Part One -April
03/02/2002 - Home - Ks
The days events will go here once we start. Not every day will have an entry but every time we change location or do something of interest. This will then be updated to the web when we are are in cellular range. There will be 12 parts 1 for each month we are away. Each entry will start with the date - location and current kilometer reading.
Pictures will be included
26/02/2000 - Home -
Well we are still here at home, what with cars, houses, one thing and another there just always seems to be something else. Our motor home was not quite finished and its those two minute jobs that take days, which catch you. Testing web publishing over a cell phone for example, Lube and oil change, all 20 litre's of it. Never mind since the update above we have tinted the window, added some fans to fridge to ensure the booze stays cold, trimmings here and there, a bit more food, bike rack, just to cart them round of course, we will never ride them, vented the motor compartment, painted the house, in the hope that it is intact when we get home, subject to the wild parties our "Friends tell us Tristan will have". At nights we have added to the map sorted out the ten wardrobes worth of clothes "she " wants to take, (the other jumbo bags went to the smith family) made room in the garage for the Transam ( that will be a first). Cut off her umbilical cord (Foxtel) some with drawl symptoms are visible, collected a significant number of books, of which I will be to busy to read.
So was that good for you, no I didn't thinks so, cant say I was impressed either. But stay tuned next entry we WONT be at home. Might have to go out in the car just so I'm not wrong.
07/03/2000 - Departure 0 traveled / 124800 Speedometer reading ks
Well finally after even us beginning to doubt if we would ever get away we have left. The rain at home slowed things up, combined with a flood inside the bus. Basically like a house the bus has pressured water and one of the hoses to the taps broke over night. This pumped nearly 1000 liters of water inside the bus which you can image made a lovely mess, just after the gipsy had finished getting things setup. So sheets carpets the lot all wet through. Neither the gipsy or the sailor were impressed. After a few carefully religious words we pushed on. We had planned a drip past work but by the time we got on the road the clearway would have seen all parking taken up, so we skipped the drip[ to work. A few sad moments as we said our good byes, and we were on our way, still struggling to believe that we had finally left. The Satellite phone in hand ( a small brick) but better than telstra's briefcase, were were off. The laptop still lacking power would continue to be a problem until we get a 12v power supply. I was told if I feed it 12V it would be ok, but this is not true. So I think I will need to purchase the proper supply.
Anyway with the gipsy a little sad and unsure of what was in front, and the sailor concerned about the next storm we set off, headed for Nelson bay, which is just on the other side of Newcastle. Arriving safely and event free at Shoal bay. we found a nice spot just beside the water. The gipsy had some minor concerns that her caravan was not level, but this of course did not phase the sailor. Parking underneath a tree for shade ( no good for solar panels though) we spent the evening and the next couple of day.
09/04/2000 Shoal Bay 204 / 125004K,s (Diesel @ 124880 $152.65)
Greeted with a blue sky we leapt from bed, well staggered around 8:30 with coffee video and camera in hand and table near by we contemplated the mental asylum just down the road on the best part of the beach that you cant get too, long enough to decide to move on. Heading north after a walk to get the heart going followed by a smoke to make us feel at home in Sydney we left for ... I'm not sure
09/04/2000 Mungo Brush 332 / 125132Ks.
But we arrived at a place called Mungo Bush about 80 ks north of Newcastle. Stopping right on the Broad water, and nearly in the water we selected this ideal place. Of course all the best spots are the ones which are marked no camping no dogs, no nothing. But we have developed a solution to this which just happens to meet our disposition. Generally as soon as we stop, I head for the Bourbon, not because I'm addicted but because its a good excuse, no, not for me for the Ranger so as not move. You see as soon as they turn up I simply say Osifer I have had a drink and should not drive, I'm driving riving, etc. anyway it sounds good and better yet it works. Well this was no exception. The gipsy had decided she wanted to try out our the new out door chairs and it was a beautiful day so a drink fitted in well. Except I think we have now drunk this months rations, and the lady is now snoozing, and we have decide that the chairs are unstable or could it be... no.. And no I'm not tsipy. However an extremely pleasant afternoon was had on the lakes edge waiting for the ranger and making sure I was over the limit and couldn't drive. Well better go and feed the four legged one before the crocks get him, or the sand fly's.
10/04/2000 Smiths Lake 452 / 125252k's
We figured we should depart Mungo Brush as we were in a National Park. ( for legged friends not permitted) In our case the would cause less damage than the two legged animals, but still, them the rules. Down the end of the road is a vehicle ferry which we attempted to get on. The wait was not a problem, but the bus is a bit like those dirty old men you see walking down the street with there belly overhanging, only in this case its his butt. So gently on we went but we couldn't get all the way on. So we inched back off turned around and drove around the long way. Pointing North up as close to the coast as possible decided to head for Seal Rocks. Traversing a gravel road full of put wholes etc, where ones false teeth might fall out (no we are not quite that old yet) we found a beautiful beach with a few residence. The only trouble was most of them seemed to be Park Rangers or wild life protection, and some how I could se might not fit. The wild life could work mind you. There were lots of "No Domestic Pets Signs" and no real places to stop without being in a Caravan Park. So it was back out the bone shaking road I haven't driven on gravel much so 13 ton going around gravel one tends to be a bit slower. Anyway the Gipsy had suggested more speed might help as she could see me cringing at the creaters each time we hit a pot whole. So I put the pedal to the metal and roared across the top of them at about 40Ks. Doesn't sound much I know, but you try it. Anyway it definitely helped for most of them, and certainly reduced the time. We pushed on, and by traveled through Forster, Tuncurry. We spotted another Bus Called Obsession but seems they were all out , then a group of campervans so we decided to a break was in order. These people had seen us at Mungo Brush and had been around OZ before. They were just out for a couple of weeks because they were getting itchy feet. Heading off are satisfying the Gipsy hunger pains we finished up at a place called Smiths Lake. A very nice little spot. Like most places the people come to the beach to walk there animals etc, two legged ones and four. The local residence ignore the no dogs on beach sign, and the sun begins to set. At least this place has a BBQ, A couple of locals had spoken to us earlier, one trying to sell Insurance ( you just cant get past them) the other just chatting. Latter while I was at the BBQ she returned, and I assumed she was going to complain, now she new we were staying the night. But instead she had been home and got a bottle of Champagne. Must keep my pessimism in control. Nice food and a quite night was had with usual reruns of Gilligan's Island, or in our chase Xfiles.
11/04/2000 Hallidays Point 517 / 125317k's
With bacon and eggs for breakfast (no Champagne ) we decided to depart (Smiths Lake) as we were not in the ideal spot. being parked in front of a number of houses. Heading north for the sun and the warmer weather we turned off the coast road for a spot called Hallidays Point. We had been here once before but our memories had faded or blended a mixture of places. However as we approached my memory began to return with visions of sand fly's and a fishy smell. But on arrival we found they had cleaned up the place for us, and it was now very pleasant. The beach is clean about 40Km long as it curls round down the coast to Forster. We have found our happy hour. ( I have been corrected, The sailor has found his happy hour) The ritual starts anytime after 12:00, and starts with a walk to get rid of what we are about to endure, then is followed by an ironperson swim, which consists of three strokes up and down the wave as it passes. This excuse for exercise is really a means to end. Its called Dinkies ! So now we have a pattern which suits. We have developed a sobrietary test. The test was the brain child of two friends and enhanced by the Gypsy. The basic principle is as one falls over from intoxication one must save their drink at all costs to life and limb.
Power consumption is a bit of an issue at this time, basically due to the extra's which we have not had on board on earlier trips, so some changes will need to be made to accommodate our consumption.
A few days latter we are still here and enjoying every minute. If it was not for this we would have no idea what day it is. It also seems our power problems are partly due to a failing battery cell, in one of the new 6V batteries. So we will ration power for a day or so and see if it recovers.
We have been up and mobile by 7:00Am ( all right twice) but even then the day just seems to go, and before you know it happy hour is on us again. We have walked a 2 or 3k most days, and today went for bread and milk around the next bay.
14/04/2000 Settlement Point (Port Macquarie) 639 / 125439k's
Well we figured we should depart and move on, so we decided to head on up the coast. Its getting a bit more populated now so non camp spots become a bit more difficult. Arriving at Port Macquaie we headed for a camp about 2 k's out on the river edge. We have booked in for a couple days, time for the batteries to settle and for a bit of washing etc. A walk down the road quenched the Gypsy's shopping desires and a suitable pair of bike ridding shoes was acquired along with some additional video film.
The camp has a Greek restaurant on site so it seemed an appropriate break. We both waddled back fill to the brim and still bought a doggy bag back with us. With no shortage of power I decided this would be a good time to complete the updates and see if we can down load them. Also we got a call from the real-estate agent today and it appears we finally have a prospective tenant.
A couple of days later. Well we finally got to use our bikes and road into The Big Smoke, ( for you youngens that's the town) it was about a 4 K ride each way. One of the bikes had a tyre which was a bit flat but of course the bus has compressed air breaks, so we simply started the bus and pumped them up. Of course the dog had to run most of the way and I was a bit concerned that he might have a heart attack given he was not accustomed to this ( like his owners he's unfit). But after a rest he was ok. The Gipsy did a bit more shopping and I acquired a pair of sun glasses. The non city version of a Cafe au lait was had and we road back. Another check of our batteries suggested we had one which was getting worse and this would have to be fixed. The camp power gave us a chance to recharge the batteries over and above the Solar power but this didn't help.
17/04/2000 BellBrook ( Outside of Kempsy ) 748 / 125548ks
We left Settlement Village heading for and old friend's place in Bellbrook, arriving late afternoon. This was inland a way so we were expecting cooler temperatures, but we got rain as well the first real amount that had been any sort of inconvenience. This guy is about 75 and a bit like Steptoe and Sons the old Grandfather, only in much better health . He took us up to see a friend of his who was a member of One Nation Political Party. My dad had always said don't Talk Politics or religion with new friends unless you wanted to sharpen your tongue or intellect. So we listened, I will let you make up your own mind on these two interesting points he explained to us. Firstly the money that Pauline Hansen is to pay back to the party at this time is simply a political stunt that bought about by a legal loop whole with the way the party was formed. Seems the Payments to members were simply paid via an inappropriate method, and once the $300K has been collected it will simply be handed back. Also he would have us believe that Paul Keating late one night in Parliament while only minimal members were around he removed the laws pertaining to treason because of his financial interest. A few other interesting points were mentioned, so I will leave you to draw your own conclusions. He was also the Australian Pistol champion.
The days here we nice but the nights were very cold. We had a game of Trivial Pursuit which should have been won by Wall (pronounced Wole) but as it happened the Gypsy won it due to her excellent board skills and the answer to s sport question which she should never have known.
There was no Cellular phone range here so the Satellite phone was left on as much as power would permit. Approximately every 40 minutes it would go out of range as the Satellite would disappear behind the bus then back into range. This unit is so new the car kit was not available and the aerial for a Satellite phone must have direct line of sight ( so squint) . We should get the car kit in a couple of weeks which will resolve this. Had a couple calls, the Real state agent called and the prospective tenant would not accept a 12 month lease so new house remains empty, and Kyle called ( x Praxan) and it seems we will be blessed with there presents over Easter (some time, we hope) if Nic (x Praxa) can drag herself away from the pub. I'm sure this visit will give the sobriety test a run for its money. I can see I will need to add to the Alcohol quota
20/04/2000 Corindi 956 /125756Ks (Diesel @ 806/ 125606k $120)
We left Bell Brook heading for Corindi, the time had come to replace the battery and pick up a few perishables. It took awhile to find a 6 volt battery (one of four) but eventually I found one. Out of the four I tested they all seemed a bit flat so I picked the best of a bad bunch, fitted it and left them the old one. A bit of shopping was done and we moved off. We have trouble knowing what day it is, and this has nothing to do with senility or sobriety, we have nic named the the phone the "Day God" because it gives us this information. I didn't consult the Day God this day, and had I done so we probably would not have left, as I said I wouldn't drive on these long weekends first and last days due to the traffic. So at the outskirts of Kempsy we came to a stop and crawled down the road for some 40 odd minutes, past a couple of cars which had played demolition derby, and through a set of traffic lights.
We eventually arrived at Corindi, we have been here before a couple of times its a nice place, on a plateau about 60 ft above a beautiful ocean beach. The park is clean well looked after, power, and non powered sites and they allow animals. You might expect a lot of yapping dogs, and think of it a bit like a mine field as you traverse the deposits left by four legged animals. But as in most cases of nature man ( in this context it includes the weak and nimble sex), "man" is worse than the animals. No yapping dogs. no foreign bodies, or the like. A great park.
We had called the camp last week to check if they would be booked over Easter and they said they would not. Just arrive and you will be fine. On arrival they remembered us, Mr Pascoe we have a sight ( actually two) for your Bus. Anyway after rearranging the fauna, and tearing a whole in the fly screen we were in. Unlike a Caravan if the site is uneven you just cant jack up 13 odd ton on the front, back or sides. So we were on bit of a lean, it bought back sailing memories and didn't really worry me, and she who must be obeyed happy with it too. During that night while clasping the side of the bed to avoid crashing through the window due to the lean, the phone rang at some 2:30AM TWO THIRTY AM. Eventually I staggered along the walls to the Day God who was by now screaming at me that I had missed call. The first thought of mine was someone had ether died or Tristan had a major problem. Most of our friends know not to call us at this time. Anyway the day God reported two drunks whom shall remain nameless had called us with much giggling and certainly beyond the sobriety test which they had helped to develop. Making my way along the walls, a returned to cling onto the bed.
The next morning, I returned the call to both of the piss pots, but alas they were so hung over the ring of the phone was mixed with what must have already been ringing in there heads. Mean while inside the leaning Tower of Pizza the fridge was complaining about the angle, and we could not accept warm alcohol, so we had move. We moved into the camping area which meant now power but a much better view and around position. Happy hour seemed to have gotten a bit lost and while this was good for our supplies, it didn't help the crew, so after a walk and clamber round the rocks, rummaging for some firewood so I could savor the taste of real BBQ we enjoyed the remainder of the evening. After burnt onion rings with which accompanied dinner our neighbors invited us to play scrabble. Those that know me would realize I could dream up all the words needed but could never spell them. Needles to say we both lost, although I only just missed out. Towards the end of the game which was played under the stars ( not the table) nature provided its own light show over the water, called summer lighting at Corindi a spectacle well worth seeing. Our two visitor confirmed they would be coming and rather sheepishly conceded they were a little under the weather last night.
The next day saw the Wimbledon Tennis Champion, well would you believe the New Zealand under 16 doubles Champion, how about the runners up to the New Zealand under 16 doubles Champion, yep, anyway I had my first few games for some time, and won.
A phone call later confirmed our two party animal friends were on there way to come and visit. Little did we know the adventure that was before them. Our two guests departed Sydney at approximately 4:30PM to travel about 600Km (to Corindi) and visit us. We expected them to turn up around 10:00PM given the freeway. As the night progress, we get a phone call "Alan we missed the turn off and are just coming into Tamworth". This is equates to planning to go North and driving east. But you know in the true essence of our the three stooges (one wimped out and didn't come - Caroline) the navigational error was only noticed while (dumb or dumber I'm not sure which one) was sitting on the thrown staring at the toilet wall, and a cryptic map. The penny also dropped, how to get back on track. Our duo continued to Tamworth taking the back road. Well as you might know the back road from Tamworth saw our duo going through the forest late at night and with only the smell of fuel left and midnight approaching we finally get another phone call. "Alan I think we are going to run out fuel" Having v through the forest a long winding roads they had managed to scare each other to death with backpacker murders were firmly on there mind, with visions of "Scream" one and two flashing in there minds along with the blinking fuel light. But with the sailors navigational skills they were guided by remote control to a fuel station. But now who could get lost in Port Macquaire, looking for fuel, then ask the Police for guidance while standing in what we shall metaphorically describe as half dressed. Eventually after being on the road for some 11 hours and traveling an extra 200km, a few sticky drinks ( which I shall leave completely alone) and attempt at cremation they arrived, and I was beginning to wonder was was install for the next few days.
The following evening happy hour was combined with Benginnis Book of Records attempt at starting a BBQ in 20Km/hr winds on the cliff of a 60ft drop. Eventually due sole to the persistence of one of the duo members who would most definitely would have failed the sobrietary test we gave up. As Murphy would have it while contemplating the need for a non liquid dinner the fire decided to start. Many thanks to KM's efforts, without which we would sure all have been as far under the table as she was. A game of Trivial Pursuit followed which was more like charades, and a demonstration of just how alliterate we are.
The following night was wet but our duo still managed to disturb the sleeping guests by grabbing the arm of stranger in disbelief that someone could actually be sleeping (@ 2:30am) in what can best be described as a sleeping bag in the shape of a large door wedge. Naturally when the inhabitants rose the shock added further to the confusion, with a "We told you" from the Sailor and Gipsy.
We also enjoyed a swim and a game of Pictionary which highlighted the ability of some for lateral thinking, and bought a new vision to the drawings of animals and just how Freudian the thoughts were after a few.
The following day our duo departed, and it felt like we had left our kids somewhere or something was missing.
Once again our battery was not doing well, and another check of the new battery indicated it was getting worse. Wooli is out of Cellular range, so the Satellite phone was used to locate the closest agent where I can exchange the new battery for another one. Grafton which was on our way to Wooli had an agent so replaced the battery and managed to pick up another tire pressure gauge to replace the one which literarily exploded as I attempted to check the tire pressure. Arriving at Wooli in the rain we parked in our normal spot, and road down the road enjoying some prawn culets and a free shower. The rain continued over the next few days so we elected to move on.
Arriving at Ballina we had only one objective, that was to obtain a valuation for our home on wheels. This was a prerequisite for the insurance. Stopping in what we thought was a rest stop we latter discovered was the Balana botanical gardens. With some imagination could see it was possible, but probably the local hobo who lived there for the last 3 years, and the long grass caused me to lose site of where we were for a moment.
A quick bike ride and we were once again in the shoppers element. While looking CD's I could hear this voice emanating from the mobile phone in my pocket. Ordinarily we had not been carrying them, but because we were expecting a call I had placed it in my pocket. The voice at the other end said Police 000 what is your emergency, after some apologies by me the phone was returned to my pocket in disbelief that I had accidentally managed to call 000 while the phone was in my pocket.
Arrangements had been made for an inspection of our home on wheels but on arrival it transpired that his pool installers had just put the back hoe through the side of his brand new house so he was going to be a little delayed.
Returning at a latter time that day we finally got our valuation and then departed