Tuesday 30th October, (Wagga Wagga/ Albury).

I have been very lax in writing anything down for the last week as we have mainly been relaxing due to the horrible weather we have been experiencing lately. I have also been building a large file about TV channels; hence whenever I pick up the laptop lately I get engrossed with continuing that rather than work on anything else, like this for example. We also decided that we want to produce and send our own Christmas cards this year so I have also been preoccupied playing with our new software to accomplish this. It seems I have been spending all my time working on the computer on all the miscellaneous things and no time on my regular things.

We have since moved on from Forbes, and after having a change of travel plans, we went on to Wagga Wagga for a week. Wagga was an eye-opener, as I was always led to believe it was just another small country town rather than a bustling city that it is. Again the lousy weather restricted us from doing a great deal such in the lines of tourist things, but have decided to one day return there and have a good look about.

The main reason for our change in travel plans was when Linda was looking at a map of our whereabouts and decided that as we were close to Albury we may as well go and visit Narrelle’s in-laws, and as Linda said, “It will be nice to meet some familiar faces after all this travel”. We are now in Albury and intend visiting tomorrow.

Our other plan changes include going straight to Melbourne from here and do the things we intended doing there, such as look at fitting solar panels on the van. Then we will know how much time we have to spare before boarding the boat for home so we can then plan some short trips in the vicinity of Melbourne to see some of that area.


Friday 19th October, (Forbes).

We are now in Forbes, we bypassed Parkes, as we wanted to travel a greater distance than to Parkes. The decision turned out to be what could have been a good one as Forbes is a township that impressed us a great deal. It is very tidy, as the plaques for awards won for this demonstrate, that has kept its heritage as well as keeping up with modern times.

The town impressed me to the degree that I just had to take heaps of photos of it.

There seems to be plenty to do here, so we may have to consider staying longer than the 4 days planned, or plan on coming back later.


Friday 19th October, (Forbes).

We are now in Forbes, we bypassed Parkes, as we wanted to travel a greater distance than to Parkes. The decision turned out to be what could have been a good one as Forbes is a township that impressed us a great deal. It is very tidy, as the plaques for awards won for this demonstrate, that has kept its heritage as well as keeping up with modern times.

The town impressed me to the degree that I just had to take heaps of photos of it.

There seems to be plenty to do here, so we may have to consider staying longer than the 4 days planned, or plan on coming back later.


Tuesday 16th October, (Dubbo).

Nothing much has happened over the last few days as the rain has persisted and restricted us from many activities; we have booked in for a few extra days so we can accomplish the thing we want to.

A visit to the doctor revealed that the irritation on Linda’s foot is an allergy to an insect bite, so our delay here will be worthwhile in getting treatment.

We did manage our second visit to the zoo today and the use of the pushbikes was definitely the better choice as it enabled us to travel where and when we wanted. We also went early and spent the whole day getting a whole lot more photos, 101 in fact.

We are in a quandary about moving out, as we have decided to stay till at least Thursday, the weather is forecast for more rain tonight and tomorrow and we must move on Thursday as a caravan club has the entire area we are in booked. In case it rains tomorrow we decided to pull down the awning tonight, then if it does rain it will be dry and packed, I’ll just have to find some other shelter to have a smoke in if it is raining.

A visit to an old local gaol is the order of the day tomorrow, as we have heard from several people that a visit to Dubbo is not fulfilled unless one does see the gaol.

Wednesday 17th October, (Dubbo).

They were right; the gaol is a worthwhile visit. The construction of this facility is typical of the day they were built, or maybe in my opinion even beyond those expectations. Everything I noticed was definitely built with purpose and would have obviously facilitated that purpose to the full. It surprises me that this facility would have been built in the very centre of the township, but probably that was the idea of the people of the day.

Though we have not yet travelled greatly around our land, one thing that I considered about these building is that there does not seem to be many of them in such a preserved state for display. Only further travels will reveal the extent of these type buildings still on offer for visits.

More consideration has now had to be given to the route of our immediate travels as my information reveals that Centerlink offices are few and far between in the area we had planned to travel. We do receive a small potion of remuneration from the government for being unemployed and it means a visit to an office fortnightly to submit a form. We have had no problem in the past as an office has been present everywhere we have stayed, or at least not far out of our way, but now we are about to detour from our planned route direct down to Shepparton and detour via Wagga-Wagga and Albury. This will at least give us a chance to once again visit Narrelle’s in-laws. A final decision will be made at our next stop, either Parkes or Forbes, to which we travel tomorrow.


Thursday 11th October, (Dubbo).

I have all the time I need today to do things like put these words down and a couple of small chores in the van as it is raining. It has been a long period since we have experienced rain during the day and after thoughts and discussions we recalled the last time was in Atherton, near Cairns, and it does make one think about different thing to do as the rain does restrict us doing what is usual.

Linda has taken the opportunity to make up some curtains for the front window, as the originals were pulled down because they didn’t fit extremely well and we considered they weren’t needed as the window was closed every night. We have now decided that on warm nights it would be an advantage to leave the window open for a draught so they were replaced.

I have taken the chance to fit a couple of reading lamps above the seating area. These lamps are 12volt so we can use them while camping without power. We do have 12volt lamps in the main light fixtures, but they are not very bright and the new ones I stumbled upon have quartz lamps fitted.

I also followed up on an idea I had about a modification to the awning so as to eliminate the rope protruding out the front and being a tripping hazard. I accomplished this by placing an extendable pole between the tops of the two end poles and moving the positioning of the end rope to the second pole from the end so the staking point of the rope is at the same extent as the corner pole, it worked a wonder. I quite often wonder why I was born so bright.

We visited the Western Plains Zoo yesterday, and it most certainly lived up to all expectations we had from what people have been telling us. We decided to go by car instead of the bikes as Linda is at present having problems with an itchy rash on her foot and it seemed the more appropriate transport method. It turned out that this was the wrong decision. The zoo is quite large and has a road through its compounds for the purpose of driving, walking or riding and the problem of using the car was that twice as much walking had to be done to return on each section to retrieve the car to move on to the next area.

The zoo staff are obviously aware of the situation of people attending and not being correctly prepared and cover the situation by making the ticket purchase a two day pass so patrons can return prepared on another day. We do intend returning, when the weather improves, with the pushbikes and earlier in the day, because we consider that we could easily spend all day there. We also want to get plenty of photos as Linda has an idea for a Christmas present for the grand children that I am sure I could build for her.

The other thing I have to do today to fill in time is to modify the photos I did take yesterday to extract the animals from the pics so we can use them without the background, so that’s it for now so I can start.


Monday 8th October, (Dubbo).

Linda has now insisted that we will not be travelling this area of Australia at this time of year again as it has been too cold. We have actually extracted the heater from its storage hole in the panel van for the first time on our trip and turned it on tonight because the forecast is for cold ones again tonight. The temperatures have been getting down to 5 and 6 degrees the last few nights and after spending the past months in a lot warmer weather that feels cold, but last night at Coonabarabran it must have got down to at least 2 or 3 degrees and we froze so we decided that we don’t want to freeze again.

We have now moved on to Dubbo, a bigger place than we thought, and there seems to be plenty to do. There are bike-riding tracks all over the place so there is no excuse not to go riding every day. The bike track goes all the way to the zoo and as there are bike tracks around the zoo as well this will be a great opportunity to have a full day out bike riding.

Recommendations are that one should not visit Dubbo without visiting the zoo so we do intend to have this day trip on the bikes and take heaps of photos of animals as Linda has an idea for a Christmas present for the grandchildren.

Other recommended tours are the gaol and the military museum so an update will follow after we take these tours.


Friday 5th October, (Coonabarabran).

I did catch that bird attacking windows later in the evening, but as usual it was very difficult catching him on film.

We have now moved on to Coonabarabran, 200 kilometres south, and set up camp with the intention of a TV watching weekend with Bathurst V8 racing on and I intend sitting all day and watching it. We are in very close vicinity to Bathurst, but I think I would prefer to see the race on TV rather than go to the track and see it live, as one would not be familiar with the best spots to see the race from, being on my own and not knowing the area. One would see more of the race on the box anyway.

We sat down again this afternoon and discussed ways in which we could down size in weight carried to increase fuel economy, as since the pushbikes and carry rack were fitted the associated increase in weight has placed just too much extra load on the panel van, which has resulted in extra fuel usage. The resultant decision was to be in Melbourne with several weeks to spare before heading back to Tassie so we can organise somewhere to store some of our things that we don’t really need but can’t afford to completely get rid of. So if we were to talk to Rick, ex work mate in Frankston, and see if he has a little spare space we could store some gear and if so we will leave some things there. The idea of leaving things in Melbourne would be so we could access them a lot easier, if we needed them, than if we were to leave them back in Tassie.

The plans while we are here is to have a day trip tomorrow looking at a couple of areas worthwhile like the observatory and scenic lookout on a mountain range a short distance west of here and then be back home to watch some events from the car racing, and then spend Sunday watching the big race. Linda is looking forward to just spending the day on Sunday doing things she wants to on her own, while I am preoccupied.

Saturday 6th October, (Coonabarabran).

A trip east through Warrumbungle National Park convinced us that we must return here and spend some time at the campsite in the national park. The area was quite spectacular with great scenery and appears to have bushwalks galore, so we could easily spend a few days in the area.

Not much else done today and will be the same tomorrow as it will be TV watching time, Bathurst 1000.


Thursday 4th October, (Moree).

We have been waiting for mail from Matthew again and after enquiring with him on the weekend he informed me that he was ill and did not get a chance. With last weekend being a long weekend in NSW I didn’t anticipate delivery until today so when it wasn’t there yesterday I booked us in for another day so we would not have problems with collecting it today as we were trying to pack and move on. When the mail was not there this morning I almost boiled over and immediately sent Matt an SMS stating ‘WHERE IS MY MAIL’ and very soon after received a reply ‘Please don’t burn me alive, but do send me a new address’, which obviously meant he had not yet sent it. Dubbo is the new address I sent him so we can now move on to Coonabarabran tomorrow before going on to Dubbo so there aught to be plenty of time for it to get there.

While on the subject of staying on here for an additional day, it comes to mind the different feelings one gets from staying at different places. A good example is the last two weeks, during our stay at Goondiwindi we started to feel extremely bored with the place after about four days and ended up only staying for six, although we paid for seven, and then moving on to Moree. Now that we are at Moree we do not have any worries if we were to stay longer than the seven days we have been here already. There is no more to do in Moree, apart for the Artesian pools but we have not spent much time in them, than what there is to do in Goondi’ but the atmosphere is such that our stay at Moree is so much more enjoyable. I really can’t think of any other reason, than atmosphere, for enjoying our stay here that much more.

There is one thing occupying some of my time at the moment with a Magpie Lark at the park that obviously has a fetish with windows. I have noticed it for the last few days with his antics of forming a routine, varying on different occasions, but in same places, flying into windows. It does not hit them with a great deal of force, and one originally formed the impression that he was catching insects, but his habits are too regular on windows that obviously do not have insects upon them. He forms a routine for a period, eg 15 minutes, of flying at the same window then roosting, in the same place, making some regularly identical movements, than back to the same window etcetera.

Now that I have spotted him again today and have decided to try to capture him on film, would you believe he has disappeared, well I will keep my camera handy with my eye peeled and maybe I will catch him eventually.


Tuesday 2nd October, (Moree).

We investigated what was to do in the area and again decided that it was not warranted day tripping to see some of the places on offer, as we will ultimately be likely to be staying at these areas in the future. Lightning Ridge being one of these places, being several hundred kilometres west from here on the Castlereagh highway. There are gravel sections on the road from here so us driving is out of the question, and there are charter tours to the area also but the cost of doing so rules that out as well.

We did go for a drive east of Moree to Waa Gorge, near Terry Hie Hie. This was a trip that most would be disappointed in, as we almost were. The walking track to the first area of the gorge was well worn and obvious and as the sign at the start of the walk indicated that it was only an hour return, we assumed that we had seen all that was to offer. Other walkers told us that there was more if we were to continue along the track, even though it had diminished somewhat. We started to doubt their words as all we say was a creek bed, but another couple told us that there was in fact something worth seeing if we continued and to our surprise there turned out to be an amazing cliff and gorge formation in behind the hills. I was quite surprised that the walking track wasn’t properly formed all the way to this spectacle; it is as if someone is trying to dissuade people from visiting.

This turned out to be a worth while day trip, but I feel sorry for the people who turned back early because of doubt and missed this scenery, as we nearly did.

Another episode occurred today with Visa card failure, Linda’s this time again, and I am not going to be very happy if we have similar problems receiving a replacement as we have on two occasions so far this year. I have given what should be plenty of notice for mailing as the address I gave was for Dubbo and we intend being there for a period ending in nearly two weeks time, which should be plenty of time for any type of mail, but we will see.