Thursday, 30 June 2016

Day 46

The 20cent coin shows the size of the twig
There's a huge worry off my shoulders today! Ever since the day the wind gave my awning a hammering, it has been difficult to get it properly in and I was worried that it might not be possible to get it back in before travelling on Sunday. Well today I bit the bullet and retracted it - once again it didn't want to go right in and when I got on my step ladder for a closer look I found a very hard twig caught in the roller.

Once that was out it worked normally again thank goodness!

We had our prawn night tonight and what a feast it was! The ladies had prepared the prawns with some different marinades and then they were cooked on two barbies. All washed down with appropriate liquids!

Gary and Dianne are at the Leap Hotel free camp tonight so should be here fairly early tomorrow as it's not too far away. I've told them about the Jaffle Night tomorrow.

The pageview count passed the 2,000 mark sometime tonight!

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Day 45

Oh dear - shocking Internet reception again tonight. We went to Sarena this morning. John had a doctors appointment and needed to vote so I went along to do some shopping and catch up with emails etc. Internet of course was first class and will be next week when I'll be in the Sarena caravan park.

Last night was a sausage sizzle and Trivia Night. Trevor and Kim, John and Jane and me were members of the 'Cranky Old Bastards' team and even won one round. Great night!

I've decided to stay at Sarina until the Monday of my chopper lesson instead of going out to Lake Elphinstone.

I received a message from Gary and Dianne Pugh that they will be here on Friday - they are ACC members I've been on tagalongs with - including the New Zealand one that Trevor and Kim were on. We could almost have an ACC muster here on Friday!

Tomorrow we have decided on a prawn night - they sell them in 1kg packs - cooked or uncooked - at the office. We will start with happy hour at Trevor and Kim's and then bbq the prawns. Anyone like to join us? The Pughs will be too late but will be in time for Friday's Jaffle night.

Sorry no pics today!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Day 44

There are lots of islands in the Marine Park

I said there would be pictures today so here are a couple of the coastline at Notch Point. The road in is a bit rugged in parts but it's well worth driving it to get to the scenic area at the end of the road.The view goes nearly 360 degrees.

It took some video but I'm not sure if it will upload - I'll try and see.

Video would load normally but with the poor Internet connection here it won't!


We came in to Sarena this morning so I was able to update and add the video. It's best to view full screen - click the little square on bottom right and exit to return to normal

Monday, 27 June 2016

Day 43

This morning John spotted an ACC sticker on a van coming into the park and it turned out to be old friends Trevor and Kim from the ACC Sunshine Nomads and they joined us for happy hour. Lots of happy memories were shared because I'd been on great tagalongs with T&K including the wonderful New Zealand tag. And yes Graham and Lynn we talked about you and Spot!

Earlier today I copied 'Two Balloons in a Teacup' for John and Jane - I love it every time I play it and feel privileged to be friends of such great performers.

Tomorrow we are heading for Notch Point - apparently a lovely beachside free camp. I nearly got there with Yemmy two years ago but when it got too rough I chickened out and turned around. Tomorrow I'll see what I missed.

I think we might hit 2,000 page views of this blog this weekend - thanks for supporting me on my travels - I hope you are enjoying reading it.

There will be pics tomorrow folks I promise!

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Day 42

John came round last night to ask if I wanted to go to the Market at Koumilla this morning so we went - only to find we had all misread the sign that said “Sunday Market – July 24th” As it was only June 26th today we realised we were a month early! There was a market at Sarina a bit further away so we headed for that and it was huge. Walking and standing does bad things to my back so I found a few places to sit for a minute – the last being at the Lions Club snack bar so I succumbed to a bucket of chips.
It was a nice outing although I didn’t buy anything.
I managed to get Sue on the phone after lunch by riding up to the office. Apparently it’s very cold down there at Illawarra but the grass is very green and my water tank is overflowing.
After happy hour with J&J I rode up to the office in the dark – the light on the scooter is not very bright but I managed and was able to get through to Jackie – that was good and we had a nice chat.
It’s still cool at nights – it was 15C this morning and although I know that’s cold for here it’s nothing compared to Victoria.
My television is now working on the ABC and a few other channels – it’s a help to pass the evenings these dark nights but the programme choice is not that good.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Day 41

Some good, some bad would sum up today!
The good? I got the inverter installed and it works a treat. No noise and it supplied current to the laptop and other devices all day. 

The bad? Despite getting what looked like a perfect signal on a signal strength finder, the telly could only come up with a few stations and most were too pixilated to watch. John and I spent a lot of time trying to get it to work but gave up in the end.
I intended going to the beach on the scooter but the track was sandy and the back wheel just dug a furrow and the frame then bottomed. I had to turn around and go back. I’ll probably walk down tomorrow and get some pictures.
A wind got up during the night and I got up and wound the awning in. It’s didn’t want to go right into its cover but I rolled it out this afternoon and roped it down securely. I hope that means that I’ll get a good nights sleep tonight.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Day 40

I’ve learned a trick or two about fastening my scooter on its rack and this morning it  went according to plan – shorter straps are the answer it seems. It was easier getting it off when I got on site at Cape Palmerston Caravan Park as well.
IGA in Sarina had the pork pies I was talking about – not on show but in the fridge. I hope they are as good as I remember as I bought three.
I decided that I’d get my antenna for the modem checked, as it doesn’t seem to make much difference any more so went along to the shop I bought it from many years ago. Would you believe it – the shop was closed for two days! 
It was great catching up with John and Jane – I’m on the site next door to them so it wasn’t far to walk to happy hour tonight. Friday night is jaffle night here – you make your sandwich of whatever you fancy, butter the outside and take it down to the fire where it’s cooked for you in a jaffle iron. Quite a social occasion!
Mobile reception and Internet coverage is worse that at Smalleys although I believe it’s ok up at Reception. I’ll may have to go up there in the morning to publish this.
I couldn't resist this lovely view

Suddenly there was reception for a few minutes so I may be able to post this now. 
On the way here this morning I stopped and got a pic of the lovely mount that I passed  every time I went out.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Day 39

These $20 binoculars will be good to use  in the chopper
I've done it - booked a helicopter training flight from Mackay on the 11th of July. I love flying in choppers but have never actually had the controls in my hands. For my money I get an hour of instruction including 20 minutes in the air where I'll be able to actually fly the thing!

Despite clocking up 2,000 hours flying as aircrew in Transport Command, RAF, I'd never been in a helicopter until one night over a few beers my late son-in-law Gary said "Oh, that's not a problem - I've got a mate who flies helicopters and he'll take us up". Gary's mate Roger did indeed take Gary, my daughter Jackie, grandson Cameron and me for a trip along the Mornington Peninsula and that started my lifetime fascination with flying in choppers. I've flown over the Katherine Gorge, the Bungles, Vanuatu, the Tamar Valley and the Atherton Tableland.

The wind that nearly wrecked my awning last Sunday must have bent the support arms because it didn't want to roll up properly today. I managed to get it OK for travelling but it will need attention when I get settled  at Cape Palmerston tomorrow.

I got my column re-written today - the deadline isn't for another week or two but I write when the urge takes me.

My scooter is on its rack but not fully fastened down yet - fiddling with the awning took a fair bit of time and darkness came before I got all the straps in place. At least it's on the rack and the two main straps are on.

The inverter is groaning away - it's lasted OK and I'll pick up the new one tomorrow.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Day 38

My Internet is painfully slow again tonight but I'll keep trying.

Murphy played a good trick on me today. I was writing my September column for Caravan World and had just done a word count confirming I'd written the right amount. I hadn't been watching my battery level and the laptop shut down. Unfortunately I'd only done one save before that happened so I lost all but a few paragra
phs. I was in no mood to start over so that's a job for tomorrow.

He played a trick last night as well. I'd swapped my Hot Ozzie Barby on to a 4kg cylinder as it's easier to adjust.  It wouldn't light! The reason was that the cylinder had been in Sunday's downpour and the upwards facing outlet had filled with water. I tipped that out and tried again. No luck - the jet had blocked but I know the answer to that and soon had the jet in a saucepan of boiling water. Ha Murphy - beat you that time as it worked perfectly for the rest of the cooking.

The workers have finally packed up and gone leaving one man who watered the new plants all day with a generator running right next to my site to run his pump. Lovely peaceful spot!

I wondered what on earth was coming!

We even had a large grader here yesterday - I wondered what was coming down the track with the throb of a big diesel and a lot of banging and clanging. I've got a pic but it won't load at the moment. Then it did!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Day 37

Couldn't get Internet at all last night so I'm doing yesterday's post this morning.

Here are some photos that I promised.
The mills are very busy

The sugar harvest is in full swing up here and the mills are all flat out. This one is at Farleigh on the way to Mackay.

I believe this is the organic fruit and produce shop my friend Jenny was asking about. She said the bread was fantastic but I haven't tried it.

The tree planting team have been busy all week clearing, auguring holes, putting in the plants and then putting protective sleeves around them.

My new inverter is waiting at the Sarina Post Office for me. The other is still working but very noisy - I think the fan is on the blink.
I'll publish this while I still have Internet coverage - another lovely day here at Smalleys.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Still Day 36

I thought it could be easier to use a new page for the rest of today. I've written it in Word so hope it transfers alright.
Here 'tis:

Well what a beautiful day in stark contrast to yesterday’s nightmare. I managed to sleep despite the wet bedclothes but it wasn’t the best sleep I’ve ever had by a long, long shot!

Driving into Mackay was a dream, blue skies, sun streaming down and Yemmy burbling along as he ate up the miles – or should I say kilometres?

After drying my bedding, I gave Tony a ring asking if they had had coffee and he said yes but come and we’ll have another. With the new TomTom working beautifully and the map of their village that Denyse had given me, I was soon at their home and telling them about yesterday and the awning plus the wet bed. I assured them I hadn’t wet the bed, as I would have needed to be a contortionist to wet it up near the top!

Then I went into Mackay and voted – just think, my vote could change the future of our country – or perhaps not!

Then a long hike to find an Apple retailer as I thought my laptop battery was on its last legs. “We have to send away for them, the lady said and it will take at least 5 working days to get one from Brisbane”. Not wanting to hang around that long I asked if she could test it for me. The test showed the battery still ok although nearing the renewal point. That test cost $25 – a special she said, as it’s usually $50. I suppose that’s cheaper than a new battery.

Then away to BCF where I bought a new chair as mine has become hard to fold plus I a pair of Olympic binoculars at half price as they were on special. $20 for the last one they had and they work a treat!

A bit of Woolies shopping, some Gloria Jeans coffee and a pleasant run home with the sun making the sugar cane flowers sparkle as they gently bent to the breeze. With plenty of palm trees around it was a reminder that I’m in the tropics up here.

When I got back to my site I found the team of workers who had arrived before I left this morning, had planted a host of new fledgling trees or bushes – I’m not sure which until they grow. It looks like they will be back tomorrow as they have left a lot of plants.
I'll post some pictures tomorrow.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Day 36

I'll write this now while I'm at the Bucasia laundromat and have good Internet. Why am I at the laundromat? Well I discovered when I went to bed last night that there had been a small drip from the top of the back doors on to my bedding that hangs over there! It had of course spread and although I used a towel to catch any further drops I had wet bedding on one side. Not nice but I slept anyway. I've just dried everything and the sun's out so no more damp bed I hope.

I'm hoping to early vote today and try to get a new battery for this laptop.

More news tonight but I'll post this now while I can. 

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Day 35

I woke this morning to the sound of thunder and driving rain. The dull day was brightened by lightening flashes. The wind was gusting so I thought about the awning. I had roped it down but the pegs were into sand and wouldn't hold if the wind increased. I put on my shoes and dressing gown and went outside just as a squall hit. I clutched the awning rafter at one end but the wind ripped the other end rafter and broke the anchor plate on the side of Yemmy. I held on until the wind dropped and quickly wound up the awning - as it happened with no damage besides the broken fitting. I have a spare so I'll fit that when the weather improves - maybe tomorrow as it's been raining all day today.

 The Internet has been very patchy again today so I'm not sure when this will get published.

The snap fasteners are great

While making a cup of coffee today, it struck me that today's plastic storage containers are very good - the ones I use for milk and sugar in particular have snap fasteners and the milk container has a pourer and sits nicely in the fridge door. That's so much better than the cardboard ones that sometimes leak when travelling.

Tomorrows forecast is a bit brighter - I may even get some solar charging if it's as promised.

Having such poor Internet connection for the past two weeks has done wonders for my data usage!

Add caption

Day 34

Even on a dull day the beach is lovely to look at!

A day of sunny periods and good charging while the sun shone.

Hardly any one in the camp today - Dennis and Robin on Site1 left early and the girl on Site 3 went soon after so for most of the day I was the only one this side of the toilets. I see some backpackers have propped on Site 1 for the night.

Did I say I have booked into Cape Palmerston caravan park from Friday onwards? I'm looking forward to catching up with friends John and Jane who will be there for two weeks starting tomorrow. I'm also looking forward to being on power for a while and not having to chase the sun although my loose panels do a good job. I'd be lost without them..

My appetite has gone! I've got a fridge full of food but no desire to eat any of it. I've eaten the legs and thighs plus the wings off a cooked chook I bought on Wednesday, but so far haven't been inspired to make soup/casserole/curry from the rest of it. I did cook some pork fillets on the barby this morning and ate one small one for early lunch. I'll probably have the rest for dinner tonight.

Even the goanna stayed away today - perhaps he didn't like me putting my foot on his tail!

Friday, 17 June 2016

Day 33

If you read yesterday's comments you will have seen that Steve made some suggestions that made good sense so I went along with them and the first thing I did was order a 1,000w pure sine wave inverter with a remote control. The remote means I can mount it back in the 'engine room' with short leads and I will still be able to turn it on and off from inside.

It will be delivered C/- the Post Office at Sarina. I booked a week at the Cape Palmerston caravan park from Friday and pass through Sarina on the way there. If it hasn't arrived by then it's not far to go to pick it up the next week.

My friends John and Jane will be at Cape Palmerston from Sunday and have told me they will be bringing good weather with them. That agrees with the BOM forecast for next week so it should be right. Tomorrow looks OK but Sunday looks a real shocker.
Bad weather ahead!
I just killed a mozzie and it was full of blood - had to be mine so I'm waiting for the itch to start!

Toasted raisin bread cheese sandwiches on my Hot Ozie Barby for lunch were good but the little 2kg cylinder ran out of gas as I had almost finished cooking dinner tonight. I have another 2kg cylinder but changing the hot barby over was quite a challenge!

This afternoon a medium sized goanna came prowling around my site. It gave it a thorough check out, walked over my foot and went under Yemmy. Its head reappeared between my legs as it came out under my chair - bit of a shock. It had a very long trailing tail and I put my foot on the end of it as it sauntered off - it just tugged it free and continued on its way. 

I'd left the phone inside so couldn't get a pic but I'm sure it was this one again.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Day 32

There's still plenty of little things to do to improve Yemmy2.
The 'Engine Room'.

Today for instance I moved the inverter from on top of the battery in the 'Engine Room' to inside behind the fridge. This means I no longer have to go outside on a dark wet night to turn it on or off.

New convenient location

 It's a 600watt modified sine wave inverter and a bit noisy - I may have to swap it for a pure sine wave one now they have come down so much in price

Today was very peaceful after all the carrying-on yesterday. I can't believe Murphy could have engineered so many things to go wrong at the same time!

It's been cloudy most of the day so I've been sparing in my use of power although a short run of the engine will soon boost the house battery.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Day 31

Murphy had been well behaved lately but today he struck with a vengeance!
It was raining when I left my campsite to drive to Mackay to do some shopping, visit a laundromat and have lunch with friends.

On the way the driver's side windscreen wiper blade started to do weird things and I hastily turned them off. I managed to get it back working and continued on. I decided to shop before doing the washing so I could get some $1 & $2 coins for the machines.  With a trolley full of shopping, I discovered my wallet was still with Yemmy so a dash to him to fetch it.

Time was getting on so I put all the shopping away and headed to lunch. It started raining hard and the wiper played up again. This time I couldn''t get it fixed so I continued on staring through the rain on the screen. That's when Murphy destroyed my GPS! It kept cycling screens and wouldn't stay on the route directions. Of course I know the way coming from Mt Pleasant but now I was coming the other way and TomTom had put me on an unknown route before going bonkers. So there I was, no wipers, pouring rain and lost!

By chance I spotted what I thought was the entrance to their Retirement Village and sighed with relief. 'Too soon', said Murphy chortling away. Nothing made sense so I rang Tony who said he'd come in his car and find me. Except I was in the wrong Village! Driving with my phone clutched in one hand I followed instruction to get to the right Village which was nearby. After a lovely lunch and by now dry conditions, I managed to refit the wiper blade properly and then followed Tony and Denyse to a shopping precinct with Supercheap Autos, The Good Guys, etc and bought a new GPS!

Back to the laundromat and did the washing and dried it before returning back to Smalleys Beach. First job after putting Yemmy on site was to brew some coffee and sit looking out to the grey waves rolling in and thinking how lucky I was that everything turned out alright in the end despite Murphy and his wicked plots.

It was quiet here tonight with Dee gone although I did have a nice chat with Dennis from Site 1 who came back and set up today.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Day 30

Not too much to report today I'm afraid, The scooter came in handy for carrying water - my 5litre container fits nicely on the platform and I made three trips up to the tap. My water gauge now shows full.

The rain kept away for most of the day so I got a bit of solar energy - I'm heading for Mackay tomorrow for shopping, etc., so that should top up the house battery. I'm afraid the roof mounted panels get very little sun as it's a pretty shady site.

A couple came this morning to check out Site One - to me it's the best site there is but the lady was not impressed and although they had booked the site they didn't come back with their van - maybe tomorrow. A French backpacker couple came asking how to book a site as their phone had no signal so I told them to use Site One as the registered users were not using it. Vi and I spent many happy times on that site.

Dee leaves in the morning - she's got an interview up at Proserpine to work on the upcoming census. It won't be the same without her as our happy hours have been just that - happy hours sharing travel tales and life experiences spiced with a lot of good humour. It will be quiet tomorrow night!

Monday, 13 June 2016

Day 29

Today started off wet and continued off and on during the day.

I found another interesting stupidity about the build of Yemmy2. Because the  man I got it from put the outlet for the range hood on the side instead of on the roof, he had to mount the roll out awning higher - leaving a space underneath it instead of being tight against the side. This means that rain comes through the opening on to you and everything else when it's coming from the driver's side!
A little clip has made showering a pleasure

He  also just had a hand held shower but by
 screwing a little clip to the roof of the shower cubicle, I've improved that no end. With that and the improved water pressure plus a water heater that stays lit, showering is a pleasure although I don't stay under too long as I have to carry water to fill the tank here in the National Park.

I heard back from the people where I bought my scooter and they say you don't need a licence or have the scooter registered so hopefully I'm legal.

It doesn't seem possible that I left home four weeks ago today! Sue told me that it was zero degrees at home this morning so I guess I'm better off up here where it's still fairly warm despite the rain today. 

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Day 28

Nothing dramatic today except a large crowd arrived for a picnic in the car park and one couple parked in my site without asking. I pay for the site so I don't like people parking on it without asking first. I asked him how long he was going to park on my site and he said about an hour Dee on the site next to mine sang out, "You should ask first!" and he got annoyed and moved off.  Some of the kids with bikes ride though other people's sites as if they have a perfect right.  Ah well - just one more day and they will be back at school.

I spent a bit of time on my scooter wiring and after getting the last cover back on discovered a wire had come undone! Off came the cover again and it's reassembled without it. It will be fine until I can be bothered to spend more time on it - it works OK now so it will be ok for reloading on the ramp when I leave here - I use the motor to get it up the ramp.

Not quite as nice as when the tide is in but still a good view

I'm having Internet trouble again tonight so I'm not sure when I'll be able to post this.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Day 27

Little to report today except that Dee walked into her own tow-bar after she dropped me off last night. He who laughs last, laughs longest they say! I didn't laugh too loud though as she had taken a large patch of skin off her leg.

The couple next door made lemonade scones this morning and I was asked to join them. They were yummy - an opinion shared by a cheeky kookaburra who flew down and pecked a big lump in one! He was given the rest of it and made a great show of 'killing' every piece. They cooked them in their barbie - it's like a Weber BabyQ.

Communication has been bad again today - mobile calls dropped out and were distorted - Internet was very sporadic and I guess my antenna that usually gives at least one bar extra on my modem was not doing its usual job. I don't know if this will get posted as the phone says SOS Only!

It's the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal tomorrow so I hope it will be televised. At least I can get good television reception here although I'm careful about how much power I use.

The campground is very full as it's a long weekend and there are a lot of children about. Roll on Tuesday when they are all back at school.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Day 26

I don't believe I've any pictures for you today. I was busy fixing my water pump that was noisy and not delivering much water. Have you tried showering with just a trickle of water? Having checked pumps on ebay and seeing the good ones seemed to be rated as about 17/ltrs/minute and the cheap ones just 4 lpm I checked my invoices to see what I bought just before leaving home. Great - I had the higher flow unit. Then I checked the flow straight from the jerrycan and it was OK. A reverse flush of the filter and hooray - good flow and lovely shower.

In the afternoon Dee and I went for a Cooks Tour of Seaforth and surrounds in her car. Having been here so often I was able to show her much more that she would have seen on her own and she was impressed by this delightful little seaside town. The caravan park looked pretty full and of course there were plenty of solar panels around as there's no power there.

After our tour we went to the Bowls Club for dinner and a few drinks. There was a singer to entertain us and  it was a lovely night just slightly marred by my clumsiness when going to the car in the dark. Dee told me to come around the front but silly me ducked under her kayak at the back and tripped over her tow-hitch. I sprawled on the hard ground but there was nothing serious!  That would have made a good picture!

I will send you some info on this lovely National Park in case you ever pass this way.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Day 25

Well last night was great but Dee and I agree that one such night is great but we couldn't take more than the one! Must be getting old.

I think my friend Jenny would like that view.

Today has been very busy. I made Yemmy ready for the road and took off for Mackay with a large list of things to do. I started with the dump point at the Information Centre and got rid of two bags of rubbish there as well. 

On the way there I stopped and took a pic of the great view of our area from the top of a hill.

I went from the Info Centre to BCF and filled a gas bottle - first time on this trip - and then gave Yemmy a good dose of diesel. On to a Pharmacy and arrived at Tony and Denyse's home with one minute in hand for their early lunch as Tony was playing bowls after lunch. After lunch Denyse printed out some forms for me to send to Centrelink about my income stream. All because my super has risen by $2 a week! 

Then it was down to North Mackay to have a haircut and beard trim - I visit the same barber every year. From there I went to the Mackay Airport to see if I could find out more about the helicopter lesson but I couldn't find anything likely so I headed for the harbour with the intention of buying some bug tails and prawns for tea. Murphy had been keeping his head down but he made sure I got into the lanes going over the river with no chance of backtracking! No seafood treat for dinner tonight!

I'd written a shopping list but of course left it with Yemmy when I went to Coles. I think I got everything I needed.

Dee couldn't extend her stay on the site next to me so had to move to Site 5 and I joined her there for our happy hour. Tomorrow night we are going to the Bowls Club Bistro. They are in the middle of renovations and extensions so we are hoping it's still open. I'll ring in the morning to make sure.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Day 24

Oh boy - a night to remember - if only I could remember!

Dee left a special visor at the pub in Marlborough and someone she hadn't met but who belonged to one of her facebook groups offered to pick it
up and bring it here to her.

She arrived this morning and what a character! She had a fire-pit and tonight was it's christening! I'm not sure where she found the wood but we sure had a great fire and lots and lots of great conversation.

Beth hadn't travelled a lot and has just bought a motorhome called 'Rosie'. She was a bit in awe of the trips Dee and I had done and couldn't believe I was 84!

Dee had cooked a lovely stir fry for us all and when the wine ran out Bess and I drank some whiskey based stuff and although I don't usually like Scotch, this didn't taste at all bad! The evening passed so quickly - Bess sings blues and gave us a few examples - she is good!

I may remember more in the morning but let's just say it was one of those great impromptu evenings that happen every once in a while and live on in the memory for ever!

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Day 23

It wasn't Murphy this time - or maybe it was him. I spent the morning writing my column for August - yeah, that's how far ahead you have to write although the mag will be on sale in July. Then I spent most of the afternoon trying to send it to Caravan World. I don't know if it was atmospheric conditions, Telstra or my favorite Irishman but it was sure frustrating! The email included three fairly high resolution pictures and that can sometimes cause a problem.

I thought my overseas followers might be interested in this map - before I left England all those years ago, people used to say, "Oh you'll meet so-and-so - they went out there a few years ago!" They had no idea of the size of our vast land.

It really is a small world though and funnily enough I have met a few people who came from near me and in fact one fellow belonged to the same car club as me and had come to live in the same town as us.

UK RVers think they have done a huge trip when they head off to France or Spain but looking at the map it's peanuts.

A nice free camp in the car park

Another pic you might be interested in is the one I took this morning of the rig belonging to  the couple who have been free camping for the past two nights in the National Park car park! The washing is out, the chairs are in the sun and they are really at home in the day use area.


What's it mean?


They also have a dog. A big dog. I don't know what they think the sign means - they had to pass it as they drove in yesterday. 

I wonder what excitement tomorrow will bring. Stay tuned.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Day 22

Another peaceful day with lovely clear skies and lots of sun.

I spotted this advertisement yesterday and I'm very tempted - I love helicopters and fly in them whenever I get a chance. This looks like the opportunity of a lifetime and if I don't do it I'll regret it for a long time. But nearly $400 - got to think a bit longer.

Anyway, I'm here for three weeks so plenty of time to cogitate. Come to think about it - a chopper would be great at home - anyone know of one going cheaply?

My repair to the jerrycan worked and I siphoned another 5ltres into my water tank today - I think the tank's full now.

My new friend Dee's been to Mackay today and told me tonight that she has booked another 8 days here - I'm pleased as she's excellent company for happy hour.

There's free camping and there's free camping. A big modern rig pulled into the car park this afternoon , unhooked the tow vehicle  and put the washing out to dry. There is at least one vacant site here so no excuse for staying in the car park which is day use only. To make it worse they have a huge dog despite this being a National Park with a no dogs or cats sign you have to drive past to get in! I'll get a picture in the morning.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Day 21

Not a lot to report today. Mostly just relaxing and doing chores like getting water from the tap up near the toilets to top up my tank. Even them Murphy took a hand. I usually put a piece of hose into the jerrycan and the other end into the filler, put a small piece of hose into the top of the jerrycan, seal off the air with a hanky and blow through the small hose.

 The pressure forces water up the main hose and bingo - siphoning starts. Far better than sucking to start the process. Not yesterday! The jerrican had a hole in the top and so no pressure. I managed to tip the 5litres in but it was a pain. I think I've sealed the hole so I'll try again later.

Since getting the gas leak fixed my hot water lights first time - before it took a lot of tries before it lit. I've finally emptied one 4kg cylinder. It had been used for a while before I started this trip - a week at Barmera on the Murray and a long weekend at Geelong and now three weeks on the road. I was going though a cylinder in two weeks before!

This camping spot is surprisingly quiet with a few people just here for the weekend or in one case just overnight.

Among other things, Dee is a walker, cyclist and kayaker

It turns out that my new friend Dee is a motor racing fan and has watched many a Grand Prix in Europe when she lived in London. She is also a kayaker but hasn't put it into the water here as someone told her there were crocs although I've never heard on one here in all the years I've stayed here.We had another great talkfest tonight.

She is only here for eight days so it will be quiet when she leaves.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Day 20

This is why I love this site at Smalleys Beach! That's the view from under my awning. 
The only thing that spoilt the day was b.....y Murphy! I though I'd just get the scooter off and then get my loose solar panels charging. He thought otherwise and made the straps holding the scooter impossible to undo. I got three with a struggle but the fourth beat me and I had to cut it. The scooter battery was flat so I had to manhandle it off the rack.

He wasn't finished yet. I took the panels down on the beach in the sun and came back to check the ammeter. Zilch! I then checked all the connections with my multi meter, and finally traced it to one of the new andersons plugs we'd fitted earlier this year. Scrapped the plug and used an ordinary cable joiner and - bingo - it's charging a treat.

Now I can relax and enjoy the views - bye bye Murphy!

I'm posting early today but I'll add more later.
Another look at my view - it's not so good when the tide goes out but it's still nice

Look who came visiting - a smaller one passed by later

Murphy hadn't done with me - after the struggle to get the scooter off, it wouldn't charge from my inverter!  My panels are down the beach facing the hill to catch the first rays of sunlight that appear in the morning!

Today I found a lady to share my....ha ha.... you thought I was going to say bed but you are wrong! It was my awning for happy hour. Dee from the next site is travelling on her own and is an interesting and humorous lady who has travelled a lot in Oz and overseas. I enjoyed her company tonight and hope for a repeat tomorrow.

Day 19

The usual roadworks of course!

I woke early today and knowing my friends have lunch at 12 noon before Tony leaves for bowls, I got
on the road early and despite the usual roadworks I arrived at 11.45. It was great meeting up with them again. Tony had an accident while trimming a tree - he fell from a stepladder and landed on the blade of the bushman's saw! It made a mess of his leg and has stopped them going on their planned trip for a while. Like me, Tony writes for Caravan World and had some articles to write on their trip but unfortunately these have been delayed.

It's not all bad - the delay means I may catch up with them again when I go to Mackay shopping next week.

Today's journey wasn't huge but it took from 7.30 until 11.45 to Mackay and then another 40km after lunch to Smalleys

The trip took me past Clairview - the only place between Brisbane and Cairns where you actually see the sea from the road.

I diverted for a quick look at Seaforth to see how many people are camped there on the foreshore and it looked about 85% full. The tide was right out so it didn't look its best - particularly with the grey skies we had today.

Just a few minutes from Seaforth and I was at old favorite Smalleys Beach in the Cape Hillsborough National Park. It didn't take long and Yemmy was in position on Site 2 - another favorite!

Unpacking the scooter and getting properly set up can wait until tomorrow. I found I had some phone connection although a bit patchy. That's par for the course here so I rang Jackie using Skype - lovely clear call and she said it was if I was there standing next to her.

The weather forecast isn't good for tomorrow but then it looks like sunny all next week - great for my solar panels. I put my loose ones down on the beach and they get the sun all day.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Day 18

It was a bit sad leaving Hervey Bay this morning because Ray and Jeanette are so pleased when I come to visit. It was good to reminisce about old times and we hardly noticed that the Queensland weather was misbehaving and rained all day. We lashed out and feasted on Thai take-away for dinner.

It took longer than it said on the planner but I was on site by 3.30pm

Once again Yemmy has a nice spot for the night

Glenn who owns this FarmStay is a nice guy and we had quite a chat when he got home from work. He goes to work at 6AM so I don't expect to see him in the morning. I want to get on the road early but not quite that early!

I'm at Port Curtis near Rockhampton tonight and tomorrow the plan is to get to my booked site at Smalleys Beach in the Cape Hillsborough National Park

On the way  to Smalleys Beach I'm calling on friends in Mackay - if I'm early enough I'll be in time for lunch.
It was 25 C this afternoon - Queensland weather redeeming itself. It did rain on the way though and Murphy made the drivers side windscreen wiper turn inside out during a heavy shower.
I managed to fix that quite quickly and also a little electrical problem that was depriving my TomTom and Dash Cam of power.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Day 17

This will be a very short post as it has been a day of reminiscing about old times and generally relaxing with Ray and Jeanette here in Point Vernon.

I did find out that my friends in Mackay are still home and haven't started their trip yet so I'll catch up with them on the way to Smalleys Beach on Friday.

In the meantime I've arranged to stay at the ACC FarmStay at Port Curtis on the outskirts of Rockhampton tomorrow night. It's  a nice place and I've stayed there before.

Today it has rained and felt quite cool - not your typical Queensland weather!

We did lash out and had some lovely Thai take-away for dinner - yum.