Friday 7th November 2014, Camden.
We would have said that we spent a wonderful week at Swansea if it hadn’t been for the wind, it blew every day. We had a storm one night and at one stage I thought the van was going to be picked up and blown away. Several vans did suffer damage, with one fifth wheeler losing his roll out awning all together, it was actually ripped off the side of the rig.
We are now at Camden, just south of Sydney near Campbelltown, and intend using this caravan park as our place of stopover in Sydney whenever we are passing through this way. It is not far from Sydney, and close enough for visiting sister Sue, she is even closer. The park is a good one and is reasonably cheap, and the same price year round, so if they keep this up we will definitely be using it in future. We had originally intended spending a week here to do some sightseeing but because we stayed a full week at Swansea for tyre repairs we are now only staying four days instead, so we do not take too long getting to Melbourne, I am somewhat time restricted.
Monday 3rd November 2014, Swansea.
We have now done most everything we had to do with regard to repairs after the blown tyre. I have purchased two new tyres, which have been placed on as spares with the two tyres purchased two years ago on and working. The idea is that in a few years, when the workers are 5 years old, the spares will be swapped with the workers, and the workers will become spares. Then when the then workers are 5 years old the spares can be replaced with new ones and become the workers, with the then workers becoming spares because of their age. It all sounds complicated, but to me it seems logical so we then will be replacing tyres every 5 years with all of them doing a fair bit of work.
I didn’t mention the other day about our stroke’(s) of luck when the tyre blew out, we were fortunate that when we came to a stop we were parked in the white line painted section of bitumen between the highway and an off ramp which gave me a bit more room for replacing the wheel. Then just after I started an NRMA tow truck pulled up and parked behind me with his orange warning lights flashing giving all traffic a better warning than my hazard lights would, and they all then gave us a wide berth. This made it a much safer situation, my thanks to them considering they didn’t even put in a claim for payment for their time.
I do still have a couple of things to do with repairs before we go, but they are small tasks that can be done at any time. One of the things is to take off the wheel again to place the dust cap outer cover on the wheel, as I forgot it while the wheel was off. The other is to repair a leak in the tank water pipe that was damaged by the tyre fragments as they dispersed under and out from the caravan, I have the parts so it can be done any time.
We met up with some travelling friends, Coll and Jean, yesterday and had a scenic tour around the Newcastle area. We met them in Beachmere and promised that when we were in their area we would call in for a visit.
Friday 31st October 2014, Swansea.
Another move today takes us on to Swansea, a southern suburb of Newcastle, and not without incidents. It was going to be a long trip today, 360K, longer than we usually do, and the weather was rather warm as well, but I can’t at this stage come up with a reason why one of our caravan tyres should explode and de-tread itself. The tyre pressures were checked only a couple of days ago, and a feel of the temperature of the tyres was made at the previous rest area we stopped at and the ride of the tyre looked good also, so I have no explanation. The particular tyre was one I purchased in St George in 2009 when we had our tyre and brake problems, and has done about 25,000 Kilometres. Perhaps that could be the problem, tyre specialists will tell you that you shouldn’t run tyres over 5 years old, and I guess this tyre was 5 years old.
Anyway we did make it to Swansea and have setup with the roof outside, so we are a bit ‘buggered’ at the moment and have no intention to do any more until whenever. We were originally only going to stay for 4 days, but are now paid for a week to give us a chance to do the repairs. More work to be done some time is repairs to the water hose from the tank underneath as it now has a leak, more than likely caused by part of the disintegrating tyre.
Wednesday 29th October 2014, Macksville.
Amazing isn’t it: We are now at Macksville, a small town that we have passed through on numerous occasions, and seen this caravan park sign on the side of the highway, and have probably never given a second thought to stopping here because it is in the middle of nowhere and is only very small town. The caravan park actually seems to be quite a nice park, a little costly for the area, but one we would come back to in the future, so long as it’s price doesn’t go up too much more. We went into the town to do some shopping and also decided that the town isn’t really that small after all, it even has a ‘Woollies’. Tomorrow the plan is now to go back into town and have a bit of a look around, probably let Linda do her thing while I wander about taking a few photos, it will be a change getting the camera out again. I did charge all the camera batteries the other day in the event this situation might arise.
Tuesday 28th October 2014, Evans Head.
It has happened once again: It has been a situation of sitting in the one spot for too long and I forget to make a regular report. We are now in Evans Head and have been since Saturday. Situated a little south of Ballina/Byron’s Bay we have been here on a couple of occasions in the past, liked the place, hence our return. We had forgotten how windy it can be here, and this trip is no different with us nearly being blown away on Sunday night, then I believe it was the same with strong winds everywhere else as well with Sydney and Melbourne copping the same.
We went for a walk yesterday to a headland just south of town that we have done in the past, but it was unknown whether we completed the walk to the coast line. The track was a little overgrown, and I believe the temperature was extremely high last time, whatever even though the area seemed familiar I did not have any photos from the past so it must be that we called off the walk for whatever reason. There are many walking tracks around town so we have been making the most of them.
It is now time to move on tomorrow to a small town called Macksville, or at least to a caravan park just north of the town.