Wednesday, 30 August 2017

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 October.

The weather gods turned on a ripper of a day for my last 400km trip from Mansfield to Illawarra - the sun shone, the scenery was great and traffic light. Perfect!

It's amazing how much I'd forgotten in the past four months. The telly for instance. It is rather complicated as I play the telly through a PVR and record most shows so I can watch them later. I also use a Sony system to give surround sound through a lot of speakers so manipulating the lot is a little complicated. It's all come back though and it's set to record things from the Guide today.

Thanks for being with me for the trip - I hope you enjoyed my travels.

Now I've got to get a haircut, see my podiatrist and get a doctor's appointment for my six-monthly check up. Plus re-stock the larder!

...and here are a few pics

A view on the road between Mansfield and Euroa

There was beautiful wattle everywhere including the road where I live at Illawarra

And little Willy - our latest little alpaca - is so cute

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Tuesday 29th August

Last day at Mansfield!

Circumstances have changed for my daughter and her partner and they are leaving their job here at Mansfield on Thursday and coming to stay with me for a while. As they will be packing up tomorrow and very busy we have decided that I will go home in the morning and they will follow next day.

When I'm home and settled I'll write the final episode of this blog.

Today I fixed the 7-pin plug that had come out and the wires had dragged on the ground at Albury  on the way here on Sunday. Fortunately there was enough undamaged cable to do the repair so that was good.

Tomorrow will see the end of my 2017 winter travels although I am heading back to northern NSW in October for the ACC  National Muster.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Sunday 28th August

Marathon finished!

Yes it was a bit of a marathon - about 1800km in three days but the weather was mainly good and Yemmy was a good boy and ate up the km with no complaints.

I was off a little tater than I'd hoped because when I was getting diesel a lovely big rig came in and I stopped to talk to the owner. I was a big Mercedes twin cab truck with a big slide on attached it. The owner had built the slide on himself and I was impressed. With the slide on removed it became a large tray truck and could be used for work or sight-seeing.

The usual road works were present and when I was nearly at West Wyalong, Tom Tom took me on a series of lesser traveled roads until we reached the Hume Hwy north of Albury.

I got to Mansfield about 4.40 and it was great catching up with Jackie and Dennis.

 Yes - a few pics today!

The lovely big Mercedes rig

The slide on built by the owner
Canola brightened the day

It was -2 degrees and lots of frost this morning

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Saturday 26th August

A big one today!

After a  nice night in the clearing in the woods I awoke to a very cold morning  - I think it was 7c. I nearly didn't shower but I was brave and enjoyed it.

I managed to clock up  628 km before checking in at the Peak Hill Caravan Park at about 4.30 this afternoon. Leyton was racing about putting people on sites and my little site was the last one left - it only fits smallish motorhomes and campervans but it's just fine for Yemmy.

While talking to Leyton a chap came up and introduced himself as a fan of my column. He went off to look up GoRV!

I'm spoiling myself tonight with power and TV! I think I deserve it after such a lot pf kms.

There's a similar distance to go to get to Jackie's place at Mansfield tomorrow so I'll need to be away in good time

Max forwarded a couple of nice comments he's received about me joining GoRV. I'm hoping a lot of Caravan World readers follow me there as well

My lovely little site tonight

Friday, 25 August 2017

Friday 25th August

No - you didn't miss yesterday's blog. There wasn't one!

Yesterday was just a day! I went with Ray to try to buy a blanket - simple you would think. I tried Kmart - the only single ones were black - the grey's were lovely but all for double beds.

So I hobbled round to Target where the only single  one was pink! But they did have a nice blue shirt my size and I bought it plus a bottle of solft drink as I was starting to dehydrate!

OK - lets try Harris Skarfe (?). They didn't have any blankets at all!

Back to K-mart and bought the black one. Actually it goes quite well with Yenny's decor but it's not warm enough! The doona will be out tonight!

I surprised Ray and Jeanette today as I had a shower in Yemmy and breakfasted before I went indoors so that I could get away in reasonable time - in fact I was on the road by 8.30.

The Bruce Highway was very busy with trucks and roadworks but things eased when I turned off for Kingaroy andI enjoyed a couple of stops along the way.

I'm parked for the night in a clearing just off the road to Goondawindi - 470km from Hervey Bay. If I keep that sort of daily distance I'll be in Mansfield and Jackie by Monday,

GoRV was out last night and my first column is in it plus a Readers Rig from Walkamin.

A couple of pics today

My lunchtime view

Yemmy resting for the night
Another  view of our night stop

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Wednesday 23rd August

 Good catch up today!

 Fellow ACC Members John and ,Jane Hambly, came visiting this afternoon and it was great spending time with them. They live in the Mornington Caravan Park where we used to live and I've met up with them in Queensland several times in recent years - we were part of a Trivia team last year at Cape Palmerston caravan park. They told me their team won the trivia night this year.

Ray and I went to Aldi this morning. I'm looking for a single bed blanket but they had sold out. We'll have a wider look in the morning. I've still got Jeanette's double bed one which was great last night.

My first Reader's Rigs Story is on GoRV today and it came out well. I'm waiting for issue 6 with my first column in it - be out very soon.

Nothing to photograph today - sorry folks.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Tuesday 22nd August

Up with the larks!

Even after a marathon day yesterday I woke early today. The free camp at Calliope River was crowded on both sides of the river so I didn't wont to wake close neighbors with my noisy water pump for a shower so I put on my traveling gear and headed off before 8am.  

Some 200km down the road I stopped at a pull in, had my shower and put on clean clothes. Then I had a refreshing cup of coffee before completing the trip by lunchtime.  I think I spent more time sitting at roadworks than actually driving.

Ray and Jeanette were pleased to see me as always  and we spent most of the day reminiscing about old times and catching up with family news.

I was quite cold in bed last night so Jeanette's lent me a double bed blanket for tonight and tomorrow I'll look for one to buy. It too warm for the doona but my small blanket isn't long enough to tuck in at the bottom and I wake up with frozen toes!

Yemmy's new home for the next three nights

Monday, 21 August 2017

Monday 21st August

This was the test - am I fit or not?

I brought the solar panels and their long cable up from the beach last night and put them away under the bed. I'd already packed up the bbq and put it in.

Now for the scooter. Surprisingly it went up the ramp and into place with no trouble. Hopefully that's the last time before home.

This morning was an easy pack up with all that done the night before and I was on the road  showered and breakfasted just after 8am. Going up the track I heard things falling out of a cupboard. It was the one with biscuits in containers and luckily the only one that came open was empty!

While I was sorting that Tony rang and invited me for coffee. Why not?

After shopping at Mt Pleasant including a chemist for antihistamines, soothing cream and throat lozenges I headed for No 76 in Carlyle Gardens - I remembered the number this time. An all too quick visit to Tony and Denyse before heading to the Info Centre to use their dump point and fill my water tank. My fix must have worked because the water went in the tank and not out the back door.

I fllled Yemmy with fuel near Sarina and stopped to eat some of the greasy Coles Chicken for lunch. My only other stop was to make a quick cup of coffee at Marlborough.

My aim was for the free camp at Calliope and I made it just as it was getting dark. That means I did nearly 500km today and there's less than 300km to do in the morning to get to Point Vernon at Hervey Bay and Ray and Jeanette's welcoming lawn parking. It costs $0 with power!

Daughter Sue rang to see how I was and my hands free set up was a bit quiet but I've adjusted it since I got here. She could hear me OK.

The answer to my question is nearly! Just a bit to go and I'll be back to my very old self.


Saturday, 19 August 2017

Sunday 20th August

Sneezy, itchy and with a runny nose! That sums up how I am today.

I'm sure what I have is an allergy - a Hay Fever thing that I believe antihistamines will fix once I get to a chemist tomorrow.

I hope the scooter has enough power to get up its ramp in the morning. Once loaded it will stay on until I get home and can get an electrician to look at it and fix whatever is wrong.
This time last year when I was feeling OK - with friends Tony and Denyse at Walkamin Caravan Park

 This is what the view from Site 2  was when I wrote my first book all those years ago. The trees are now very tall.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Saturday 19th August

...and I thought it was fixed!

I'm talking about my scooter - new batteries and I charged them for quite a few hours after riding to the Resort yesterday. With that in mind I set off for Seaforth this morning but had a premonition that it wasn't going to make it. After I'd done about half way there I turned around and headed back here. That's when trouble began. It would go fairly well downhill or on the flat but any little rise slowed it to a stop despite pedalling for all I was worth! I had to walk up the hills with the scooter going under its own power with me walking beside it.

A fellow in a ute stopped to see if I wanted a lift but I couldn't leave the scooter on the roadside and then a motorbike rider did a U-turn and came to see if I needed help.

I was exhausted by the time I got back to Yemmy. The battery has been charging ever since I got back but they were not low - in fact they showed a very high charge so it must be something in the wiring that's stopping the power getting to the motor.

Needless to say I didn't get  my antihistamines!

I'll pack up tomorrow afternoon ready for an early start on Monday morning. The scooter will then stay on the back until I get home!!!!!

This doesn't want to load so I'll try again later.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Tuesday 15th and Wednesday 16th August

Two in one again

Not a lot happened yesterday. My neighbors on site 3 had to leave because they were not getting enough sun to keep their batteries charged. I showed them my set up with a long roll of heavy duty cable that I use to put my solar panels down in full sun all day on the beach. Unfortunately they didn't have an Anderson plug feeding their battery so I couldn't give then some of my amps.

I did a fair bit of reading, cooked sausages for dinner - left-overs for today.

Today I feel a bit smug. I downloaded a new app yesterday called 'Free Range Camping'. It's very much like Wiki Camps but has a few more good benefits and discounts. Today I managed to sync it to my phone - I don't often do the syncing bit so I was a bit rusty!

I also put a link on my website to GoRV - the home of my new 'On the Wallaby Track' column. My website is at:

My water filler seems OK - I tipped about 10 litres in with a funnel yesterday and it went where it's supposed to go.

Just one pic today - a smaller goanna and a curlew were together but moved before I got the camera

My panels get sun all day - only have to move them three times

Monday, 14 August 2017

Monday 14th August

The hold-down strap for the back of the scooter shrunk!

It didn't really but the strap for the back of the scooter wouldn't reach today so I had to use part of one of the original straps and the new ratchet bit! This all took time so I wasn't off as early as I'd planned - but who cared as I was only going back to Smalleys Beach.

I called in at the Mackay Information Centre to use their dump point and top up my water - or so I thought! As I pushed my filling tube in I must have dislodged the hose connection because when I turned the tap on, water flowed out of the back door.

It was hard to get at but I think I've fixed it - I'll see when I fill up next time. Good one Murphy!

I filled a gas bottle at BCF, did some shopping and had some soup and a cuppa with Tony and Denyse before heading on the familiar roads back to my campsite.

On the way I had a look at Ball Bay and Haliday Bay and took a couple of photos.

Talking of photos:
Sugar growing

Same sugar - different view!

A mill that processes the cane into the sugar on your table

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Sunday 13th August

Barby brekkie!

My Hot Ossie Barby  got a workout this morning with crispy bacon, egg in bread and tomatoes. Yum!

Then it was Trivia - teams of about six  of us trying to find correct answers to questions put to us by Paul - our organiser. Our team came second but it wasn't because I knew many of the answers!

Seventeen people wanted a copy of the group photo from yesterday - that kept me busy sending them all emails - the addresses took a bit of deciphering in some cases but I must have got them right as none came back as undeliverable.

I had a craving for fish and chips so after happy hour I rode the scooter into the IGA complex in town. It took a while for them to be cooked and I was afraid I'd get caught in the dark but I just made it back. It has lights - but not very good ones

Oh dear - I'm talking about food again - sorry.

There was nothing to photograph today so sorry no pics.  I might try to get some of the sugar harvest tomorrow on the way back to Smalleys Beach


Saturday, 12 August 2017

Saturday 12th August

Another nice trip.

A different car and companions for a trip on a road I hadn't been on before but took in lots of canefields and a beautiful lake before we stopped at a country pub - 'The General Gordon' - for lunch. We had phoned them to let them know a large group was coming and they were flat out serving us but they coped and did a great job. They were large portions and I had to leave a bit - mostly salad leaves.

Before we went for our tour we had a very experienced truck driver talk with us about 'Sharing the Road' followed by a group photograph - guess who was the photographer.

When we got back it was soon time for two lady Councillors from the Mackay District Council to talk to us about their plans to make the district more attractive to RVers and encourage them to stay for a few days.

Chairman Craig then brought us up to date with club matters before we got started with happy hour.

This was us this morning after the 'Sharing the Road' talk,

Friday, 11 August 2017

Friday 11th August

Local touring

This morning I was given a lift by Terry for a tagalong tour to local areas. We visited Sarina Beach and Grasstree Beack - areas Vi and I used to visit a lot. We camped at Grasstree Beach for a few years before the locals managed to get it closed for camping.

We went to a look out where there were lots of oohs and aahs when three whales were spotted  in the distance near two boats. Whales don't do too much for me I must admit.

Then we went to the Hay Point Coal Terminal. I'd been before  - last year in fact but it was still interesting to see again.

A lazy Kindle reading afternoon and then happy hour - another great gathering.  ACC Chairman Craig and wife Holly has arrived by then.

Yes - there are pics!

 Look very carefully and you might see whales!

I said might!
That's what they were looking at
If you can read that you have better eyes than me
Hay Point from the lookout

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Thursday 10th August

You won't jump out now!

Hopefully the new batteries for my scooter won't be able to repeat their earlier trick and all jump out of their carrier like they did on the road from Belyano Crossing. I bought a vinyl backed mat from Bunnings on Tuesday and yesterday cut it to size to go on top of the batteries and put in an extra screw to hold it and the rubber mat in place.

There were a lot of flying things at Smalleys yesterday - all determined to make my life a scratching misery but fortunately they don't affect me as much as they did when we arrived in Australia first.

My neighbors Don and Elaine invited me over for drinks last night - a pleasant couple who still had a Canadian accent despite leaving there about thirty years ago.

I hadn't really unpacked too much so getting away early this morning was easy and I was at the Sarina Showgrounds just after 10am. There were quite a few vans arriving at the same time and by the end of the day we had a good number - I'll find out how many in the morning.There's a nice under cover area where we had happy hour tonight.

One man who came to chat surprised me by saying he'd met Paul and I in Normanton when we were doing a rapid round Australia trip and as we talked I found he had followed my travels through the years through Caravan World and also through the ACC as he had joined the club very early and was influenced by an article I'd written about the club. Gorden and wife Laurel live in Mackay - just a few km north of Sarina.

I unloaded the scooter this afternoon and it was great to be able to ride it without wondering if it was going to get where I was going or if I'd have to pedal! The showers are quite a way from where Yemmy's parked so I'll ride there in the morning. My HWS is working well these days but it will be easier using the show-ground's facilities.

There are quite a lot of places and things to see near here so in the morning people will be deciding where they want to go. I've no doubt I'll be invited to fill an empty seat in someones car.

No pics today - sorry!

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Wednesday 9th August

I think the video has loaded this time!

I forgot to mention the low-lifes also took a new bottle of toilet liquid  yesterday!

I also had some bush turkeys visit but they are always here.

They are also thieves if you leave any rubbish around!

BREAKING NEWS !!!!!!!!!!

My stuff's back!
The rangers arrived with all my gear - they thought someone had left and forgotten to take it with them. Then this morning the rangers I spoke to yesterday  saw the stuff and said the bloke thinks they are stolen.

  So it's all back and I've blamed thieves. Sorry thieves!

Tuesday 8th August

A dirty plastic waste water bucket, an old sweeping brush, a 20litre plastic jerrycan with about 10ltrs of water, a folding table that had seen better days and a fairly new folding chair - what a priceless haul for the thieving beggars that took them from my campsite while I was away for an hour or two this morning!

I've  been using this National Park for many years and have always left things on the site while shopping or sight seeing and this is the first time anything like this has happened.

The reason for my visit to Mackay and the battery shop was because I woke thinking about the batteries in the middle of the night and the thought struck me that I should go and get the dearer - and better - ones that they had in stock and not wait for the cheaper ones coming in.

In part that was because I might need to use the scooter in Sarina over the weekend.

The fellow who I dealt with at Battery Pro was so very helpful in getting the scooter unloaded and the rack taken off and then doing it all in reverse when the job was done.

While they were fixing that I went down to Bucasia and used the laundromat so I'm set for at least a week - probably quite a bit longer.

Besides the thieving visitor I had another low-down visitor - a Goanna! He stayed with me for quite a while and I managed to get some video footage of him slinking about.

A few views and my lizard-like friend
I said it would look better with the tide in!

A view of Cape Hillsborough from a hill on the way to Mackay

On the other side of the road

My low down visitor!

Here's that goanna again

It doesn't seem as though the video will load tonight! I try again tomorrow

Monday, 7 August 2017

Sunday 6th and Monday 7th August

Two days again

Quite a lots been happening these last two days. Yesterday I went into Glendon with Grahame (stet) and Beverley and was able to catch up with a lot of Internet stuff.

Then at night I took a business card over to them and was invited to stay to have dinner with them - very nice too!

I rolled the awning up as it was blowing a bit and I didn't want to bother roping it down when I was leaving in the morning.

Today I had to get Beverley to help me get the scooter up the ramp and just as I was fastening it down it started to rain. Lovely!

It rained most of the way to Mackay and then turned into a lovely sunny day.

I think I mentioned that Centrelink were getting stroppy about my pension. They said I hadn't sent my Income Stream details although Sue had sent them for me and I'd checked with the Mareeba branch who said it was all OK.

Then they said my pension was stopped because I hadn't sent the paperwork requested. Sue went into the Stawell Centrelink branch this morning armed with all the forms plus her Power of Attorney and when they checked they had had everything right from the start but hadn't updated their records!!!!!

Despite the rain I was much happier when I got that news!

Battery Pro was where I hoped to get batteries for the scooter but the ones in stock were $120 each so that would have been $480. However they have some a litlle cheaper on order and they are expected this week. I may be able to get them on the way to Sarina on Thursday or on my way back next Monday. It's a lot of cash for batteries but whether I keep the scooted or sell I have to have new batteries.

Then I called at the Information Centre in Mackay, used their dump point and filled my water tank before heading to see friends Tony and Denyse where a lovely lunch awaited me. Thanks you two Dodos.

After that it was a quite large trolley full of shopping at the Mt Pleasant shopping centre before heading here to Smalleys Beach where I'm now set up on Site 2 - one of my favorites. There was signs of some cyclone damage but not as much as I'd feared. In fact I think the site is better and more open to the view of the sea. I stowed my loose solar panels inside this morning but forgot that I need my long cable extension to get charging all day down at the beach. Unless I take the scooter off I can't get the cable reel out. Silly boy.

I may get enough sun to keep going if I'm careful with how much power I use. So NO telly!

The photos will be better tomorrow when the tide's in

View from the site
View from Yemmy's spot

Friday, 4 August 2017

Saturday 5th August

Hooray - I've got Internet coverage!

A neighbor has brought me to the top of a nearby hill where the Ephone has 4g!

I'll send the pics that I've taken during the week!

The view from Yemmy's first spot

One of the little dams along the way from Belliando Crossing
Another dam

The road from the turnoff

The green and the Gold - wattle along the way

Another view from the first night at Lake Elphinstone

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Friday 4th August

The good and the bad

Graham - a former mechanic who knows a lot about 12volt electrics, offered to do a load test on my scooter batteries. He reported that three were crook and only one was OK! I'm not sure what four new batteries would cost but I'll do some research in Mackay on Monday. I'd do it on the net but the signal is so weak I can't get ebay up.

The good was that they invited me to share their lovely warm fire last night - they are a nice couple from Oberon in NSW and he has done some great mods to their Landcruiser ute including two fridge freezers - one for cold the other for freezing. He's also fitted a large water tank and a pump so he can fill it from any water source and then transfer it to the caravan tank.

Graham was showing me his  hearing aids - they are completely hidden with just a thin wire to the small bit behind the ear. At $5,000 each they should be good!

I'm nearly finished the two great Evan Green books - I did manage to download another book for when I've finished. The books are 'Adam's Empire' and it's sequel.

I don't know when I'll be able to post this as it keeps timing out!

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Thursday 3rd August

Sorry - pics won't load.

Although I can connect to the net the signal is so weak that pics won't load so that treat is in store for when I get to Mackay on Monday on my way to Smalleys Beach.

My new position in the sun allows charging the house battery most of the day plus I've now got the folding panels out.

The scooter is still playing up. Although it shows fully charged it's a different story when I try to ride it as the gauge goes into the red and there's no power. I'll charge the four 12v batteries separately today and see what happens. I did rwire the cable from the batteries to the charge point yesterday but it didn't help.

The banshee boat wasn't here yesterday thank goodness.

My last Caravan World column is out today! With twenty years of the column with twelve a year, that means I've written two hundred and forty columns! Wow.

My first GoRV column with be published on the 23rd of August and I'n now busy writing my second one.

My hot water system is behaving so I'm able to have showers even though there's no power here. I was told there was a caretaker here and they were charging $10 a night but that's not true and it's still free camping.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Wednesday 2nd August

Moved camp!

Yes - I moved camp this morning Where I was, was too shady for solar so I moved further from the water but in more sun. I also got the scooter unloaded so I could get the portable panels out as well, so providing the sun stays out I should have plenty of power and right now I'm charging the laptop, the phone and my dongle thingy.

The rowdy speedboat must have slept in - or gone! Gone I hope.

I promised some pics yesterday but the Internet is very weak here even with my antenna so I don't know if they will load today either.

I don't think I mentioned it yesterday but the dust got in and set off the smoke alarm yesterday - but I knew what it was this time. I don't know where all the dust is getting in because the doors were shut properly this time.

Tuesday 1st August

A good day's drive!

I was away from Fletchers Creek nice and early – not sure exactly what time but I was in Charters Towers just after 9am and topped up Yemmy's fuel as I didn't know where I'd get any more. As it turned out I could have reached Greenvale alright.

The road to Beliando Crossing was mostly two-lane bitumen but when I turned on to the Bowen Development Road it was gravel until 20km from the Glenden turnoff. It was dusty but not too rough – or at least that's what first thought until I saw what had happened to the scooter batteries! They were in a mess – I hadn't used a zip lock to keep the battery box fastened down and the cover had come off and the battery box had been displaced and the batteries were only kept on the scooter by their connecting wires.

I got it all back in place and the connections are right because I checked the voltage and it's still 50volts.

I was told that the last bit of road from the Glenden turnoff was very bad and to my surprise and delight it was two-lane bitumen right until the Lake Elphinstone turn when it was still sealed but not as wide.

There wasn't much of note along the way except between Beliano and Mt Cotton there were a lot of small dams full of water – I have no idea where the water comes from but it was good for the cattle.

A cow did come out of the scrub at a full gallop at one place but I had time to slow up. Later on there was a roo followed by a joey doing the same thing but I missed them as well!

I've found a lovely spot here at Lake Elphinstone with a view over the lake. There are ducks and other water birds near the shore – I took a picture of some. The only thing that's spoiling this paradise is a rowdy speedboat that sounds like a dozen 747s taking off at once!

Here's a few pics

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...