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.

170408 Walhalla

It was time to ‘get-a-way’ again. The past three weekends’ fixtures had kept us at home and we were ready to get out in the motor home again. It was also the first trip since changing our number plates back to GR8L1F, which we had on our previous ‘Free Time’ Paradise Motor Home – feels much better to drive too!

I had found a CMCA Members Stop Over Point at Erica about 2 hours drive away in the direction of Walhalla and after calling the owner, we decided to try it out. The owner, Sue, is also a motor home owner and was to return from a 2 month trip to Tasmania on the Saturday afternoon. Her daughter met us at the door and told us where we could park, but the site was on too much of an angle for our automatic levelling system to return us to a level position. So we went down the road a little and ‘camped’ there. In little country towns, there are very few people that would complain about having a self-contained motor home in the main street parked opposite the local ‘watering hole’.

The morning dawned with brilliant sunshine and the promise of clear blue skies. After breakfast, a healthy CHIP breakfast (Complete Health Improvement Programme), we wandered around the town past an acorn tree, the seed of which came from a tree at Buckingham Palace, and on to a walking track. This took us past paddocks of grazing cattle and into some great territory for a 4WD enthusiast; I imagined us in one as we hiked up steep inclines to view the surrounding landscape.

Sue had mentioned that Walhalla was not too far from Erica and that there was a free camp there that many who stayed with her, travelled to. So our journey took us into, what was, a very rich gold rush town of yesterday. Up towards the end of the road was the free camp, and we were fortunate to be able to park on a level site for the night. The weather forecast for that night and the Sunday wasn’t too encouraging, with even snow to fall on Mt Baw Baw not far away. It was a good idea to see as much of the town as possible before the weather did an ‘about face’ from the beautiful sunshine.

The track around the cliff face commenced just behind where we were parked. Steep but worth the effort, we climbed to the track. About half-way along, there is a tunnel entrance to the maze of other underground avenues gold prospectors used in the days when gold was rushed for. Further around, we took the steep descent into the village and walked to the railway station. The train leaves for its journey to Thomson 3 times a day on weekends, but we decided that the $20 per person return ride was not on our desire for moment. After our CHIP lunch of fruit and nuts, we wandered through the restored gold miners town. At one point, we could hear a bag piper, but could not see anyone. Eventually we could see him standing out on the edge of the cliff face where we had walked. His walk up to his ‘stage’ would have been followed by a long break before blowing into a bag for half an hour. If he had a buskers tin, he would have made a killing.

On up to the motor home, we passed the shops of old and some quaint restored houses of years gone by. Leaves were changing colour making a brilliant pictures to be captured. After an early dinner and the sun had set, the lightening started emblazoning the sky and thunder claps sounded like trains were ramming the motor home. Rain fell for the next 12 hours or so and we were bound to the confines of our comfortable motor home. Eventually, the rain stopped mid morning on Sunday and we were able to clear the water from the top of the slide out before pushing a button to bring it in and we were off to finer weather.

The drive out towards Moe is picturesque and colourful during the autumn months. The road is windy and undulating for the first part towards Erica. Moe was a lunch stop before the busy drive back to home.