Chapter 18

Return to travel in 2003.

Thursday 30th January 2003, (Melbourne).

Our boat trip back to Melbourne last evening was one with a difference and one we will remember. We had a trip over by booking seats only rather than a cabin, mainly due to the cost difference, and are wondering whether it was worth the savings. Our trip over to Tassie was of the same nature as having seats, but with us changing out travel date, we ended up on a day trip and we only sat around anyway. This trip was different though as we intended to sleep overnight, as one would normally, and found that the seats are not really designed for sleeping in and we suffered with tiredness all day today so we are looking forward to a good night tonight. Next time we travel on the boat we will again look back on this trip and evaluate then whether it is worth taking the seats to save money, or lash out and take a cabin to possibly get a good nights sleep. We have had a few good reports on the cabins on these boats so this may be a big influence on our decision.

Another bad feature of the trip times of the new boats is that when we arrived at the caravan park in Melbourne, even though we had a booking, we were too early, 8:30 am, and had to wait for others to vacate the site allocated to us. These 2 hours turned out to be costly because when we finally placed the van on site we were into a rainy period and got wet setting up.

We had originally planned on staying here for four days before moving on to Shepparton but have now booked in for five to give us enough time to do what we intend while here. We have several visits to make to see the family in the area because it will be a while before we will be back, and we have to go the movies and use the Gold Pass that Narrelle gave us so we don’t waste it.


Thursday 30th January, (Melbourne).

We are now back on the mainland to resume our travels and it would be an ideal time to start a new chapter. Before I do though, I could sum up the visit home by saying that we managed to achieve what we intended by seeing heaps of the grandkids and visited plenty of family and friends while there. We would have hoped to visit more than we did but being tied up with the grandkids, and as usual finding it hard to find time to do everything we intend, we did have to miss a few. We enjoyed our visit tremendously, although at times we were thinking that we would prefer to be back on the mainland. Everyone has accepted that, apart from Linda flying home occasionally, we won’t be back in Tassie for a similar visit for some time. Linda has acknowledged though that she would prefer visits of a similar length of this one, but I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens.




Friday 24th January.

Time to start preparing for our departure, making final visits and such, making a final trip to Beaconsfield to store what needs to be, making sure everything in the van is still in its proper place, etc.

I think that Ellie has finally accepted that we are leaving again because she is now asking if we are going to return to visit her some day. I don’t know where she got the ideas to accept it, but that’s young kids nowadays, clever things.

I had a practice run in the tent the other night, as we treated Matt and Lou to night to themselves and the kids slept in the van with Linda, leaving me the tent. I did manage to erect it on my own with no problems so it wasn’t a waste of time. I did get to test one of the beds, it went down a little bit but it may just have been the change in temperature, it was a very cool evening. It was nothing to worry about, as a top up the following day would be easy if necessary. I even managed to pack the tent up on my own, so there should not be any problems with it whatever the situation.


Monday 12th January.

The end of our couple of weeks on our own has now arrived with us returning to Matthew’s back yard tomorrow. We have a little over two weeks before we head off again and will enjoy this time with the grandkids, trying to get them to accept that we are leaving once again.

A family gathering was had today, with Linda’s side, at Maxine’s house. Paul’s birthday was one reason and daughter Samantha leaving again for Brisbane was another reason for the bar-b-que gathering.


Thursday 9th January, (Launceston).

My end result of thinking about the caravan park in Hobart is that it is not a bad park after all, it was just that we were put in an area that wasn’t the best as the park was rather full. Up on top of the hill there were some rather good spots with a view over the river, it would have been much nicer if we were placed up there.

We have now moved back to Launceston and camped at the park at Legana. We are on our way back to Beaconsfield for a few days and decided to stay here for a couple of days while I get some maintenance done on the car. Speaking of which, one of these days I might get the car running 100% again, I am at the moment having an intermittent misfiring problem. The car is booked in tomorrow for replacement plug leads, as I believe I have proven that to be the problem. The area in which they are failing is where they cross over the rocker cover and touch the metalwork, I have placed a piece of insulation material under the leads but they eventually broke down through that as well. Taking the leads out of their support brackets and letting them run free got them away from the cover and made a great difference although there is still a minor problem, I think perhaps it may be where the leads actually touch each other. Replacing them tomorrow will reveal if they are in fact the sole reason for the problem. Other than that all the work I have done to the car since being home, maintenance and rearranging the load, has seemed to make a marked difference to the performance while towing, but I guess we will find out when we return the big island.

We were going to go back to Kelso while we visit the Beaconsfield area and then back to Matt’s, but I am now thinking we may stay here for a couple more days and make day trips to Beaky, probably cheaper than carting the van down there.

We will put the solar panels to a full test over the next couple of days as we forgot to switch the van fridge off 12 volts when we arrived today and completely flattened the battery. I guess it has finally getting a full cycle charge-discharge.


Sunday 5th January, (Hobart).

Painting is finished and looking at the finished job makes the effort all worthwhile.

On our way to Hobart today I called on brother-in-law, Freckles, and utilised his skills, and welder, to do a couple of jobs for me. The second gas bottle bracket on the draw bar needed welding on to the frame and I also got him to cut the wheel off the jockey wheel and replace it with a metal plate. This will overcome the problem of having the front of the caravan too low when parked on an uneven block at parks, which does occasionally happen. The problem when it does happen is fiddling about jacking the front of the van up high enough to get the jockey wheel fitted, by replacing the wheel with a plate the length of the jockey wheel is reduced by about three inches and the bottom of the same is almost level with the under side of the draw bar.

That all being done satisfactorily, we have now moved on to Hobart. We chose a park at Berriedale, mainly because it is close to Cadburys, and after moving in our thoughts of the park seem to be a little negative, even though we haven’t yet had much of a look around, but our thoughts may be premature. The cost was the first setback, being several dollars dearer than what we expected, to our mind it was a bit expensive for a Tasmanian park. The park is situated on the edge of the Derwent River and has the potential to be a top caravan park, but so far the impression I have is that it is far from that expectation. A few days here may reflect a different attitude, we will have to wait and see. I have left my park report for a few days for that same reason.


Friday 3rd January.

I have been busy for the last two days, after our Georgetown visit yesterday, painting the container and I have learned one thing; I have forgotten what it is like to do a days work. It was a good idea to paint the container, as it did need it, but this idea of working all day only reinforces my ideas that it would be nice to never have to indulge in that drudgery ever again. It has been worth it for the exercise value if nothing else, and it should be finished tomorrow.


Wednesday 1st January 2003 (Kelso).

Well here we are in the new year, and hopefully this year will be a new adventure for us as we plan a trip to cover the rest of the round trip of the large island that we have not done yet. We plan on travelling to South Australia on our return and then up the centre and down the west coast, but that is in the future.

We are at present at Kelso, on the mouth of the Tamar river at a very nice local caravan park. We were getting a little restless and decided that we needed a break and get away for a week or so and visit a few areas we had intended.

We have enjoyed our time in Tassie, with Matthew, Lou and family and also with friends, I have met with a few old work mates and still have a few we must catch up with when we return to Matt’s for the remainder of our stay.

A quiet time was spent at Christmas, with Louisa at long last getting the opportunity to have the entire day spent at her place, with family having dinner there.

We visited Bruce and Di, with other family, to see in the new year and a quiet evening was spent just sitting around talking. It turned out to be an interesting evening for me, as all the others there are Christians and are staunch believers, and as expected most of the conversation for the evening was made up of each of them sharing their ideas and beliefs with each other. With me being one that is not a disbeliever, but not sharing the same beliefs as the others, it was a change for me to just mostly sit and listen to their ideas as, apart from years gone by when religion was forced upon me, I have not shown any concern for any of the ideas of Christians, and as I am not one to condone them for having their beliefs, it was rather interesting to just sit and listen. Some of the time I admit I did think some of their ideas were a little over the top, especially when criticism was made against people of a particular different faith as if they had no right whatsoever of doing so, as if the faith of the one of the people present (Christianity) was the only one anybody should have. I guess though that this is there prerogative and I am certainly not one to criticise.

We have had a nice bit of rain throughout Tassie over the last couple of days and it would be nice to think that the rest of the country has shared in it as well.

A phone call from sister Joan indicates that a cousin from England is in Tassie visiting and another cousin, Margaret from down south Tassie, is introducing him to as many rellies as possible, so it looks like a trip to George town tomorrow to meet him. This will mean a delay to my painting of the shipping container expedition, but we will get it done.