Saturday, 24 September 2016

Trip summary

Lionel's 2016 Trip Summary

It doesn't seem possible that I'm back home after a fantastic trip that started in the cool of late May  in Victoria and took in parts of New South Wales, Queensland, the Northern Territory and South Australia before getting home to Victoria 131 days later. In all excluding side trips in other peoples vehicles, I covered 8,942 KM.

I flew in a helicopter at Mackay, in a balloon at Alice Springs and in two light planes from Coober Pedy over Lake Eyre North and South plus the painted Hills.

There were so many people I met along the way - some friends from way back and some friends I met for the first time. They all added warmth and companionship to the trip and many are mentioned in the pages of this blog.

I have no idea of how much diesel Yemmy2 consumed - when he needs fuel he gets it!

It was nice to know that friends followed my adventures through this blog - when I last looked there had been nearly 6,000 page views. Thanks for sharing my travels - I hope to do more next year.


The last pic - son Chris and I as I was about to start the last leg yesterday

Day 131

Well it's finally happened - 131 days after leaving Illawarra I'm back safe and sound and it's great to be reunited with Sue and Shaun. An added bonus was that grandson Corey and Micaela were here for the weekend as well.

Shaun had cooked a fantastic dinner and they brought it down to my place to eat.  No pics I'm sorry.
It took a while to remember how to work the telly and PVR plus my sound system but it all eventually came back.

It was an uneventful trip back from Adelaide today although my TomTom did lose the satellite at the time I was negotiating the way out of Adelaide from Semaphore Park and that made it interesting.

Grandson Corey and Micahlah were here for the weekend as well so there were six of us for dinner - great.

I'll write a final summary page tomorrow - just a tad tired just now after a 507 km trip and then the reunion and sorting things out. It's good to have a monitor and mouse again - the trackpad is not the same!

Friday, 23 September 2016

Day 130

It was a change to sleep inside a house after 129 days on the road sleeping in Yemmy2 and when I woke during the night I was quite disorientated and didn't know where I was.

Marijana and I went to the West Lakes Mall so she could get a sim card put in the iphone 6 her son had given her and I sat and watched the passing parade of shoppers. I love people watching - the different shoes and apparel, their walking page and other interesting things about them.

When we got back home I was able to get their PVR talking to the telly so they will be able to record programmes again.

Jay and his mum sorting the iphone


At night we went out to a hotel for dinner and were joined by Marijana's son Jason who is now living nearby and doing his IT job from home. We went for a look at his home that is not too far from the library where his mother works so she is able to catch up with him easily.

Marijana thought this little cat would make a nice travelling companion for me! Puss looks quite real.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Day 129

Well I'm now settled for a couple of days at my son and daughter in law's home at Semaphore Park in Adelaide while Chris has gone on to Tailum Bend until we catch up again on Saturday for the last day's journey.

It's been great to catch up although they are coming to Illawarra next weekend so we will soon meet again.



Before I left Port Germein this morning I took a couple of shots of the beautiful ceramics on tables and a bench at the sheltered bbqs 
on the Esplanade.

  The barbies are spotlessly clean and a credit to whoever looks after the facility.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Day 128

A much better day for travelling today - still a bit windy and a few showers but we were still here in Port Germein before lunchtime.

Unfortunately the lovely fish shop and cafe on the corner next to the caravan park has been closed for a long time although a peep through a corner of a window showed everything still place. They must have just walked out one day and never came back.

The next disappointment came when I visited the hotel to book for dinner. "We are not doing meals,'" the man said, " The boss does pizzas but he's away!"

There was a food stall on the jetty so Chris has a steak sandwich and I had fish and chips. The chips were lovely but I didn't enjoy the fish much.


There was a sort of old wares shop that wasn't open so I took a couple of shots through the window - sorry about the reflections.

A couple of skeletons relaxing on a settee and a book about the town's hidden skeletons in the closet!

I think they typify whats happening to a lot of small towns in Australia.

Tomorrow we split up for a couple of days. I'll be visiting my son and daughter in law in Adelaide and Chris will be spending a couple of days in Tailem Bend. Then we head to my place on Saturday.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Day 127

We travelled in appallingly windy conditions today from Coober Pedy to Pimba and we arrived just as a ferocious storm hit as we were trying to refuel ready for morning.

I worked on a few more pics from yesterday so here are some of them.
An island in the lake

Much of it is salt

Wonderful colours of the rocks
Another lake view
Our pilot, Emily, checking the plane
Nearly home - the runway is straight ahead

Tomorrow we head for Port Germein - and I hope the wind abates a bit.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Day 126

Only five more blog entries and I'll be home. Thanks for following my journey - it's been good to know I've got a few fans who put up with my sometimes vacuous comments.

However today's not one of those days as I went for a great flight today. I rang yesterday to see if any flights were booked with a spare seat as they don't take single bookings. He said no - but took my details in case a couple booked. He rang back and said yes but it took off at 8am. Oh dear! I'd promised Chris I'd take to the place where her mail run started and that was at 8.30. That's OK he said - we'll go at 9am. Fine so off I went this morning not knowing I would be on the most expensive flight they had - Willian Creek, Lake Eyre North and South and the Painted Hills on the way back - a very full half day or more trip. It cost me $660 but it was worth every cent of it.

It was great. Emily, the young lady who was our pilot was very competent and pleasent, I scored the front seat which was a bonus and took lots of pictures - some of which I'll put on here.
Coober Pedy from the air

One of the islands in Lake Eyre North where birds breed

I had to show off of course!

I'll try to process some more pics and put them on tomorrow.

Two years ago when Chris and I were in Coober Pedy we stayed out at the place that advertises underground camping. It was once an opal mine but owner Rick saw that tourist dollars are more reliable than digging for opals. They made cabin type accommodation in one of the tunnels and made flat areas for tents. Caravans, etc, stay above ground. I called to see them this afternoon and they would like to sell and retire as they have been there for twenty something years and are getting tired.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Day 125

A leisurely run today under clear skies brought us to Coober Pedy in time for lunch. We are staying at the Big 4 Caravan Park that's a bit out of town but is a nice park plus the lure of pizzas make it irresistible

Not much to photograph today but tomorrow I'm booked on a plane trip over the area so there should be photo opportunities.

Chris needs to be at the hotel where the mailman starts his run by 8.30 so I'll take her there on my way to the airfield for my 9am flight.

The pizza people were working flat out but the pizza was well worth waiting for - I had the Yanni Special and it was chokka with good fillings. I saved two slices for lunch tomorrow.

For want of something better to photograph I took a shot of the wires and pipes behind the washing machines in the laundry!

Day 124

On the move today after a slow start and although there were patches of light rain it cleared into a sunny but very windy day
I'm afraid Chris gets a bit lost in this pic!

Bye bye Northern Territory - we enjoyed our stay

 We crossed the NT/South Australian border just after a lunch and re-fuelling stop at Kulgera and then started looking  for a night stop.










 We stayed overnight at the Agnes Creek Rest Area - a very spacious area. The wind was gusty and cold and the flies made sitting outside unbearable.


My gas ran out! I lit the oven with the idea of heating some chicken, chips and sweet corn but it went out after a few minutes. It didn’t take very long to change to a full cylinder and continue cooking dinner. The last time I changed a cylinder was when I was at Smalleys Beach and I got it filled in Mackay. That was a long time ago so it’s lasting very well this year.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Day 123

The weather today was really nice until after dinner when a quite severe storm  changed the scene for a while.

This was the last night with Jackie and Duck - the time seems to have flown by and I should be home by tomorrow week. It's been quality time in the evenings - they have been at work in the days but we were together each evening.

Most things are packed or put away and it shouldn't take long in the morning to be ready to hit the road again with our destination a rest area south of the South Australian border.

It appears that the rain is easing in Victoria and although a bit more rain is forecast most of the roads are open again. First job when I get home will be to check where we can hold our Lone Trekkers Muster as my FarmStay will probably be too wet. We don't want bogged caravans!

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Day 122

Despite the dire forecast this turned out to be a lovely day although it started off a bit cool. Chris and I went shopping in the afternoon ready for the road on Saturday. We visited Target, Priceline, Woolworths, the Post Office, KFC and a huge camping and 4x4 centre.

Jackie and Dennis shared the Kentucky chicken with me and it was lovely - it was a big tub and there's some left for tomorrow.

I bought a cooked chook at Woolies and that will make a few lunches and some chicken and sweetcorn soup.

Bernie hopes to be able to leave Perth with his repaired Jeep next Friday and still make it to the Lone Trekkers Muster. One of the first jobs for me when I get home is check where we can hold the muster if it's too wet to use my FarmStay.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Day 121

"I'm not a boat!"

The weather might not be too good here in Alice Springs but it sure beats what's happening where I live near Stawell in Victoria. Roads are flooded and many are closed. 

This was taken on the Grampians Road this morning from my little Getzie that's on loan at the moment.

The road has since been closed.

It's been very cold here today and I've spent most of the day inside keeping warm. Tomorrow we're going shopping and then on Friday it will be packing up and getting ready for the road.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Day 120

Got a shock this morning when I got a text from Rob Tudor, ACC Webmaster, telling me he couldn't send me any mail because my mailbox was full. A lot of frustration later I was able to make the mailbox much bigger so it won't happen again sometime soon. The fact that I'd forgotten the password to get into my web provider didn't help! I'm now back on line for

Sorting that took most of the morning and it was back to Kindle and card games this afternoon. There's a well stocked shop here at the park but it was a big surprise when I paid about $3.60 for a litre of milk!

It surprised Jackie and ChrisR when I pointed out that there were only three more days after today before we head homewards on Saturday.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Day 119

Another lazy day - read my Kindle - Wilbur Smith wrote so well it's hard to put his books down or in the case of the Kindle to turn it off. I also watched two episodes of Eggheads - the money up for grabs today was $12,000 and it nearly went off - just missed by one question.

I rang the Gap View Hotel and found they charge the earth for two litre casks of wine or Tawny - it's an effort to stop the locals drinking as much. It also stops me - back to the XXXX.

I also found out about towing Getzie behind the Sprinter with four wheels down. The complete job including the wiring was quoted a $3,350. I'm seriously thinking about it as it would be a lot easier than the scooter which is hard to put on and off it's rack.

It's good to be able to spend the evenings with Jackie and Duck - they don't change and we have many a laugh.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Days 117 and 118

Been a bit slow these last two days with not too much happening. I had the gastro back yesterday and had to use the loo at the Woolworths Mall. IT WAS 50 CENTS TO GO! I had no change but the attendant let me in free.

There were no wine in casks at the BCF! I bought six XXXX cans to tide me over and then today when we found a pub that sells 2-litre casks it was only to be told that they couldn't sell them until 6pm. You can't buy any alcohol on weekdays before 2pm but on Saturdays you can purchase grog at 10am. It probably makes sense to somebody but certainly not to me.

Jackie, ChrisR and I went to bingo today and had fun despite not winning anything. We bought pizza on the way home for our dinner.

There are free pancakes here at the park on Sunday mornings but I forgot it was Sunday and didn't remember until after I'd had breakfast. Silly boy.

Sue sent me this picture of our top dam - it has never been that high before since we moved there.
That's my house in the background

Friday, 9 September 2016

Day 116

Wow - did I create a monster today! I created a Facebook group for ACC Lone Trekkers. It's a group for Australian Caravan Club members who belong the the Special Interest Group ACC Lone Trekkers - a group for members travelling on their own.

People must not have read the description because so far the applications to join have all been from people who are not Lone Trekker Members!

Never mind - it kept me busy  today.

Poor Chris Rogers is not well - she has caught a bad virus or something and has cancelled her trip to Gemtree this weekend. I haven't been shopping for wine so had to drink beer tonight! Shame.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Day 115



Just when I was thinking I didn't have much to do today, the computer pinged and there was an email with the Australian Caravan Club's Nomad  magazine all ready for me to proof read. That took a while and then I rang the editor and we corrected at the mistooks.

I made a largish chicken curry and took it to Jackie's van for dinner - they said it was yum. I'm out of wine so had to drink port - or should I say Tawny?

In the morning I rode my scooter around the park and was amazed how big it is - apparently there are close to 500 sites! It was featured in a new monthly digital RV magazine I downloaded today. The mag also featured a fantastic Sprinter conversion - Yemmy was worried when I told him about all its features.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Day 114

Up with the larks this morning for the balloon flight and I was last on the pick up after they had been around town picking up the rest of the ballooners,

When Vi and I were school photographers many, many years ago, we spent a month here in Alice Springs. We delighted in seeing the hot air balloons flying over the town. I had expected todays flight to be the same but they don't do that any more and our trip was a long way from town and not as exciting. 
All ready for take-off

I guess I'd been spoilt by two trips from Mareeba where we flew over the fabulous Atherton Tablelands and had a proper breakfast served after the flight.


Today our flight was over trees and grazing country and we didn't even glimpse the town. The champagne was OK with the cheese and biscuits and scones and they did their best to make it a good experience.

The dawn colours were nice
Lots of cattle in the yards

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Day 113

Murphy is up to his tricks
Those of you who look at my facebook page will have seen this already but here it is again.

There's a gap between my bench tops and the window and I lost my scissors over there the other day. No end of improvised gadgetry could retrieve them so for the miserly $6 or so I decided on a new pair,

Cuts every thing four times at once!

Rushing back into Woolies as I'd left them off the shopping list, I bought what I thought were
scissors. Wrong! They were scissors for cutting up herbs!

I've just set the alarm for 4.30am ready for my ballooning adventure in the morning - pick up is at 5.30am so I hope I wake up in time. Last time I'd just drunk my wake up coffee when they rang to say it was too windy for flying!

We'll pass 5,000 page views tomorrow!

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Day 112

We were in the shadow of the Marbles overnight

Great day for travelling! Good roads, good weather and hardly any traffic. What more could you want? Well perhaps a bit faster would have been good but we covered the ground and were here in The Alice by about 2pm.
Yemmy had to have his picture with the Marbles!

It was lovely to catch up with Jackie and Duck- especially as it was Father's Day.

Chris sent a message and I talked to him a bit later and also chatted with Sue. It's wonderful to have the love of all of my three children and I love them all in return.

Along the way we called in at Wycliffe Well where UFOs are supposed to land but it's a good tourist attraction. They have changed the name of the caravan park to Devils Marbles Tourist Park although it not really near the Marbles.

Day 111

From Word:

We were on the road nice and early and the weather was good for travelling – sunny and cloudless sky. The only slight trouble was the sun coming through the drivers window onto my right arm most of the day. By closing the window and putting on the aircon it wasn’t too bad. I must fix up a screen to stop that.
The Barkly Tableland is a bit boring so I put on a Big Band CD to help pass the time. It’s got old favourites like Glen Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Billie Goodwin and others.
We had Internet at Barkly Homestead so did some computing while having coffee. Jackie had texted that everything was OK for us arriving early tomorrow.
Yemmy and the Marbles
There’s no reception here at the Devil’s Marbles so I’m doing the Word trick again tonight. I’ll get some pictures in the morning. The campground is very busy – more people that I can remember – still $3.30 a head/night!

Friday, 2 September 2016

Day 110:

No Internet last night so here's what I wrote in Word:

This started off as an abysmal day with pouring rain as we drove from the rest area where we had over-nighted, to Cloncurry. Chris is very nervous driving in the wet and so it was a very slow drive indeed. We did some minor shopping in Cloncurry and then headed to Mt Isa. Still a bit wet – still a bit slow!
Chris proving we are In the Territory
It started clearing before we got to The Isa and as the afternoon progressed the sun came out and driving conditions became very pleasant.
We had both come to the conclusion that if there had been rain at Camooweal in the morning we should give the lagoon a miss or we might be stuck in the mud so we continued on to Avon Downs Rest Area.

A family with a converted bus with a little car on tow asked us over to sit by their fire after dinner and it was nice chatting with them. They have been in every State of Australia except Tassie and Queensland and tomorrow they will cross the Queensland border just after they leave here. What a great adventure for their three children.
It looks as though we can make Alice on Sunday as it’s not quite as far as we thought so I used my Satellite phone to call Jackie and ask her to find out if our sites will be vacant a day earlier than planned. She will message me tomorrow and we will get the message somewhere along the way.
Sunset at Avon Downs where we  stayed tonight

 Tomorrow we head for the Devil's Marbles

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Day 109

Hooray - there's Internet and phone coverage here in a rest area about 100km from Cloncurry. I've just posted yesterdays blog so here's today's.

It was a far better day today. Firstly although not completely over the stomach problems it's a lot better. Secondly I let Chris lead so I could keep and eye on where she was and adjust my speed accordingly. The road wasn't as twisty and hilly and the weather was fine and sunny so travelling conditions were good.

This view was what I saw all day although a lot further away

There were quite a lot of single lane bitumen roads and Chris doesn't like them but I don't believe there will be any more this trip.  We've covered just over 900km so far and are on track to get to Alice Springs by Monday as planned.

Day 108

I was still having stomach trouble today but it wasn’t bad enough to stop me driving.
The day started with people from the park coming to say goodbye and see you next year. This included the park managers Ian and Alice – we both said afterwards what other caravan park would have the managers give you a hug when you left.
We got away around 8.30 and the weather was a bit dull. By Ravenshoe is had started raining but it cleared up soon afterwards and most of the day was cloudless sky and sunshine.
Although I set my cruise control to 85k/ph I kept getting well ahead of Chris and once when I stopped to wait for her it was 10 minutes before she appeared! Never mind we got here in the end although it was hard to concentrate driving at a lower speed than usual plus feeling crook.
Tom was still showing 20 km to go when we reached our destination – Gilbert River and about 400km for the day. There are no facilities here but it was very peaceful. A little wallaby was grazing near us and only one other camper came in.
Today we are aiming for one of the rest area between Normanton and Cloncurry – probably about 400km again.
There’s no reception here so I’ve written this in Word and will copy it into the blog when we get coverage somewhere along the way.