Wednesday 29th November 2006, (Windang).
We have now been in Windang for a month now, and where has the time gone? We haven’t done, or seen, anywhere as much as we would have liked to, but with the weather not being so good and having friends here it is not so unusual that this is the case. The time to leave is now upon us and we have decided that this time of year is probably not the ideal time to visit this area because of the high winds, so we might just leave this area for another visit early one year and spend some time around here when the weather might be a little better.
We have actually had other things happening to keep us quite busy, such as the new PDA (GPS) and the new Satellite TV, and we have now bought Linda a new laptop, need I say any more. We also had our own little Xmas celebration on Thursday while we were here with friends, this also includes some people we have become friends with while here, especially seeing these other friends are not going to be with family for Xmas this year. There was also my birthday on Saturday that also called for a celebration of sorts, so others were invited around that evening for tea.
As I have already said it is now time for us to move on, mainly because the grandkids in Melbourne can’t wait for us to get down there, so it will be a move from here on Friday probably to Ulladulla for a while before then making our way to Melbourne.
Friday 24th November 2006.
More dilemmas with the GPS with the new software discs turning up yesterday. I loaded it onto my laptop and had a play with it. I noticed it has the facility to download software to the PDA unit if versions are of a later version, of which these new discs were. Turning on the GPS this morning ready for some travels revealed that I must have done something last night and the GPS refused to load up. It turned out to be somewhat of a blessing as the laptop software can create a new SD card software that is of the very latest software. I had to uninstall the GPS from the PDA and reload it, but all is now working well.
After all this we finally managed to get some touring in today and had a look around the Wollongong area and the Botanic Gardens. These gardens would have to be among the better that we have seen on our travels.
Tuesday 21st November 2006, (Windang).
More dramas with electrics this time, with the battery in the caravan failing. I forgot to turn on the trickle charger last night, as I usually do so the battery doesn’t discharge too much, and after about 4 hours of running the TV, voltage dropped enough to for it to fail. An inspection today revealed that the electrolyte (acid) level was way down, and it had occurred to me that in the four years we have had the battery I had never checked it. This could have been an expensive lesson. A visit to a battery shop revealed that the acid was in fact almost non existent, so a decision was made to refill it with some fresh acid to try to revive it. Indications were that we may have caused too much damage, but it was worth a try, especially seeing there was no charge for filling it. I have now reinstalled it and placed a small charge into it for the evening and the next couple of days testing will reveal the condition. When it was installed indications were that it did have a reasonable charge within already so this may be a reasonably good sign.
I also had a small problem with the new GPS with some software provided with the unit to install on a laptop to use for pre-planning trips. When I attempted to load the software I discovered that one of the discs was incorrectly labelled, and I actually had two data discs instead of an installation disc and a data disc. It will be interesting how cooperative the support people for the unit will be, as they seemed too keen to assist. They requested that I send an email explaining the problem and give our current address so they could send me a new set of discs, so now we wait and see if they in fact turn up in the two days that they assured me they would.
Wednesday 22nd November 2006.
We are still experiencing all types of weather that nature can throw at us. Today would have to gotten to 40 odd degrees until this afternoon when a southerly change came in and the temperatures dropped about 20 degrees in a matter of minutes. The wind accompanying the southerly change would have to be the strongest we have experienced while travelling, and it did have everyone in the caravan park scrambling to make sure their awnings were safe. Ours did cope very well, but I was a little concerned. Anyway all is calm at the moment so lets hope that is it for a while.
Monday 20th November 2006, (Windang).
Another week without putting words down because I have been busy. The weather has still been awful so I have had plenty of time to consider the purchase of the satellite unit. I did make the purchase and have spent some time getting it going, and then working out where to store it during our travels. We would not intend using the satellite when we do have terrestrial digital, but I am sure it will get some use in future. I do intend getting it out on our next few stops for practice.
I did also buy a new GPS unit and have also spent a fair bit of time playing with that. It does perform a myriad of functions more than the old one, so I do consider that it was a worthwhile purchase. It is incorporated in a PDA unit so it will take a fair bit more playing to work out how to use all the functions it does provide. With all that I have spent though, I am going to have to tighten my belt for a while.
One can see now why I have not had time to sit behind the keyboard for a week or so.
We do intend being here for another week or so before we head south toward Melbourne.
Tuesday 14th November 2006, (Windang).
The inclement weather over the last couple of days has given me a chance to do a little maintenance around the van.
An idea given to me by our next door neighbour was implemented yesterday. His idea was to adapt some inner pieces of timber, but in my case plastic, up the inside of the outside table legs that are adjustable up or down to allow the table to be levelled on uneven ground. This was a tremendous idea and worked very well, as Linda now uses the table for outside cooking and it does make a big difference with the table being level.
I accompanied the next door neighbour, Adrian Bower, to Super-Cheap Auto today, as he wanted some parts for caravan light repairs, and while there I remembered that one of my side lights was not in top condition so I purchased a new one while there. When I attempted to dismantle the old one I was extremely surprised to find that it had been full of water and completely rusted out, so a good decision to buy a new one. This of coarse prompted me to check all other small side lights, and to no surprise now that several needed work on them. Now all are in good working order.
I also needed to purchase a park light globe to relace a blown one and decided to go to a local electronics shop. (For reference the shop name is Mad Electronics, 282 Windang Rd Windang, 2528. Phone 02 4297 7373, email firstname.lastname@example.org) This was because I also had the idea of asking questions about GPS navigators as I am contemplating upgrading the cheapy that I purchased last year, as I now know want I would like a unit to do for me. After pointing out what conditions I wanted to be included in a unit the salesman indicated that one unit he had would perform all these functions plus a lot more. I then went home and downloaded an operators manual from the internet and was extremely surprised with what I discovered. The unit was actually a hand held computer (PDA I believe is the term) with built in GPS functions. I started to ponder that with the unit costing around the price I was expecting to pay for a GPS alone, that if it does perform the required tasks, I would have the added facilities provided by the PDA. The only thing I could not find in the 120 page manual was the instructions for the actual GPS function, I guess that it must be built into the help menu of the unit. I intend going back tomorrow to see if we can fire up the unit so I can investigate further.While at the shop I also noticed that he had a deal on Satellite television, with all included for $799.00. This even included a level meter. I am now giving serious consideration to making this purchase as it would have to be about the best deal I have seen for this service in all our travels. Satellite would be very useful when we do make our journey across the west.
Sunday 12th November 2006, (Windang).
Still not a great deal done due to the weather not being cooperative, but we will get to do and see what we want one day.
Today saw the local truck run for handicapped kids, and it was longer than one could attempt to explain. I heard this strange engine noise at 8 o’clock when I woke up and although they were moving very slowly they were still going past at 11 o’clock when I went to have a look. Stories have it that there were in excess of 500 trucks in the parade, and I would have thought it would have been more.
Wednesday 8th November 2006, (Windang).We have decided to stay here for possibly 3 weeks as the area is spectacular and we would like to see as much as we can.
The weather fined up a little today so we went for a drive around the area for a familiarisation look, and we did like what we saw. There are some immaculate scenic points along the coast showing almost the entire area of Wollongong and surrounds. It became overcast during our drive so it was decided not to take too many pictures and come back another day when it is fine.
Just south of Stanwell park, about 30 Km north of Wollongong, there has been a bridge constructed along the coast, different than most bridges this one doesn’t cross a river, but goes around the coastline where it is very steep and the old road collapsed. This is supposedly Sydney’s answer to Victorias Great Ocean Road. I will insert pictures when I get some good ones.
Sunday 5th November 2006, (Windang).Back in April 2004 I made comment about how we were having trouble with water pressure at Legana caravan park, and how it kept popping our hose joints apart and caused a leak in the caravan. We have found that Windang has a similarly high water pressure, if not higher than that of Legana, and we are now once again experiencing water leaks. Legana has since fixed the problem by installing a pressure limiter on the feed to the caravan park, so we have not had the problem on other occasions we have visited there since.
The problem is that the water inlet to the van has a built in pressure limiter, but its maximum inlet pressure rating is only about 180lb and the mains pressure was a lot higher than this so the result was a leak from the seals within the pressure limiter on the van. We have not experienced the problem anywhere else in Aus. until we arrived here. The day we checked in I did notice the mains pressure was quite high, but didn’t think about it any more until another van, that had also just checked in, popped a hose off a tap inside the van and resulted in flooding the van. The owners had in the mean time gone out so were unaware until they came home, but we had turned off their water in the mean time.
This got me remembering our previous problems so we kept an eye on our previous leak area and sure enough we had another leak. We had a choice to make: Either turn off our water and just use water from the tank, but this was extremely inconvenient, or buy a pressure limiter and mount it in line with our water hose. The later option was selected although it was rather expensive, but it does seem to be working well and I do now have a limiter that can be used anywhere.
I just can’t get away from fixing TV problems with other travellers. There is a couple just behind us that were experiencing extreme problems and it was learned by them, from the friends we came here to visit, that I was the one that had a little knowledge, so I got called upon. I am not surprised they had trouble, with two faults with the cable between the outer and inner van sockets. A bit of fiddling, repairing and working now sees them with good reception, so we can both retire tonight very happy. I do still get satisfaction from helping people in that situation.
It is now starting to look like we may be here for a couple of weeks as since we have been here it has blown and rained and we have not had a chance to see or do anything, so we do intend staying here till we do get to see something of the district.
Friday 3rd November 2006, (Windang- Shell Harbour).We have had a nice rest after our long trip the other day and have now moved on to Windang Near Shell Harbour, just south of Wollongong. See the map below.
This trip was only about 120 Km, which was a much more enjoyable short trip. We were in this area six years ago on our very first trip when we travelled from Melbourne around the coast north. We haven’t actually stayed in this area as we, last trip, went from Kiama to Sydney. One reason for coming here was to visit some travelling friends that are here, and have since been here decided that we could probably spend a couple of weeks here, so long as the weather improves.
Wednesday 1st October 2006, (Sydney).We did move yesterday and had planned on going half way to Sydney, but there were severe storms forecast for the area that we had thought of stopping, and the same for the next couple of days, so we thought that if we were going to get wet we may as well go all the way. This would have to be one of the longest trips in our entire six years of travel, being in excess of 500 Km and took 71/2 hours, something we would think we would never do again. It seems our decision to go on was a wise one, as the news last night showed how Newcastle had a very severe hail storm not long after we passed the area. It was starting to rain as we did pass Newcastle.
We are going to be here for about 3 days for visiting and doing a couple of things we need to do before heading off to the Wollongong area.