Thursday 31st October, (Cowra /Cootamundra).

Our time spent at Cowra was very quiet and relaxing as I have been experiencing a, hopefully, minor medical complaint. I have had a sharp pain in my right side just below the ribs. It feels much like a muscular problem, but we have been a little worried as it seems to get a lot worse at night times making it very difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep without too much pain. We spent two nights at Cowra and before we decided to move this morning I made a visit to the doctors. He was at a loss as to what it was, thinking that being in the lower liver area it is unlikely to be that, as there is no nausea and all other functions appear normal. He suggested that it would be difficult to diagnose without an ultra-sound to possibly show what is wrong. The problem is that the nearest one is at Bathurst or Wagga, so a decision was made to travel on closer to Wagga as we had planned to go that way anyway. If anything develops over the next few days we will be closer to Wagga if further treatment is required.

We are now at Cootamundra, about 100k north of Wagga. This seems like a very quiet peaceful town, so we have decided to stay here for a while so I can take things easy and see what happens.


Sunday 27th October, (Bathurst).

We are finally at Bathurst; the road over the mountains was not as bad as expected, then we were hyped up for it to be bad. Victoria pass, which we had heard a lot of bad stories about, including one of how a couple lost there van and car on a similar downhill, wasn’t as bad as I feared, but then I was being extra careful. Linda mentioned when we reached the bottom that she was glad for that section to be behind us as she was the most worried because of the stories.

Today is for setting up and watching a little of the Indy racing from the Gold coast, then tomorrow the first priority is to do a lap of Mount Panorama, the famous Bathurst circuit, while there are hopefully still some black marks from the recent race still on the road.

Tuesday 29th October, (Bathurst).

I am now satisfied, I have done more than a lap of Mt Panorama, I did three laps with Linda in the passenger seat with the camera taking photos.

I now have a different outlook on the track and will now be able to appreciate the race all the more, knowing how steep and windy the track actually is. I must admit I did have the idea that I would have liked to remove all the gear from the rear of the panel-van and have a good lap, but logic prevailed and I stuck to the 60k limit that is strictly adhered to. I have heard that there are several permanent speed traps around the circuit, although none were apparent. If this is the case and they are hidden the spot one would most likely be is at the beginning of Conrod strait just out of the Dipper, and this is the spot that the vehicle on its own accord took off, and I did notice I crept up to 85k or so. I guess I will find out if I get a ticket.

The rest of the day, being a bit of a let down after that experience, was spend wandering town taking photos.

We have now moved on about 100k south to Cowra. Although this is quite a nice town, I am beginning to dislike it. This is only for the insects in the area. There appears to be a greater variety of insects here than I have experienced in one place anywhere else. A decent spray around the van will hopefully keep them out.


Saturday 26th October, (Sydney).

Well we have signed the house title transfer forms and sent them back to the solicitor only to find out that the final transaction date has been put back to the 15th November. We are very hopeful that this will be the last delay in finalisation.

We met up with Sue and she insisted that she take us out for tea last night. We found out it was a shout for my birthday, but it turned out Sue was a month out, she thought it was November. We enjoyed a nice meal anyway at the Blacktown Workers club.

We had intended moving on today but when we arose this morning it was raining and our rules are that if it is raining on moving day we don’t move, so we are here for today as well. This gave Linda a chance to give Sue a hand to unpack some of her gear from boxes from when she moved here; she has only been here for 18 months or so.

We are now packed up and ready to move tomorrow, and will be moving rain, hail or shine. It is a rather expensive park to stay, at $25.00 a night, and it would be much cheaper to move on elsewhere.


Thursday 24th October, (Sydney).

It has been demonstrated again how we must have just been enjoying the relaxation again for the past couple of days, because I have once again not put finger to keys for a while. It’s not that nothing happens on the days I don’t write anything, plenty does, but it is generally just ordinary everyday things and I just don’t think to write anything.

It was just as well we didn’t intend doing much in this area this time as the wind has been just too strong to want to venture anywhere.

We did get to catch up with Craig while in the Gosford area, although his wife wasn’t there, she must have been working.

We are now once again at Sydney, having moved today. We are at the usual caravan park, where Sue lives, and hopefully we will meet Sue tomorrow night. She is a busy lassie during the week and she does have Friday night free. Because she wouldn’t get a chance to meet us tonight we arranged for her to leave our mail at the reception desk for pickup on our arrival. One of the letters is from our solicitor and is an agreement contract for the final sale of our house, and we must read it tonight, sign it and put it back in the mail tomorrow so it is back in his hands by the end of the month. By this time next week our bank balance should get a big boost.

We are going to keep an eye on the news for the next couple of days and watch for bush fires. Linda is a little worried that they may keep us from going over the Blue Mountains to Bathurst; I don’t blame her for worrying, but I must reassure her that if the road is not closed then travel through the area will be ok.

After checking in to the park we were placed onto a site next to, as Linda noticed, another Tasmanian couple. We mentioned a comment about half of Tassie must be over here, and that we were Tasmanian, and they went berserk and explained that it was nice to meet another from the home state. Apparently they are only here for an 8-week holiday and have not met any home folk yet and found it a novelty. We will hopefully meet them again tomorrow, I was busy setting up at that time and they were going out, and sit down and have a good chat with them.

The Entrance

Monday 21st October, (The Entrance).

Several places were in mind as to where we were to stay tonight, being Muswellbrook, Singleton or Maitland and we were to chose on the way depending how we felt, considering my back is playing up a little. It turns out the seats in the car seam to assist when I have back problems and seeing that it felt good while driving we ended up travelling all the way to The Entrance. We will now have three days here before moving on to Sydney.


Saturday 19th October, (Tamworth).

We have now progressed a little further down the New England Highway to Tamworth, and talk about a change of temperature; when we arrived here the temperature was far in excess of 30 degrees, in fact the weather report said it reached 38. The overnight minimum tonight is expected to be 10-12 so this will be a little better to take. Tomorrow is forecast to be cooler so things may be better all round.

We have booked into here for three days and after having a quick look around town, and the visitor’s centre, it now seems that perhaps two days might have been sufficient.

The road to here didn’t get any better with several steep downhills and a couple of steep ups as well.

Sunday 20th October, (Tamworth).

We are having trouble at the moment coming to grips with the fluctuations in weather conditions. The last week in the New England Tablelands has been cool during the day and cold of a night, now we are half way down the mountain range the temperatures during the day have been in the mid to high 30’s and nights warm. Being so hot during the day has resulted in us not wanting to do much at all, so we have not seen a great deal of Tamworth as we would in other towns; not that there is a great deal to do and see anyway.

I decided today that we have misjudged our travel plans by checking in here for three days, this would only leave us two overnight stops between here and Sydney. Unfortunately we will now have to forego a day’s accommodation cost as we will now move on tomorrow, a day early and no refunds are given at caravan parks. A decision will be made on our travels tomorrow where we will stay for the evening but it will probably be Singleton, then we will move on to The Entrance for two nights. This will give us a chance to catch up with Craig Devlin again while we are in the area.


Friday 18th October, (Armidale).

The problem of cold evenings has been overcome somewhat by placing the doona back on the bed, and this is much better.

Armidale turns out to be a tourist delight, with plenty of old buildings around the area to fill plenty of time photographing. There are several tourist drives.

Yesterday we had a tour around town on a bus provided free of service and one only had to book for the trip at the tourist info Centre. This was a very enlightening trip indicating where some of the better buildings were. After the trip I did my usual thing and wandered around town taking photos. I didn’t take as many as I thought I would, but there were too many old buildings to cover.

While walking through town Linda turned to me and said, “This place reminds me of home, it gives me the feeling that I keep expecting to bump into familiar faces”. I could then only agree that I also experienced the same feelings.

Today was a disastrous day for sightseeing as the bushfires north of here at Tingha and Grafton resulted in this area being totally covered with smoke. We did go on a tourist drive along the Waterfall Way, the main road to Coff’s Harbour on the coast, which boasts several spectacular waterfalls and gorges. Although the smoke spoilt the views and it made taking photos a bad idea, we did at least get an appreciation of what they were like. We didn’t visit all the places on offer, such as what was supposed to be spectacular lookout, because we decided that it would be a waste due to the extra distance.


Tuesday 15th October, (Armidale).

A disgruntled discussion took place this morning along the lines of ‘what are we doing here in the cold’. It was rather cold last night and as a result Linda said she didn’t get much sleep because of it, so we both appeared to get out of the wrong side of the bed. We almost decided to change our immediate plans and change course to Ballina on the coast where it is warmer, but we chose to continue on our way because due to the terrain of the roads along this highway I doubt if we will be back along it again. It was decided to continue and see what we came to see.

We are now camped at Armidale, and had an experience today that one would not expect to have, considering the type caravan park we chose to stay at. We booked into the Pembroke park, which is a Top Tourist park and while setting up we noticed that some sort of material was sticking to our shoes and subsequently sticking to the floor of the van and very difficult to remove. It turned out that the trees around the sites where we were shed what seam to be seedpods that are covered in some sort of sappy resin that is extremely sticky. After speaking to another couple, also just checking in, that were aware of the problem, it seams that it is a regular occurrence at this time of year. They further added that if these things find their way onto the caravan or the car they are very difficult to remove. We chose another site and told management that we moved. I don’t know whether it would have made a difference, but the present management are relief management that only commenced today and say they were unaware of the problem.

7:00 PM the same day.

Watching the weather broadcast presented the realisation as to why we thought it was cold last night, Tenterfield recorded a low temperature last night of just 2 degrees. Armidale’s forecast for tonight is 4 degrees so we will be prepared.


Monday 14th October, (Tenterfield).

The car racing for the weekend is over, and boy what a race.

We had an opportunity to have a look around today, after Linda went for a walk yesterday and called into the visitors centre and gathered some information about the area. We decided on a couple of tourist drives and a walk around town.

The first loop drive to the west was ok but some of the attractions were, in my opinion, not as good as we were led to believe, with the exception of Mt McKenzie lookout, which offered a good view of the township and surrounding district.

The township is a little surprising, with the old buildings. Old buildings are a part of most, if not all, towns but this one seems to have so many for a town its size.

We then went on a drive to the northeast, but were a little disappointed. Several attractions, such as waterfalls and mountains, were in National parks and it is just too expensive to visit NSW National parks. The charges are a minimum of $6.00 per vehicle per day per park and with us intending to visit several parks we would have been up for a cost of about $24-30.00. Camping is also going to be a no-no in these parks as well; on top of the vehicle fees there are camping fees of at least $6.00 per day per person, so total costs would be at least $18.00 per day. It would be cheaper on a lot of occasions to stay in caravan parks as they are generally about $15-16.00, and one has use of all facilities.


Saturday 12th October, (Tenterfield).

Tenterfield is our present location, and it is raining. Something that is needed extremely badly in the whole of the area we have been in the past week is rain, but they need a lot more than we have had so far today.

We did arrive early enough to set up and get the TV fired up ready for race watching tomorrow, and today.

We have booked in here for three days, at this stage, as after watching the racing today and tomorrow we will need some time to have a look around the district.

Our trip today was rather uneconomical as most of the trip was up hill. This area is high on a tableland, and the temperatures reflect this, with the rain and wind it has turned rather cold.