Friday 5th January, (Launceston).

It is now at a point of no return, we have vacated the house and the new tenants have moved in. We found that we had more work to do than originally thought because while we were at Beaconsfield Jason and Angie moved all the gear out of the lounge room, which we had prepared for Narrelle and Matt to sleep in on their visit, and then ripped up all the carpet. When we returned we had to rearrange things again to make the lounge room liveable. In addition to this we found that we were rearranging things several times because they had upset our plans of leaving the lounge and kitchen areas alone until we had moved out, so we have been a lot busier than we had originally estimated.

One thing that surprises us about them painting the house is their colour selection. I’m sure that I would not prefer to sleep in a bedroom painted a darkish blue and I’m sure that that colour would make the rooms rather dark.

Nelle and Matt turned up on Thursday the 28th and we started to enjoy a little relaxation in taking trips with them such as to Hobart on Saturday, but it didn’t last long as we found that their was still a lot of things to do so we could move out of the house.

The folks at the church that Linda and Matthew attend gave us a send off on New Years Eve, which was quite touching, as most of Linda’s close friends are people she had been associated with since she has been attending the church. This send off really made Linda realise that she was going to miss a lot of people after we head off on our trip to the big island, but her longing to return there easily overcomes any sorrow she may have.

Anyway all that is behind us now and Linda is just starting to realise how busy she has really been over the last few weeks as we have now moved out of the yard and are camped at Scamander and really relaxing for a change. We plan on staying here until Tuesday when we must return to Launceston for a doctor’s appointment for Linda on Wednesday. From there we will go to Beaconsfield on Wednesday evening so Freckles, brother in-law, can do some welding for me building a new bracket to hold the extra spare wheel to the rear bumper bar and then on to Devonport to spend a couple of days before we board the boat.



The Lead-up to the Big Trip

Friday 8th December, (Launceston).

This chapter wasn’t going to start until we headed off on the big trip, but I feel as though I have to start now as the last week and a half since we have been home things have not been normal.

When we arrived in Launceston, before we reached home, we both said to each other that we really did not want to be back, we had enjoyed our time touring so much that all we want to do is go back. We then realised that we weren’t going to be happy going back until we had sold the house and had no hang-ups or ties to what was home when we finally return to the mainland.

Our first concern was to sell the house. I was a little concerned that the agent we engaged to sell the house while we were gone wasn’t doing enough along those lines for us as we had heard nothing at all from him while we were away. The first thing was to read the agreement that we had made so that we could decide what we could do in regard to employing other agents, then it was to our amazement to find out that we were tied to the agreement with this agent for 120 days which is at this stage only half over. The fault is mainly ours that we let the situation occur but I feel we were coerced into signing the agreement at the time by the agent who was telling us that there was no need to read it because it was only a standard agreement, and as we were in a rush to leave for the mainland we did not think about it any more and just signed. We were then led to believe that it was only a 30-day agreement. This discovery put pay to any ideas to employ any other agents, especially when the agent refused to release us from the agreement when I asked.

Then an amazing phone call from Jason and Angie, a couple we know through the church that Linda attends, basically suggesting a rental of our house for a lengthy period on the basis that if we didn’t sell they could house sit while they saved some money for a deposit for a house. I didn’t think much more about it until I spoke to Paster Rob at the church while I was discussing other matters with him, but that is another story. He suggested to me that after hearing about the arrangement, and the fact that they were very sincere, he thought it was a good idea, on the basis that we have trouble selling. Further discussions with Jason and Angie had them coming up with an idea of rental purchase on the basis of a standard contract arrangement that he learned on one of his jobs as a real estate agent himself. It appears to work on the lines that they will pay a predetermined amount per week as if renting for twelve months, and then pending raising finance, guarantee they will purchase the house. They will be responsible for all maintenance on the house, including payment of rates, during the period of rental. The rental payed will then be refunded to them and become part of the deposit and they pay us a predetermined amount for the house. In the event they cannot raise finance the amounts payed as rental become ours. This whole idea seams to be one where we will lose over the 12 month period, but I see it as no different to the original idea of theirs of renting for 12 months and then staying in the house until we sold it, and we can now return to the mainland basically knowing that we have a sale and all our concerns having hassles at home will be non existent.

I have made bookings on the ferry to Melbourne on the 15th of January and can now only look forward to returning for our epic journey.

Further discussions with centerlink since we returned home revealed details of what was required of us, or me, to be eligible for the “New start” allowance. I would not be required to look for work as was previously thought, but instead I would qualify if I undertook part in voluntary work of a total of 32 hours per fortnight, hence the discussions with Paster Rob. I thought that it would be appropriate if I were to work for the church. As it turned out the church did not have any work that I could partake in and in any event I started to consider that these requirements were for me to work almost half the time I did previously for only about a quarter of the pay. My idea of taking the redundancy originally was to never have to work again, so I will have to give serious consideration to what actions I will have to take to try to make Linda eligible for her partner share of the allowance if I don’t partake in the voluntary work as her payment is dependant on my making a claim. I am only going to be eligible for the allowance until we return to the mainland anyway but seeing Linda does not have any other requirements to receive her allowance I will have to investigate if there is a way for her to receive her allowance without me having to claim.

I am at present camping on my own at Devonport for the weekend to test a modification to the suspension of the panel van and enjoy some fishing with A. Ray before going home to finally pack up the house for departure. The suspension test didn’t really prove anything because of a high head wind but the car did appear to tow the caravan in a more economical way even with the wind. The weather is not real good so I might even miss out on fishing anyway, not that I am going to miss Andrews request that I join him on the boat at 5:00 AM in the morning, but we will see what eventuates.

Andrew rang back later in the evening cancelling the 5.00 AM fishing due to the weather so we will see what eventuates and I will visit him later in the morning to see what happens.

Tuesday 19/12/00, (Launceston).

It has been a while since I have sat down to write more, but we have been busy preparing to vacate the house, which we have almost achieved. Another trip with gear to Paul’s place should just about do the trick and then we will live from the caravan. All going well with emptying the house we might get some local travelling in over the Christmas- New year period so that we can sit back and relax after all the work up until now.

Andrew and I did get to go on a fishing trip while I was in Devonport and we actually caught a decent catch of flathead. We visited what Andrew called a new spot he had found and it proved fruitful as past trips had not proved as successful.


Thursday 16th, (Melbourne).

We have had enough of Wang, or at least the caravan park as it has a continuous smell close to that of a sewer. Linda, with her keener sense of smell, seems to think it is the trees which are full of blossom, small flowers which fell all around all over everything which could also be the reason that I have been sneezing a lot since we had been there.

We have now moved on to Melbourne and staying at a park near Greensborough where Narrelle lives. We had thought about having a trip down the King river and after deciding to leave Wang we also thought about taking the van via King river but according to the map the terrain in the area could be rather mountainous so a decision was made to bypass it.

We had also originally decided to stay a night or two at Seymour but when we arrived there and not being over-impressed with the looks of the parks in the locality, we decided to go straight to Melbourne. The fact that we would be closer to family probably over influenced us to make these decisions though.

Today was spent wandering around the Greensborough Plaza shopping centre. The place is so large, at least a lot larger than I am used to. Linda and I went our separate ways, I had to look for a couple of items I needed to install in the caravan and Linda had her things to do. Then a phone call from Linda to have a look at a sewing machine she wanted, and she was outside the plaza and across the street, and I then spent about 20 minutes trying to work out how to get out of the place. I guess I will leave the shopping to her in future, the same as she always has in the past.

Sunday 26th, (Melbourne).

We moved to Melbourne caravan park on Monday as it is closer to where the wedding reception is going to be held, and it turns out it is closer to Narrelle’s anyway.

I haven’t put words to paper for over week now because we have been flat out finalising the last minute details for the wedding and I have had the job of ferrying everyone from and to the airport and else-where so the week has been just like that so nothing to say.

The wedding was a blast, the content surprising everyone including myself even after I attended the practice the night before. Even though the content was based on tradition, all was rearranged to suit Nelle and Matts needs with their religious beliefs and all, and the end result was just something that nobody who was in attendance will ever forget, of that I am sure.

As all that is left to do is to pack up the campsite ready for going home tomorrow and then the boat trip I guess this would be an appropriate place to end this chapter. We are looking forward very much to returning on our non-stop venture touring the large island next year.


Monday 13th, (Wangaratta).

We have moved on to Wang (Wangaratta) just in time to have a little look around before it rained again. Linda has found that there is a cheese factory in the area, she just must visit cheese factories, and yes we will visit there tomorrow, it’s about 15k down the road.

I am wondering about the variations in fuel prices. During the entirety of this trip the news stories have kept saying fuel prices are going up, which they have as we were travelling around the border of NSW. Now that we are travelling back toward Melbourne the fuel prices at Wang are 5 cents cheaper, both unleaded and gas, so I will keep my eye open and see what happens. The price of gas crept up to 62 cents at Albury, which was almost at the price that would not make it cheaper to use. When I build up a few miles for fuel comparisons I will have to work out a price that would be the point at which it would not be any cheaper to use.


Wednesday 8th, (Albury).

I am quite surprised that it has been so long since I have added something to the Memoirs, I must prompt myself to sit myself in front of the PC almost every night because I have a tendency to forget some of the fine details of what we have done.

We are now at Albury and have been here since yesterday. We had an experience with a caravan park on arrival at Albury that has prompted me to not only not recommend this particular park but also deter people from staying there. We had decided to stay at a park near Lake Hume because we have to meet Narrelle and Matt near there on Saturday, so to make sure I rang up this park on Wednesday to confirm that they would have space for 6 days and the answer was “yes, plenty of room, just front up and pick your spot and we will take it from there”. Upon arrival we were directed to a section within the park to pick a spot only to find that all spots were on slopes and, or there was a lack of room for me to manoeuvre the caravan into them. There were two spots that we would have been happy with so we returned to the office to book in. “How many days are we looking at?” was the question, “six nights” was the answer. “I’m sorry those two spots are booked from Friday so you will have to pick another”, “I don’t want any other spot”, “well you will have to go elsewhere”, so we did. We ended up at a Big 4 park that we would have normally picked anyway.

Before we left Yarra we did go to Corowa to check out the market. Expecting some thing like the Evandale market at home, which is quite large held on several acres, we were quite surprised to find that this market was no bigger than the average garage sale I have seen back home, but all was not wasted, we had a look around and on the way home we stumbled on the Bundy Cutter Championship. This was a contest of racing ride on lawn mowers held in the back yard of the pub at Bundalong. This turned out to be a very entertaining few hours with the comical aspect of how some people had modified their machines. One of the rules was that at some stage the machines had to be capable of mowing grass, this looked a mere impossibility for some of those Cutters.

We had a ride on a ferry around the lake, which was relaxing, they provided a bar-b-cue lunch, which was very nice, and the whole 1 ½ hour trip plus meal was only $15.00 per head.

Thursday 9th November, 16 more sleeps, (Albury).

Brakes have been fixed and I am happy now that they are working almost as they should, a couple of days when they bed in should tell. I will feel a little more relaxed towing the caravan from now on.

We had a trip around Lake Hume today and around the area that Matts parents live, which will give me an idea where we will be going on Saturday. The dam across the river, which forms the lake, is rather impressive.

WE visited the Ettamogah Pub today and were disappointed in the appearance of the building. I visited the pub a couple of years ago and can’t remember having this feeling then. It has the appearance of a brand new building in the shape that everybody expects. Although it resembled what I saw before it just looked too new.

Having the brakes on the car looked at tomorrow at a Ford dealer just up the road, because I really have not been happy with them ever since I had new discs and pads fitted last year. The ABS doesn’t seem to work properly, I’m not making excuses for running into that car before we left the state but it certainly could have had something to do with it. The mechanic who looked at it agreed that I should replace the pads with genuine replacements because he has experienced the same problems before, but the discs, which I would be quite happy for them to replace as well if it would fix the problem, he said would be ok after they are machined. So I will take it in tomorrow and we will see what happens.

I will certainly feel a lot happier towing the caravan if I can improve the brakes to what they were before, even though they do work sufficiently now.

A catastrophe the other day when it appears that I have lost all my photos for the time period from Geelong and arriving at Cobram. I hate to admit it but everything I had saved, photos that is, on the CD disappeared into software heaven and I haven’t been able to access them since. I have kept the disc on the hope that someone some day might find a way to access them. In the meantime I decided to read the instructions to operate the CD writer and have decided that I was using it incorrectly. This is unfortunately a fault of mine, when it fails read the instructions.

Ronald & Linda Tew, All over the countryside