Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Day 107

My chronic gastro trouble was back today withe bells on! We went to Tolga for the $10 T-bone steak but I couldn't eat mine and the little dog next door is in for a treat.

I was able to do most of my packing - awning is in, Scooter loaded and lashed down etc.

I hope I'm OK in the morning for the first day of travel again - it will be strange after six weeks stationary.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Day 106

It was podiatry day today. Normally at home I have a podiatrist come to my place and fix my feet for nothing because I'm a diabetic and there is a government subsidy to cover that. However when I'm on the road it's a different matter and Chris and I both made an appointment with a clinic in Atherton.

We took the opportunity of doing some shopping ready for the road on Wednesday and then I lashed out and bought a neat little 12volt compressor from Supercheap Autos. It did fine for Yemmy2's front tyres but it was too hard to screw the hose on to the valves of the dual wheels at the back. Paul next door gave me an extension cord so I could reach to the back but he and I both tried to connect the hose to the valve without success. It will be relatively easy to check and adjust the pressures at a servo on Wednesday.

It was quite a small happy hour tonight - a lot of people were missing having presumably started their homeward journey. Tomorrow will be our last Tolga lunch gathering for a while - like maybe next year.

Tomorrow will see me doing a fair bit of packing up ready to leave next morning.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Day 105

Busy morning - did the washing and put everything away after it had been in the dryer. Then made some chicken and tomato soup from the remains of the chook I had for lunch twice. It's now in the freezer in two bags together with three bags of the steak and kidney from yesterday.

I put the scooter on charge after I'd been to the shop for milk. I'll need it well charged for when I load it on its rack on Tuesday - it needs power to get up the ramp.

Chris has managed to book a trip with the mailman out of Coober Pedy so we'll leave The Alice a couple of days earlier than planned to have plenty of time to get there. I'll just have a lay day while Chris is having a long ride along the Oodnadatta Track delivering mail to outback stations.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Day 104

The day started cool and very windy but improved as the day went on. The only real thing of note today was that I made a steak and kidney casserole type thing and had it with peas and mashed potatoes for dinner.

There are some other people leaving the park this coming week so things will be quieter - not that they are ever noisy - but there won't be as many people here from now on as the season is coming to an end and the winter is nearly over.

This might keep you amused or send you bonkers! http://flash.pcastuces.com/jouer.asp?Id=26

With that little bit of silliness I'll say goodnight!

Friday, 26 August 2016

Day 103

Housekeeping day!  Took the cassette to the dump point on the scooter - easier than carrying it! Then filled the water tank ready for next week's free camping across to Three Ways.

The hws lights every time when it's lit daily - I just hope it continues to work OK when we hit the road and need hot water for the shower.

The chook I bought yesterday is doing well - lunch two days running and enough left for sangers or for making soup.

I made my final site payment today - just six days this time.

I've been watching the live commentary for the Grand Prix but I'm getting tired so it will have to wait until the morning to see how they went - Daniel Riccardo was second on the chart when I stopped watching just now.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Day 102

The day started with a visit to a doctor in Mareeba - nothing serious but checking on treatment for my irritating post Shingles itching. The doc confirmed the use of the capsicum based cream and I have to use it for three or four times every day. He also mentioned that the shingles vaccine will be available for pensioners in November. I'll certainly be checking with my doctor about that when I get home.

It appears that every one on the trip yesterday was very tired last night - I know I was. Being a passenger seems to be more tiring than driving.

While in Mareeba I managed to get a couple of offcuts from a timber place and these will let me move my portta-pot back to give more room in the shower compartment.

Chris has to take her caravan into Atherton in the morning to get a roadworthy certificate in order to renew her registration. I think NSW is the only State that has that requirement.

I had a lovely chat tonight with both my daughters - I do miss those girls! I'll see Jackie on Monday week when we get to Alice Springs. She's been negotiating a good price for our site fees - thanks Jack.

I've been looking back through my 'On the Wallaby' column and found a lot of interesting things that I'd completely forgotten about.

This was one such entry in October 2004:

We ring our daughters every week while we are away and take advantage of Telstra's great 'My Hour' scheme for mobiles that gives you free time on line for a nominated hour a day. We chose 6pm to 7pm as it suits one of our girls best. Apparently we must have repeated the same opening a number of times - "We've just been having a 'Happy Hour' with friends." She said, "You're always having happy hours!" She was right of course - we enjoy a quiet chat and sip with like-minded friends whether we've known them forever or just met them that night.
Some things don't change!

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Day 101

Morning Tea stop at the Anzac Tree Park

What a great day out, Ian and Alice, the park managers, organised a mystery 4x4 tour and 29 park residents took part travelling through lots of roads less travelled and stopped to look at interesting things along the way

It wasn't a 'real' demonstration!
Brian's Shed housed an incredible collection

 We car pooled and Chris and I travelled with Paul and Coral plus their sharp little dog Matilda - 'Tillie' for short.

 One lady demonstrated a 'Potty Chair' during morning tea at the Anzec Tree Park.

We travelled many kilometers of twisty  and hilly gravel roads through very scenic country with stops to see interesting things along the way


Brians Shed housed an incredible collection of machinery and other mementos of the mining era - certainlty very interesting for the men in the group

A shady lunch stop under a tree, a look at a 'battery' where ore from a tin mine was crushed and a stop at the Dimbula pub for a refreshing drink all added to the enjoyment - many thanks to the organisers and our driver Paul.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Day 100

It certainly doesn't seem like 100 days ago when I left for this journey but then again when I think of all the things that have happened and all the things I've done during those days it does seem a long time.

Today was the Tonga $10 T-bone day again and a depleted number this week - just seven of us for lunch.
I thought you cooked with chillies!

Chris and I went shopping in Atherton after lunch and a chemist suggested I use Zo-Rub cream on the rash that has persisted ever since getting shingles 8 months ago - the itching is very annoying. This cream has chilies as an ingredient and the chemist emphasized that I must wash my hands after using it as the chilies burn! He said not to touch my eyes or mouth and suggested that it would not be a good idea to go to the toilet and touch anything down there before washing my hands.

He also suggested that I should get a doctors prescription for something else to help the rash, so I'll be at a Mareeba clinic first thing Thursday morning. Doctors in Atherton are in short supply and I couldn't get an appointment there this week.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Day 99

Another day with not too much happening. I did start writing my November 'On the Wallaby' column and one of the things I said was that I now believe in Climate Change as to my mind it's definitely getting colder!

Driving a wheelchair under the influence!

Rob sent me some more ACC early days pics today and among them was this delightful one of my late wife Vi double dinking with Robyn Ward in a wheelchair! 

When Brian delivered her to our caravan after the dinner finished, it turned out the van keys were in the car as I'd taken her up to the dinner in the car so they had to go back.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Day 98

Nothing much to write about today - weather was warm so relaxing was easy although I didn't have a nap in the afternoon.

A serious business!

I managed to get some pictures of our first ACC National Muster from Rob and that will help with the article I've written about my experience as a member.

This is one of me conducting our first Annual Meeting with other Directors ready to give their reports


And here's another of me making an announcement about something,

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Dat 97

This was a very mixed day. Chris Rogers and I went for a drive to the Millaa Millaa Falls but her GPS took us a long, winding and hilly way and it rained hard most of the way. It was nice seeing the falls again although I was there a couple of weeks ago.
This panorama shows the falls well

The falls are beautiful

Would you believe they were bathing? It was very cold!

I've done some stupid things in my time but today must take first prize! We stopped at a place advertising among other things that they had the largest number of platipuses on the planet. For $8 you got a talk, a tour and a coffee, It was quite a hike and the grass was wet, muddy and slippery. I think some of the group saw what we were looking for but it started raining quite hard and I decided to go back as I was getting very wet. Chris stayed longer but on the way back on a slope she finished up sitting on her bottom in the mud! It would have made a good picture if I'd been with her.

The coffee was good and we had some lunch. On the way home we stopped at a cheese and chocolate establishment and enjoyed the cheese tasting.
There were more chips in a carton but I didn't eat them all

A food van has been at the park today and many of us took the chance after happy hour to have dinner cooked for us. I had a hamburger without the bun but with bacon and with some chips - it was delicious

Friday, 19 August 2016

Day 96

A quiet day today - started off by de-frosting the fridge - it was so frozen the freezer door was hard to open! By directing the output from the heater into it, it soon started dropping chunks of ice down and of course wetting the floor in the process. Of course the wine cask was in the way so when I tried to fill my white wine container, the wet bottom of the cask collapsed and out came the bladder and hit the wine container - spilling wine all over the floor! Long live Murphy - it was his fault.

Tonight was the usual Friday bbq after happy hour and as usual it was a lovely evening. It was good to reminisce with Tony and Denyse over a glass or two of wine.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Day 95

Hooray - my new NAB Credit Card now has my PIN and to prove it works I withdrew some cash!

After going to the NAB in Atherton we went out to Yungaburra and the Tinaroo Dam for a ride - I'll let the pictures tell the story. We also called in for a look at the Bonadio Nature and RV Park.
Quite a lot of vans at the Nature Park despite the damp weather

Another view

The dam wall - water from the dam supplies irrigation for a large area of the Tablelands

It's a very large storage on the Barwon River
Tony and Denyse Allsop - fellow Caravan World scribes - arrived here today and it was good to catch up with them again. Denyse went to school here at Walkamin so knows the area well of course.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Day 94

There I was complaining that I had to go to a NAB branch to change my PIN but this morning Chris took me to the NAB branch in Atherton and I thought I'd be smart and change it myself at the ATM. I put in the old PIN and then as instructed put in the new one twice. Didn't work so I did it again in case I'd keyed the wrong number. This time it told me I'd entered the wrong number three times and the account would be closed for 24 hours!

I went inside and after they took details from my card and drivers license they gave me a generic PIN and one teller came out to help me with the ATM. We put in the generic number, keyed in the desired new number and got the locked for 24 hours notice again. So now I have to go back tomorrow and try again! When I got back here I checked to scanned NAB letter that my daughter sent me and there - very plainly - was the number I'd been sent - the same one I'd keyed in! Is Murphy the culprit as usual or am I going bonkers?

Tonight was a special happy hour as long time park residents, Neil and Barbara McInnes, are moving into their new home on Friday and this was a farewell for them. All the ladies had brought lovely finger food and it was a real feast - I doubt if anyone needed any dinner after that.

There were two lovely cakes!

I forgot to show you the pic of Lynne slicing the lovely chocolate cake with strawberries and cream last night so here 'tis.

It was delicious!

Is there light at the end of the banking tunnel? Tomorrow will/may solve the mystery!


Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Day 93

Ten smiling faces waiting for lunch

 Happy Birthday Graeme

It was great being able to share Graeme Lavender's birthday  today at the Tolga pub. There were ten of us and the pub was packed it must be the Tuesday
$10 T-bones!

The celebrations continued at happy hour when Lynne produced two lovely chocolate cakes with strawberries around the sides. Graeme read a humorous poem he had written and caused  a lot of laughter

It was a bit sad to realise that Graeme and Lynne, Mal and Helen and Bruce and Eileen, are all leaving in the morning to go their separate ways - but hey - we will be catching up again somewhere down the track or at a muster somewhere. 

My credit card finally arrived today after waiting since last Thursday week  for it! Only trouble is I can't change the PIN online or on the phone but have to go to a NAB Branch to do it.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Day 92

Pasta Pudding - better than is sounds!
Pasta pudding doesn't sound cool but that's what I cooked up for lunch. It was spiral pasta cooked till Al Dente in water and then after draining and adding sultanas and raw sugar finished cooking in milk. It was yum and did me hot for lunch and cold for dinner.

My friend, ACC member Chris Rogers, arrived here tonight and will travel with me on the way home  - we'll be leaving here in just over two weeks and  should be back at Illawarra by about the 23rd of September in good time for the ACC Lone Trekkers Muster that starts at my place on the 7th of October.

About ten ACC members and friends will descend on the Tolga pub again for lunch tomorrow - it's Graeme's birthday so we'll be helping him celebrate. It's the Tolga Tuesday special - $10 T-bone plus chips and salad.

This week I'll try to remember to get some pictures! Or at least one!

My new  magnetic insect screen for Yemmy2's door didn't want to stay in place at the top but some Super Glue fixed that today! Super Glue, Duct Tape and Velcro are my three remedies for most everything!

I think we will pass the 4,000 page views of the blog tomorrow! Thanks for staying with me - it should get more interesting when I hit the road again in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Day 91

I was busy doing something on the computer mid-morning today and had just made a cup of coffee when suddenly there were voices outside and Paul next door was saying, "Lionel - you've got visitors!" The visitors were Kesley and David, ACC members from Cairns and their friends Mal and Helen, ACC members from Tin Can Bay and it was a wonderful surprise to have them here. For the next hour or so there was great reminiscing and laughter. Graeme and Lynne also joined us as they knew Mal and Helen as well. Mal and Helen are staying here for a few days while waiting for a part to come by post.

Yemmy at Greens Lake in Northern Victoria


Many of you will remember my first Yemmy who took me all over Australia  - here's a picture of him at Greens Lake before he got his fancy decals on the sides.

Yemmy2 is quite a bit longer and higher

Yemmy2 was inspected by my friends this morning and everyone gave him a thumbs up - some of them had seen his predecessor and could see how much extra space I now have - although he's not as spacious as most caravans.

Chris Rogers messaged me this afternoon to say she was in Charters Towers so she will probably arrive here tomorrow or Tuesday and Graeme and Lynne will be here until Wednesday so I certainly won't get lonely. 

Fellow Caravan World scribes Tony and Denyse are coming here for a few days on Thursday as well so I won't be bored.

Today was a writing day - Caravan World editor Laura has asked me to write an article about my ten years of involvement with The Australian Caravan Club so I got busy with that. So much has happened in the ten years since I became Chairman of the Club - a position I held for five years.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Day 90

Almost dry

What a difference 90 days make

Today daughter Sue sent me two contrasting photos - one of our bottom dam as it was when I started this journey 90 days ago and one as it is now.
Completely full

The rain has completely filled the dam and just look at the green grass the alpacas are enjoying.

Tonight it's a bit cool and windy but it's been a nice day.  Walkamin hasn't really lived up to what I've come to expect over the many years I've been coming here with lots of days with quite a bit of wind chill and the awning's done a fair bit of flapping even though it's roped down at the corners.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Day 89

Today started a little bit sad as Brian and Linda left to visit their son in Cooktown - but of course we'll meet again somewhere in the ACC world. Graeme and Lynne are still here for a few more days and, like me, seemed to enjoy our Friday happy hour and byo barbie. It was so popular tonight that we ran out of chairs, Paul bought me a Tawny wine cask while shopping today as I'd forgotten to get one yesterday and we gave it a bit of a nudge tonight,

A  bit of Australia Post magic - I ordered the new insect screen yesterday and it arrived this morning! It's now in place and doing a great job after I'd shortened it to just clear the step. It had only come from Cairns but I hadn't realised that when I ordered it. My new credit card was posted last Thursday in Victoria and still hasn't arrived!

Looking at my calendar today I realised that I'll be out of here and starting to head home in just over two weeks! Doesn't seem possible - this place is starting to feel like  a second home!

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Day 88

Quite a lot of activity today although nothing was really earth shattering except lunch. Linda invited me to share their lunchtime roast and it was superb! Roast pork with crispy baked potatoes, carrot, parsnip, turnip, cauliflower, broccoli and gravy, white sauce and apple sauce. Wow - what a feed! As if that wasn't enough there was lovely white wine to wash it down.

We went to Atherton in the afternoon and I managed to get my Commonwealth Bank money transfer sorted at the branch. So now I've only got one NetBank account, all the money is in that account and I can - and have - transferred some money from it into one of my NAB accounts.

Chris Rogers has been delayed again for a couple of days and will probably be here on Monday - she has caught up with the Tudors and Rob Farirngton today at Emerald.

It has finally returned to real Walkamin weather today, mostly sunny, a gentle breeze and warm. Lovely.

My insect screen for Yemmy's door has seen better days and I've been fixing it up with gaffer tape. However today I decided on a new one and it should be here next week.

I was having a look at the next stage of my journey and here's a pic.
That should take five or six days

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Day 87

Gee thanks dad!
Daughter Sue sent me two pics today. The first is of little alpaca baby, Pixie, being bottle fed under my carport by surrogate dad Shaun. Pixie's Mum disowned her and Sue and Shaun became parents my default even getting up in the night for feeds in the early days.

That's my little Getzie on the left patiently waiting for me to get back and take her for trips even if it's just to the shops and band rehearsal.

Nearly full!

The other pic was of our top dam that was very low when I left home  in May. Our bottom dam was dry and is now overflowing - it just shows how much rain they have had - I'm glad I'm up here despite the sometimes cold winds.

I can't believe this is day 87 since I left on this trip and that I'll be home, all going well, late next month.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Day 86

Great lunch get together at the Tolga pub today
$10 - that's a bargain!

There were 14 of us at the Toga pub today - ACC members and friends and I intended taking some pictures of us. Unfortunately I was so busy eating and talking that I forgot about the picture until I got home. Sorry folks.

It's been great having Brian and Linda giving me lifts everywhere and I'll miss them when they leave on Friday. However Chris Rogers will be here that day and she says she will take over chauffeuring duties.

After getting my daughter to go to my house, find documents from my super fund, scan them and email them to me for the Commonwealth Bank, I waited over a week before sending them an email asking what the hold up was and did they need anything more plus ringing them. I got inconclusive answers telling me to look at mail on the account home page until they finally rang me today to say they wanted more documents as what I'd sent didn't have my name on them! Utter BS so I told him to cancel the application and I'd stick with the NAB. Who needs another credit card anyway?  

Monday, 8 August 2016

Day 85

Apart from doing the washing and getting it dry after being too slow twice at the dryer and finally it was third time lucky, there's not too much to report today.

I did help Coral next door get my blog and Facebook page on her computer so that will probably mean at least one more page view.

It looks like there will be fourteen ACC members at the Tolga pub for lunch tomorrow - one or two are just friends who will be very welcome.

I'll post some pictures tomorrow.

My long expected blanket arrived today but it's still quite cool at night so the doona is staying on for now. The day itself has been spoilt by a cool wind and a bit of drizzle. I guess we are lucky though because Graeme and Lynne struck rain all day during their travels today.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Day 84

The day started with a visit to the Tolga market with Brian and Linda - one of the best markets on the Tableland - but it was cold with a bitter, chilly wind and light showers. I only bought bunches of radish and baby beetroot.

Late afternoon we caught up with Graeme and Lynne and found out where they had explored today,. Then it was the hilarious Trivia Night and although it was hard to hear it was a lot of fun. Following that we feasted on pea and ham or pumpkin soup, and damper - absolutely yummy.

Here are a few shots of people enjoying the evening.

The beaut open fire added to the evening

There's no doubt about Walkamin being a caravan park where everyone enjoys themselves or if they don't they only have themselves to blame

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Day 83

What a great day!

Today was special. Brian, Linda and your scribe had a wonderful mystery drive that took in waterfalls, cheese tasting, a lovely lunch and lots of scenery despite being overcast for most of the trip.

I'll let the pictures tell the story.
 Brian and Linda
There was no temptation for me to go swimming!

Millaa Millaa Falls
A striking statue at Millaa Millaa

This is only the Rapids - the falls were lower down

When we arrived back at the park we found Graham and Lynne had arrived and were set up near Brian and Linda. It was great to catch up with them again - we've been on a number of tagalongs together

Friday, 5 August 2016

Day 82

Very quiet day today - a day that started with  very cold winds although the doona ensured a good warm night's sleep.

I received my census papers yesterday so filled that in today - it's not until Tuesday evening but nothing will change before then and I put Tuesdays date on it and won't post it until Wednesday.

"Wonder if I could build one?"

I forgot to add this picture of Brian contemplating all the workings of the huge coffee harvester yesterday.

 It really is an incredible machine and was designed by the Jacques family to harvest a tree a second compared to the huge time taken by hand picking.

It was the Friday night byo meat and shared salads/vegies to the barby tonight and as usual a great friendly evening. With two large barbeques, a pizza oven and three microwaves, the park is very well set up.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Day 81

A Coffee Experience
When I woke up today it felt as if I'd been transported back to Victoria while I was sleeping. It was only 12degrees inside Yemmy2 and my nice new thin blankets was totally inadequate! The doona will be back out tonight.
Our guide and Linda

It turned out to be a glorious sunny day though and we - Brian, Linda and me - took advantage of the 
lovely weather to visit Jacques Coffee Plantation and did the tour including a short film showing the coffee growing process and the history of the Jacques family involvement in Africa and on the Tableland. Despite Paul Keatings 'recession we had to have' that sent the family bankrupt and saw them lose everything to the banks, a further huge setback when Government employees sprayed - and killed - all their next trees just as they were ready for harvest, they picked themselves up and started over again.
Coffee berries ready to harvest
The coffee flowers have a very short life

It was a very interesting film and the  bus tour of the plantation that followed before we tasted some coffee liqueurs followed by a nice lunch

The pictures of the coffee berries and flowers were taken from the film - the harvest isn't ready yet and the flowers are only in bloom for about three days.

After lunch we visited the Golden Drop a winery that specialises in fruit wines and liqueurs - particularly from mangoes. We enjoyed tasting their product but not so much that we bought any as they were all quite expensive. 

A visit to Skybury - another coffee establishment that also grows and sells the lovely red paw paws - and we were ready to head for home in time for happy hour. 

Brian brought along a bottle of Mulled Wine and heated some in a microwave. It was labelled 'Gluewein' and is made from red wine infused with spices and citrus fruit and is quite a nice drop. I believe it was used a a starter before a day's fox hunting and also after a day skiing in the snow.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Day 80

A bit less woolly!

Yesterday I showed a pic of me having a hair and beard trim - here's the result. I put it on Facebook yesterday and it drew a lot of comments - fortunately some were complimentary.

My new NAB credit card has arrived today at home so I was able to get all the details like expiry date and the code on the back when I rang Sue. It will probably take a week to get up here but in the meantime I can update my direct debits.

My new modem is working well and the new cable connection is a lot more secure. Telstra now has put my phone and modem data allowance together and I can use either as I like. Together I've now got 14.5 GB.

I closed the blackout screen on my hatch last night and because the sun didn't shine in this morning I slept about an hour later - not that it matters in the least!

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Day 79

Amazing what a good clip can do!

The hairdressing lady who visits the park on Tuesdays returned today after 2 months in Europe so I took advantage of her visit to get a trim of hair and beard.

This afternoon Brian and Linda had to go to Atherton to pick up their little dog who has been at the vets all day for a major check up so I cadged a lift to go to the Telstra Shop and also to get a gas cylinder re-filled.

My modem had been getting hard to charge as the cable didn't fit properly any more and the helpful Telstra lady fixed me up with a new one with an extra 2gb of download making it 10gb/month now plus the 4.5gb with my phone. The alternative was to send it away for repair and be without it for a few weeks - not a good idea in my opinion.

The deadline for the October issue of Caravan World is approaching so I wrote and sent my On the Wallaby Column today - the main feature of course was my helicoptering adventure a few weeks back.

I wonder where I can fly again?

Monday, 1 August 2016

Day 78

Shopping was easy today because Brian and Linda took me with them to Atherton and the Super IGA. They are taking the oldest of their two dogs to the vet tomorrow so I'll get a lift with them to Atherton and visit the Telstra shop because it has become very hard to get a good connection between the cable and my modem to charge it.

I'll also get a gas bottle filled - I've only had one fill since leaving home and that's a huge change from last year when one 4kg cylinder only lasted about two weeks because of a bad and inaccessible leak.

We had coffee at the Coffee Club and, as is often the case, my flat white had about an inch of froth on top. I mentioned this to the waitress and she took it back and  fixed it! Sometimes it pays to complain but I often just put up with it as I don't like making a fuss.

I didn't need to use my new PIN for my CommSec debit card - it worked at the supermarket and the grog shop by just waving it.

An email today told me that my new blanket has been posted so it should be here soon.

There wasn't much else out of the ordinary today so I'll apply the KISS instruction and keep it short.