Toowoomba

Sunday 31st March, (Toowoomba).

Easter Sunday, and Linda has, or we at least, have just had a phone call to Narrelle in England. We decided that all Linda’s phone calls are to numbers she can call for free, so we have her monthly call allowance to utilise on calls to England. One call she already made was only $2.50 for 5 minutes so we figure we can call Narrelle for about 15 minutes every two weeks or so. It will be much better speaking to each other rather than just email.

The weather has broken somewhat, but it is still a little overcast and windy so yesterday we had a look around a few things in Toowoomba such as the Botanical gardens, Cobb and co museum and a bird sanctuary. Today called for a tour up to Crows Nest, about 40k north and a waterfall/gorge and lake in the area.

Toowoomba is situated, as I have said before, on top of the ranges with a virtual cliff of great length along the eastern side, which offers many lookouts with spectacular scenes of the lower lands to the east.

We have booked in here until Friday so we have several days to further look around this city, and heaps more photos, and have a couple of days to just relax.

Toowoomba

Wednesday 27th March, (Toowoomba).

I must mention a comment Linda has been making over the last couple of days, “I’m glad you have your new mobile back”. I guess she means that my temper has settled somewhat since I have had it, what a saga.

The rain is upon us once again so today was a day for shopping and checking out shopping centres, one of Linda’s favourite pastimes. As usual for a city this size there are quite a few shopping centres so we only managed to visit about half of them and the other half will have to wait until another day.

Thursday 28th March, (Toowoomba).

Rain? I am not sure I can remember the last time I experienced a storm like last night. According to the news tonight we had about 85mm of rain overnight in Toowoomba. We had power blackouts all night, up until bedtime that I know, and there were quite a few incidents of storm damage in the area. It was a bonus having our own power as we could still watch a little telly while everyone else was in darkness.

More rain today and my car in for a service confined us to the caravan today, which gave us a chance to tidy up paper work, a job we both abhor. 8:00pm and we are sitting through another storm, not as bad as last night but another storm none the less. It could be just as well we have decided to stay here for two weeks so the gear may get a chance to dry out before we move on.

Toowoomba

Monday 25th March, (Toowoomba).

A little fiddling with the aerial and adjusting the power on the booster power has improved the TV reception a little and it is now a little more watchable.

I made arrangements for a vehicle service today, and fixing a few things on the laptops filled in the day, so tomorrow will see some sightseeing.

Tuesday 26th March, (Toowoomba).

We had a tour of a difference today, as we followed a tourist drive around Toowoomba. We have done this on an odd occasion before and have now decided that in a city at least the size of Toowoomba it will be a necessity to do such a tour.

The tour gave us a greater appreciation of the surroundings than that we would have achieved if it were up to our own resources as it has been in the past. We now know where a lot of attractions are and had a glance at what we can expect when we decide to revisit them.

Some excellent scenery is to be seen on the range looking east toward Brisbane as Toowoomba is situated immediately on top of the ranges, almost on top of a cliff.

There seems to be some other spectacular areas to visit, but that’s another day.

Toowoomba

Sunday 24th March, (Toowoomba).

A move today to Toowoomba, which is now the start of what should be our expected anything goes touring. Anything goes was the order of the day, as we experienced a situation that I hope does not occur again: a very large hill on the last stage of the trip to Toowoomba. This hill was about 5-6 kilometres of very steep upgrade that committed the panel van to first gear, and caused extreme overheating of the engine and transmission. The transmission obviously suffered, hopefully temporarily, and demonstrated some very unusual traits on cruising after traversing the climb.

A decision has been made to change engine oil and filter while here so the inclusion of transmission oil change could be a deserved addition, as it must have gotten very cooked during the strain.

Toowoomba seems to be a place of many things to do so we could possibly easily fill in two weeks here so as to overcome the travelling problems over Easter with parks being booked out. A visit to the local tourist centre today revealed that there are several tourist drives that seem to be a must so I should even get quite a few photos.

A problem that occasionally occurs in outback areas with poor TV reception. One would think that a city the size of this would have excellent reception but I am having all sorts of problems getting a clear picture. Perhaps the main problem is the same as other parks with the signal being attenuated somewhat by all the trees they insist in growing and ultimately only achieve being an obstacle in the way of signal reception. The picture is just watchable and I guess we will just have to put up with it.

Gold Coast

Friday 22nd March, (Gold Coast).

Still on the Gold Coast and have now decided to stick with our original decision to travel inland toward Mt. Isa. Our first stop will be Toowoomba, about 120K west of Brisbane, and will stay there until after Easter, unless we change our mind. We have heard a few reports about Toowoomba of varied aspects so it will be interesting to see what it is actually like. One comment was “You will be surprised how much like Launceston it is”.

Again I have not been putting much down in words as between visiting Tony and Brenda, and working on the new PC, there has not been much time. Probably to be truthful, after having several problems with the laptops this week, I really have not been very interested in putting any words down. Due to new laptops not having serial ports I could not get my mobiles to work on the new one, even with adaptors that Tony had, and I knew existed. We will just have to keep using the old one for Internet work. We intend keeping the old one anyway so this won’t be a problem.

My replacement phone finally, after 3 months, turned up today so I guess some of my frustrations should be non-existent from now on. My only concern is that to get rid of my complaints LG may have given me a replacement of the same version as the other one and it too may fail: we will just have to wait and see.

Gold Coast

Sunday 17th March, (Brisbane/ Gold Coast).

I picked up my new laptop on Thursday, which is the reason for nothing until now. These are my first words with it.

We have now moved back to the Gold Coast for a few days to catch up with Tony before he goes to Moscow, and are undecided where to go after here as if we go up the coast we are going to get caught in the Easter rush.

Brisbane

Tuesday 12th March, (Brisbane).

The caravan wheel I removed for inspection yesterday was immediately replaced because there is no need for maintenance at this time. The brakes were good and the bearings even had good, and plenty of, grease so I will leave maintenance on them until later when I purchase some grease.

We have spent every day since being here at Deris’s, so we have decided to move the caravan to her driveway to save the travel from one side of the city to the other. It seems we will be sitting here for a while, as I have not yet heard anything about my phone.

I have purchased a new laptop from Danny due for arrival tomorrow so that will give me some time to play with it and load everything I need to.

I am here on my own at the moment, as the guests have gone to the Gold Coast for a drive and the women have gone shopping. We are planning a trip to Ipswich area this afternoon for a bar-b-que so I might be able to get a few shots of the other side of Deris’s family.

Wednesday 13th March, (Brisbane).

If back in Tassie and somebody suggested we go from Launceston to Oatlands for a bar-b-que I would have suggested they were stupid, but that is about the extent of the trip we had yesterday. The crew were late getting back from the Gold Coast so it was on dark by the time we arrived. A pity because it seemed like a very picturesque countryside and it was too to get any decent pictures, not that it would have meant anything as I lost all the photos I took last night with a CP error while downloading. All had a great time anyway. There was a great heap of Danny’s family here for the wedding and stayed over until today and they have been sightseeing and having a ball while here, and being mainlanders they didn’t think anything of the trip last night.

The mobile phone saga continues; a call today to Bendigo didn’t reveal anything, as nothing had been heard from LG so Jacqi called them to find out that delivery could be as much as another 3 weeks away. This didn’t make me very happy at all so after a heated discussion with LG and Bendigo they are now trying to arrange either an upgrade to something else, or maybe cancel my existing plan and start up another. Either way, one way or another, something must happen soon, very soon.

I should pick up my new laptop tomorrow, so that will keep me occupied for a while. I am hopeful of getting a different mobile completely, that way I should be able to get something that will work on the new laptop.

Brisbane

Chapter 12

Brisbane on, at a steady pace.

Friday 8th March 2002, (Brisbane).

We have been in Brisbane now for two days, the wedding is tomorrow and I have found out, thankfully, that Queensland’s idea of semi-formal, requirements of the reception, are reasonably relaxed. Due to the heat all I am prepared to wear is a coloured silk shirt with light dress trousers with black shoes, and apparently that will be acceptable; if not then my ideas are that I will not attend as I will not wear a tie for anybody and it is far too hot to wear a coat.

We visited Deris and family yesterday, and Sue had arrived as well, and we will be going back over today as a party is planned for this evening.

I picked up the new awning yesterday and it seemed to meet my requirements. It was installed as a bike shelter today and suits that purpose adequately, so it will get a test of how it fairs as an awning the night before we leave as I will remove the big one and install the new small one. If this proves adequate, this will be the order of the day each time we pack up to move and the one to use when we are only camping out for a day or two.

Sunday 10th March, (Brisbane).

Late in the evening at the moment, we have just arrived back from visiting Deris’s again, as we have most of the weekend, and it has been a hectic one. The wedding and reception were very good and I am sure everybody had a good time, with the exception of the (young) ones who had not adapted to a long drinking session before eating. Drinks were being served from when we arrived at the reception until the bridal party arrived, something like 2 hours, and a lot of alcohol was consumed in that time. Me being a teetotaller notice these happening nowadays.

It is Danny Hoare’s idea to entertain all who weren’t invited to the wedding on the day after, today, so that is where we were today. Then again I guess we will be visiting there quite a bit while we are here anyway, especially as Danny has made me an offer on a new laptop that I am finding very hard to refuse. The only problem being these days is they don’t seem to provide a serial port on laptops any more, and I need one for mobile access, so we are working on seeing if a converter to USB will work to overcome the problem. One way or another will have to be found to overcome the problem otherwise it may not be worth me buying the new one as I would have to keep the old one for internet use, doesn’t sound wise does it.

I am planning a maintenance day tomorrow to check the trailer brakes to see what wear they have incurred, wash the car and then visit the family again, as it is Deris’s daughter’s 16th birthday and we will have to attend that as well.

Brisbane

Wednesday 6th March, (Gold Coast/ Brisbane).

Good race that one, a pity though that so many cars were wiped out on the first corner. This at least gave our ‘Ausie’ Webber a better chance to place 5th where he did though.

Monday was a rest day, doing a little shopping and sight seeing and yesterday we went for a drive up the hills a little west of the Gold coast to see if we could get some pictures. I studied my maps and found some lookouts up there so we decided to find them. The result was the same as many areas as scenic and popular like this one and the locals have since subdivided and built houses where the lookouts used to be and now only they have the benefit of the spectacular views of the Gold coast that these areas once had to offer to anybody. I did manage to find some areas where we could get some shots from vacant blocks that have not yet been built on.

In the evening we went for a meal with old friends Tony and wife Brenda and had another chance to chat about old times. It has become clear now why we hit it off so well, as we did years ago, because I am finding the same thing is happening now, it is a pity though that apart from us travelling, They are off to Moscow next week on a new working venture so I guess it was fortunate that we did get to catch up with them again.

We are now in Brisbane, camped at a caravan park at Eight Mile Plains, south east of the city. We chose this park so we could check it out, as it could be the most suitable for Christmas when, and if, Matthew and family come across for their visit. It seems like a good enough park, but I think the 4 1/2 star rating must be for their cabin section as the caravan section is really no better than some 3 star we have stayed at.

Now, at least, we will be able to settle down to our steady touring pace once again.

Gold Coast

Friday 1st March, (Gold Coast).

While Linda was having a look around at the local shopping centres I went for a drive around the city of Surfers Paradise and was again awe struck by the building, motels and such, being so high and so close to sand. It really makes one wonder what type of foundation these buildings have.

I could have just walked around town all day taking snaps of the building, but I did restrain myself.

Perhaps the rain really is following us, as it poured down this evening. The rain did bring some cool weather, which was very welcome, but now a couple of hours since it has gotten very warm and muggy again. Oh well I guess we will just have to put up with it.

Saturday 2nd March, (Gold Coast).

We visited and old friend and his wife today, Tony and Brenda Cruse, and spent several hours just reminiscing old times and talking about what each of us have been doing over the years since we have met.

Tony works for a casino group that owns casinos all over the world and has been travelling the world working at different ones and has now been offered a position with a casino in Moscow. They are looking very much forward to this position, except the cold of coarse.

Tony and Brenda are expecting very soon to travel to Canberra to obtain their visas for the trip, so we are hopeful that we can see them again before we leave here and perhaps go out for a meal or something. If we do miss them we will either come back down from Brisbane to see them, or, as they indicated, they may prefer a trip up to Brisbane to visit us. They leave for Berlin in 14 days.

Car racing is on TV tomorrow so no need to say any more as to what I will be doing.