


ON THE WALLABY (FEB 2001)

Nothing is ever straight-forward when I put things into black-and-white. Take the business of Falcon AUs and whether they need transmission oil coolers for towing. First I said I'd fitted one and that brought a flood of correspondence from people who said Ford had told them there wasn't one made and one wasn't needed for the AU. Well that was almost right but then a reader with the same model Falcon phoned me to say that not only is a kit available but it's made in Albury by BTR, the people who make the transmission for the AU. Tony got his kit from Drive-Tech . Ain't life complicated!

Mum had her 91st birthday recently and as a surprise I organised greetings to be sent to her from caravanners and RV-ers around the world by email and electronic greetings cards. She was wrapt and particularly amused by one from a fellow called Howard in the U.K. who said it was also his cat's fifteenth birthday that same weekend. 'Flash' didn't want cards but would accept gifts of small rodents, cheese or fish! In a follow-up Howard said they had bought Flash a whole whiting which he ate and they had sung to him.
Being tolerant he had endured that! Mum had messages from California, Florida, Pennsylvania and New York besides others from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

Think hard about this tag that came on the bottom of an email '"There are three kinds of people in the world - those that can count and those that can't".

I haven't shed the surplus weight yet but at least it came in handy when I had to impersonate a certain red-robed gentleman at a pre-Christmas caravan club rally. None of that old padding stuff for me.

Sorry if this paper is a bit damp but I've having my usual early morning sneezing and nose-running allergy attack.

While you are reading this sitting in your shorts and thongs, spare a thought for those caravanners in the UK who have winterised their vans till the spring and are shivering as they try to pierce the gloom to read an article in  the February edition of 'The Caravan' I wrote about caravanning down under and how many of us escape the winter chills by travelling 'up-north'.

We're about to start our annual pilgrimage to the various State Caravan Shows and although there won't be the hype associated with new millennium's there will as usual be a whole range of new models to drool over, new gadgets to examine and stacks of information on new and old places to explore.

We always enjoy talking to readers about caravanning - if there happen to be any complaints I'm quick to duck-shove them to the editor but now that we've managed to stop the middle pages falling out we don't get many  of those.

For the first part of the year I'll be doing my caravanning the worst possible way - rushing from home to caravan shows in the shortest possible time, putting in long hours on the road and using the van as just somewhere to lay my head at night. Caravanning should be about relaxing,  travelling when you feel like it, staying somewhere as long or as short as you like and letting all the stresses of life pass you by. 

My friend Murphy has been quite inventive recently. He got into a sealed carton containing a new musical keyboard I shouted myself. He was generous though - it has sixty-five notes and he only disabled one! It did happen to be a 'C' right where it's used in just about every tune ever written.

Then the battery-operated clock in the van started playing up and I decided to buy a new movement as we are rather fond of it.  BM was lurking and when I unwrapped the new movement it wouldn't fit as there were little ridges in the space it fits into and when I went back to the shop they told me it was the smallest movement made! They wanted to refund the money but I get a bit cranky with BM and his tricks so I got out my drill and little grinder and removed all the ridges. Not only does it work now but it has a second hand that wasn't a feature of the previous movement. I thought that would make timing the boiled eggs easier but I must have miscounted and BM had the last laugh after all.

That's reminded me - it's breakfast time so I'll see you down the track,

Lionel
That's enough for today. Goodnight


Friday, 21 July 2017

Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd July

Happy Birthday and all that jazz!

Friday night's barbecue was a happy affair with lots of people sharing yarns and laughing together.

Saturday morning saw a lot of us gather in the shed for a special morning tea to celebrate Ron's 82nd birthday and there were pancakes and a birthday cake complete with candles!



The pictures of the event will tell it better than words!











Birthday Boy Ron  was quite amazed by the turn-up for his birthday!









The candles took a bit of blowing out!











Big breaths Ron!


 Waiting for the fun to start!


Even the Birthday Boy's dog had to stay outside!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Thursday 20th July

... and so it continues!

Today I started writing my second reader's rig - and a very different one it was.

Instead of a shiny new  rig with all the bells and whistles, this was what appeared to be a pretty standard 18' pop-top on a single axle. As my interview progressed I realized this 10-year old van was the couples pride and joy and ticked all the right boxes for what they wanted to do with it.

There were a lot of small modifications that made this rig perfect for their lifestyle. They mainly stay in caravan parks although they can stay off power for a few days if necessary, they don't leave the bitumen, and they wander with no fixed itinerary.

I was impressed! The article isn't quite finished yet but I'm pleased with the way it's going.

One of the water heaters for the men's showers is on the blink so it was a just slightly hotter than luke-warm shower this morning - apparently it will be fixed soon.

Another face appeared tonight at happy hour and asked if I remembered him? The face was familiar but the name wasn't! Then it turned out that Peter shared a helicopter ride with Bernie and me from Mareeba about three years ago.




Chris is very organised and the boot has all the tools ready to hand in clips - everything is listed whether in the boot or in their Isuzu 2-wheel drive  twin cab ute.





Another great storage area under a bed is accessed from the outside through this hatch .
This well-loved little Majestic van does what's asked of it!






Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Wednesday 19th July

 Wow! Did I say get writing? 

I'd sent Max a draft of my first Readers Rigs story and got a very favorable reply asking for more dot points about the modifications that made the van right for Ken and Sylvia.

When I went over to their van this morning, Ken had already taken a lot of excellent photos and we just needed a few more to complete the photo-shoot. Ken completed the dot point bit for me and then I needed to number the photos, write captions for them and send it to Max by Dropbox.

His reply was that it was a good story and the photos were good as well. It will be in Issue 6 - the one with my first column out on August the 23rd.

In the afternoon I spoke with my other neighbors, Chris and Carol, and they have agreed to let me use their rig for my second story and I'll be doing that in the morning.

In between all this I've started writing an article about the Walkamin Caravan Park and Lucy, the owner, has seen the first part and liked it.

I haven't been this busy for years!

Here are a few of the pics I promised - I sent a lot more to my editor.





I just love their swiveling recliners and footstools!







Ken's little computer corner
 The huge double bed and puss being unsociable!




 Ken and Sylvia relaxing in those wonderful chairs.
 Driver's side view of their lovely big Traveller caravan



 

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Monday 17th and Tuesday 18th July

Let the writing begin.....
 Yesterday I asked Max at Go RV if he was interested in me writing about any Readers Rigs and he replied yes - also a write up of the Walkamin Caravan Park. He said yes to both and today asked how quickly I could write two Readers Rigs for the August issue.
I said ok and today wrote one this afternoon with pictures to take in the morning.
The other is still to be arranged but the owners were out when I went to ask them.
I went shopping in Mareeba and came home via the Mareeba Bush Stays where I caught up with owner Norm for a chat.
It looks like I won't be idle any time soon as far as writing is concerned.
Pics tomorrow
 

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Sunday 16th July

A day of rest
Yes - I did a lot of reading today if that is called resting.

The day started with bacon and egg plus mushrooms cooked outside on my Hot Ossie barby.

The larder is getting bare so I might have to shop tomorrow.

I did ride up to the shop and get a few things this afternoon including a tin of tomato soup which I heated for my dinner. Pieces of chopped ham improved it no end.

Sunday night is Trivia Night in the shed and one of my questions caught them out with no-one giving the right answer. The question was 'Where were the equestrian events held at the Melbourne Olympics?' And the answer is - Stockholm in Sweden!

The USB drive is working OK now it's been completely emptied so I was able to watch Midsomer Murders tonight that I recorded yesterday.

No pics - sorry!

Friday, 14 July 2017

Friday 14th July

How's my memory?
A couple came up to me at happy hour today and asked if I remembered them! They were at Archer Point when I was there in 2009 and also back here at Walkamin when I got back here. That's nine years ago and, no - I didn't remember them at once but as we chatted it started coming back so this morning I looked up my 2009 Blog and there it all was. They followed my blog the following year when I bought a motorhome in the UK via the Internet and toured Britain and France.

OK Eileen and Fred - I remember you and Archer Point now!

As usual the Friday night bbq was great and the fire made it hard to go back to Yemmy. It's not quite cold enough in the evening to put a heater on but it's nice to get under the doona at bedtime.




Thursday, 13 July 2017

Thursday, 13th July and Friday 14th July

Double whammy!

Two into one won't go but two days on one page will!

I'm writing this on Friday morning as I've just learned how to do something on my computer that's extremely useful - how to clear a thumb drive or whatever they are called when they appear to be empty but say there's no space available! I use them to record TV programmes to watch later but the TV told me the storage was full although I'd put them in my computer and deleted everything.

My cluey neighbor Chris showed me how to use an app called disc utility to clear the drive and I'm back with my 32gb storage!

I had a new thumb drive on my shopping list but that's now crossed off! Thanks Chris!

Not too much happened yesterday - even happy hour was a fizzer. It must have been  a reaction from the excitement of the State of Origin the previous night. A few of us sat by the fire and yarned though.

I'll post this now but I'll update it later if something worth reporting happens.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Wednesday, 12th July

When I checked at the post office today I found my wine order was in - but it looked big and heavy. I decided to ask someone to take me to fetch it after lunch.

Sitting eating lunch I was surprised when neighbor Ken popped in and asked if I wanted a lift to the Post Office to pick up my wine. "How did you know I needed someone to do that?" I asked.  He had been to the PO, saw the carton with my name on the label and thought I'd need a hand. Thank you Ken!

There are twelve bottles from four Moscato producers and the one I drank at Happy Hour tonight was quite nice. A bonus was two bottles of Shiraz and two tee shirts.

Today is the State of Origin match and there was a special dinner in the shed tonight. Lots of  maroon and blue shirts etc and a telly set up to watch the match. As I have no interest whatsoever in any code of footy, I came home to Yemmy when the match was about to start.









This slogan is on the T-shirt that came with my wine order today


This may be at the top of my new column





Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Tuesday 11th July

Take a bow Murphy!

When submitting my first column to GO RV today, I remembered that my ebook - Living with Murphy - was available for reading on my website so I added the link. It's in colour and has animated gifs so planes have propellers turning, etc.

The link is on my website: <www.caravanning-oz.com> and the link is in the table at the bottom of the opening page - it says: 'Murphy ebook'. OK - go on - you can have a look!

The column will appear in GO RV #6 towards the end of August.












My Murphy book only had a print run of 1,000 copies and anyone showing a driving licence that proved their name was Murphy got a free copy at Caravan Shows.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Monday 10th July

A quick word face to face beats a long phone call!

Every year, like most pensioners, I get a request for an 'Income Stream' report. This year my daughter did all the paperwork for me to save sending it up to FNQ for me to do. A couple of weeks later the same request came again saying if it wasn't received in 21 days from the date of the letter my pension may stop!

I rang Centrelink on Friday to check but after 20 minutes of unhelpful recorded advice and being put in a queue of about another 20 minutes, I hung up in disgust!

Today I popped in to Centrelink in Mareeba and within five minutes it was sorted and I was assured I was up to date! 

The main reason for the visit to Mareeba was to buy an awning shade screen to keep off the hot afternoon sun. I rang them on Friday to see if they had one and today I was told that someone had wanted to buy one after I'd rung. They only had the one in stock and kept it for me! Good service.

The scooter now has all four batteries fully charged individually. A bit tedious but at least I can use it without worrying that I might have to pedal home!

I wanted to check my tyre pressures but both servos I called at had those with the connection just facing one way - useless for my dual wheels that have one valve facing inwards! I also wanted to blow air into my HWS exhaust to see if that helps but those connections only work when attached to a valve!

Some wine glasses were on the shopping list today and I'm certain the wine at tonight's happy hour tasted better out of a glass glass and not plastic!

Ok - there's a pic tonight!
It's nice to have some shade in the afternoon!


Sunday, 9 July 2017

Sunday 9th July

This was a food day!







The day started with a birthday breakfast for Ken, one of my neighbors. The feast included fried eggs, lambs fry and bacon, hash browns, toast and coffee!




 Chief Chef Graham did a marvelous job on the hot plate and there was food to spare



I spent the afternoon trying to get the charger for my scooter to work. I even ran the scooter on the stand to see if the batteries were too charged for the charger to work. I wondered if there was a blown fuse in the charger but when I took it apart Murphy made sure it wasn't easy to put back together but with a little help from a friend it was in one piece again but still not working. I've ordered a new one from Hong Kong for $16 and free postage and in the meantime I'm charging the four batteries separately with my 12 volt charger.

After our hilarious trivia at Happy Hour tonight, we had soup - five different varieties - and garlic bread! It was delicious but very filling and I didn't have room for any sweets!

As usual there was a cheery fire to relax by!



Friday, 7 July 2017

Saturday 8th July

No - you didn't miss a day but I did!

With so little happening it's not worth doing the blog everyday so yesterday will be combined with today.

The HWS still puzzles me. Yesterday I gave it a couple of clicks and forgot it. To my surprise I was rinsing something and the water was hot hot! Scalding hot in fact. Today it didn't want to stay alight but on the final attempt it lit and is still lit some 5 hours later.

I talked to my gas fitting friend last night and he suggested giving it a good blow out with the airline at a servo so I'll try that on Monday when I go shopping.

There were no drastic ill effects from my tumble on Thursday - my hip is a little sore when I turn that way in bed but otherwise all is OK.

Yesterday I wrote my first column for Go RV - there was no way I could cover my life story in 800 words so I'm doing it in two parts - even then it will have to be very selective. It won't be published until after my final Caravan World column comes out on the 3rd of August.

The Friday night barby was well attended and the ladies excelled themselves by providing the accompaniments.









These lovely scones with jam and cream arrived at Yemmy on Thursday - I think t was from Graham but I'm shocking with names. Whoever it was - thanks!

One end of the table at Happy Hour last night .....


...... and the other end.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Thursday 6th July

A lot of very little

Not too much happened today except when Murphy tripped me up during Happy Hour. I got up to deliver an ACC pamphlet to a lady at the other end of the table and didn't see that someone had left a bag in the way. Of course I tripped over it and fell quite heavilly finishing up by hitting my head on the concrete floor. Everyone rushed to help me up but I was fine and after a short rest scrambled to my feet none the worse for my little tumble. I did ask what I should do for my next trick?

Friday night is communal barbecue night and I'll try to get some pictures as it's a very well supported event.

I've been riding the scooter around quite a bit to see how the batteries are coping and so far so good. I checked the voltage yesterday evening and it still read 50 volts - fully charged,

For the rest of the time I've been sitting in the sun reading my Kindle - gee it's a hard life.

I've found a RV parts supplier in Mareeba that has a sunshade for my Fiamma awning so I'll buy that on Monday as I get full afternoon sun where I'm parked. I'm not complaining but just need a little less sun on my legs when I'm sitting out.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Wednesday 5th July

We've only just begun.....

I'm at only at the beginning of my association with Go RV and yet today opportunities are opening up.

Max wanted a few paragraphs on my views on traveling with dogs and he wants to do a video interview with me. Unfortunately I won't be back in Vic to do it to coincide with my first column in August but we'll do it when I get home in September.

I offered to do an article on the ACC National Muster in October and he jumped at the chance.

I've been wondering about booking for an Apex 40 Rort at Launceston next March and debating if I could afford it. Then today an Apex 40 member commented on my Facebook page and said, "See you in March at Launceston." That did it and I've booked and paid a deposit. I've still to decide on accommodation and how I'll get there but my ACC friend Bernie said he would try to get an ACC  Tassie Muster while I'm over there.

I'm sure you want to know that I did my washing today and took the coffee impregnated mats out and hosed them - it was a nice sunny day so they dried quickly

No pics - sorry

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Tuesday 4th July

Yemmy pleased to be mobile again!

Yemmy was pleased and so was I although it was only a shopping trip to Mareeba!

It wasn't a big shopping list but there was a trolley-full by the time I'd finished  in IGA plus a few things from Mitre 10.

By dropping things just where they are and putting a wheel ramp against the front driver's side wheel I can be mobile pretty quickly and then when I get back I position the front wheel against the ramp just where it came from on the way out. Then the awning tie down ropes are back on in a jiffy and electricity and water hooked up with no drama. It only takes about 5 minutes and I'm back on site and set up.

The dump point here is quite a long way from my site so the scooter becomes a dunny cart and taking the cassette over is a breeze. It took me to the shop for milk before breakfast and I'm so pleased it's working OK again.


 

When I'm a bit bored I do puzzles on the computer and I was pleased with this result in Word Power today.


Max put this on the GO RV facebook page yesterday:




Sunday, 2 July 2017

Monday 3rd July


The day started with pancakes with jam, cream, maple syrup, etc  washed down with coffee. All put on for $2 for the local school.

The charger was showing full this morning so I took the scooter for a spin around Walkamin this afternoon - it's going well but it needs more running to see if the batteries are holding up OK.

My dash cam has been showing 'card full' for ages but I thought it was starting over again but when I connected to the computer today, the only footage was from way back so I deleted that on the computer but it didn't delete on the memory card . With help from a couple of  friends I got the card cleaned and reformatted. It appears OK now but I'll know when I take Yemmy out shopping tomorrow.

I had a call from 'Just Wines' today and ordered a mixed dozen of Moscato delivered to the Walkamin Post Office. I'm getting two complimentary bottles of shiraz plus two t-shirts and free postage so it's not a bad deal


 
The chap that took a picture of me on the scooter must have had his hand covering part of the lens but I cropped the crook bit off. It's good to be riding again.

Sunday 2nd July

It works! 

The scooter is a goer again! The new charger was still not showing any charge this morning so I investigated further. It meant removing the rubber mat over the batteries and checking the charge individually - there are 4 12volt batteries in series making 48 volts in all. They were all fully charged!

More investigation showed a plug had come out - probably on the rough corrugated roads I travelled recently. It was impossible to get that plug back in as I think they took the plug and built the scooter around it! However a bit of diversionary wiring and all's well and working.

Once I'd got it all back together I donned my crash hat and did a lap of the park. Wonderful!

Sunday night is quiz night at happy hour - I must wear my hearing aids next week so I can hear the questions!

I'll get a pic of me riding it in the morning!

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Saturday 1st July

Australia Post tracking told me the 48volt charger I've been waiting for had arrived at the Walkamin Post Office so I walked there this morning and picked it up. As I walked back to the park with it, my mind kept thinking, "What are you planning Murphy?" because I was sure he would put a spanner in the works!

I soon found out! The plug to the scooter was a wrong one!  I was thinking I'd have to wait until Monday and go to Jaycar in Mareeba when my neighbour came past and asked what the trouble was. I told him about the plug and he turned out to be a genius - he had boxes with all sorts of things in them and all listed on a laminated list. I found a coupling with a male one end and female to two sockets at the other and we - or rather he - soon had them replacing the connection from the charger and the scooter.

It worked and as I type it is charging the batteries. I'm not rejoicing quite yet as the batteries were dead and I'm not sure they will charge up. Fingers crossed until the morning.

Not a lot else to report. I had lovely phone calls to my two daughters and they are both doing well despite the cold down south.

Here's the temperature at home today!

 


Thursday, August 31st

Last day of winter and I'm home! Yes - yesterday was the last day of my 2017 trip although I'm heading back to northern NSW in Oct...