Starts May 17th, 2012
The first leg of my trip will be from my home in Mornington Victoria to Hervey Bay in Queensland and will take about a week.
I'm using my little Mercedes Sprinter motorhome for the trip and you will find I refer to him as 'Yemmy' - it comes from his number plate that is YEM 471.
The trip will take me into outback Western Queensland, up to the tip
of Cape York, across the top to Darwin, down through the Centre to
Adelaide and back home by the end of September.
I hope you will travel with me through this diary. Feel free to comment by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yemmy ready to start the trip - he's had his service and oil-change and is all primed for our next adventure.
Clich for the date
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May 17th - Day one of my 2012 adventure
I left homme at about 10.30
- a bit later than I'd hoped but who cared. I was off and the open road
beckoned. I was aiming for Genoa as a night stop as there a great free
stop there and would put me in easy reach of Roy and Narooma tomorrow.
Stopping along the way for plently of photos for the diary and also for
the new book I'm writing delayed me a bit more so I finished up diving
in the dark for a bit in twisty hilly country but I arrived at the
campground by just after 6pm having covered about 500km. It was a
glorious day with bright sun in a cloudless blue sky and it felt great
to be on the road again.
It was surprising that there was good Internet reception at Genoa but I
was too tired to make sense of this page so I put it off till next day
and went to bed and read my Kindle.
Here are some of the pics I took L to R from the top.
I took the ridge road from Lang Lang to Drouin despite Tom (Tom Tom
GPS) telling me otherwise and the views on each side of the road are
fantastic. I didn't go in the Musical Village this time although it's
worth as visit.The Latrobe Valley has a number of power stations like
this one. Lake Gutheridge at Sale is a gem usually passed by travellers
although it's only a stone's throw from the Main Street. The Nicholson
River is just one of the lovely rivers feeding the Gippsland Lakes.The
views of Lakes Entrance are great but you have to heading West to use
I'll do better with spacing and labelling I promise - just a bit rusty at the moment!
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It was cold at Genoa where
I overnighted - 4.5C in the van this morning. It continued cold as I
drove through thick fog interspersed with bright sunshine. As I passed
a sign that said Bega Valley Scenic Lookout I couldn't see my nose in
front of my face - never ming the Bega Valley. It was a shame as it's
lovely country through there.
I arrived here at Narooma about 11am and friend Roy was waiting for me.
I'd drained my water talk on the way as I'd filled up from a hose that
had been in the sun and I forgot to let it run till the bad taste had
gone and so I refilled it here at East's Big Four. The lady in the
office was kind and knocked $10 off the bill as I was on my own - you
can be luchy sometimes.
We drove up to Batemans Bay for lunch at the Soldiers Club and on the
way back called in to Roy's friends who own an Avondale caravan
imported from the UK. They love it and I'm not surprised as it is
easily the best designed van I've seen and I've seen many vans. Beside
being so very practical it's also very light - it only weighs about
1,300kg and it's a 20' tandem.
Tonight we dined at an Italian restaurant owned by friends of Roy's -
venison in a lovely sauce followed by magnificent ice cream concoction
and then rounded off with liqueur coffees. Did I mention the red wine?
Whistling Duck Cab Sav in honour of Yemmy's new duck or goose decals!
Yemmy's overnighter at Genoa - It was cold - 4.5 degrees in the van this morning
This is where he is tonight - East's Big 4 park at Narooma. They were kind and knocked off $10 because I'm on my own.
These were all pictures of Narooma - Roy calls it the Jewel of the South Coast asd I can see why
was a really great day and I'll be sorry to leave in the morning - but
I must if I hope to be in Maryborough, Qld., by Wednesday of next week
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Disaster struck today with
the pictures! The selector for manual or automatic got moved to manual
and all the pics were out of focus. Murphy?
I'll put a couple in to show what might have been!
Great day weatherwise and when I got to Nowra I gaveAlan and Deirdrie
a ring as I knew they were at Shoalhaven Heads. Yes - the kettle was on
and a short detour saw me visiting them for a while. I then took Tom's
advice and used a lovely scenic drive before getting back to the main
road. I ignored him though when he wanted me to turn off and head for
the Hume Freeway. I wanted a couple of pics of the wondrerful view
towards Wollongong - not knowing they would be useless.
Finally I got on to the M7 and was soon at Richmond without having to
go through Sydney. The free overnight parking at the Richmond Club
isn't quite free as you have to fork out a princely $4 and join the
Club but it's a great facility and I'll get photos in the morning. I
went over to the club and had a lovely pork roast in the bistro for
Ulladulla - lovely name
View from the top of
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There were only two
shower/toilets at Richmond so I didn't bother using them this morning
but made do with a good wash - it was pretty darn cold anyway! I took
some pics and hopefully they will be better than yesterday's effort.
It was a nice day for travelling - mostly on 110k/ph motorways so the km sped by very quickly.
Around mid-morning I realised I wasn't far from ACC friends Ian and
Cheryl Sherwood so I found their phone number and gave them a buzz. Ian
was delighted when I asked if the kettle was on and said come on down.
They live at Swan Bay and I stayed with them a few years back. It was
great catching up and the bonus was that Ian found my missing hearing
aid under the fire extenguiser! I thought I'd looked there but obviously
I'd intended overnighting in the Coopernook State Forest but hadn't
printed out the directions. I couldn't find it without firing up the
computer so settled for a trip out to the coast to look at Harrington
and then a bit further north I found a nice spacious rest area. It's a
bit near the road but the noise isn't bothering me.
'Wanderest" provides hardstanding parking for RVs for just the $4
joining fee that. There's power if you want it for a small
fee and there are showers and toilets (just two)
Yemmy's spot for the night
There's heaps of room in this great facility - well done the Richmond Club
Every where I go I see lovely autumn colours - this was in the RV park
The beautiful wide Hawkesbury River
The F3 Freeway crosses the Hawkesbuy on this huge bridge
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The day started with a pleasant
conversation with Jeff - a fellow camper from Tasmania. He remembered
reading, 'Pigs Go Camping' a blog I wrote for Caravan World On-line. I was surprised when I woke up to discover a Vanette had parked right next to me.
I had thought of staying at Woody Head National Park. It's nice and has
beach access - Vi and I stayed there a few times in the past. When I
found they wanted $21 for an unpowered place to park I quickly changed
my mind. What is it that makes NSW so greedy when it comes to visiting
their National Parks - I thought they belonged to the people but I'm
begining to think it's just a source of Government revenue! I'm now
camped in a rest area at New Italy - an interesting place with quite a
story to tell of the Italian Settlers who came here and made a new life
I deviated from the highway to re-visit the lovely little 'Scottish'
town of McLean and just had to go up to the lookout for the glorious
views. My small gifs don't do the views justice but I have the full
resolution copies on file.
Clockwise from top left: Yemmy
had a neighbor this morning, oyster farming in the lovely Nambucca
River, ditto. Indian Temple at Woolgoolga, the Big Banana at Coffs.
views from the lookout at McLean and reflections in the beautiful Clarance River.
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What started as a nice day
quickly turned sour. Yemmy wouldn't come out of Park unless over-riding
the solenoid with a screwdriver and when he did he would only go in a
low gear - about 30k/ph max.I rang the NRMA and told them the problem.
There was a communications breakdown as the service man came with just
a ute and explained he'd have to go back for the truck.
When he arrived back poor Yemmy was winched up on the the tilt truck
and we took him to an automatic transmission place in Ballina. The two
fellows there were quite helpful but their diagnostics showed that the
module was at fault. We put in a new module in November so they said to
take it to a Mercedes dealer and try to get a new one on Warranty. They
had reset some codes so Yemmy was driveable again. They only charged me
$30 for their time plus some trannie oil and a tail-light globe. The
Mercedes dealer was more than 100km away on the Gold Coast so I set off
with some trepidation hoping to get there OK.
The dealership turned out to be just for cars and they sent me to a
place in Southport who said they were too busy to look at it this week!
What to do? I decided to try to get the Hervey Bay and then try
to sort it out after the Apex 40 turn. My friend Ray was a mechanic and
owns a Mercedes so he may be able to help - I stay with them at Pialba
I didn't have access to the camera while Yemmy was on the truck so
couldn't get shots of him up there. I did get some pics of the New
Italy complex before I hit the road this morning.
There's only 200km to go to reach Hervey Bay tomorrow so fingers crossed!
The first four pictures
were all taken at New Italy. The story is that a group of Italians were
duped into sailing for New Zealand to start a new life but they were
dogged with disaster - a bit like me today.
Some died at sea and conditions in New Zealand were bad so they came on
to Australia and made a new life for themselves here at what became
known as New Italy.
I guess everyone knows the last picture is of one of the three Glasshouse Mountains.