BLOG catch-up in Darwin.
This should have been my 1st entry, but Nancy got me started on the BLOG when I was well down the road. I‘m adding it now to pick up the start of the journey.
My goal is to more or less get around Australia’s circumference, beginning in Southport on the Gold Coast, traveling a total of ~14,000ks in a ‘straight’ line to Melbourne, to Adelaide and so on until I get back to the Gold Coast, before the 2013/14 wet season. The 14,000ks excludes Tasmania and all the side trips here and there. I’m heading south and traveling in a clockwise direction so I’ll be in the south during the summer and the north during the winter, the opposite of where you’d want to be in the northern hemisphere during those seasons.
November 6, 2012 – Day 1 – Laurel and Ian, the folks I bought TAS from, accompanied me to the caravan park in Southport, showed me the ropes and got me set up. They’re great people!
Want to buy a caravan in Sept/Oct, Laurel and Ian? I know where you can get a good one, at a super price!
I stayed in Southport for a couple of weeks, getting accustomed to life in a 12 foot home on wheels. Here’s “TAS” named for Tasman Rose, Dad’s boat. She may be small, but she’s cozy, dry and comfortable – home for maybe a year. Do the 2 click so you can get in close.
As Shawn says, this gives new meaning to “breakfast in bed”!
The neighbourhood in Southport. Taken near the top of the 78 floor ‘Q1’ residential tower in Surfers Paradise, Queensland. My caravan park is just at the top left corner.
I took a baby step with my 1st move to the next caravan park down the road. Laurel gave me a checklist of “to-dos” for packing up and getting on the road. I still use it as a last check every time I head out, although it’s pretty much automatic now. I get a chuckle out of Laurel’s “… sweep the floor …” . I mean, this is a guy’s pad now. I know it’s time to sweep when I’m bringing things into bed with me, stuck to the soles of my feet.
So, I studied the map, found a caravan park in Murwillumbah, NSW, a whole 62ks away, and set out. I had to stay in the region until I sold my old Kia. The short hop to M gave me practice and a little confidence. Now, I’ve packed and unpacked so many times that its become one of my very ‘favourite’ things to do, ya right!
Arrived at the park in Murwillumbah, backed onto the site, got out to look around and was met by a welcoming committee of Water Dragons. Being a North American city boy, I wasn’t too sure what to make of them. What are they? Are they poisonous (seems like almost everything in Oz is poisonous)? Do they bite? Well, turns out they’re harmless and good company. Stepped out of the van one day to find a little guy lazing back in my shoe.
Sight-seeing around M. This is near the top of Mt. Warning NSW, looking into a 20 million year old caldera – 2 hours climbing up, 2 hours down!
Finally sold the Kia and so I was free to go. Next stop Bellingen a little over 300ks away – better practice. Lovely town.
Camped in the town show grounds next to Blake who was living in his Toyota 4×4, no tent, no tarp, just the Toyota. He slept in the car with all of his stuff stacked around him. Sat at the tail-gate of the Toyota most of the day with his laptop, working on his book on electro-magnetism. He disappeared every day late in the afternoon, returning with a bottle in a brown bag. When he finished that it was time for bed.
Enjoyed dinner in town with Ray and Jean and David and Diana – thanks Ray and Jean – seems like 100 years ago now!
On to Tamworth, up over the Great Dividing Range. 1st real test for the Subaru and TAS – the climb and the winding roads. No problems at all.
Tamworth is the country music capital of Australia – pretty much closed for Christmas. This is the main street on Christmas Day. It’s longer than it looks. I walked its length and met a cute little Asian kid on a bike, who riding by with a big smile on his face said “mewy chwistmas” – it made my day! Have you read/seen “On The Beach”? This is what Tamworth felt like – no human life left.
I was going to barbecue a steak for Christmas dinner. Had it ready to fire up, when this huge storm blew in – blackest of clouds, torrential rain and van-rocking winds. I had peanut butter sandwiches and wine for dinner instead. 1st real good water test for TAS. She passed with flying colours – no leaks.
On the way to Melbourne, I camped at Mudgee, Lithgow and Gundagai – not much to report here – my goal was to get to Melbourne to visit Shawn, Donna and little Riley. Enjoyed my stay in Lithgow and the Blue Mountains beautiful country.