Brisbane

Wednesday 28th September, (Brisbane).

We had a trip to the Gold Coast yesterday to see Tony and Brenda. It was nice to see them again, even though they did visit me while on the Sunshine Coast, but Linda hasn’t seen them for a fair while. It was a pity that we only had half a day with them because we obviously had a bit of catching up to do, but the day seemed to be over before we knew it and we had to go home. The other option was to go and stay there for a couple of days on our way down the coast, but costs are too high down that way at the moment.

We are having another problem with Matthew and our mail again: We expected our mail when we arrived here, or a day or two later, and it still isn’t here. It turned out that they had forgotten to mail it so it was sent on Wednesday last week, so we will have to just sit and wait for it. We have even gotten to the stage of booking our site for another week just in case it isn’t here before Friday. This is a very strong case as to why we should consider one of those redirection services, we would but the cost is a little off-putting.

A small world it is: I was talking to another Tasmanian couple the other day and got into a conversation about people I might know from the Hobart area after telling them that I worked for Telstra. Do you know such and such etc? Do you know Mr X? (Name withheld). This name rang a bell to the extent that when I was in Hobart in first year, 1966, Mr X started in the same year. I mentioned this and started to have the recollection of when one evening another workmate and myself caught a bus to the other side of the river to meet up with a couple of young girls he had somehow gotten familiar with. In my naivety of childhood I didn’t realise at the time that one of the 13 year olds was coming on to me. It was later in the evening that I learned that this girl was in fact the younger sister of Mr X, and I was given a warning from Mr X to leave his sister alone. I was almost about to make some comment to this couple along those lines of my thoughts when I was interrupted with the comment “I am Mr X’s younger sister, 3 years his junior”. This was the convenient point to promptly change the subject, I thought, and make no further comments.

Today we are just having a lazy day; Linda is not feeling the best so it’s not a bad idea, perhaps the heat is starting to get to her.

Friday 30th September, (Brisbane still).

Dramas with receiving mail are still happening with it still not arriving. The most important thing I was hopeful of getting in this mail delivery was an assessment of my income tax return to find out if I owed them anything or not and finalise it while here. I went for a visit to the ATO today to find out if they could give me details so I would then not be reliant on receiving the mail. Would you believe that they informed me that I actually received a refund about 3 weeks ago: “How does one receive a refund when one didn’t pay any taxes?” was my question to the receptionist, and her answer was “If I were you I wouldn’t ask any more questions”. I then went back home and checked my bank statements and found that I did in fact receive the refund and didn’t notice it, so I think I will just leave things at that.

If the mail doesn’t turn up before we leave, which is now Tuesday, I will get the caravan park to forward it on to Melbourne when it does arrive, assuming it does. There is nothing I know about in the mail that over concerns me so it is now no real drama.

We have now booked ourselves into Apollo Gardens in Melbourne for two months at this stage that will take us up until early January. After that we have decided to just take things as they come. It turns out that if we intend being in Melbourne in March we will have to book and pay for it now, because the Commonwealth games are on and they are nearly booked out already. With it being uncertain as to what we will actually be doing I am not going to pay for a booking if there is a chance we may not want to be there, so hence from January on we will take things as they come This may even mean moving out of the Melbourne district for that month, but shit happens.

Brisbane

Friday 23rd September, (Brisbane).

A lucky break yesterday when I went to Camec, a mega caravan spare parts store, to find some details of replacing a broken window on the van. After asking the appropriate questions their answer was that they don’t do replacements but recommended a mobile maintenance company, Action caravans. I called them and they have been out and replaced the broken window, and maintained the axle, wheel bearings and such. Now I can head off on our travels with the knowledge that all is ok with the wheels. All that is now left to work out is if the tyres are now going to last without destroying themselves.

Sunday 25th September, (Brisbane).

We had a trip to the northern Moreton Bay area yesterday to have a look around Redcliffe and Sandgate area. It is quite a nice area down that way with the exception that there is not much in the way of beaches. We had a look at several caravan parks while there and weren’t really impressed with what we saw. It seems that not many tourists visit that area, especially Victorians and such coming to stay for winter, because all the parks seemed to be filled mostly with permanents. There was one park up on the tip at Redcliffe that we would maybe consider, but it didn’t seem to offer much in the way of security, but it maybe ok for a short visit. There seems to be a fair bit to do to occupy ones-self in the area, as there are plenty of walking/bike tracks around the coastline. We will keep it in mind for the future.

I have gotten myself into a bit of a dilemma with electrical faults that a fellow camper is having. We met this couple on the day we moved in but have not seen much of them since because they have spent most of their time at the church convention that Matt and Lou were going to come up for. Now that the conference is over we have had a bit of a get together and out of it mainly came a list of problems they are having with their van. After some conversation and looking I have decided that the main problem is that they have all these new fangled charging systems and solar panels and they really have no idea of how it is all supposed to work. On the other hand they were never instructed on how it all should work.

One of the main so-called problems was when they had a new battery installed, replacing a Marine battery with a deep cycle one, and they had the impression that not much worked since. It turns out that the problem with the solar not providing any charge is a result of the battery charger they have installed takes over charge while 240V in connected due to it maintaining the battery at a voltage that prevent the solar regulator switching to charge mode. He must have only monitored after the 240V was connected. Maybe with the old battery the level was down sufficiently to still apply a charge for a short while after the 240V was connected? I disconnected the battery charger this morning and after a short while the solar system did take over charging, so obviously there is nothing wrong.

One other major problem was with the power inverter they have fitted to the van. There is a large switch installed in the van that I could only assume, from ill-advised information I received from them, was to change over from exterior mains to inverter mains. When I threw the switch to see what happened the exterior 240V was then connected to the output of the inverter and it obviously doesn’t have any protection for this situation, so consequently a large bang was heard from the direction of the inverter and when I went to look a large cloud of smoke was emanating from the inverter. I guess this meant the end of one inverter, I now feel as I should discuss with him as to whether he would intend that I should replace the unit, but I feel that I should try to convince him that somebody was going to do exactly what I did one other day and have the same results. I guess we will have to see what happens.

Another problem was that since the battery was changed the water pump for his tank water hasn’t worked. When I went in to see how to operate the pump, in their absence, I pushed the lever on the tap I consider to be the one for tank water and water came out of it. One can only assume that considering water doesn’t run uphill that the pump must be working, assuming that was the tank water tap? They will be home from church soon so I will have another talk to them and try to sort that one out.

Brisbane

Sunday 18th September, (Brisbane).We have now moved to Brisbane, but not after having a little drama yesterday. Linda discovered she had a tick attached to her stomach, so we had a trip to the local hospital to have it checked out. They applied some aeroguard to kill it and then removed it with tweezers. She also had to have a Tetanus booster, so her arm is a little sore today.

We have decided that even though the reason we came to Brisbane, to meet Matt and Lou for the week, has fallen through, so we would stay a week anyway and have a bit of a look around. In all the trips we have had here before we haven’t seen a great deal because we basically only came to see Deris and Danny. They have since moved to Cairns so we now have a full week here to ourselves.

Wednesday 21st September, (Brisbane).

I have had a couple of maintenance days, lubricating window catches and such. This was one of those things that I now realise that should be done on a regular basis. The problem with having our first ever van is that one is not aware, or doesn’t think of, most of the regular things that do need maintenance.

I also helped out Roger in the van next door who had a problem with the lights on his van. It turned out to be the socket at the front, so I convinced him that the large 7-pin connecter is the only really efficient connecter to use, due to its large pins, and we fitted this type as a replacement. He is now extremely happy considering the good job we did of it.

I also rang Vince, whom we met at Bargara, and discussed again the possibility of him purchasing my old Maxon Mini-max mobile unit, and it turns out he has purchased one of his own. They are parked just down from us, so they are going to visit some time.

Esk

Thursday 15th September, (Esk).

We moved yesterday about 130Km south toward Brisbane to a small town of Esk. We had heard a few stories about Esk in our travels and decided to check it out. It seems funny that we had heard about Esk and not all the other small towns in the area. There are quite a few that looked quite nice, probable equal to or even better than Esk, so this will be an area to remember and come back to stay at the other small towns when we have some free time.

We have done our usual thing today and walked the town taking photos. This didn’t take long as there was basically only one street to walk, but interesting all the same. One thing that took my notice was the inclusion of the mountains as a backdrop to some of the shots.

The caravan park probably deserves no more praise than most we have stayed in, but it is a nice quiet place to stay for a while.

Friday 16th September, (Esk).

Today saw us tour around the lakes in the area, Somerset and Wivenhoe, which are the main water supplies for Brisbane. The lakes are actually quite large, even considering they are down to about 30%, and the dams holding them are equally large.

We then sat down and discussed our travel possibilities for next year, and semi decided we want to go to Darwin and down the West coast. The main problem, if it is that, is that Narrelle and Matt look like being in Melbourne until at least June 2006 and this will mean it is a bit late, temperature wise, to go through the outback. Looking at temperatures it looks as though if we were to make a few long trips with short stays we could be in Bourke, or close by where the temperatures will start to increase, in a week or two so we will only have to put up with the cold for a short while. This is of coarse if we can handle the weather in Melbourne for that long.

Friday night is the usual bar-b-que evening in Esk Caravan Park and we of coarse attended. At $5.00 per head for hamburgers and desert was well worth it, and the getting together with others.

Kingaroy

Friday 9th September, (Kingaroy).

An interesting day was had today. We decided to travel back the way we came and have a look at some of the small towns we passed through on the way up here, and Bjelke Petersen dam. All went well until we decided to visit another dam close to Kingaroy, and on the way back out the gravel road I destroyed a rear tyre on the car, must have hit a rock. This meant, that considering both tyres were low on tread, two new tyres had to be purchased for the rear, and considering the front tyres were nearly bald and out of balance they had to be replaced as well. Another $460.00 to blow this months budget completely.

After the tyres were replaced I went to collect my newly modified cable. There was an explanation from them how they had to fudge the termination job, as the cable was the wrong size for the connector. This didn’t worry me too much so long as it worked, and you guessed it the thing failed, it resulted in no service at all. Upon investigation I found that there was no connection from their new connector to the adapter plug that screwed into it. I then returned the cable and we found that the connector must have been done incorrectly, as the centre pin didn’t protrude far enough and lack contact with the other plug, so they are going to have to redo it and I am going to have to wait now until Monday.

Tuesday 13th September, (Kingaroy).

All packed up now ready for another move tomorrow. We are planning on a short trip to a small town called Esk, about half way between Kingaroy and Brisbane. We have heard a few stories about the caravan park there so we will check it out.

I finally got my cable for the mobile broadband unit back, and this time it appears to work efficiently. They discovered that not only did the pin not protrude far enough; they had actually severed the cable and caused a short between the inner and outer. Another attempt at terminating a connector and this time a few modifications were made to make the connector suit the cable, and it seems to have worked. Using it over the next few months will tell.

We attended the peanut festival here on Saturday and I suppose it was something to do to fill in part of the day. It was probably no different than any festival we have seen at any other town, meaning there didn’t seem to be much of a connection with peanuts, but it was entertaining though.

Another visit to Bunya Mountains filled in the day yesterday. We have visited them before, a couple of years ago from Dalby, but Linda had a sore leg that trip and no bush walking was done. We did do a 5Km walk yesterday, and although it was another rainforest it did have its differences that made it a rather worthwhile venture.

Car racing, Sandown 500, filled in Sunday and packing in a leisurely manner filled in today, but I still look back and wonder where the week has gone that we have spent here at Kingaroy.