The Re-Birth

Birthing can be a messy, difficult experience or a joyous occasion. Making the decision to go through a re-birthing procedure can be one that brings on unthinkable procedures to enable life itself. No, there was no forceps required, nor was a caesarean section performed in the emergency room. All was completed ‘out in the open’ for all the gloating passers-by to notice and enjoy the elation on the proud parent’s faces.

The smell of new leather and empty cupboards awaits as our new “Great Life” is draped in its big red bow in the “to be delivered stand”. After an all day handover and with Queensland number plates, we set off after transferring all our “stuff” from the ‘old’ great life to the ‘new’. (That’s a story in itself). Heading north towards Bundaberg, we spent our first night about 30km north of Caboolture at a roadside free camping spot (our first of what will become thousands of free nights in the next ten years or so). In the morning, we had a ‘first accident’; not with the vehicle but with us. We had brought some articles for the new motor home up from Melbourne in a cardboard carton. After emptying the carton, I ripped it up and placed it in a pile outside the motor home door. Lyn went outside and stood on the pile and down she went. No injury, but first accident.

Later in the morning, we met up with some other motorhoming friends, Eric and Joy, to travel on to Maryborough for a couple of nights and then on to Woodgate Beach Caravan Park. It appeared that the ‘look around’ was happening at lightening speed with Joy in control of the tour of the local areas, so Lyn and I decided to slow things down by getting out the lounges and setting them up on the beach to enjoy the sunshine for an hour or two looking out over the ocean view. After awhile, Joy commented that it WAS good to ‘feel’ a place, not just breeze through it. We mark this as the start of our grey nomading in the new Great Life. The BIG slow down is on its way.

After a try out at a CMCA members stopover, which turned out quite good, we drove on to Bundaberg and met up with some friends from years ago. That night, we spent at another ‘side of the highway rest stop’. As we were in our first week of our ‘shake-down’ and needed to try various types of locations for a week, we tried most styles of “glamping”. This helps to find any problems with the motor home, or our understanding of how to use the various facilities we were now the proud owners of.

Monday was our day to report back to the motorhome builders for the checkup appointment. There were just a few things to repair, instal or understand, and the builders were very happy to oblige. We spent the spare time at Harbourside Shopping Mall looking for various colours and ideas for the motorhome. The motorhome was ready soon after 2pm and when we arrived back at the factory, we were notified that a couple had just signed up to buy our traded-in motorhome. That made us happy that someone else thought our “old” motorhome would suit their needs in the future.

We needed to get to Grafton before dark and so the journey south had to begin. We stayed with our daughter and her husband a couple of nights during the Grafton Jacaranda Festival. That town sure is painted purple for the occasion.

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Each time we are north of Newcastle, we return to the Foster Tuncurry region to spend a few days on our favourite beach. Bob and Lyndal included a visit on their way home from attending a funeral at Port Macquarie. I took Bob’s role when I first started clerical work and he was an usher at our wedding while Lyndal played the pipe organ. Heaps of sunshine and heaps of whales and dolphins, some breaching as they played in the bay. Then it was time to take the long drive home to Woori Yallock.

We broke the drive by visiting some friends we have kept in contact with from our camping summer holidays at Valla. Thanks Judy and Ian. And a ‘show-off’ to long time friends, David and Elaine at Ourimbah. The night was spent free camping at Pheasants Nest.

While traveling the following day, we encountered lots of insects and our brand new motorhome was instrumental in killing them ‘splat’ on the windshield. At Logic rest stop, we needed to refill the windshield washer container. I recall saying to myself at our hand over time, “I must remember where the bonnet latch is”.  Do you think I could find it? Nup. The manual didn’t give a very clear idea as to where it is. I tried YouTube and the movie was very dark and virtually useless. I then went to the makers owners Facebook page and a guy came back quickly with the same YouTube link I had viewed. He then must have deleted it after looking at it himself. Then Helen came back with the comment “yes, it’s hard to find but keep feeling around under the glovebox and you’ll find it”. Lyn tried again, I tried again, Lyn tried another time and eventually found it. (We will not forget). Thanks Helen, the ladies do it again. We arrived home an hour later due to the bonnet latch problem.

Our nice new Paradise Inspiration Supreme Black Edition, now has its new home. It was time for me to stumble and end up on the ground while carrying stuff between the house and motorhome; accident number 2. The proud parents are both well and eager to take the new “Great Life” out for weekends and holidays well into the future.

 

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151123 Rubicon Free Camp

“It’s time we got away in the motor home for a weekend”, said Lyn a few days ago. So we have.

Victoria has so many spots to be checked out and we have been so slack all this year with only 390 kilometres used since before Easter through to mid October, with my recent drive up to Mullumbimby in October being the only real trip for the year. “Where shall we go, then?”, I asked. “I do enough choosing holidays for other people during the week, so you choose.”

I found this spot on Wikicamps, which probably millions of others know too, just 90 minutes away from home. The weather on the south side of the Great Dividing Range looked pretty bleak for the weekend so across we drove to Tagetty and towards Thornton in search of warmer and brighter weather. Turning right just before Thornton, we ventured in the rain down towards Rubicon. Free Camps still exist in Victoria and this one is not controlled by some Government National Parks organisation; hence “no charge”.

There are lots of sites spread amongst the shading trees beside a river, which you can hear, but have to venture over towards to see it. We drove right in and found a great spot just near the start of a walking track. The grass is mown and the fireplaces are tidy. I parked the Motorhome so we would have a good view of the bush and privacy from other campers. Although we are parked near where the trail begins, we aren’t bothered too much by the passing parade, making their way to the river bank for fishing or in search of firewood.

The rain had stopped just as we arrived, and we didn’t have any rainfall during Friday night. By 10:00am Saturday, the weather started to warm and we were able to find a nice rocky part overlooking the river/creek to “park” our camping lounges while we napped and read.

After a baked beans and spaghetti lunch, it was time to put on the hiking boots and enjoy the 7 kilometre walk around the river and up a few hills for a view of the campsite. How pleasant walking in the bush on a warm day, enjoying the filtered sunlight again. “Have to do this again sometime soon.”

We were just resting after the walk when we had a feeling that a bird had flown into the motorhome. This little tiny guy had decided that motor homing is not a bad idea but the windows don’t open just because you fly into them. He was stunned a little when I picked him up and took a few minutes to ‘come to’ and be on his way. Makes a good couple of photos to include in the post for today.

Sunday was a bit of a sleep-in day with blue skies but chilly atmosphere until we arose and started into our normal breakfast of pancakes, fruit, yoghurt and maple syrup. The maple syrup had been hiding for a number of years but has matured over the time.

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The day was brilliant; not too hot and just nice to lay out in the sun to get some vitamin D and enjoy a book or complete a few more sudoku puzzles. After lunch of McSpains, we cleaned out the motor home ready for our Christmas/New Year trip followed by another walk around the loop. There were so many more parrots this time. Leaving at around 5:00pm, we collected some nice cherries at Taggerty before picking up some chocolate specials from the Beechworth Bakery in Healesville.

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151022 Trip North to Mullumbimby

As I mentioned on Facebook a month or so ago, my sister, Margaret passed away after a 13 month battle with throat cancer. I am off to attend the event in Mullumbimby. With Lyn in France on a Scenic Tours Travel Agent’s ‘famil’, I’m on my own and so it takes that much longer to get ready each time I leave a stopover spot.

I left home at 7:00am on Tuesday morning after a successful Garden Club Spring Flower Show on Monday evening. I managed to reach Ourimbah by 8:00pm for a well-earned night’s rest.

Along the way, I was being followed or chasing Leigh who was heading north. He delivers motor-bikes up and down the Australian coastline. Would you believe we never met but were in contact via messaging services.

The weather has been fantastic until last night when a cracker of a storm passed through shortly after sunset, and today has turned out overcast. Yesterday, I called into the Halliday’s Point region and with the sun so brilliant, I decided to stop here for the night. What a great place this is to retire. Who knows? It may become our retirement destination.

I took the time to check some of the equipment out on the motor home and found one storage bin quite damp and all the chairs, travel blanket and hammock, needing to ‘hang out to dry’. I’m the only rig in this part of the park and so used the space to lay out and dry all the wet stuff.

I also found the entrance door has a problem and through Paradise Motorhomes Facebook Page, have found out that a tiny spring has broken preventing proper closure of the door. I plan to drive up to the Gold Coast on Monday after the gathering, to have this and a couple of other problems seen to and fixed.

Today, I will drive to Grafton to spend a couple of nights with Sharlee and Paul before Sunday’s gathering.

Memories of our daily morning walks along the beach at Valla when we used to camp for annual holidays have come back after last night’s beach walk and this morning’s view of the sunrise. The only problem? the lady in the red dress was not with me. I hope you are feeling jealous, darling.

141103 Murray River

Years ago, we came here in the Camry to find out what it is like camping on the Murray. We have returned again while others are having their yearly flutter at the famous Melbourne Cup Carnival.
It was cold over in the Yarra Valley when we left Friday, and the weather wasn’t looking promising for the weekend. We weren’t sure where we would end up but with night approaching, Yea became our overnight stop.
The morning wasn’t too much better weather wise, so we decided to stay a second night and just ‘sit’ while the storms went through during the morning. The afternoon showed us a few blue spots which enabled us to get out and explore the little town of Yea.
It is an agricultural town with much ‘country’ history. The wide Main Street boulevard is busy with travellers checking out the local cafes and shops. Lyn finds a new rose in the memorial garden to replace the ‘wrong choice’ of a few weeks ago. It is an “ebtide”, a purple colour with a nice bloom shape.
The annual Cup Weekend Photography Show is on at the well cared for Beaufort Manor. Outside the front door is a delightful hanging basket with red and white blooms cascading over the edge of the container. Inside, is a well laid out photographic exhibition. After walking through the display, we were given the opportunity to be part of the viewers choice and chose a beautiful picture of an owl. When we submitted our choice, the attendant said that the picture was the second choice of the judges, so we did pretty good really.
Sunday morning looked a little brighter with less chance of rain, so we packed up and headed towards Wangaratta where its annual Jazz Festival was the main event of the year. One of our clients had invited us as he is a keen ‘jazz festival man’ and goes each year. The town was a buzz with people and after a quick stroll through the market, we found the first community stage where a big band was performing. They played very well with quite a few school aged kids in it. At the main community stage, we were entertained by the Australian Army Jazz Band. What a difference daily practice makes to a band quality. They are of a very high standard and were well received by the large crowd that was there, some even getting up to dance in the front of the stage.
We were headed towards the Murray River really, and after a look at a few spots, found what we had always wanted as a ‘view to kill’ of this famous River. We are perched in the Motorhome overlooking the river that has had so many songs and poems written about. Once we were comfortable with the level of the motorhome, we started shooting memories. The river invites you to relax, unwind and to enjoy the reflections which invite many clicks on the cameras. We have taken over 80 photos while the sun sets for another day. The small scatterings of cloud became a slight pink haze.
We decide it’s time for our evening meal of pre-prepared cauliflower and potato soup with my bread made on Friday. Ah! It’s all gone now. – sorry. None left for you.
Monday commences with that ‘get up early for the best photos’ call. And then back to bed for a sleep-in that delays breakfast until nearly 10:00am. Water skiers are also tired and seem to be enjoying the peacefulness of this majestic river. That’s my style too.
The sun lures us to enjoy the benefits of Vitamin D for a few hours, and we set up our outside eating and sleeping area for the day. Does man need 8 weet bix each day for breakfast? Certainly not when the pancakes, fruit salad and yoghurt come along. Delicious, again, Lyn.
Skiers still not up and roaring up and down the river until after our late breakfast is had. I set the hammock up as Lyn’s office for the day but she only received three phone calls in all. A sleep here and there is thrown in and in the later part of the day, we get the bikes ready and take off for a tour of Yarrawonga. It is the first ride for Lyn for over 12 months, while it is the first ride for me since before my active Meniere’s Disease subsided. That drop Attack sure brought some blessings to me as since then 15 weeks ago, I haven’t felt any symptoms or had any signs of the Meniere’s Disease. Great stuff – keep away Mr Menieres. And that ice cream along the way was good stuff – thanks for staying open long enough to serve us.
Day two is more of that relaxation stuff beside the river. The sunshine is nice and warm while campers pack up and head on home or, head on home via the pub so they can watch the Melbourne Cup on the way. At 2 minutes before the race, we turn on the TV, watch the race, then turn it off, not knowing anything about who was who and if any of our friends got themselves on TV in some fancy outfit or not.
We have really taken to this ‘beside the river’ mode and we’re looking forward to returning for another bout; when? We do not know.
We tried starting the Motorhome. It looks like we need a new vehicle battery as the starting up procedure required the generator on to kick over the motor. Lucky, lucky! All good and a safe drive home.