A trip up the east coast of Australia from Melbourne to Coffs Harbour. Then to Daryl’s in Sandy Beach. Then Woolgoolga Lakeside Caravan Park.... Possibly further north.
  • Day74

    Travelling home.

    September 22, 2020 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    Up at 6.30am.
    Sat on the step and gazed at the view.

    Packed up and off by 8am.
    Immediately stopped at the police roadblock.
    Accepted that I had been travelling from above Coffs Harbour and waved through.

    Good trip down the Hume.
    Stopped several times for petrol and a walk with Lacey.
    I was following Google Maps.
    Three routes were offered but it kept accepting the wrong one... through Broadmeadows.
    I kept changing it.
    But, yep, it took me through Broadmeadows.
    I really wanted to go via the freeway that shirts Melbourne.
    I did not like it when it kept saying “ City 2km.”

    But I followed it and it took me to the Westgate Bridge and Citilink.
    I LOVED it when I recognised where I was.

    Tin Tin went magnificently.
    Arrived home at 1.30pm.
    So strange to walk in here.
    We really left in a hurry.
    And it showed.

    Lacey went berserk.
    She ran and ran around everywhere.
    Said hello to Bella
    Beautiful Bella xxx
    Grabbed her favourite toy and flew around the house with it.

    And the ivy was advancing into the kitchen.
    Lawn, very long.
    Lost one of my wonderful Lilly Pillies.
    And lots of pots needed water.

    Wandered around.
    Then headed up to see a Mum.
    She looks wonderful.
    Had a lovely time.

    Back home.
    Searched Tin Tin for my jar of Woopi shells.
    Lacey ‘kept an eye out’ for the Pizza man.
    Barked when he arrived.
    Yes!
    We both enjoyed the pizza!!

    Off for a bath.
    Strange.
    Pulled the curtains.
    That was strange too.

    I would like to say, it is nice to be home.
    But I would rather be in Woopi .....
    😭
    With my girl.

    Xxx
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  • Day73

    Goulburn to Albury ...

    September 21, 2020 in Australia ⋅ 🌧 16 °C

    Left Goulburn about 8.15am.
    Waved to the Big Sheep.

    Nice trip.
    Stopped at the Dog on the Tuckerbox at Gundagai for petrol.

    Kept thinking that Emily and I drove up the other side of the road 11 weeks ago.
    We did not know what lay head.
    I remember us pulling out of here....
    Bit nervous with wondering how Bumper would travel.

    If only we knew what an amazing time we would have!
    How Bumper thumped along the road at 100kph.
    He is marvellous.

    So I pulled into Reception at the Lake Hume Tourist Resort.
    After being waved through the police road block.
    Apparently the first road to the right out of the park leads to Victoria.
    That’s why they are set up there.

    Reception was closed... lunch.
    So Lacey andI took a walk through the park.
    Down to the sites we left 11 weeks ago.
    That was pretty emotional.
    Why can’t we turn back time?
    I could see us there.
    Again, not knowing what lay ahead.

    We were so excited here.

    Booked in .... not easily.
    Didn’t want to believe I had come from Woopi.
    Anyway, that sorted.
    I asked for site 72 so I could sit here with that marvellous view and reminisce.
    72 was Bumper’s site.
    And Emily could not believe the water view!

    So I drove onto the site and Lacey and I headed down to the Lake for a big walk around the edge.
    She’s off lead and now a water baby.
    Jumping into the water to check out what interested her.
    Woopi was good for Lacey.

    Big thunderstorm hit so we sat in Tin Tin til it passed.
    Rang Mum, Luisa, Emily.
    Daryl rang me.

    Another walk.
    Then chicken and salad for a very late lunch.

    Will be heading off for another walk shortly.

    That’s it.

    Still don’t want to come home.
    This adventure has been simply amazing.

    And sitting on the doorstep of my van, gazing out over the start of our adventure, I am feeling the serenity.
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  • Day72

    Bulahdelah to Goulburn.

    September 20, 2020 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Up at 7am.
    Easy pack up though it was raining.
    ( The kayak got a bit wet sitting outside for the night.)
    Took Lacey for a couple of walks in the caravan park.

    Left at 8.10am after calling into the office to pay for the metered power that I had used overnight.
    “ Nothing owing”, they said.
    I had used 13 cents worth of electricity.
    That’s the fridge, blow heater for 10 minutes and phone charger.

    Off we went.
    It rained heavily for about 2 hours of the trip.
    That windscreen gel that makes the raindrops run up the windscreen is wonderful.
    I put some of that on when I washed Tin Tin at Daryl’s weeks and weeks ago.

    The getting past Newcastle was easy.
    Over the steel bridge, right then left.
    Nailed it I thought!
    This was where we found it very confusing on the way up.
    Lots of traffic and traffic lights.

    Nope.
    That was not the spot.
    Somewhere approaching Sydney was that awful spot.
    And the phone told me to go left.
    So I did.
    But it didn’t tell me to go left, then IMMEDIATELY right.
    So I was in trouble.
    Off I went down some street towards Sydney ...
    Didn’t hit the harbour bridge so I suppose all was OK.
    It was absolutely pouring and my phone kept saying ... “U-turn. U-turn.”
    Keep your shirt on.

    U-turned.
    Back on track.

    Half ran a red light.
    Skidded to a halt.
    I was going very slowly though.
    Too busy trying to figure out where I was.
    Almost missed the light.
    Lacey fell into her water bowl, perched high on things in the passenger footwell.
    Nothing else moved though.

    Settle down.
    Just trundle along slowly.
    Which I did with no further dramas.

    OK
    So roads trips seem to be OK so long as I do not go within 100kms of a major city.
    Really enjoy the country driving.
    Hate those intersections and right/left turns.
    (Plan to investigate how to get past Sydney going via Alice Springs next time.)

    Onto the Hume.
    A pit stop and walk for Lacey.
    Needed petrol.
    Went off the highway to a small town.
    Asked directions to a petrol station.
    A lovely man gave me directions.
    Then his wife came up and gave me ‘proper’ directions.
    Funny.

    Back on the Hume.
    Heavy, heavy fog.
    Then pouring rain.

    Good trip though.

    Found the caravan park easily.
    An older park.
    Lots of big trees and a fenced ‘off lead’ area for dogs.
    Hardly anyone here though.
    Dead quiet.
    Very deserted.
    Correction - I have wandered around and talked to a few people. This is a huge park.
    People are just so far apart.

    Ate chicken and salads at 2.30pm

    Had an early shower.
    Lots of walks for Lace.

    I had water dripping off the back curtain of the van as I drove along.
    Could see the drops falling inside in the rear view mirror.
    I think I caught a corner of the back curtain when I closed it this morning so it seeped in.

    The doona was very wet at that end when I pulled in here.
    So, as I do not have metered power here, I am drying it in front of the blow heater.
    Working brilliantly.

    Beautiful and sunny here now ... 4.45pm.

    Will relax with a book or something after another walk.

    Pretty excited about driving to Albury tomorrow.
    Rang cousin Michael.
    He had stayed at the Woopi Caravan Park.
    Knew it well and loved it!!!
    So onto to Albury tomorrow ...
    Love that Hume Resort right on the water.
    Will be strange to go back without Emily.
    That is where our adventure started.

    Xxxx
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  • Day71

    So, my last day in Woolgoolga.

    September 19, 2020 in Australia ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

    Don’t like this much.

    We went for a wonderful walk along the lake towards the sea.
    In magnificent sunshine.
    The tide was coming in again so a bit too deep to wade across without getting clothes wet.
    So we stood and played by our turquoise water spot.

    This place is simply magnificent.
    I know that I have said that so many times before but it simply is.
    Everywhere you turn is sparkling water, beautiful crashing waves on miles and miles of pristine beach.
    The caravan park is beautiful but old enough to have enormous character.

    Slowly made our way back towards camp, up that wonderful old wooden walkway to the beautiful lawn and across the road to Bumper.

    Very, very hard to describe what this last morning was like.
    It had arrived.

    I had totally packed up Tin Tin yesterday.
    Everything that I don’t need is packed away.
    And there is a lot I don’t need.

    We had breakfast and I went to say goodbye to Barbara, the lovely lady by herself on the corner site.
    We have become quite friendly over the weeks.
    I cried.

    Then went to say goodbye to Anna, Meagan’s friend’s parents.
    And I cried.

    The lovely shy man with the European accent and the little white dog came to say goodbye.
    And I cried.
    ( He gave Emily a stem of wildflowers for her birthday.)

    I took the toilet key back to the office.
    Didn’t cry ... but I wanted to.

    So many people said goodbye.
    I almost wished I had never spoken to anyone while I was there.

    Daryl and Martine came for a hug.
    I cried.
    They waved goodbye and left.

    Packed the kayak in the van.
    And it was time.

    Huge hugs.
    Lots of tears.
    I don’t want to go.

    Although, by this stage I knew I had to.
    It was awful.
    I waved goodbye out the window as I left the park
    And could see Emily waving in the rear view mirror.

    And then I was on the lake road that we had visualised as we sat in Bumper all those months ago out the front of my house in Berwick.
    But I was driving away.

    I rang Emily as I passed Bluebottles.
    We were both OK.
    And it was perfectly OK to be sad.
    Xxxxxxxxxxxx

    Waved goodbye to Woolgoolga
    And Sandy Beach.
    And I was on my way.

    Good trip.
    Stopped a the Service Centre outside Taree for petrol and a pie.
    This is the Service Centre that 10 weeks ago, Bumper broke down near.
    I said Hi to that spot and kept driving.

    Onto Bulahdelah.
    Arrive about 2.15pm.
    I had heard rave reviews from friends of people in the Woopi Park.

    It is a Stepford Park.
    It is awful.
    It has manicured lawns.
    Enormous sites.
    Some beautiful flower beds.
    And not a tree to be seen.
    And enormous concrete roads.
    It also has a tennis court.
    A pool.
    It is a resort.
    And no trees.
    Not only are there no trees.
    There are not any young trees anywhere.

    Just van after van after van.
    After van.

    It is awful.
    I am only here for the night so it doesn’t matter.
    It’s new but not that new, not to have planted trees.
    Add some character somewhere, please.

    Haha. I don’t like it!

    Onto Goulburn tomorrow.
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  • Day70

    And lots...

    September 18, 2020 in Australia ⋅ 🌙 17 °C

    Of photos.
    Early morning walk.
    Beautiful sunny day.
    Watching the tide race into the creek.
    This is our favourite thing!!!!!

    Turned around, and there was Scout racing towards us.
    Martine on her Friday off, coming for a swim in the creek.
    She is a water baby, this one.
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  • Day70

    And a couple more ...

    September 18, 2020 in Australia ⋅ 🌙 19 °C

    Last night at Woopi.

    I have had the best time.

    Just lots of talking.
    I was telling Emily that my Grandfather, Dad’s Dad was nicknamed ‘Poet’ when he served in the First World War .... lots of stories told...
    We talked about what a great name that is.
    And after a bit of ‘trying the name on for size’, Emily is naming her puppy ‘Poet’.
    Great sounding name.

    I have absolutely had the best time.

    Get the names of places VERY wrong....
    But ...
    Then I had this awful realisation.

    I turned to Emily and said, “ My new van is going to be called ‘Dorringo’, isn’t it?”

    We both collapsed in hysterics.
    Daryl took us somewhere ... 3 different places actually ... and I could not get their names right.
    One of them, I kept calling ‘Dorringo’.
    Daryl and Emily keep bursting into song ...
    “ Dorringo .... dum da da da da da da ... Dorringo “
    Like a Western movie.
    I’m sunk.
    The van’s name is Dorringo.
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  • Day70

    And lots more ...

    September 18, 2020 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Photos.

    Packed Tin Tin to within an inch of his life.
    Anything that moved was packed away.
    So all I have to do each morning of my home journey is ...
    Get up ..
    Have breakfast ...
    Push the bed back into the couch ...
    Put the extra mattress on top of the bed ...
    Load the 2 kayak pieces ...
    And drive away.

    Emily and I went to Woolies.
    Forgot our list.
    I got all my stuff.
    Emily forgot to buy her salt.

    Filled up Tin Tin with Petrol.
    I drove back to the Service Station later to pick up some Coolant for the van.
    And a pie each.
    We had forgotten lunch again.

    Emily finished work and we went for a walk.
    Crossed the creek.
    Beautiful afternoon.
    Daryl rang.
    He was at our site.
    We headed back.
    Saw Daryl walking across the sand towards us and tried to point him out to Lacey.
    But she, very determinedly, kept racing towards another walker.
    ( Her long vision may be a touch impaired.)
    We kept calling her back.
    Then she saw him.
    And she absolutely flew across the sand and leapt straight into the creek and swam across to jump all over him.

    All 4 of us wandered and had that last look towards Woopi.
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  • Day69

    So then I invited the whole park ...

    September 17, 2020 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    To party with us under the awning at 4.30pm.
    BYO
    I went from van to van and just invited people.
    Mainly, the people I knew from the park, but I am sure I invited some total strangers,
    They were very polite and quite a few turned up.

    Emily worked again til 3pm.
    We wandered the water again.
    Thought we were going to swim, but played in the creek instead.

    Emily cooked a few sausages.
    ( We had forgotten lunch.)
    People walking past were stopping to talk.
    One lady told her husband that is exactly what I want my caravan to look like on my birthday on Monday!

    A couple I talked to turned out to be the parents of one of Meagan’s best friends.
    It’s amazing how the conversation seems to work it’s way round to something like that.
    Having a good time?
    Berwick.
    Oh. Narre Warren
    More stuff....
    Then, my children probably went to school with Emily. No they are a bit younger.
    They went to school in Pakenham.
    My niece and nephew went there. Meagan and Nathan Street.
    MEAGAN...... MEAGAN STREET?
    She’s best friends with our daughter, Anna.

    Wow.
    We could have just talked about the weather.

    People started to arrive.
    About a dozen or 14 came in the end.
    We had a great time.
    Much laughter.
    Caravan park recommendations.
    What site have you got for next year?
    And a rather rousing rendition of Happy Birthday was sung.

    As it drew to a close, Reece the young man in charge of the park tonight came up and wished Emily a Happy Birthday and said he was glad most people had left because he was going to have to remind us about social distancing otherwise.
    And just chatting was much more fun.

    The last people left about 6.30pm.
    It was a lovely, friendly afternoon/evening.

    Pork chops for dinner.

    Much hugging.
    Great day!

    Happy Birthday Emily xxxxxx
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