Sunday, 31 July 2016

Day 77

I decided to get a Comm Bank credit card to use when/if something like this happens again and there's a lot of stuff to fill out to get one. Mine is provisionally approved but I've had to send copies showing my pension and superannuation figures to get it fully approved. Made me wonder if it's worth it!

ACC friends Brian and Linda Hodgson arrived today a couple of days earlier than they expected and it was great to see them again. They came to our trivia session after happy hour tonight and although ours is a pretty laid back affair compared to the ones they are used to, they enjoyed it I'm sure.
I'll be putting on a lot of weight if I don't watch out - neighbor Paul brought over scones with strawberry jam and lashings of cream this morning to have with my coffee! I'd already cooked bacon and egg for my breakfast.

I had a nice long chat with son Chris tonight before I told him it's happy hour now so I must go. It's great being able to keep in touch with family even though we are thousands of km apart. I'm planning on spending a few days with him and Marijana in Adelaide on the way home in September.

This morning I had a look inside a Mercedes bus that has been converted into a very spacious motorhome. The room was astonishing after Yemmy2 although he is longer and higher than my original Yemmy. The fuel bill would probably be a lot bigger as well but that wouldn't worry them much as they have been here at Walkamin for 14 months!
It has a lot more room than Yemmy2 including a full sized bathroom!

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Day 76

I think that I told you that I'd tried to use my Commonwealth Bank Debit Card without success as I'd forgotten the PIN. I found out today that it's a fairly simple matter to change the PIN so it's now the same as the NAB card that is now blocked.

It was a better red that the one Santa gave me!

My blanket saga continues - the one I bought the other day is only just long enough  but doesn't quite come up to my neck as I like so I've ordered a single/double from Spotlight. It will be overkill but I can tuck the surplus under the mattress.


One of the ladies at the recent Christmas in July took a lot of pictures including this one of me relaxing while I waited for the evening's festivities to start.

Norm, the owner of Mareeba Bush Stays, popped in for a quick visit today and said they have been very busy up there recently. He really came to see Lucy but didn't know she was still down at Townsville with her son.

The wind has dropped a bit today so I've got my awning back out. I've replaced the broken fitting for the rafter to fit in on the side of Yemmy but this time it's an aluminum fitting that's much stronger that the plastic one that broke in the high wind at Smalleys Beach.

It was hot inside today so I fired up my12volt evaporative cooler and it works well. I changed its cigarette lighter plug and instead have it clipped directly to the house battery,

Friday, 29 July 2016

Day 75

It was a cool night but the weather today has been nice although still a bit windy. If it stays calm I'll put my awning back out tomorrow. The sun streams into Yemmy in the afternoons without the awning and when I got home today it was 40 degrees inside!

My friends from Adelaide, Tom and Maureen, picked me up for lunch today at the Skybury Coffee and Papaya Plantation and it was a very enjoyable time catching up. Back when I was starting writing my 'On the Wallaby' column in Caravan World 19 years ago, Tom was the Tech guru for the magazine. 

They picked up a hire car today in Cairns and will be going to Cooktown and surrounds while in Far North Queensland.

Tonight it was the barbecue and shared side dishes in the shed and as usual it was a good night. I took the red wine Santa brought me last week for the Christmas in July and I have to say the wine they get up there at the North Pole isn't the best! I'm afraid I had to do the unthinkable and throw half a bottle out and revert to Tawny!

Someone was sharing some Chilli Chocolate that I quite liked and that inspired me to get my computer and read the hilarious piece about a Texas Chilli Cook-off. It went down well and caused quite a bit of laughter.

When checking my bank balance yesterday I discovered some Chinese company had taken $86 from my credit card. After a long listen to NAB recorded music(?) I got my credit card blocked to stop it happening again and a new card issued. That means that I have to inform all my direct debit people of my new numbers when it arrives and in the meantime I can't use it! My NAB debit card is safely in my Getz's glove box at home so I'll have to use my Comm Bank debit card in the meantime - if I can remember my pin number for that card as I normally keep it for buying ebooks from Amazon.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Day 74

Great ACC lunch gathering at Tolga
Our ACC lunch at the Tolga hotel today was great. There were ten of us there and that included Paul and Coral from the ACT, Jim and Mary from South Australia, Wayne, Marie, Neil, Barbara and Jim from Queensland plus me from Victoria.

Three States plus the ACT were represented

 For those wondering what ACC stands for, it's The Australian Caravan Club which caters for owners of all RVs. (Recreational Vehicles. That includes caravans, camper trailers, campervans, motor homes and fifth-wheelers.)  The club has been going for ten years and has branches in every State.

Daughter Sue posted my Top Tourist card last Thursday from Victoria and it arrived here today - one week later. Not what you would call really swift delivery!

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Day 73

Cool and windy was what greeted us here at Walkamin today! It was so windy that I decided to wind in my awning for safety - I lost one over the top of my caravan some years back at Iluka so don't want a repeat of that.

Although I say 'cool' I didn't say 'cold' because that is what the weather is down south. I was still able to ride to the Post Office in shorts and bare arms! I went hoping to pick up a letter posted last Thursday in Vic but it's still not here yet.

The new blanket was OK but I'd tucked in a bit too much at the bottom so didn't have as much as I like around my neck. That has been fixed so tonight should be OK - if not, a larger blanket will go on the shopping list!

There's a table over in the shed where people put unwanted items for others to take so I took my old inverter over yesterday with a note saying the fan was noisy. It went very quickly! Better than going in the garbage collection.

It's my eldest daughter's birthday today so I gave her a ring tonight. It doesn't seem possible that it was eight years ago that I travelled on the Ghan from Katherine to Adelaide to help celebrate her 50th birthday.

About ten of us ACC members will be having lunch at the Tolga pub tomorrow - I'll try to remember to get some pictures.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Day 72

Today was shopping day for me in Mareeba - it's not a very big job to get Yemmy ready for the road as I just disconnect everything at his end and leave things on the ground. Same goes for the awning - I loosen the ropes holding the corners down and drop them before winding the awning up. When I drive back on to the site I make sure my driver's side front wheel goes exactly in the same place as I put a levelling ramp alongside the wheel as a marker. Everything is then in the right place to be connected up again - it only takes a few minutes. (I've - probably told you all this before - if so I'm sorry).

Besides the usual grocery shopping I bought a single bed blanket - it's too hot for the doona most nights up here and a lovely throw rug I bought wasn't big enough to tuck in. It should be a more restful sleep tonight without having to chase the rug!

Another thing I bought was a new lead for my TV antenna - we fixed one end of the old one the other day and then the other end failed this morning. The new lead is heavier and I'm getting more channels and better reception with it. I don't need a lot of channels - as long as I get the ABC I'm happy.

A screen shot from the video

I wanted to copy my daughter Sue's lovely video of our latest Alpaca - Pixie. Unfortunately Pixie's mother rejected her so Sue has been bottle feeding her. The video showed Pixie running full pelt up the paddock to foster mother Sue for her feed!

We passed 3,000 page views today!

Monday, 25 July 2016

Day 71

One Rob in the pic and one holding the camera
Lunch at the Tolga pub today with long-time ACC friends Rob and Judy Tudor and Rob Farrington who were staying at the Mareeba Rodeo Grounds.

They have been having a wonderful 4x4 trip from Victoria up through the Centre to Darwin and along the rugged Savannah Way to Queensland.

We are hoping to have a number of ACC members join us for lunch on Thursday - we had 18 people at a similar function two years ago but I don't believe there are so many in the area this year.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Day 70

The tables were decorated beautifully

A couple more pics from last night's shindig.

The happy crowd

It was a lovely sunny day here today - ideal for relaxing and reading and I did both!

The shed was back in it's usual configuration by tonight ready for happy hour and our Sunday night Trivia competition.

ACC friend Rob Tudor rang tonight. They are staying at Mareeba and we are going to the Tolga pub for lunch tomorrow - it will be great to catch up with them again. I've been following their adventures on Facebook and they have been having a great time.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Day 69

Happy snap!
Christmas has come and gone and what a great night it was.

Lovely food, a great atmosphere, good company and a fantastic Santa made it an evening to remember.

Waiting for the real Santa

I'll just tell the story with a few pictures as it's late and I want to watch the live commentary of qualifying in the rain at the Hungarian F1 Grand Prix!

Ready to start serving the lovely meal

A close encounter with Santa

 A bottle of red, a beautiful meal and a happy crowd made it an evening to remember !

Now - back to the Grand Prix. Night folks!

Friday, 22 July 2016

Day 68

Highlight of the day was lunch with ACC members Wayne and Marie at the Bridges Cafe at the Mt Uncle Distillery. The choice was a bit limited with pizzas the main offering but a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc added to the enjoyment of the meal.

The cafe is called Bridges because much of the fine timber for its construction came from the demolition of local bridges.

We are having an ACC lunch next Thursday at the Tolga Hotel and any ACC members on the Tableland reading this are invited to join us. A call to me on 0414 893 320 would be appreciated so that I can give the hotel our numbers.

Unusual plant treatment

Marie who knows a lot about flowers and plants, called my attention to a rather lovely arrangement on the wall near the toilets

After happy hour tonight I was invited to my neighbors van to share some nice home-made pumpkin soup

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Day 67

My scooter got a real workout this morning when I decided to visit the Mareeba Bush Stays and see what progress has been made.
A fire-pit will add to the attractions.

They were building a fire-pit while I was there today and Norm has added two toilets and cold showers since I was there last year.

He was very pleased to see me and wants me to stay with him while I'm up here in North Queensland.

Popularity of this lovely place has grown  - when I stayed here two years ago there were only a few units but now they average 50 with a peak one night of 74.

It was a round trip of about 30km and I wasn't sure I'd make it up the hills on the way back. I was testing to see how far it would go on a full charge in the fast mode. It would do much better for distance in economy mode but the trip would be much slower.

There's also a nice cafe at the Distillery

On the way I passed the Mount Uncle Distillery and also saw bananas and custard apples for sale - bananas $2 a bag and custard apples $5 each - except there were no custard apples! It's an honour system but they have a camera to check who doesn't pay!

Local produce is great value
Mark with his lovely gift

The picture I took last year of the Walkamin Caravan Park from the air has been cleverly put on a cushion as a gift for one of the regular park visitors.

Now others want a copy for their own projects. It certainly was a good chance to get an aerial shot when three of us went choppering.

Tomorrow I'm getting picked up to go lunch with some ACC friends who are staying at the showgrounds in Mareeba.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Day 66

Good value for $2

My scooter comes in very handy - today I used it to carry my toilet casssette to the dump point that is quite a long way on the other side of the park. Then I needed a couple of things from the Post Office/shop so used it again for that. They had small avocados for just $2 a bag

Another useful thing is my Hot Ossie BBQ - last night I used it to cook pork chops and scalloped potatoes.

I'm doing a lot of reading and relaxing here - my Kindle e-book reader is so good and saves carrying a lot of books around. The weather has been warmer so I'm wearing shorts and shirt - it's still 22C now at 10.00pm.

I was talking to Chris Rogers today and because it's $48 a night at the Big 4 at Alice Springs we may just stay there for just one week.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Day 65

A very wet day! Where are those 300 sunny days a year? I didn't have the awning sloping down enough for draining in the heavy rain and a big downward bulge developed that was gallons of water. When I lowered one end there was a huge cascade.

The telly stopped working last night and investigation today showed the antenna was broken. My friend Jim came over and had the right bits to not only repair the antenna but we were able to shorten it to the right length and then Jim produced some little stick on hooks to keep it up along the side of Yemmy2 instead of dangling in midair. Great job - thanks Jim.

I'd intended staying in Alice Springs for two weeks on the way home visiting my daughter and her partner but the cost of a site in the Big 4 is very expensive so maybe we will only stay for one week. Chris Rogers who travelled with me two years ago is coming here next month and we will travel together again. She has a friend in the same park in The Alice so that will work out really well.

I missed out on ballooning there a few years back because of strong winds and also missed on a chopper trip for the same reason. Who knows but I may be able to do one or the other - or both - while there this year.

Today I ordered the replacement fittings for the awning arms to clip to the body. One broke during a huge storm at Smalleys Beach. The ones I've ordered are aluminum and stronger than the plastic one that broke.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Day 64

The day started a bit damp and overcast so I delayed packing up and going to Atherton shopping until the sun came out and it looked better. Then I quickly unhooked all things hooked up and rolled in the awning leaving the ropes on the ground.

My main mission was to get a new windscreen wiper arm and I hoped it wouldn't rain on the way. That was a false hope as it started to rain a few km from Atherton but I managed to get to Supercheap Auto without using the wipers. It was a bit tricky to fit so I coughed up the extra $3 to get them to fit it for me.

Then I had an omelette at the Coffee Club - they were very busy and I must have waited 3/4 hr for my meal but it was ok when it finally came. Next came shopping in IGA before going to Big W and buying some new shorts and a shirt. I was looking for another drink container like the one I already have but they didn't have one - nor did anywhere else I tried. K Mart have them for $5 plus $16 postage! Or go down the hill towards Cairns and just pay $5 at K Mart at Smithfield.

 On the way past the War Memorial Park at Rocky Creek I took a pic to show how busy it is. It seems that all the caravan parks on the Tableland and along the coast are very full as well.

The pic doesn't show how very busy it is
After that I headed to Mareeba to get an oven thermometer from Mitre 10 but they didn't have my drink thingy either! I did buy a warm, no sleeve jacket at Target as my tracky top is getting past shabby. 

A busy but satisfying day ended with happy hour as usual and I've invited a newby couple from Camperdown in Victoeia to come over in the morning and I'll give them a few travelling tips.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Day 62 & 63

I seem to have missed Saturday somehow! Not a lot happened so I guess I didn't think about the blog.

The best thing was that Lucy the park owner was back after being away in Townsville for the past few weeks where her son is recovering in hospital after a very serious motorcycle accident. The park is not the same without her.

They soon ripen and are delicious

Yesterday they cut a hand of bananas from the park's banana plant and hung them in the shed for any park residents to have once they ripen. I remember they are delicious from other years.

Today (Sunday) I thought I'd give Yemmy2's oven a try and make a bread pudding. I used some slices of spicy loaf, squished them up with milk, added a little butter, sugar and sultanas and put them in a baking tin. I'd pre-heated the oven but with no oven thermometer I couldn't really tell how hot it was. The result? A complete disaster with the bottom of the pudding burnt back and stuck! After cutting the black bottom off, the rest tasted fine - but a thermometer is on my shopping list for tomorrow.

Such concentration!

After happy hour tonight it was trivia. Everyone brings two questions and then Alice, the park manager, reads out the questions. Everyone contributes answers - a total of four allowed. A right answer is a win and when the scores were totalled up we had more right than wrong - a better result than sometimes. It was great that Lucy came down and gave us a report of how her son is doing. She thanked everyone who had expressed so much concern over the past weeks.

Everyone joins in at this friendly park

I've quite a big shopping list for tomorrow in Atherton including the new wiper blade.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Day 61

It was washing day today and I got all my washing done and dried before lunch.

It looks as if I need to buy a new wiper blade - they have them at Supercheap Autos in Atherton and the blade includes the little control piece that seems to be the trouble with mine.

Billie believes she is the park owner!

Billie came to visit this afternoon - she believes she owns the park and has been here ever since the park opened about 12 years ago.

Billie was a little thinner back then

Here's a picture  of Billie and me driving around the park in an old Whippet some years ago.

Tonight was a communal dinner after happy hour - I found some sausages in the freezer and thawed them out. Four were cooked but I only ate one and the others will be nice snack food tomorrow. And no, Billie is not getting one - she has, "Do not feed me on her coat!

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Day 60

How incredible - Internet that works as well as it did at home! I'm at Walkamin and all set up - telly's working, phone's working and scooter's unloaded. Lots of old Walkamin hands have greeted me and welcomed me back - it's a bit like coming home. Only sad part is that owner Lucy's son has had a serious motorbike accident and is in critical care at Townsville Hospital. Lucy is down there with him.
Awning pegged down and Yemmy on site.

Scooter off and ready for an adventure

Mareeba boasts 300 sunny days a year but today wasn't one of them! All the way from Henrietta Creek to here it was thick fog and cold rain! However it did stop for me to get set up and the scooter unloaded.

I was able to ring both daughter's tonight with no fading out - great.

Lots of people are reading this blog - when will we have 3,000 pageviews?

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Day 59

Last night I was at Henrietta Creek in the National Park and as there was no Internet or phone coverage I'm writing this today from Walkamin where I'll be spending the next few weeks.

A few years ago the trees here were badly damaged by a cyclone but now nature has healed the damage and you can't see any signs left.

Where cuppas come from

On the way to last night's stop I passed a tea plantation with packets of tea for sale

An honour system for tea sales
Last night I met a couple who now live in the Norrthern Territory but used to live on the Mornington Peninsula near my old home at Mornington where we spent so many happy years. They lived at Red Hill - and then I found another couple from Frankston, also near where we used to live. It's sure is a small world.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Day 58

I spent the night at the Jourama Falls National Park - a lovely place with spotless amenities. There was a cold shower but I'm not brave! There was no phone or Internet reception so I'm writing this next morning in a rest area just south of Cardwell.
Only 3 rigs stayed here last night


Yemmy2's lovely resting place
On the way yesterday I crossed the huge Burdekin bridge that links Home Hill with Ayr and went down a track on the Ayr side to get an unusual picture of the bridge.
Not your usual view!
The rest area at Francis Creek was crowded when I called in for a look this morning - I wonder why when there were only three rigs in the National Park last night. Do they begrudge the $6.15 camping fee?

Monday, 11 July 2016

Day 57

Day 57 and undoubtedly the best day of the trip! I actually got to fly a helicopter. After a comprehensive briefing we took to the air - and instructor Doug said, "You are going to take me on a trip over Mackay Harbour - not the other way round."
I was about to climb into the command seat - although it did have dual controls.

The fog wasn't too promising but I flew in clear skies.

The day started with thick fog over the lake and that continued until after Nebo. By the time I got to the airport the sun was out in a clear sky and as you can see I certainly didn't need a jacket.

The views from the air of Mackay and the harbour and beaches were superb but I was too busy flying the helicopter to take any pictures and it didn't occur to me to ask Doug to take some for me.

A quiet little country road for the night

I bought a new patch lead for my modem this morning but don't need it here. I'm about 20km north of Mackay on a little side road. There's very little traffic and I don't really expect any during the night.

And so ends a near perfect day.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Day 56

Sadly the time has come to leave this beautiful place as I have to be in Mackay by lunchtime tomorrow for my helicopter adventure.

Just a few small clouds on the horison

I'm  pretty much packed up, scooter loaded, awning in and table stowed but I couldn't resist taking a couple more pics of the lake.

A duck enjoying the view perhaps!

Last pic here at Lake Elphinstone   

I'm hoping I'll have a lot to tell you tomorrow evening about my flying adventure and some pictures if all goes well.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Day 55

I've been chasing the sun today to keep my loose solar panels charging their best because I've been using the inverter to charge my scooter batteries besides this laptop, the modem and the phone. When old sol is overhead the roof panels kick in and the ammeter shows a great charging rate.

Lynne wasn't too sure it was cooking properly

A couple more pics of the choofer in action tonight. Quite a few people left today - probably because the Queensland school holidays are over.
Mick has choofer cooking well under control

I'll load the scooter tomorrow afternoon so that I can get away in good time on Monday morning.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Day 54

The lake is always attractive
A fairly uneventful day although Murphy had a trick to play. My antenna hasn't been working to get better Internet coverage and I found a little bent wire was not making contact in the modem. I put the cable in my pocket to go look for a needle to straighten the wire but Mr M dropped it somewhere and it wasn't to be found. I'll get another lead in Mackay on Monday - they are not expensive so not a major problem
Another view

Yemmy's big brother

Yemmy 2 has a big brother here - this a very nice Jayco version of the Sprinter
This monster parked next door today!

Three black visitors!

A lid goes on top of the 'Choofer'

The Mick and Lynne invited me to dinner tonight and it was a chook cooked in their 'Choofer' - there were roast veges as well cooked in a camp oven under the chicken.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Day 53

It's a bit chilly here at night and early in the morning - chilly that is until you look at temperatures down south! Today was sunny and I went riding on the scooter for a while before taking a walk to capture some views on the iphone. I've got my DSLR camera with me but the phone pics are just as good for the Internet.

Here are some of today's pics:

The hills in the background are rugged

It wasn't me on the water

Reg came and fixed my Anderson Plugs today

Another view of the camping ground

The Isaac Council recently added new showers and toilets 

I guess it's the cooler weather up here that has inspired me to cook a beef stew today for dinner -  it was quite nice and there's some left for tomorrow although I may turn it in to a curry.
My new neighbours had a fire going in a 'choofer' tonight and invited me over for happy hour. I take a pic tomorrow for those not familiar with 'choofers'. They are made from cut down gas cylinders and there are a few different versions.