Barooga

Monday 30th October, (Barooga).

Linda had her chance to go to the local show and even though it was small, about what one would expect for the area, it was enjoyable. One thing that struck me that I hadn’t seen at any other show was an elderly gent demonstrating, with exactness, how things were done in many years gone by, such as lighting fires with a flint and iron and such things.

We went to one of the local strawberry farms and had an enjoyable meal last evening with the pickings. We also had a look around the river and how it is flooded at the moment. The local highlight for tourists in this area is the beaches available for recreation but they are all under water by about 20 feet at the moment so there is not much to see. I took some pics of the high water with the hope that in a couple of days I can return to the same spot when the water has receded and get some comparison shots. I was originally surprised to see the water up so high here and not at Echuca before we left, but a local tells me that the water can take up to 5 to 7 days to reach Echuca from Cobram.

A bit of a drive around the area today was the order of call to just have a look. We found a caravan park out in the middle of nowhere at Morgans river. It being close to the Murray would make it an ideal spot to go and do a bit of fishing, as was obvious from the cleaning set-ups at some caravan sites. We also came across a cacti farm and stopped and had a look and I never thought there were so many cacti in existence.

An observation today recalled my seeing a similarly shaped tower in most towns in the area. They are cylindrical in shape, about 100 to 150 feet tall, looked like sandstone brick construction and the top half is about 50% greater in diameter than the bottom half. One of these days I will find out what they were used for and wether they still are. They actually look as if they may be some type of water tower, but we will find out.

Echuca / Moama

Friday 27th,( Echuca / Moama).

After walking around and having a good look about Echuca it is not hard to see that one could occupy oneself very easily visiting all the exhibitions on display. This town with all its beauty and things to do, all said and done is really a tourist centre and all are taking advantage of it. One could spend a small fortune as a tourist.

We have had a good time and seen quite a lot of the area and have had inklings that this could even be an area that we could settle down, but then how often, in how many places are we going to have these feelings.

We are wondering at home how many people think that we are actually tied up in the weather problems in the area. Some places are affected by flooding after all the rain we have had and some caravan parks are actually evacuating vans, but we personally have not been adversely affected.

After enjoying our week in Echuca/Moama today was time to move on. We are now camped at Barooga, about 100k east of Echuca and just over the border in NSW across from Cobram.

Linda will finally get her chance to go to a show, as our travels have caused us to miss all shows that have been or were going to be held in the area that we stayed. This weekend is the weekend for the Cobram show and she is very determined to attend, which could be interesting as this show should be about the same size as the Longford show that we used to sometimes go to at home.

Echuca / Moama

Tuesday 24th October 2000, (Echuca / Moama).

Since our arrival ay Echuca, having our relaxed attitude, we have missed an opportunity to have a good look around due to the weather. The fine days we did have were utilised in just familiarising ourselves with the area and now the weather has turned to rain and looks like it has set in for a while so our opportunities to look around are somewhat restricted. This is just one of the things we are going to have to put up with though, and if necessary we will just have to extend our stay for a short while if we wish to have a good look around, as time is of no consequence to us.

As the clouds are patchy today we might just go and have a ride on one of the paddle steamers anyway and hope that it will be fine enough to get a few decent pictures, but any picture taken will be worth it anyway as it will reflect the true events as they occur.

Echuca / Moama

Friday 20th October 2000, (Echuca / Moama).

Didn’t stay in Melbourne too long, only two nights, just long enough to see Nelle and Matt and go into the city for a quick look around as we hadn’t intended to even stay there until just before the wedding.

After discussing where to go to next we changed our minds and decided not to go to Ballarat and Bendigo but instead we went to Echuca / Moama. We made an advance booking with a Big 4 park in Moama but, as they indicated, they were short of room due to ground works and the wet wether over the last couple of days made what ground they did have unusable so they referred us to another park close by called the Maiden’s Inn Holiday Park. After one night here we have decided it would be very nice to stay here for a while so here we will prop for a while. It is right on the edge of the river and if we can learn to put up with the flies and mozzies I am sure we will really enjoy our stay in this very picturesque area.

After travelling around in the car, for what was longer than expected, discussions today quashed my ideas of driving around to look at the surrounding areas, such as Swan Hill and Mildura, as Linda is content on just relaxing and just taking in the immediate surroundings. As she also pointed out we will get the opportunity to visit all these places at leisure when we return later.

Melbourne

17 October 2000 (Melbourne).

Venture into Melbourne and visits to the factories that built the caravan only reiterated my old feelings of Melbournians, which is their unfriendly nature and unwillingness to help people. Although I had success in finding the right places and parts that I needed I was less than impressed with the attitude in offering assistance. Anyway enough of slanging, I have to learn not to let it bother me as we will have to do dealing with these people in the future so we will have to put up with it.

We decided to move camp into Melbourne because after looking at the map it is not far out of the way of our planned journey and it will save us a return trip from Geelong. We found a park in North Coburg not far from Sydney road and will be close to the restaurant where Narrelle is having their reception, so it could prove to be the place for rellies to stay when they come for the wedding.

We have also decided to stay in Melbourne for a day or two so Linda can do some window shopping in the city in readiness for buying a dress for the wedding, and there are a couple of things we want to do while we are here.

We had tea with Nelle and Matt tonight and made a few arrangements needed before the wedding and planned for a weekend meeting in Wodonga to be introduced to Matt’s parents. This will be the 11th of Nov. so this is the only plan we have before the wedding to work around during our travels.

I have had trouble with Email using my mobile the last couple of days and I suspect that a low signal level may have been the problem, especially now that we are in a strong signal area and it worked no problems. I must soon make up my first message to send off to the family group, might just do it now.

 

 

 

Geelong

15 October 2000(Geelong).

The wedding was a great success and all had fun. My most observant point on the day was the fact that for the first time at a party with most of my relatives I remained sober. A question to Linda about wether I ever got that raucous when intoxicated, her answer was an emphatic yes, which I appreciated to be correct.

My toys were a hit with all that had a chance to preview on the laptop the photos that I took at the wedding and reception. One photo taken at the reception really stood out so I made a print of it and everybody was so engrossed, especially Michael and Courtney who were so pleased to receive this as their first wedding photo they wanted to frame it.

A leisurely day was had today and an afternoon tea was had at a café so Courtney could meet the rellies on Michael’s side before they went on their honeymoon and rellies went home.

Hopefully a good rest tonight and a good sleep and we should be ready to venture into Melbourne tomorrow to buy replacement parts for the caravan and possibly visit Narrelle and Matt before we start our travels.

 

Geelong

13 October 2000 (Geelong).

We have arrived at David and Marnie’s at Geelong. They live on the Bellarine Highway at Wallington on the western side of the bay. We have set up camp in their back yard, 5 acres, plenty of space, and will be here until possibly Wednesday so I can go to the caravan factory to enquire about a new rim and other parts damaged in our little mishap.

While in Devonport I, with the help from a friend, attained some replacement u-bolts for the axle, which were worn down after skidding along the bitumen, and replaced the them after crawling under the van for a couple of hours.

A bit of an upset today when I attempted to download my photo’s from the camera taken over the last few days and some how they all ended up in software heaven some-where, I have an idea what happened and apart from admitting to being a novice with my new toys I am not elaborating on anything else.

This is short and sweet, but after not getting any sleep on the boat last night I am looking forward to a good nights sleep so I can enjoy the wedding tomorrow all the more.

 

First Trip, Tassie

Chapter 3

First Trip.

11/10/2000 Wednesday, (Tassie).

What a start to the trip, a very eventful day, lost a wheel off the caravan, ran into the back of another car, I hope this is going to be all our problems gone for the rest of the trip.

The day started well with all done that we had to do to get organised before our departure. The house is now on the market with a real-estate agent taking full control in our absence. He has organised an open day for Saturday and is rather optimistic of a sale, but he is a chap with a weird sense of humour so wether he was serious or just over optimistic who knows. If he does sell all well and good because we are hopeful that when we return all we have to do is move out and be free to return to the mainland after Christmas.

We have cleaned out a lot of things that we will no longer need after the sale, a heap of articles for Narrelle to help her with settling in after her marriage, and some to Matthew and Adrian. The articles for Narrelle didn’t help on the day because they were all in the back of the panel-van, and being my fault and not realising the extra weight, I found it more difficult to stop the car when problem situations arose, like one less wheel on the caravan than should be and following too close to other cars in peak traffic.

We were fortunate with our mishaps in some respects though, no.1 that we decided to travel to Devonport a day early so we would have a relaxing day on the day we board the boat, No.2 that the wheel fell off in a 60 km zone and near a service station, no.3 that it was a day early because if it had been tomorrow (Thursday) shops would have been closed in Launceston due to show day holiday and no.4 the mechanic at BP Hagley knew where to send me in Launceston to obtain the replacement parts.

What actually happened is, which I should be ashamed of but see it as having learned a lesson, several weeks earlier I did some work an the wheels on the caravan and removed the offending wheel in the process. On completion of the job it started raining and even though I do have a recollection of tightening the wheel nuts I obviously didn’t. The lesson is to check all wheels before moving off in the future. On our travels the wheel nuts came loose and obviously one by one fell off. When most had fallen off and the wheel started wobbling the studs with nuts still on, snapped off. The wheel became jammed in the wheel area and the caravan then skidded on the springs, or the ‘U’ bolts holding the axle to the springs, and the wheel drum. After removing the wheel drum and taking it to the mechanic, he then informed me where to get replacements so then made a trip to Launceston and would you believe it, while returning by the northern outlet obviously too close to a 4 wheel drive vehicle I found that I didn’t have enough room to stop with all the weight in the back of the car. It sounded like the complete front end was destroyed. The other vehicle then drove off so thinking that he was looking for somewhere to stop safely I followed him and to my amazement he just kept driving as though he wasn’t even aware what had happened. After failing to get his attention and noticing that there was no damage to his vehicle I decided to not bother any more and found a place to stop and check my damage. I couldn’t believe the small amount of damage, I guess that plastic makes a lot of noise when it is hit and then restores itself to it’s original shape.

All spares purchased, a return trip to Hagley, and parts put together by the mechanic, saw us safely on our way again.

We finally settled in to the caravan park at Devonport at about 7.30 and enjoyed the relaxation that followed after such a hectic day.