Saturday, May 30, 2009

Adelaide on the quiet

26/5 The three young explorers had an adventure all of their own when they flew unaccompanied back to Canberra for a week, to see their Dad and school friends. After a stupid o'clock start (I didn't think 5am existed when you're on holidays?) they set off into the sky under the care of Qantas crew member Bec. As far as I can gather it was an uneventful flight for all!!

Trucky and I decided to stay on in the caravan park at West Beach. It's right on the beach, and close to everything. Since the kids have gone, we've slept in every day, spent some time on the beach (Trucky fishing, me reading) and done some more maintenance on the bus. We've also been back up to the Hills to see Rosie again and also catch up with cousin Tim who I haven't seen for about 15 years. Tim gave us a private one-man show, just him and his guitar, and he signed a copy of his band's cd for us too - Colonel Kernel "On Wings of Wrens".

We spent one day as tourists, visiting the museum, art gallery (surprisingly we have quite similar taste in art - except the rhino!!), and science centre. We stumbled across a free concert in Rundle Mall, celebrating Reconciliation Week. We were particularly taken by a local band called 'Be Natural'. When Trucky asked them about a cd, they were flattered but shocked. I think they must be a fairly new outfit, but they were very polished and had some great original songs. Hopefully we get to see them play somewhere in the future.
It's quiet without the kids. Can't wait for them to come back (Tuesday 2/6).

Monday, May 25, 2009

Thank you CMCA Riverlanders!

Following the advice of Dennis and Cherie who we met the night before at the border, we decided to stay the 23/5 at Mannum, on the Murray River. When we pulled up into the campsite right on the water, we were surprised to find about 40 other motorhomes there. It turns out the Riverlanders chapter of the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia ( were having a monthly meet there too. They immediately made us so welcome. We are already used to being a bit of a spectacle (we're almost 60' long and significantly younger than most of the other MHers) but here we felt like we'd found some kindred spirits. Everyone had a tour through the bus (our kids as tour guides) and then we joined them all in the big tent they'd set up for happy hour. [This photo is Keith and his motorhome "Uneek" - and it was!] We blew up the dinghy and the kids went out on the Murray (cold!!) for a paddle.We tethered them on a rope about 50m long, so they could be reeled in if needed.

We spent the morning with the boat and the jetski on the river. The kids even went swimming. We had planned to into Adelaide for the next few days, but following the advice of our new friends, we decided to stay in Mannum and take Terry (the 4wd) into town instead. We had a brilliant afternoon and evening with Rosie in Bridgewater, and came home very late.

25/5 We woke up late to a knock at the bus door. Elsie from the CMCA said they'd organised a private tour over the paddlesteamer 'Murray Princess' - leaving in ten minutes! A big scramble to get ready, but so worth it. Bobby the entertainer on the ship (and also a CMCA member) took us through the whole ship. It was fascinating. We're all keen to have a cruise on it now!

Horsham and almonds

(This blog-thing seems to have eaten the previous post. Not sure how to retrieve it...)

So much has happened. I can't believe it's been less than two weeks since we left home! We had a huge day in Sovereign Hill, panning for gold, travelling 30m underground on a gold mine tour, watching musket fire displays and the Red Coat soldiers. All five of us had an awesome time, and learned so much about this part of our history.

Because we lost a couple of travelling days with the bus in the shop, we had to make a few changes to our proposed itinerary. We left Ballarat without getting to the Eureka Stockade (I'm disappointed but I'm sure we'll return), and instead of heading south and seeing the Great Ocean Road and Mt Gambier we went inland.

22/5 Horsham was great fun, with a bbq on the river bank and then all five of us (yes, Meredith, even me!) on pushbikes exploring. We met a lovely couple (Garry and Betty) who let us fill up our water tanks from their bore, as the whole area is in drought and there's no public access water anywhere.

That night we stayed right on the Vic/SA border. There we met up with some more travellers. The kids put on a show for us, singing and dancing. Very amusing! The next morning we crossed over the highway (on foot) and went to Lockhart Almonds ( There we stocked up on yummies like fresh almonds and pumpkin seeds, even milk and free range eggs. The lovely gent serving gave us some just baked almond biscuits he'd made, so we had to buy a bag of them too. I highly recommend a stop there if you're in the area.

On the road, finally!

Well, we’re on the road at last!

We had a great first night (12 May) with Ben and Simone on their property outside Bombala. They were fantastic hosts, and we all had an awesome time. We went four wheel driving in the afternoon, and toasted marshmallows on several big bonfires Ben had lit that night. Then we stopped at Pambula Beach to visit Jessica’s friend Maddy Harvey and her family. We stayed that night at Merimbula.

We had Granny’s 95th birthday celebration in Melbourne on the weekend. It was great to see the extended family together. We also visited the most awesome playground in Frankston, and the cake shops on Acland St in St Kilda!

We had planned to leave Melbourne on Tuesday, but the bus had other ideas. Luckily we were just down the road from the most friendly truck mechanic you’d ever hope to meet (Karl Larsen Truck Repairs, Brunel Rd Seaford 03-9776 4099). He made fixing the recalcitrant engine a priority. He let us hang out in the workshop and even gave us use of his internet! With the fix becoming an overnight job, Karl invited us to stay outside his place that night. His lovely wife Sharon made us all very welcome, giving the kids run of the house. The next morning we went back to the workshop (just around the corner) and straight away he was helping us out again.

The kids are getting stuck into their schoolwork already. They have maths and English texts to work from, and are keeping daily journals. They only spend about an hour a day, all up, but I’m sure they’re learning as much as they would in a full day at real school!

Trucky is thoroughly enjoying being behind the wheel again, and the spectacle we make wherever we go! We’ve already met up with several other motor-homers, including ‘Spud’ the train driver from Parkes, who has offered us hospitality if we’re up his way.