Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Day 16

  I don't think I've ever camped in a prettier place - well done Dennis and Geraldine

That was my spot on Monday night and I could have stayed longer but when I checked my diary I found I'd booked a site at Smalleys Beach in the Cape Hillsborough National Park from Friday so if I was to spend time with Ray and Jeanette at Point Vernon I had to leave. Former neighbour Ray lives near North Arm and was coming to see me but unfortunately my early departure  prevented that and we had to be content with a nice long phone chat - maybe next year Ray.

It was an easy drive to Hervey Bay despite the ever present roadworks and I was parked on the lawn by 12.30.
Yemmy blends well with Ray and Jeanette's lovely white home

 Ray and Jeanette have both had health issues - Ray with a very bad viral thing that laid him low for quite a few weeks and Jeanette is recovering well from a hip replacement. It was so great to see them again and we sat up yarning after dinner till after midnight!

Because we talked so late the blog didn't get written last night but here it is quite early today. If you want to see how many people have viewed the blog click on comments at the bottom - even if it says 'No Comments'. It was over 900 last time I looked


Monday, 30 May 2016

Day 15

I mentioned that I'd been trying to stitch a panorama together yesterday without success. Well this morning an inspiration came and I took some more shots and stitched them with photoshop. Much easier. Then I traveled up to the Sunshine Coast to have lunch with some Australian Caravan Club friends and Graham who had organised the gathering said" You can just take a pano with your iphone.

Before the mob arrived

He the proceeded to demonstrate how simple it was to do, so tomorrow I'll make a panorama of the lovely place where I'm camped at the moment - the owners are away for a fortnight so I've got the run of the place. I put the panorama on my facebook page but it only showed Kathy on the right not looking her photogenic best - I did delete it.

Here's the photoshop one I did before I left Ray and Helen's this morning. Click it for full view.
The mountains in the background are much clearer in real life
I may stay here another day as it's such a lovely place - it's a wait and see.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Day 14

Just a fortnight tomorrow when I left home and I have packed so much in already. Today has been an at home day and I spent a fair bit of time this morning proof reading our ACC magazine, The Nomad.

I've also been trying to stitch together a panorama of the lovely views but it's a long time since I've used the software and I'm a bit rusty. I'll post some of the shots I took although they are not yet stitched.

The mountains on the skyline are where we drove yesterday!

Tomorrow I'm heading for the Sunshine Coast and having lunch with ACC friends who live in the area. I've been on tagalong tours with a lot of them including the North Island of New Zealand besides out west in Queensland.

It's been a lovely stay here with Ray and Helen and I'll miss Helen's cooking!

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Day 13

What a fabulous day!

Helen packed a picnic lunch and we set off for a tour of parts of Queensland's Scenic Rim - it has glorious scenery but the pics don't do it justice.

The pictures show Mount Maroon and Mount Blarney and there were quite a few tourists about taking pictures.

Clever use of a garden fork!

We had a good look at the homestead at the Mt Blarney resort and were taken by the unusual use of a garden fork!

There were a lot of people visiting the resort and the food stall was doing a good trade. We had our lunch on a grassy patch near the creek - lovely chicken rolls.
Thanks Helen!

On the way back we stopped as a place selling lots of different healthy products like honey, lavender etc.,  plus there were alpaca wool garments for sale with a lady demonstrating spinning alpaca wool.

Lovely mountain backdrop for the alpacas

Strong wind gusts had the alpaca products flying but we helped retrieve them. With our own (really Sue and Shaun's) pacas having a new little crea that has to be bottle fed at the moment, I had an interesting and helpful chat with the alpaca lady.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Day 12

Yesterday I said I'd show the the view from Ray and Helen's home - here are a few shots from their veranda.

It's a great place to sit and sip while discussing all manner of things past and present. 

Modern toilets at the Stinson campground

Ray took me for a lovely drive this morning - I didn't realise we were heading for a lovely camping ground at Darlington until we got there and I realised I had been there last year with my friend Bernie while we were at the ACC National Muster at Beaudesert.

Stinson camping area

We then went on to the Stinson Campground near where Bernard O'Reilly found and rescued survivors of a Stinson aircraft that had crashed in rugged country on the Lamington Plateau many years ago

 My amplified TV antenna has worked everywhere else this year but not here so I put up my 'proper' one and bingo - 30 channels and perfect reception - but there's not too much on worth watching.

There's no action at Monte Carlo today but I hope I'll be able to watch qualifying tomorrow - or if there no free-to-air telly I'll watch the live commentary on the computer.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Day 11

This will give you an idea of my wanderings so far on this trip.
I travelled about 560km today and arrived at my friends Ray and Helen's home near Beaudesert around 4PM. it's a lovely area and their home has fantastic views that I'll show you tomorrow. Oh yes - I'm in Queensland! And it's warm -24C as I type.

The idiotic driving of some caravanners today plus one fool in a car left me gasping. A caravanner with no towing mirrors to see what was behind overtook a truck in a overtaking lane and then stayed in the lane holding up a string of cars wanting to pass. Two cars passed him in the left lane - asking for trouble if he finally decided to move back over. Fortunately he didn't but the potential was there for a nasty accident.

At a traffic light with two lanes on my side of the road a car passed me as I was accelerating away and then cut straight over into my lane! I eased the foot or I'd have hit her. I also  blew the horn and flashed my lights to show I wasn't exactly pleased!

Apart from that it was a lovely drive even though Tom TomTom decided to take me on a Cook's Tour of the Darling Downs to avoid Warwick. I really like narrow, single lane country roads but not when I have a destination in mind a few hundred km away. Of course I didn't have to follow his directions but he often takes me on unusual and interesting deviations.

There were fabulous views as I came down Cunningham's Gap but there was nowhere easy to stop and I had no camera-savvy passenger to capture the scenery on film for you.

I'll be here until Monday so won't be clocking any big mileages although my friends have plans for an excursion one day while I'm here.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Day 10

Not a huge day today so I didn't rush off from Peak Hill. It was good to catch up with Leighton - I've known him from when he took over the caravan park many years ago.

The ablutions are very small so he made more room by installing bi-fold doors on the showers and then put in heating for the shower floors as it gets a bit cool there in winter. The heating is controlled by a clever timing device.

I left at about 10am and Tom TomTom took me off the Newell for a large part of the trip and didn't return to the Newell Hwy until a few km from Coonabarabran. I think it could have been a shortcut but it was quieter than the Highway anyway and that was good.

Although I was headed for an ACC FarmStay the owner had said they would be out when I arrived. I had a bit of a job finding the right gate but a phone call soon put me right.

It wasn't possible to post a comment on the blog unless you belonged to one of the groups listed but I have changed the set-up and now you can post as 'Anonymous' but put your name in the comment so I know who you are. I've also activated the count function so I can see how many people view the blog. That's good because I was wondering if anyone was following my travels.

Sorry no pics today folks - there was nothing outstanding that caught my eye. 

I've planned a longer trip tomorrow and hope to end up with friends near Beaudesert.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Day 9

While waiting to see if the parts had arrived and if Yemmy was going to be fixed I took a few pics of the excellent facilities in the Customers Lounge. There are the daily papers and a bowl of fruit as well plus Internet access.
Sandwich ingredients

Large cosy lounge with two TVs

Coffee machine

Four slice toaster

 The mechanic was working on Yemmy when I got back from the lounge and by 11am the job was done, I'd paid the bill and we were on the way.

We had just cleared the outskirts of Orange when a red light lit up on the dash! It scared me for a minute until I realised it was showing the coolant level was low. I lost coolant when the heater hose failed and although it had been topped up there must have been  an airlock and the level had dropped. I topped it up and all was well.

I didn't aim at doing a big distance today with the late start so headed for Peak Hill and Leighton and Pauline Davis and their nice caravan park. They are ACC members themselves and you get 10% off the site fees if you are an ACC member. Everyone in the park gets scones and cream in the afternoon - Leighton claims he makes them but I know better!

On the way I diverted to get a picture of the Parkes Radio Telescope - we did the tour some years back so I didn't bother today.

The RSL is just up the road so I was weak and went there for dinner - they have Chinese as well as Aussie tucker so I settled for sweet and sour chicken and fried rice. I did my best but there was so much I couldn't eat it all. 

Tomorrow I'm planning on using an ACC FarmStay at Narrabri  - it's about 350 km just after the Pilliga Scrub.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Day 8

This has not been a thrilling day! But it could have been worse I suppose.

I was up early, had my wake up coffee while still dark, got dressed and had my breakfast before fronting up at the Truck Service desk as soon as it opened at 7.30. Lots of paperwork and keyboarding and the nice lady said one of the boys will be over.

The mechanic came and said he'd organise the parts. He came back with the parts man who took pics of the heater fitting and they went off for while and then returned with a quote and the news that the parts were in Melbourne but there was an overnight service so they would arrive in the morning.

Another day to fill. The dealership has a courtesy bus service so I got a lift into town to a shopping centre, had coffee and caramel cheesecake and did some shopping in Coles. By this time it was raining and cold so I had a look  at a few shops in the street before ringing for the bus to take me back. The sun did appear for a bit in the afternoon so a bit of charge came from the roof solar panels but they don't charge as much as they should - something else to look at!

Today's weather forecast is not very cheerful with minus 3 Wednesday night - I hope I'm out of here before then!

 Friends already up north do nothing to help by boasting about their temperatures!

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Day 7

As you can imagine this has been a boring day and every so often I've been wondering,"Will they be able to fix Yemmy tomorrow?"  At least it's been sunny and warm during the day although it was a bit on the chilly side this morning when I got up.

Another view of Yemmy's spot.

I've done a bit of browsing around the huge yard and seen vehicles I didn't know existed like big 4x4 VW utes and lots of different Skodas. I didn't know they imported them any more as they were pretty unpopular back in the day.

This dealership has Hino trucks besides Mitsubishi, Toyota, VW, Mercedes and have  trucks on show at one road frontage and  cars on another road.

A few of Yemmy's companions.

I've had time to do a bit of housekeeping today and also to cook myself some bacon, tomato and egg for breakfast.

The memory card in my dash cam was showing full so I've downloaded all the footage to the computer. I don't suppose I'll look at too much of it and will probably trash most of it. 

My ACC friends Mike and Deb are touring in Europe and yesterday their motorhome did its water pump and they are also stuck at a dealers yard - only difference is the dealers wife cooked them dinner!

That's what I want to see tomorrow!

While at a loose end this morning I was thinking how much better Yemmy is this year with all the modifications I've done or had done - so I jotted down a few notes about his improvements. Here they are if you are interested:

Since getting home last October Yemmy has had lots of changes and after a week on the road I’m much happier with him than I was last year.
The seating was bad - just a swivel seat behind the driver’s seat and only a folding table. There was no room at the back to improve that so I had a narrower inner spring mattress made to replace the large dunlopillo one. This freed up enough space to allow a car front seat to be fitted and a swivelling table. It was quite dismal at the back so the aircon that I didn’t use was removed and a lovely light hatch was fitted in its place. It’s bright and light now.
The lpg locker was open to the inside so the locker is now sealed to the inside and vented to the outside. There were no vents in the door or step so there are now two vents in the back of the step and the roof hatch has compliant vents for lpg. The huge gas leak that worried me so much last year was traced by a gas fitting friend to a T-piece hidden and inaccessible behind the drawers and sink unit. It was the wrong kind of fitting and the joints were loose. No leaks now and the gas is lasting so much longer. It’s safe and compliant now thank goodness.
The large fridge that gave me so much trouble last year has been removed and the lovely little Engel unit from Yemmy 1 was fitted where the seat used to be at the front. The vacant fridge space has been turned in to a curtained hanging wardrobe.
A new 260ah battery has been fitted as the old one wasn’t holding charge and a 600watt inverter now powers all my 12v accessories. Besides my roof mounted solar, I’m carrying my folding solar panels for places where I want to camp in the shade and still charge the battery.
The water pump had a punctured diaphragm so was replaced and the convoluted filler tubing for the water tank was re-routed and now the tank fills easily. The same with the sink – it wouldn’t empty so a new pipe was fitted with a tap that sends it across to the grey water tank when this is needed.
Yem has a new radio that I’m still learning how to use, plus a web cam that records the view through the windscreen as we are driving. It would have been interesting to have been recording the day when Yemmy 1 was written off last year.
So much for inside mods. Outside, the horrible bird above the windscreen has been removed and side decals with kangaroos are now improving Yem’s looks.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Day 6

Today was supposed to finish in Peak Hill but ........ it's a long story.

Just a glimpse of the lovely cliffs
  I left Richmond at 9am and the first part of the journey took me up through the Blue Mountains on the way to Lithgow. It was a twisty road with plenty of steep grades but Yemmy took it in his stride and after we got on the Great Western Highway he delighted in passing slower 'Saturday' drivers.

Then after Bathhurst and a coffee break he started losing power up the hills and wouldn't change down to lower gears.

I stopped to see if I could find the cause that I suspected to be a leaking vacuum hose and as I shook  a few hoses one - that turned out to be a heater hose - came off its fitting and showered my hand with very hot coolant! It was indeed a split vacuum hose that had caused the trouble - so now we had two problems

A call to the NRMA had a serviceman there quite soon but it wasn't just the hose, it was the fitting it goes on to that had broken so that meant it had to be put on a tilt truck and taken somewhere - either home or a nominated place. I chose to go the the Mercedes dealer in Orange and so a tilt truck arrived and after a bit of a struggle Yemmy was on board and off we went.

Our free campsite with lawn and table thrown in!

 The Merc yard was open but there was nobody around so we put Yem back on his feet and parked him in a nice spot near a lawn.

We managed to get someone on an after hours number and told him I'd be camped in the yard till Monday morning when people come of duty

Yemmy's carrier


I walked to a takeaway shop and yes - you guessed - another hamburger with the lot!  

So here I am and here I will stay until Yemmy gets fixed.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Day 5

The early part of today's travel was quite good although the Princes Highway along that part of the coast  is quite twisty which means the cruise control doesn't get much use. Plenty of road works as well - everywhere you go they are repairing the roads.

I had to take a box of Apex 40 stuff to a house in Emu Plains - in the Blue Mountains municipality. I thought this could mean a long climb up to Katoomba but it wasn't up that high. Tom TomTom did a great job finding our way but it did entail lots of Freeways, Motorways and any other ways you can think of and all extremely busy with traffic. Not my sort of roads and I guess the fact that I had one of my gastric stomachs in the morning didn't help me enjoy that part of the trip at all.

However a treat was in store - the 22km of road from Emu Plains to Richmond was a lovely country run with paddocks and scenery all the way and an 80k/ph speed limit - a lovely contrast to those  wretched 4-lane motorways that said 110k/ph but often slowed to nearly stopped.

Sorry no pictures today - there were plenty of lovely views but a dearth of places to stop and capture them. Where I'm parked there is a nice view across the green fields so I can probably get a shot in the morning. (I did - it's at the bottom) All the powered sites are full but I manage quite well without.

I can't believe the bistro across at the club. For $24 you can eat as much as you like of an incredible choice of food

Tomorrow I leave Sydney behind and head for Peak Hill and Leighton's nice little caravan park - I hope I'm in time for the scones and cream everyone gets for afternoon tea!

View from my site here at Richmond Club

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Day 4

No map today as Yemmy stayed quietly on his site in the caravan park all day!

View of the inlet from the caravan park

Roy and I did go out though. To the Golf Club for a bowl of lovely soup for lunch after a bit of sightseeing.

We saw the rock that looks like a map of Australia and had a nice view of the golf course and sea as we enjoyed our soup.

View from our window at lunchtime
We invested in the pokies again after dinner at the Narooma Club and not only recouped our losses from last night but ended the night with a nice little sum that we split between us - probably enough to shout Yemmy a tank of diesel to help us on our way to the Richmond Club where  you can park at no cost without power or have power for $5 a night if you need it. You have to be a club member to get the free site - it costs just $5 to join for the year!

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Day 3

Today's route
This was a much easier day for driving - yesterday's tortuous track left no time for relaxing although it was very enjoyable.

It was  just 1 degree C when I got up for a you know what at 5am so on went the heater! Three hours later it had  only got to 15C. The man at the servo said it was -5c when he went for a walk!

The lake at Jindabyne

There was a lot of downhill today as I went from up in the mountains to sea level including down the steep and winding Brown Mountain where the signs told trucks and buses they must use low gear. I used Yemmy's sequential gearbox to stay in lower gears to save the brakes.

Pinders lookout on the way down the Brown Mountain has a great view and a nice rest area with toilets
View from the Pinders lookout

 The wind turbines in this very extensive wind farm were all stationary with their blades feathered. There must have been no wind at all.

It was a very pleasant day's driving and I was booked in and set up in the East's Big 4 Caravan Park on the foreshore at Narooma by 1.30 pm. I busied myself setting up the telly etc after lunch until my friend Roy arrived. He was impressed with all the modifications we had done to Yemmy2 since he had seen him last year.

The day concluded with Roy and I having dinner at the Narooma Club and  then had a lot of fun playing the pokies together. I'm here tomorrow so it will be another good day I'm sure.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Day 2

What a fantastic day!

With stunning scenery, challenging Alpine roads and glorious weather it had to be good.

I stopped for coffee at the lookout where you can see the site of the old Tallangetta township that was moved to higher ground when the Hume Dam was built and flooded the original site.

Historic places with names like this lovely old pub

Then on through the lovely North Eastern corner of Victoria and the historic townships including Corryong, Beechworth, and Khancoban - all with their autumn colours of the deciduous trees that still had some of their glorious colours on show.

When say 'With the lot' in Khancoban they really mean it - I had a hamburger with the lot for lunch and I won't need any more food for week!

When they wrote the sign after Khancoban they were not jokin'. There were two 15 minute delays while men were hoisted up sheer rock faces by crane-like things to fasten steel mesh to the rock to avoid dangerous falls. I was too busy watching where I was driving to get any pics although they would have been great.

The road from  Khancoban onwards brought out the rally driver in me although I was kind to Yemmy and didn't drive as if I had an open top, souped up sports car under me with four on the floor and a rorty exhaust.

I really knew I was in the Snowy mountains when I came to one of the Snowy's power stations.

 I was a bit tired after all the mountain driving and wasn't amused when Murphy cast a spell on my TomTom and it kept taking me to a large school instead of the caravan park I was booked into.

I think tomorrow will be an easier day but not quite as dramatic as I head down to the coast to Narooma.

Sunday, 15 May 2016


Getting ready for this trip was probably the most relaxed ever - probably because I started orgaanising things a few days in advance instead of leaving it to the last minute as I often do.

Yemmy2 by the tumbling river
I was  away by about 9.30 and enjoyed a lovely drive through country Victoria. It's very green at the moment and it was lovely to see all the sheep grazing on the newly sprouted grass.

It took a while to get into my relaxed, but alert, driving mode. where I constantly scan the countryside from left to right - taking in the road ahead as I do so. I usually spend the first part of the first day wondering what I've forgotten but, so far, I can't think of anything. I'm sure Murphy is on board because a couple of times I missed Tom TomTom's turning direction and got the dreaded 'Do a U-turn When possible".

The camping spot we enjored one Easter was blocked of as they were doing tree surgery but I've found a nice spot right by the river - I believe it's the King.

Tomorrow I'm heading into the mountains with Jindabyne my planned stop.