A Travellerspoint blog

Week 3 - Longreach

View 2009 Caravan through North Queensland on greynomadm's travel map.

G'day One and All

Today marks the official start of the reunion and the reason we're in Longreach. Temperatures have certainly headed up, over 35 degrees yesterday and even hotter today by the feel of it.

Last Monday 10 Aug was spent on 'make and mend' or housekeeping. Fuel, food and some more clothes for the warmer weather. Spent Tuesday in Sapphire and Rubyvale. We decided to search for gem stones the 'easy' way by buying a 'bag of gravel' for $25. We then spent over 2 hours washing and scratching through the gravel. The guy who runs the place showed us the basic techniques and then left us to it. Initially we didn't have a clue but progressively got better at identifying the 'gems'. Jenny found one good stone which is being polished and may one day be set in a ring. There were 3 or 4 'interesting' stones and about 2 thimbles-full of chips - sapphires and zircons.

Wednesday 12 Aug we left Emerald and headed for Longreach. A very long day heading West into a stiff breeze. Short breaks in Jericho and Barcaldine broke up the 400+ Km journey. Lots of caravans and a few road-trains. The bow-wave of the road-trains invariably caused my extension mirror to shift out of place. Will need to do something about that, but don't know what.

Checked into the caravan park at about 1345. Huge park over 300 sites plus cabins and camping areas. No shade and 'unusually hot weather' made any activity a bit of a challenge.

Thursday 13 Aug started with a telephone interview with the presenter of the local Radio Breakfast Show. I don't know how many people were up at 0710 but we chatted for about 10 minutes. After breakfast we explored the town and tried to track down a wheel-chair for hire. Long story there, but we eventually tracked one down at the local hospital. Also called in to the Radio Station and was given a CD of the interview, I promise not to bore you all by attaching it to an email.

Friday a number of the reunion attendees arrived at the caravan park and the 55 AESS/EWPS Family continued to grow. Blokes who hadn't seen each other since 1970 took all of 15 minutes and a beer or two to make up for lost time and start to relive their youthful days. Collected the wheel-chair from the hospital and a parcel from the Post Office. I'd ordered some electrical connectors on Ebay from Emerald, they were in Longreach in just 4 days. Not bad service. Spent most of the afternoon retro-fitting the new style connectors to the Nissan and the caravan.

Saturday 15 Aug the flow of arrivals becomes a flood and there are now 15 caravans of reunion attendees in the park. Fortunately there's room for some 'normal' travellers too. Dave & Chris McCormack arrived today, it was great to catch up with them again. Dave's not travelling too well but is determined to be here. Another inspirational couple is the Colemans and Liz celebrates her 72nd Birthday tomorrow. Not bad for a lady who has had to fight off cancer three times.

Sunday 16 Aug - today promises to be a busy one. There are people to pick up from the airport, registrations to be completed and new people to meet. I'll get this off early or else it will not get done at all.

We hope this finds you as it leaves us, in good health and remember, if the thought of reading this boring stuff for the next 10 weeks isn't to your taste, just let me know and I'll drop you from "the list".

Posted by greynomadm 22:18 Archived in Australia Tagged seniors

Week 2 - Emerald

View 2009 Caravan through North Queensland on greynomadm's travel map.

G'day Friends and relations.

Today finds us in Emerald, Central Queensland. From here you can literally travel a full day in any direction and still be in Queensland.

We departed Dirranbandi on Monday and after a short drive, checked into the Kamarooka Tourist Park in St George. Packed in very tight but very conveniently located within walking distance of the supermarket and the RSL Club. The RSL re-opened that day after a closure of over three years. Had a quick drink and tossed some coins into the pokies.

On Tuesday, Wayne and Lorraine arrived from Moree and we decided to test the meals at the RSL. A better than average bistro and very busy on its second night of the re-opening. Wednesday checked out the shops again in case there was something we didn't see the first time around.

Thursday we're off to Injune with a short stop in Surat and its Cobb & Co Museum. Then on through Roma - stopped for fuel and lunch. Checked into the caravan park in Injune, just $12 per night for power and water. Brand new ablutions block and a very quiet location.

Friday off to Carnarvon Gorge where we booked into the Takarakka Bush Resort. Bit of a difference in site fees - $38 per night but what a location !!! The last 10-12 Km is solid but quite rough gravel road and the van is totally covered in red dust. It really looks like it has been out there.

Saturday we walked the Gorge. Difficult to describe, lush tropical palms and ferns, high limestone cliffs, carved cathedrals with aboriginal art works. Jenny went with Wayne and Lorraine and visited the Moss Gardens at the 2.8 Km mark. I decided to test my legs and did the 9.6 Km Big Bend walk, then turned for home and took in the Cathedral Cave, Ward's Canyon, the Art Gallery and the Amphitheatre. Having started at 0715Hrs I appreciated being back at the van at about 1545Hrs. I recorded over 180 photos but even ten times that number couldn't do justice.

We checked out at about 0815 and arrived here in Emerald at about 1230 with short stops at Rolleston and Springsure along the way. The Emerald Cabin and Caravan Park is only about 1 Km from the centre of the city. Temperatures are rising and as I write this it has reached 27 degrees.

We hope this finds you as it leaves us, in good health and remember, if the thought of reading this boring stuff for the next three months isn't to your taste, just let me know and I'll drop you from "the list".

Posted by greynomadm 22:16 Archived in Australia Tagged seniors

Week 1 - Dirranbandi

View 2009 Caravan through North Queensland on greynomadm's travel map.

G'day Long Suffering Friends

Our first week on the road is now almost completed. We are currently based in Dirranbandi Queensland. A small hamlet of about 300 people, now probably famous as the location of "Cubby Station" (may also be spelled "Cubbie"). Look it up on Google if you haven't heard of it. I'll say no more.

We hit the road on Monday quite early, ready and raring to go. No drama and we were set up at EPIC by about 1100 hrs. Cold and very windy, it was good to get back into the van and turn the heater on.

I stayed in Canberra and discovered that our fairly new LCD TV was on the blink. Not a good start to the trip. Found someone who was able and prepared to take an urgent look at it. The down side was that the distributor of the TV had folded and therefore no warranty.

Wednesday I spent most of the morning photographing the memorials on ANZAC Avenue down from the War Memorial. Brisk ?? You could say that, I had to wear gloves to stop my hands from freezing.

Thursday picked up Jenny from the airport and dropped in on an old mate, Bert Hagel. Jen was very drained from the flight and the emotion of the funeral. Picked up the TV, all fixed and at a very reasonable price.

Friday we set of early again and towed the van to Dubbo. Didn't stop to look at anything much on the way as we've covered this part of the country previously. Checked into a quiet caravan park for the night. The weather had improved progressively along the way and we were quite comfortable.

Saturday, we're off to Lightning Ridge. This is all 'new' country for us. Flat, scrubby and very sparsely populated. The weather was great and we saw a number of large hawks, some road-kill and about a dozen Emus along the way. Disappointment at Lightening Ridge, for about the first time ever we picked a place at a time when there's a major event. No vacancies in the caravan parks and not even anywhere in town to park the rig. Back onto the highway and we headed North into Queensland. Arrived here in Dirranbandi about 1515 hrs and set up in the Caravan Park. It is rather small but very neat and reasonable. We decided to stay two nights.

Sunday and after a very short drive abound the town we've retired to the caravan and doing no more than necessary.

We hope this finds you as it leaves us, in good health and remember, if the thought of reading this boring stuff for the next three months isn't to your taste, just let me know and I'll drop you from "the list".

Posted by greynomadm 22:13 Archived in Australia Tagged seniors

Starting out - Moruya

G'day Family and Friends

I hope this finds you all in good health and managing to stay afloat in the turbulent sea of the Economic Meltdown. If the local politicians are to be believed, we're doing pretty well. I suspect we have a fair way to go and most of it down-hill.

The primary reason for this message is to ask you to hold off sending any large emails for the next three months. I will be trialling a prepaid wireless broadband but don't know where I will have network coverage. The speed is limited and the cost quite expensive so I intend to use it sparingly. My spam and junk mail tolerance will be set very low.

On Monday we set off to wander the back roads of Queensland and hope to make it as far North as Cooktown via Dubbo, Lightning Ridge, Longreach, Normanton and Mareeba. We'll follow the coast back as far as Gladstone and then duck inland to pick up the New England Highway at Stanthorpe bypassing Brisbane. Then South to Canberra before returning home at the end of October.

I will try to maintain some form of weekly update as we go along, please feel free to tell me to take you off my list, I don't want to bore you. If you don't hear from us for a few weeks please send me an email and I'll correct my list.

Stay healthy and take care.

Posted by greynomadm 22:08 Archived in Australia Tagged seniors

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