Way 2013 Trip Diary - Part Seven - The Return Home
129 19.10.13 Well, I didn't expect
my experiences today.
I was up
and happening early, the weather was much better than yesterday,
and I was on the road by 8 am. I decided to do the back road
to Lake Maraboon. When there in 2010, we were inundated by Rainbow
Lorikeets - not a sign of them this year - mind you it was June-ish
when we were there last time.
the road to Springsure, and I had forgotten what a picturesque
sight the Minerva Hills are. I had already passed the turnoff
to the Old Rainworth Fort, when I thought that as I had missed
this last time, I should have a look this time. So I turned
around, and drove the 10kms to the "fort". A drive
into the property, and I was met by owner Colleen McLaughlin,
who began to give me a rundown on the history of the property.
It all dated back to a Massacre of 19 white people by local
aborigines on 17th October, 1861, co-incidentally exactly 152
Wills led a squatter party from the colony of Victoria. A temporary
tent camp was set up on the newly established grazing property
of Cullin-la-Ringo. Wills' party had set out from Brisbane eight
months earlier to set up a farm at Cullin-La-Ringo, a property
formed by amalgamating four blocks of land with a total area
of 260 square kilometres (64,000 acres). The size of the group
had attracted much attention from other settlers, as well as
the indigenous people.
to the account of one of the survivors, John Moore, Aborigines
had been passing through the camp all day on 17 October 1861,
building up numbers until there were at least 50. Then, without
warning, they attacked, murdering all the men, women and children
with nulla nullas. The settlers defended themselves with pistols
and tent poles, but nineteen of the twenty-five defenders were
One of the
party managed to ride 25 miles (40 kms) to Rainworth Station
to raise the alarm. One of the survivors was Tom Wills (Horatio's
son), who returned to Victoria, and ironically led the first
Aboriginal Cricket Team to England, and was responsible for
the formation of Australian Rules Football.
in fact was a stone building that was commissioned a year before
the massacre, but wasn't completed until a year after. Popular
conjecture was that the building was built as a fortress against
potential attack by the local "blacks" where in fact,
it was always designed and built as a storehouse.
after filming the "fort", I took a drive out to the
massacre site, where Wills was buried on his own, and the rest
were buried in a mass grave. I am currently putting together
a video which will make it's way to YouTube.
If you are
passing through Springsure, it is well worth a run out to the
Old Rainworth Fort for a look. It is a piece of local history
preservation. Unfortunately, as we grow older, so do the people
who grew with the history, and as they pass on, so we lose the
storytellers who had first hand experience of the times.
back into Springsure, and another attempt to head towards Rolliston.
I am in a metal dump about 40 kms from Rolliston, and I have
used my new satellite finder for the first time ..... and it
works. You can actually see the signal change as you twist the
LNB for the strongest signal. It was all guess work before.
But a few more set ups will tell the story.
20.10.13 All in all a rather straight forward day today.
I made my way into Rolleston, and then headed for my intended
rest stop for the next couple of days. As you travel South through
the Carnarvon Range, there is one final steep climb as you ascend
to the huge cleared area, that has a rest area, and tons of
space to camp in.
As I encountered the workmen working at the bottom of the hill,
and passed the huge numbers of items of machinery, and we climbed
the hill in a line of traffic behind a struggling b-Double at
12 kph, it suddenly occurred to me, that this crew would have
probably taken over MY camping area .... and so it proved, as
the area was covered in piles of metal, gravel, associated road
metals, and machinery. Now as you well know, my preferred places
of camping are gravel pits and metal dumps, (and in fact, I
stayed at one last night complete with all the road metal types
and a couple of dongers), but NOT when they are occupied by
workers and machinery ...., and let's face it, they would have
sent me on my way very quickly, HAD I tried to claim a plot
As it turned out, I found a nice very flat open space about
15 kms short of Injune, and all being well, that might be my
camp spot for the next couple of days. I watched the full moon
pop it's head from behind the hills tonight, and it's slow ascent
into the heavens. Very nice.
And yep, day two of using the new Satellite finder, and up and
happening in no time...... excellent.
I think that I am ready to upload my video of the fascinating
story of the Old Rainford Fort to YouTube. But I am in a dodgy
area signal wise, and so may not be happy. We'll see.....
21.10.13 Well, you wouldnít believe it. I had phone signal
last night, and strong internet. Tonight, no phone signal, and
the day doing voiceovers for the DVD, and found myself half
watching what I was reading, and half listening for traffic,
and under headphones, thatís not easy. The Carnarvon Hwy near
Injune is now almost like the freeway. There is mining in the
area, and the amount of 4wd and truck traffic is incredible.
Anyhow, we persevered.
am staying, is a large cleared area, and there are a heaps of
gravel spread in lines on much of the surface, waiting I guess
to be graded into a flat surface. It is also obvious, that trucks
have pulled into the area to catch a rest. There's a pulloff
just over on the road in front of where I am camped.
I was under
the phones tonight, when I heard what I thought was a train
rumbling by, looked out the door, and a b-double is rolling
slowly past my door about 2m away, obviously in for the night.
Weíll see if he is still there in the morning.
22.10.13 I woke up to the sound of a diesel engine
and the familiar beep of reversing machinery. Took a look out
the window, and there is a grader doing what I predicted last
night - yep, levelling out my camp ground. The truck had gone,
but bloody hell, 7.30 in the morning. Surely they could let
a man sleep a bit longer.
that with the dodgy phone and internet that I would make a move,
and so packed up and headed for Injune. 3 Years ago, when we
filmed the Carnarvon Gorge, we left the caravan at Injune whilst
we went out to Mount Moffet. The caravan park was a wide open
space, on a slightly sloping hill, with basic facilities, and
cost us $10 per night. Out of curiosity, I decided to call around
and have a look and see if the mining in the area had made a
difference. Wow, was this the same place - the bottom half of
the hill was dongers, and the top half was caravans, with a
few spaces available for the travelling public. The area had
been grassed with access roadways. Talking to a traveller who
said that it had been free 5 years ago, it now costs $27.50
see where the town is gaining a lot otherwise from the increased
population, as it would seem that most of the workers are probably
And so to
Roma,......... did I mention roadworks? There are roadworks
happening on just about every road that I travel on, and just
about every potential roadside camp is covered in road metal
and/or machinery. Well, we eventually reached Roma, and the
reason that just about 6/10 vehicles you passed had flags and
amber lights on became obvious. I couldnít figure out why all
this traffic should be on main roads, when there is work to
be done at the mines. Obviously also I suppose that a lot of
them are probably road workers as well. As I approached the
Roma Airport, there is a carpark just chokka with these mining
vehicles - aha, I said to myself ..... FIFO.
ďtreatedĒ myself to a good old fashioned fast food ďslimeĒ for
such a long time, that I called into Macdonalds for an early
lunch, before continuing on my way towards Surat. There is a
nice camp spot beside the river, that I figured that I would
stay at for a few days, and get some serious editing done......
23.10.13 I canít win. Last night in Surat,
I had phone signal, and no internet. So as a result, couldnít
do the research I wanted to do. I did however get a fair bit
of editing done.
And so I
figured that today, I would head to St George for a few days,
and stay at the site just outside the Beardmore Dam. I needed
the net and phone coverage, and this looked perfect. And so
imagine my dismay, when I found a sign at the site telling me
that there was no camping, and that free camp areas were available
at Nindigully, and a couple of other sites - all well away from
St George. My immediate reaction was that they donít want me
here, and so bugger Ďem, Iíll go elsewhere.
while I was there, I decided to have a look at the Beardmore
Dam. And so pulled up in their carpark, and walked to the lookout.
Now this lookout is a joke. You generally like to look at the
captured water, as well as the lower side of the dam. And here
I was looking at the Balonne River, and the spillway, and couldnít
see the lake.Oh well, turned to go, and then heard a crash,
and looked to find the car and caravan had rolled down a driveway,
through a gate (thank goodness) and the front of the car sitting
on top of a bollard. Fortunately, not a lot of damage, and was
able to be reversed off the obstacle. If that hadnít been there,
it could have wound up in the river. I have no idea whether
I left the car in gear, handbrake on or what, but whatever,
you can be sure it wonít happen again.
back to the road, I travelled through St George, determined
NOT to spend any money there, and headed for the Nindigully
Pub, where I am sure they will be only too happy to relieve
me of a dollar or two. I immediately wrote an email to the Balonne
Shire Council, posted it to their Facebook site, and posted
it here as well. I will wait on their reply before posting further.
It is thundery
here at Nindigully, and it is hot. There are a number of caravans
camping along the river here. I recommend that if you havenít
already, like their Facebook Page. It is a fun pub in the Daly
raining - only the second bit of rain Iíve had since June ....
gotta say they need it out here. Itís been threatening for an
hour or so, and the Radar shows a band of it going across the
state - but not too heavy. The forecast mentions a chance of
a storm, but then clearing up again for the rest of the week.
Not what the farmers are looking for I am sure.
like that, itís gone ....... thatís thundery weather for you..............
24.10.13 Now THAT was a productive day. A nice quiet locality,
cool-ish weather, and an opportunity to work undisturbed. I
have all but finished the Northern Territory DVD. Just balancing
audio, fixing some of the colour issues .... about another months
Then I'll have another look at the WA disk, before tackling
the Queensland material.
I am at Nindigully, and this time of the year is the time to
be here if you don't want to be crowded out. Having said that,
the river is down, as you would expect at this time of the year.
The camping here is free, there are toilets and free showers.
The internet is still dodgy - has trouble finding Telstra, whilst
the phone is having no problems. But it has worked often enough
for me to get what I needed.
And so tonight, i put on my glad rags, and went to the pub for
dinner. Now I know nothing about "fancy" foods, I'm
a bangers and mash type person, and so I thought I'd try this
chicken dish I'd never heard of. I read the ingredients, and
still didn't picture what I was getting. It was a fettuccine,
and presented in a bucket ..... well a bowl that I'm sure would
hold 4 litres of water. It was gorgeous.
25.10.13 Another productive day on the editing desk. Got
the audio finished, and then started sorting out the colour
on the images - there are around 1300 different clips in a production
that's 1hr 50secs long, and each individual clip needs to be
checked ........ and something didn't seem right .... I found
that I had been correcting clips that had already been corrected
....... don't ask, it happens sometimes...... and so now, I'm
correcting the corrections ...... does that make sense?
136-7 26TH-27TH. 10.13
Yeah, I know, lazy bugger. You know in the last post, I mentioned
I was correcting the corrections - well I finished, and produced
an mp4 of what Iíd done, to see what it looked like ..........
That was this afternoon (Sunday). Uh oh, why is THAT happening?
I learnt something about applying white balance in post.......
you donít do it ...... not automatic, anyway ..... and so itís
back to correct the corrections to the corrections.
I went back to the Nindigully Pub last night, to give them another
opportunity to impress me. I was not disappointed. This time
it was Chicken Parmiagana. Incredible. Incidentally, the dish
I had on Thursday night was called Chicken Affaumato
on the road tomorrow. Am looking forward to that.
About 11am er... make that midday ....... I felt like Dr Who.
You see, it was right on 11am .... or was it midday, that I
reached Mungindi, and as I crossed the Barwon river, the time
increased by 1 hour. Yep, Queensland doesnít have daylight saving,
and NSW does.
I left Nindigully
after spending 4 days and 5 nights at the iconic pubs free camping
ground. The weekend was spent mainly watching the fun and games
from the Gold Coast. I felt that I had pushed the friendship
far enough, but was sorely tempted to stay and keep enjoying
the product from their kitchen. Ya gotta stay there, and ya
gotta have dinner there. Itís a great spot.
is a nice, quiet little spot. It has a camp ground where you
can stay for a maximum of two nights, and a fee is payable.
a bit of a curiosity. I have a habit of doing bog laps when
I hit any new town, and something suddenly occurred to me ......
just about ALL of the buildings, including the police station,
are painted the same colour - a cream colour. It made me wonder,
did the town do a deal on a bulk quantity of the paint.
and went ....... one memorable sight was a house that was completely
surrounded with junk .......
Moree arrived. I found the showground, and booked in for a couple
of nights. $19.80 pn or 7 nights for the cost of 5. I may stay
here longer. But first it was shopping and trying to find a
laundromat. Take no notice of your GPS or phones, I drove everywhere,
before finding out that the boarded up place that looked abandoned
WAS in fact the laundromat. Iíll check that out tomorrow.
a good day. Time to watch the NASCAR replay. Catch you tomorrow.
29.10.13 dateline: Moree ....
Spent the day cruising around town today, trying to get a feel
for the place. It is a pretty town, the main street is beautifully
landscaped, but so many shops are closed and empty.
a run out to the Amaroo Tavern to have a look at the ďBig PlaneĒ.
ďBig Plane in Moree originated in 1975 when the Australian Government
handed the DC3 over to the Papua New Guinea Defence force, in
the name of foreign Aid.She was pensioned off in 1992, and was
bought by tender from the Papua New Guinea Defence Force in
1993. The Aircraft was then flown to Moree and towed to the
Amaroo Tavern, before officially opening as a tourist attraction
in April 1994.Ē
And then, obviously the heat got to me, because I washed down
the caravan and the car.
Just a couple of things to do tomorrow morning, and then I head
for Narrabri .......
30.10.13 Trucks, I have never seen so many trucks. And they
are all big buggers, and they are running almost nose to tail
from farming properties onto the main road and then into the
grain receival points. Yep, itís harvest time here in NSW
It was a
challenge to cross the road in Moree, as there seemed to be
an endless stream of them ...... then there would be a gap,
and then more together. And that repeated itself much of the
way down to Narrabri.
a population of around 9000, as opposed to Narrabri 6000, but
the latter seems to be more alive - there seems to be a lot
more going on, and they are only 100 kms apart.
into the showgrounds down here, and because I am travelling
on my own, they gave me a super discount which encourages me
to stay here for a few more nights.
On the way
down, there was a range of hills that contrasted with the flat
country, and looked so similar to the Stirling Ranges in the
SW of WA when travelling towards Borden. It turns out, this
is Mount Kaputar National Park, and there are a couple of things
that need to be seen. They are at opposite ends of the park,
and so one needs to drive to one, and then return thru town
to go to the other. That is on the radar for tomorrow.
storm season, and apparently Tamworth copped a beauty yesterday.
All has to do with hot air and westerly winds and all that stuff.
The forecast is for that NOT to happen in the next few days
again at least. I hope they are right.
CSIRO Australian Telescope is just out of town, and that is
of interest. Thereís a bit to do here, and so I think that I
might be here for a few days.
I am looking
forward to tomorrow.
31.10.13 Well, I woke up with a sense of purpose today.
Generally when I get somewhere that I have to walk some distance
(anything over 10m is some distance ), I usually get there in
the middle of the day or when the sun is at itís fiercest. And
so today was going to be different. I was heading for the hills,
and Sawn Rock was the first target. It is a 750m walk in from
the carpark supposedly, and so I was on the road by 7.55 am.
out to the north of Narrabri for this little gem, and I made
the carpark in good time, grabbed the camera and tripod, and
headed down this paved path that is very wheelchair friendly.
There are a couple of seats provided along the way with information
plaques, but how I wish they would put a distance sign - you
know, 100m gone, 600m to go type of thing. Mind you, it WAS
a lot shorter coming back than it was getting there .... it
always seems to be the way when you donít know how far the destination
is away from you. Anyway, I reached the target, and it is unusual.
It does look like someone has attacked the rock with a saw,
and created the type of thing that I used to do at woodwork
at school - not intentionally of course - I was crap at woodwork.
The rock rises about 40m into the air, and geologists reckon
that there is another 20m below the ground.
was back into town, because the road to Mt Kaputar is to the
south of Narrabri. When you get to the park entry, the road
changes to gravel, and pretty soon you are travelling along
a road that I swear is only 1 1/2 car widths wide, with a wall
on one side, and a drop of 7-800m on the other. You just hope
you donít encounter someone coming the other way. About 5 kms
up the hill, the road changes to bitumen, and then the first
camp appears, then the first lookout ..... and what a view.
You really are getting on top of the world up here .... well
OUR world, anyway. Itís not as high as Europe or Nepal, but
itís itís still a long way to fall off.
on, and now the drop off is not too bad, and so we get Armco
fencing. Why isnít this further down the mountain? The Kaputar
Rock lookout. They say this is the best place to watch the Raptors
soaring on the thermals........ No raptors today.
Finally, Mount Kaputar carpark arrives, and the staircase to
the lookout. Again, they say that on a clear day, you can see
10% of NSW from this point. The haze today I guess is drifting
smoke from the south - well south I know, but smoke does that.
You could still see for miles, and it was well worth the journey
to have a look.
I had a
squizzy at the Dawsonís Spring campsite - there are a couple
of cabins for hire up there, but apart from a motorhome, no
campers up there at the moment. And so, back down the mountain,
and for some reason, not as daunting. I donít know why, but
I always feel more comfortable coming down from these places
than I do going up. As my eldest son would say, ďsilly old bastardĒ.
I was back
by 2.30 pm, started downloading the video I had taken and started
shaping it into some form, and decided a nana nap was in order,
and 2 hrs later crawled out of bed, just in time to cook dinner.
visit the local medico tomorrow morning early, and then hopefully,
the CSIRO Australia Telescope, and a round trip to Wee Waa.
1.11.13 On the road bright and early this morning. Had to
seethe local doctor to get a pathology request for a blood test,
quick run down to the hospital for said test, and then on the
it was the CSIRO Australia Telescope Compact Array. The facility
is 24kms out of Narrabri, and is a self guided tour. The interpretive
centre is very enlightening, with a fairly detailed ďgrassrootsĒ
explanation of how it all works. It all has to do with radio
energy, and there are six telescopes in all, one fixed, and
five on a 3 km rail track that are moved according to what is
being tracked at the time.
to Yarrie Lake. This is a lovely picnic area another few kms
on, and there is a camping area there. Powered and unpowered
sites sites are available. There are a number of shelters with
tables placed right around the lake. Lovely.
on to Wee Waa. There are two ways to get here, one out the main
road, and the one that leads to the telescope. And so it made
sense to do a loop trip. Wee Waa has a population of around
2000, and is the claimed ďCotton capital of AustraliaĒ. The
town had itís beginnings in1837, and is protected from floods
by a levee bank that runs the length of the town boundary along
the Namoi River.
I saw some
posters about a band called Daft Punk, who I must admit Iíd
never heard of. This from Wikipedia ........ ďColumbia Records
announced that French electronic music duo Daft Punk would hold
the global launch party for their album Random Access Memories
in Wee Waa on 17 May 2013 at the 79th Annual Wee Waa Show. This
caused much excitement in the town. It is believed footage recorded
from the event will be used for a music video.Ē
Hotel claims to be the only three storied hotel in the North
West, and was opened in 1912. There is also the Sepilin Estate
winery near the town.
some lovely old buildings, but the pick for me had to be ďThe
Little House On RoseĒ. It featured a beautifully maintained
lawn and garden, and operates as a Nursery and Giftware Outlet.
The garden would not look out of place in a botanical gardens
setting. Just beautiful, and a real oasis in this dry countryside.
was back to the Narrabri for a bit of peace and quiet. I have
decided to stay here until Monday, and try and get back into
the editing side of things over the weekend. Got to get that
NT disk finished. Itís bugging me.
2.11.13 Getting a bit slack here. Getting behind in my reporting
of of non interesting stuff that I am doing.
When I reached Narrabri last Wednesday, one of the attractions
was the Old Gaol and Museum. It only opens on weds and Sat mornings,
and so I figured I'd be gone by Saturday, and felt that I had
missed it. As it turned out, I was still here, and so I decided
to take a visit. The Place is now called The Narrabri Heritage
Centre, and is staffed by volunteers. I have to say that you
get to a point where a museum is a museum is a museum .....
but this one is well presented and well organised.
The front door leads you into what was the jailers quarters,
and then you go through the adjoining door into the Gaol itself.
Each room is themed, and the collections of gear have been well
organised, and kept clean. It really was a couple of hours well
spent. I haven't looked at the video yet, but hope that I can
put something on YouTube in the next week or so.......
Why so long? Because I purchased the newest version of my video
software, and decided to download rather than get the hard copy,
simply because I won't be home for a few months yet, and I can
be using it in the meantime ..... I should have known better.
2 gb and the download crashed - left me with very little for
the rest of the month. And so, it will be about the 10th before
anything is uploaded. Mount Kaputar is ready to go. THAT was
a good day.
3.11.13 Bugger. It's been blowing a gale here today ....
well gusts, and we had a ripper about 4.30 pm, and I looked
out the window at my Satellite dish as it came to roost, and
the LNB has snapped off. Well, that was bad enough, but a quick
perusal of the local channel ONE, and they are taking a live
football game or something in the morning, and replaying the
NASCAR race on TUESDAY morning. Wee wee poo poo bum bum.
Today was just head down and bum up undoing all the corrections
I told you about before - nothing interesting there. Tomorrow
I had intended to hit the road, but I will try and get the dish
sorted, and also get a wheel alignment done. It seems to be
wanting to put me in the bush at the moment, and that is NOT
what I am wanting to do. And while I'm about it, may as well
replace the headlight globe I've just discovered has blown .........
4.11.13 I jumped out of bed early this morning, and hoped
that I could get one or two things done before I hit the road.
I drove into Beaurepaires to see if I could get a wheel alignment
- yep, come back at 9.30 - and so then I found a place who couldnít
supply me with the broken part from my Satellite Dish, but had
a smaller, domestic dish that I could have s/h for $50. I grabbed
it. Took the car back, and finally at 1pm, was hooked up and
heading towards Gunnedah. Thatís only 100km from Narrabri, and
I figured that I would get there and spend the night at a rest
area just out of town.
I kept going, and wound up at the rest area opposite the Tamworth
Airport. So I was setting up, and a 4wd pulled up, and I half
expected to be moved on, but instead, it was one of my ďlikersĒ
who lives in Tamworth, and recognised the logo on the van. And
so Lee Bellanger introduced himself, and actually admitted that
he reads my rubbish. It was great to meet him and have a chat,
and I was quietly thrilled that someone would take the time
to come over to say gíday. Thanks Lee, it was greatly appreciated.
around with the ďNewĒ dish, and got it working, and settled
down to watch the replay of the NASCAR race on FOX.
anyone out there use a digital satellite finder. The guy who
sold this to me said it was the ducks nuts (whatever that means),
and it only makes a noise when it finds the satellite. He hated
the screamer thing because of the noise it makes. Well try as
I might, nothing, and so, out came the screamer (this is the
third time I have done this), found what I thought was the satellite,
and Foxtel worked. And so I put the digital finder back on -
nothing - UNTIL I TWISTED the LNB around to improve the signal
and THEN it started buzzing. - What is the good of these things
if you have to have everything setup to even FIND the satellite?
The old $25 analog screamer is still the winner I feel. Mind
you, fine tuning with the digital finder certainly sharpens
up the picture.
What I donít
understand is, that I am only a few minutes out of town, and
I either canít get an internet signal - or Iíve got one, but
it wonít deliver ...........
5.11.13 Am I just getting old and grumpy, or do others find
the same frustrations in life that I do, but donít air them
for the fear of being called a whinger.
is the latest on my hit list. There are a number of telephone
companies out there, and most people will tell you that they
like their provider, because of price, bang for the buck, blah
blah blah, but the simple fact is that if you live on the road,
there is only one provider that covers most outback and distant
areas, be it because of towns, mines, aboriginal communities
what ever, and that is Telstra. And if you want internet, then
you need wireless.
it appears, doesnít heed as much oomph as the internet does,
because I can get a phone signal, I can get an internet signal,
but it wonít connect to the net, and if it does, it takes forever,
and then hangs up. It starts out telling you that you have a
great 3G signal, but then drops to a DC (which is the old GSM
signal I think). But I can still talk on the phone and use the
internet features on the phone ......... WHY?
instead of mucking around with the 4G technology, you havenít
got the 3G technology performing yet. You have a million customers
in the country who deserve better, and 250,000 of those spend
much of their life on the road.
opposite the Tamworth airport last night, about 5-6km out of
town. Now with a town of some 46,000 people, you would think
you would get a decent signal. I got a better signal at the
Nindigully Pub, which is 50kms from anywhere. I dragged the
antenna out, better signal - no bloody internet - WHY? Talking
to a few people around Tamworth, it seems that is a common problem,
but what can you do about it.
Godís sake ..........
at a little town called Quirindi, dragged out the computer,
jumped on the net, read what was important, and hit the road
again. About 6 kms out of town, rest area, great place to spend
the night .......... yep you guessed it ........ no net .......
but I DO have phone signal.
the van at my Tamworth rest area, went into town, managed to
get a new head for the Satellite Dish - LNB holder thingy, had
a look around, and was told I should have a look at the Equine
Centre - what an auditorium. They take their Rodeos very seriously
in NSW and Qld, and this ring is amazing. It seats 3360 people,
And there is a smaller one backing onto it. They have stabling
facilities for something like 478 horses, a covered stud selling
area, and truck and camping facilities for around 190 vehicles
I took a
run up to the lookout, and you get a great view of the Tamworth
area from up there. Had a quick look in the Big Guitar Information
Centre. This contains the Country Music Hall Of Fame and Waxworks
Gallery, but I didnít hang around there too long, as Iíd had
a comprehensive look in 2010, and my video of the place is on
my YouTube site.
is a Big Town, and I no longer enjoy big towns, and so I got
out and headed south. Reading the brochure, there are one or
two things I could have looked at, but I had other things to
do .......... Funnily enough, driving through Quirindi, a small
town, I felt quite at home and loved the place.
I must have
got out of bed on the wrong side today. A car drove past me
with the passenger pointing furiously at the ground. Had a look
- the safety chain was dragging on the ground. Next town, managed
to purchase a couple of shackles. Pulled into a rest area, and
water pouring out of the drain pipe. Jumped into the van, and
the blinds over the sink had hooked the tap and turned it on,
which had in effect drained 150 litres or so from the tank.
And there were one or two other lapses of concentration that
I was forced to sit myself down and have a good talking to myself
I ainít going any further today, Iím just going to share my
misdaventures with you lot ..........
....... no bloody signal
6.11.13 Itís been a big day. There could be worse places
to be camped than at the Wiseman Ferry Ski Club camp ground.
I mean tables under shelters, surrounded by hills, the Hawkesbury
River a few metres away, sun shining, birds tweeting.........
But I had no intention of being here.
I left my
camp at the Braefield Rest area about 9am this morning, and
figured if I got to Singleton, I would be doing ok. Well, Singleton
came and went, and I found myself at Broke. I always wanted
to go for Broke ........ . Anyway, there is a campground there
that you can stay at for maximum of 3 days, and itís a pleasant
little place, but it was too early. And so I kept going. My
plan was to avoid the traffic on the highways as much as possible,
and head for Richmond in the west of Sydney. I had a choice
of the Putty Road, or the Wollombi Road. Discussions with a
couple of people who know the area, convinced me that the latter
was a better choice considering the size van Iím towing. It
is a lovely drive, and follows a creek through the hills, through
orchard and farming country interspersed with forest. But it
requires a lot of concentration, and having passed a few places
that I could have stopped at, but it was too early in the day,
I kept going to the point where nothing was making itself available
as a level-ish camping spot. Looking at the clock, I figured
that 4 oíclock was when I should start getting serious, then
I realised that at 4 oíclock, it is in fact only 3 oíclock.
And so I really had until 6 oíclock which is really 5 oíclock
before I needed to be camped down. The problem was, if I got
to somewhere like a van park which closes at 6 oíclock when
itís really 5 oíclock, then I might not get in ........ Does
this make sense? If someone can understand it, please let me
know. I keep telling you I write rubbish, but you keep reading
I found myself at the ferry crossing, and here I am. And I must
say, it is a delightful little spot.
through the hills was interesting. From a herd of cattle being
driven down the road, to the fuel tanker driver looking at a
single lane wooden bridge at Paynes Crossing, and contemplating
whether he should turn back, because there was no load limit
on the bridge and ...... and as it turned out, there were another
couple of bridges just like that further on. It turns out that
he had been following the instructions on his GPS, and it had
taken him from Muswellbrook to this point, with his destination
in Sydney. I suggested to him that you NEVER believe what a
GPS is telling you, and you use it in conjunction with a Paper
Map. He then told me that he had only been in Australia a week
and was from New Zealand. I tried to make him feel better by
telling him ďthatís OK mate, we can teach you how to read a
mapĒ. He either had a sense of humour or didnít understand me,
and I left him to reverse up and make his way back to Singleton.
Richmond, and a chance to hit the rat race of traffic chaos.
Love it ............
7.11.13 Silly old bastard ......... my eldest boy says that
to me fondly (iI think) on occasion, and I have no idea why,
or whether I deserve the accolade.
to last nights almost idyllic setting at the Wiseman Ferry ski
park whattsie, this morning I woke to a heavy haze, and the
acrid smell of smoke. There had been a dew during the night,
and I guess that collected all the smoke particles together
and created this curtain ...... ok, so those of you who were
whiz bangs at physics are going to put me straight - whatever,
it wasn't pleasant. And so I grabbed my stuff that I don't leave
in the car overnight, and still having had no success with the
net, decided that I would take the computer and modem in the
car with me for when I got into a signal friendly area, and
it got shifted out along with cameras, glasses, notebooks, you
know, all the crap you HAVE to have with you in the car. I threw
the computer bag on the bonnet, found my keys, unlocked the
car, and threw everything in.
caravan park road, you take a right turn up a cliff face, straight
into a right hand u bend, and hope you can get up there without
meeting some crazy doing a hundred clicks around the blind corner.
It was a first gear drag for the old girl up the hill, that
just didn't want to stop. Finally, we reached the summit, and
then negotiated this twisting, bucking road - I said BUCKING
- it was fairly rough from the amount of truck traffic it gets
each day ....... I was every now and then pulling off to let
quicker traffic past - well, everybody was quicker, let's face
it - and so I didn't have a lot of time to think about other
things. And then a straight bit - thinking time - I should set
the white balance on the camera to the white car bonnet I thought,
and looked over to the passenger side of the window, and wondered
what was my computer bag DOING ON THE BONNET - WTF - I've just
done 15-20kms over this rough bloody road and it's still there
I can hear
my sons words, ringing my ears.
I was heading
for Richmond. The Richmond club have a rest area set up opposite
the club premises. You have to join the club - $5 for a year
- and you can camp for a maximum of 3 nights, twice a month.
You only have to go elsewhere for one night, and then you can
come back. And so, I joined, got my plastic membership card,
booked in for 3 nights, will camp somewhere else on Sunday nigfht,
and come back Monday. And that will round my Sydney stay out
I'm in "civilisation", I figured that I would try
and get the washing machine fixed. There is a repairer just
down the corner, but no, they don't do the Dometic caravan washing
machines ........ it seems not many people do, because not many
people want to for some reason. They sent me to the only local
repairer - some 23 kms away, who ..... yep, you guessed it,
does the fridges and stuff, but NOT the washing machines.
me another number. This time, i was smart - it's later in the
day, and I am beginning to wake up .... I phoned it, and yep,
bring it in Monday morning early "we are open at 6am".
Geez, I've usually only just got to bed by then. And so, it's
a matter of trying to find a caravan park with a drive-thru
site for Sunday Night that is close-ish to our repair man.
RAAF airbase is just down the road, and every now and then,
one of their planes practices a touch and go on my caravan roof
....... How in God's name DO they stay up there?
spent finding my way around the place, learning to deal with
traffic again - I hate cities - remember, I couldn't wait to
get out of Tamworth ...... And so tomorrow, I can try and do
something useful, hopefully without the "Silly Old ....."
stigma attached to it.
DAY 149 8.11.13
I had a problem last night with my inverter. I had taken a site
with no power, and I had switched the Genny of at 7pm as per
the rules of the Richmond Club, switched on the Inverter, watching
TV, and phttt, shut down. I wandered outside, looked at flashing
lights, the alarm system on the inverter - nothing made any
sense. The batteries had been charged up the night before, there
had been no drag, and the solar system had been charging everything
up during the day, but put the inverter on, and watch the voltage
drop like a stone. And so I either have an overheating system
, a dodgy battery, or something else.
So I woke
up this morning, and just for the heck of it, switched it all
on, and it worked. Ah, must have been an anomoly. And so, I
get home tonight, run the genny, hit the charger, everything
comes up roses, turn off the genny at 7pm, switch on the inverter
and whammo - itís back. It was hot and steamy in Sydney, but
no worse than Queensland, and so I wondered whether the batteries
had got a bit low. Weíll see what happens in the morning.
to stock the larder, so looked for Woolworths on my HN6, and
it took me to a dead end street in Windsor, with a couple of
old buildings - no Woolworths. There was a Woolies Servo nearby,
but no supermarket. And so I decided to take a run around the
place, and found myself in the town centre, amid a heap of old
buildings - classy type shop thingys. And then around the block
and THERE was Woolies - right street, other end of town.
I decided that I might go back to Windsor and have a look around.
If you have wandered around Sydney ďburbs, you will notice that
the streets are narrow, like they created them in the late 1700ís
and as they expanded the city, never widened the streets. Well,
get out to Richmond and Windsor and the like, and you could
swear that you were in the centre of Sydney for a block or three.
Except that you are Miles/Kilometres from Sydney, out in the
sticks if you like, because get to the end of the street, and
youíre back amongst the cows and sheep and stuff. Despite that,
the buildings are amazing examples of the older architecture,
and the main street of Windsor has been changed into a Mall,
and it really was a pleasant little meander.
go, so down the end of the street, turn left, across the river,
and follow the crowd, with an ďI wonder where this road goesĒ
mentality. The road took a swing left, and I for some unknown
reason (as most of my reasons are) went straight on down what
looked like a narrow country road - did I say that as soon as
we crossed the bridge, we were back in cow country again - and
I spent the next 10 minutes driving past endless numbers of
Turf Farms , which were hugging the river, and presumably getting
their water from same. About now, I decided to get ďWandaĒ to
tell me how to get home. We were now in horse country, up a
hill, into North Richmond, and left onto Bells Line Of Road.
Now I have no idea WHY it was called that, but it played a significant
role in last months bushfires. And finally back home.
when I discovered that I had no power, the battery had run down
in the computer, and so it was onto the phone and annoy other
people for the night.
I jumped out of bed and with an air of expectancy, turned on
the inverter and was blinded by a red light. Yesterday mornings
miracle wasnít going to repeat itself. And so I ducked over
to the office, organised myself onto a powered site, and decided
that it was time to do a little exploring.
friend Terry had suggested that I should take run out to Bell
via Bilpin, across to Mount Victoria, and back home over the
Blue Mountains. I only had today or Tuesday to do the trip,
and with dodgy weather forcast for early next week, and it being
a nice, relatively clear day today, the decision was made. And
so it was onto the Bells Line Of Road, and into the hills. It
was fun doing it without the van, the old girl seemed to appreciate
being able to stretch itís legs just a little - despite 60-80
kph speed limits. The Blue Mountains Botanical Park loomed,
and although itís not really my thing, I pulled in to have a
look. It is very impressive, and lucky not to be affected by
- was that Bilpin - I think I saw something, and then after
stopping and looking at some amazing mountain country a couple
of times, I arrived at Bell - or did I? There was a Heavy Vehicle
Checking Station, an intersection, and a railway station. And
so instead of turning off, I continued straight on for a couple
of kms, and came across a cafe on itís own. I called in, ordered
lunch, and asked about Bell. There is no shop or roadhouse or
anything - just what I saw. It is the junction of three localities,
and in fact the cafe was the only commercial business in the
area. Aha, so I wasnít imagining things - for once.
the intersection, and a drive across to Mount Victoria, where
again I jumped out, grabbed the camera, got a few shots of buildings
from another era, before continuing down the hwy back towards
Katoomba. I turned onto the Blue Mountains Drive, and followed
around the lookouts before finally arriving at the Three Sisters.
Now I last saw these girls when I was 13, and you know, they
didnít look as though they had aged at all. Mind you, the structure
of the place is now totally different. Now, I never take selfies
- they just donít work with me, but this time I thought ďwhat
the hell, letís do itĒ ......... and failed miserably. The proof
will be uploaded later.
finally on the run down the hill, the sign pointing to the Norman
Lindsay Gallery flashed into view, and I went for it. Iíve always
wanted to go there, and after a plea in the media a week ago
about how it had escaped the flames but had got some smoke damage
or something, and the gallery was re-opening and please come
and look ...... I went. I arrived, and a wedding party were
taking photos, and so I wandered around the gardens, and headed
down to the galleries only to be told that the place closed
at 4pm, and it was now 4.25pm. The fact that I had come 17,000
kms to see this place didnít hold any weight, and will I still
be around in the next day or so .......... bugger.
got some shots around the garden, just didnít see the Etchings
back to Richmond, and a test on the now newly charged batteries
and inverter ...... and I think itís working. But Iíve got power
and Iíll worry about that later.
What I did
notice today, apart from the very real evidence of recent fires,
was the number of signs planted all over the place hand painted
10.11.13 And 11.11.13
I had to leave Richmond for the night, and I had planned to
take the caravan to an authorised Dometic washing machine repairer
first thing on Monday morning. And so I relocated to Avina Van
Village in Vineyard. It was a crappy (but much needed) day in
Sydney, and so having set up, it was perfect weather to sit
down and get some work done.
and on the road about 6am. A busy single lane highway in drizzling
rain with a 30í long caravan is not my sort of fun ........
mind you itís not even in fine weather - but we did the 23km
journey in good time and arrived just after 6.30. The guys got
to work, couldnít get the diagnostics to tell them why it wouldnít
dump water, and the scraping sound in the barrel was a mystery.
If you pushed the barrel in, it didnít scrape, let it go and
it did. Classic case of something being caught in there. The
machine came out, and a short while later, I was presented with
the remains of a bra strap and hooks. It had somehow torn in
the wash, and disappeared into the drain hose. That solved the
blockage problem. Not long afterwards, an undercup wire was
presented to me - that had got caught up under the drum, hence
the scraping sound. Problems solved, machine re-installed, and
the credit card plundered.
I must remember
to put my bras in a wash bag when I do them in future ........
Annette wasnít interested in getting the pieces back when informed
that I had saved them for her.
Iím on the road, I figured that I would drop into Parravans
down the road in Windsor, and see if I could get a problem with
my awning sorted, and also tackle the fact that I had discovered
that the Breakaway Unit was not functional. The drizzle stopped
long enough for the technician to discover that we had torn
a piece of the support pole bolt hole out completely, and so
a new one of those was fitted, along with new foot. There was
voltage in the breakaway battery, but a bit below what it should
be, and there was no guarantee that it would recover - no brainer,
itís 5 years old, replace it ........ then I discovered that
I had left my step at the Washing Machine repairers ........
that the 12 volt from the car wasnít working, and that we still
had problems with the inverter - jobs for a specialist .....
and so into the office and plunder the credit card some more.
And so it
was back to Richmond, to find some of the streets under water
in the dips - we had received over 50mm rain overnight, and
it was still drizzling.
Richmond Clubs Travellers Rest for the next three nights, time
to set up the dish for the NASCAR race - and bugger, where the
hell is that compass? And so I had to guess where the sun was
somewhere up above the cloud, and finally got a fix, and all
was once again good in the world.
a cracking race ...........
the battery charger has died ...... OK, on the phone tomorrow
to find a 12 volt place who can finally sort this mess out for
once and for all.
DAY 153 13.11.13
It was raining again this morning, but there were patches of
blue sky poking through the cloud cover as I headed across to
Whalen to catch up with Terry Everson. I got sent on one detour
as the road was closed due to flooding - there was no water
near the road level at the time, but a couple of guys were down
there inspecting the road - well just a bit more countryside
to have a look at.
It was great
sitting down with Terry and chewing the fat for a couple of
hours. And then it was time to head back to Richmond, and so
because I knew that the road was not covered by water, I ignored
the road closed signs and headed down St marys Road, and yep
...... it WAS closed ....... Smart arse ....... mind you, a
couple of locals were right behind me, so maybe theyíve been
through this before.
I had spent
the morning on the phone, organising to get the electrics sorted
out in the caravan. There seems to be a different problem each
night. I had intended to hit the road on Thursday, but Monday
next week is the earliest I can get the van looked at, and so
finding a caravan park that is close enough was the task at
hand. I tried a couple of parks who told me that they only had
permanents, or had converted to a cabin village...... and these
are the sorts of people opposing free camping .... well maybe
thatís a bit unfair in this case, because it IS in the metro
area, and you donít really expect much in the way of free camps
in the city ........ mind you, with the decline in caravan parks,
maybe councils SHOULD look at making land available for low
cost and budget camping. I did find a park, and I move there
I catch up with my littlest girl Suzy. I am excited.
This was what I had come to Sydney for. To catch up with my
daughter Suzy, who came over to Sydney for work experience about
14 years ago, and never came home. She is a lighting technician
at The Opera House among other gigs. Iím very proud of her.
it was my first experience at catching trains in this city.
I arrived at Redfern just in time to watch my link train leaving
the station. But the next train came in quickly, and about 10
minutes later I was at Newtown and getting a big hug from my
We had lunch,
and then all too soon, it was time for her to head off to work,
and I headed for the railway station. Now, one of the advantages
of being an old bastard, is that we can get an excursion ticket,
that lets us go anywhere on rail, buses and ferries for just
$2.50. And so I thought what the heck, lets go to Circular Key,
and then I made the snap decision to catch the ferry to Parramatta,
and then jump on the train back to Richmond. I was advised that
I should get off at Rydelmere, and so while waiting for the
ferry, I searched for the details of the rail trip back home.
What I found was, that there wouldnít be a train until the next
morning. And so I abandoned the idea, and caught a couple of
trains back home instead. And then when I checked on the computer
to confirm what I had found at the wharf, I found the information
on the phone was wrong, but I would have still had to catch
buses and stuff......... maybe next time.
a great day.
Itís happened again. Iíve moved camp - the terms of arrangement
for staying at the Travellers Rest at the Richmond Club are
three nights only twice a month, and IĎve done that. And so,
because I am getting the Electrics sorted out in the van next
Monday in North Richmond, I needed to find somewhere close-ish.
And so I found a spot at the Butterfly Farm Ski joint - itís
not called that, but itíll do for now until I wander down to
the gate and look at the sign. Any how, this afternoon, I managed
to get a signal with an antenna on. And tonight ........ NUFFIN
So if this
appears tonight, itís because it happened to work for a few
nano seconds. Just changed the antenna to a stronger one - weíll
see what happens.
to get the car serviced, and I have tomorrow planned, and the
weekend is no good, and Monday the car and van are tied up,
so I headed up to Windsor, and there is a tyre place that also
services motor vehicles, and they were doing nothing it appeared
as I drove past, so i dropped in, and they took the keys off
me, told me to rack off, and come back in a couple of hours
...... and so I did.
readers ..... I canít believe I have regular readers apart from
my family, and Iím not too sure about them ........ will recall
that I took a walk thru Windsor a few of days ago, and so I
headed down the street in the opposite direction, and found
this oldish building that was a shopping mall ..... Inside,
totally different, very modern, and had a chat with Dennis Lees,
a guy who has put together a bundle of easy listening CDs, and
who was demo-ing in the shopping centre.
back to see if the tyre guys would let me have my car back,
plundered the credit card again, and mission accomplished.
went into town, I had loaded up my washing machine and hoped
that when I came home, the washing would be hung out on the
line and drying ......... well, the washing was done, it was
in one piece, and there was no water in the machine, and the
washing was damp ........ IT WORKED .......... thank goodness,
that CC plundering was worth it. And so I put up my awning,
and THAT worked as well - more worthwhile CC expense...... and
put up my expensive nylon rope washing line, hung it all out
..... A mans work is never done .... and after all that, I was
buggered, and so a nana nap was in order.
Terry Everson and I are going driving for an hour or three.
I am looking forward to that.
Wow, it is an angry sky at this moment above Wilberforce NSW.
Thor is venting his spleen, and it is bucketing puppydogs and
pussycats. Earlier this evening, I went to the office to pay
my fees for my camp spot, and the lady was telling me how the
rain tends to hit Windsor and Richmond, but generally leave
this little area alone, and it rarely hails. Half an hour later
......... hail ...... minute I must admit. But the drops of
rain at the moment are not encouraging me to dance outside.
They sound BIG. And it is 10.12pm, so why would I anyway.
his mate Bill and Brother Ken came and picked me up, and we
went driving in the hills. The countryside around here is gorgeous.
We followed the Colo River for the most part, and being way
out west, we were in the mountain areas very quickly. The bush
would suddenly break open to cleared patches where small farming
properties are set up, and you can't help but fall in love with
it. Then you wonder how they get on if the river floods - hasn't
flooded in years you are told, which all means that today, you
are one day closer to when it will flood again ......... hehehehe
up back at the Butterfly Farm at 3pm, and it was then that I
went to pay my fees. The Butterfly Farm used to once upon a
time, be a live venture. But it appears that the place kept
getting flooded - being right on the river, which is a comforting
thought now that it's piss-istingly bucketing outside right
now - and the butterfly enclosures kept getting washed away,
and so nowadays, it is instead a museum featuring the butterfly
lunch with my little girl.
DAY 157 17/11/13
I had cause to go to my daughters place today to attempt to
download a video program I purchased about 3 weeks ago, and
decided to get the download, rather than get it mailed and wait
'til I got home to use it. That was a wrong move in itself -
there is over three gigabytes to download, and it takes a couple
of years on a good broadband system to do that. We were mildly
successful yesterday. We downloaded one file into my windows
system (on my Macbook Pro), and one file onto Suzy's Macbook
Pro, but on the Mac side. The problem at the end was, the HDD
I brought with me was formatted for windows, and I was unable
to extract it from her machine. I won't go into technicalities,
but we have worked out a way to do that, and she will post it
on to me.
get away from her place until about 7.30, and she had long gone
to a wedding, and so I was starving, and I knew that there were
fast "food" places on the way home - I had a 57 km
drive ahead of me. And so I pulled into Hungry Jacks, not really
being a fan of the American Embassy (sorry, MacDonalds), and
I discovered something that I had suspected for a long time.
seen the ads on TV, where the guys are making the effect with
their hands that they need to hold a HJ Whopper in two hands,
because it is so big. Well, last night, I discovered the truth.
The fact is, that you need two hands to hold it, because one
bite, and the bun DISINTEGRATES into a thousand pieces, with
you getting yourself covered in meat pattie, egg, (I had an
Aussie), and 3 1/2 tons of lettuce and a couple of gallons of
mayonaise. The "Sesame Seed Buns" are crap.
Whatever happend to decent burger buns. Those of you who survived
the fifties and sixties, when burgers WERE burgers, will remember
that the buns were robust, we didn't need the added attraction
of Sesame Seeds, because the ingredients which WERE fresh, were
tasty enough in themselves. And we had real sauce, either tomato
or barbecue added. They were made to order fresh, not pulled
out of a fridge and whacked through a microwave oven - for you
younger readers, that is a fairly recent invention.
are all the bakers who knew how to make bread. The poppy seed
loaf, that we used to rip the end off, eat all the bread inside,
and then pack the hollowed loaf with hot chips........ those
were the days. And what's happened to the Horseshoe Roll, covered
with Poppy seeds - and there's another thing you don't see much
of these days - poppy seeds.
you ordered a milk shake, you got it in the tin they mixed it
up in. Not today - they mix it in the tin, pour the half the
contents into a "tall" glass, and then dispose of
the rest. Why not give us the rest of it while you are about
it wasn't a very exciting day today. I had too much time on
my hands as I drove the 52 kms home to think about these thingsÖÖÖ