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Traralgon and on west through Victoria ~ February 2015



When the past calls let it go to voice mail. It has nothing new to say.





Sunday 1st February 2015

It was market day at Lakes Entrance; we met Hans and Lorraine there as they were ready before us. The market was large with many and varied stalls. Once I had made my purchases we looked for Hans and Lorraine - that was a feat in itself. Eventually we found them, then walked for a while ending up at a café for coffees and hot chocolates. Pete Mate and I then went off to do some shopping, get Billy washed and fill up with fuel. Once home we organised ourselves for our departure tomorrow. In the evening we enjoyed a yummy barbecue, cooked by Lorraine and myself.

Monday 2nd February 2015

We awoke to pouring rain and Pete Mate got drenched hooking up the van and putting away the hoses. By the time we were ready to leave, the rain had stopped and we said our goodbyes to Lorraine, Hans, Peter and Helen without getting wet. We had a good run through to Traralgon. We received a friendly welcome from the office staff and soon we were set up on our site for the week. Later our friend Roger came over for happy hour and a barbecue. It was lovely to see Roger again and we enjoyed a very pleasant evening.

Tuesday 3rd February 2015

We had a few things to do during the day and then late afternoon we went over to Roger’s for happy hour and dinner. Roger had cooked the yummiest food and we left there after a very enjoyable evening with extremely full tummies.

Wednesday 4th February 2015

Roger came over to the caravan park to assist Pete Mate in buying a new Trail-a-Mate. Once this was done we went out for the day to Walhalla. The main reason for visiting this delightful little town was to ride on the historic train. We arrived at a station but alas it was not the right one so we had to high tail it out of there to the correct one. We made it with minutes to spare.

Walhalla Railway
Walhalla Goldfields Railway opened in 1910 and thrived until the main goldmines closed four years later.
It struggled on until 1944 when it became an economic liability and was closed. The track was pulled up and
the bush reclaimed the land. In 1994 volunteers of the W.G.R. began restoring track and in 2002 the line reopened.
The trip was only twenty minutes long but we travelled through some beautiful countryside. We arrived at Thomson Station (which incidentally is the one we first went to), enjoyed a quick cuppa whilst the workers turned the train around. We then did the return journey. It was very enjoyable and well worth doing.

We then had a look around the town itself which is quite old and very quaint.

Pam and Roger
Roger and myself in Walhalla responding to a shout from Pete Mate.
We enjoyed a late, quick lunch before heading home. We didn’t have much time at home before we headed out again to a club where Roger is a member. It was raffle night so I had to buy plenty as I love raffles. The food and wine were good and it was a very enjoyable evening.

Thursday 5th February 2015

Pete Mate went off in the morning to have a flight in a small aircraft. This was very kindly arranged through Roger’s son. I did a few chores and then some knitting. After lunch Roger and Dawn (Roger’s friend) collected us and gave us a tour around the area. The first stop was Bev’s World of Dolls which was especially for me as no one else wanted to see them. I did a quick tour whilst the others waited. It was an amazing place with over 1,000 dolls on display. Bev was charming and requested I return one day when I have more time. We then travelled to the rose gardens and saw some beautiful roses. We were shown the power stations from a lookout and gained a lot of knowledge about the power stations in this area. I had no idea that these huge power stations were operating amongst the beautiful scenery. It was a very pleasant afternoon.

Power Station
Brown coal is dug out of the ground, transported on a conveyor belt to the adjacent base load power station,
processed and then burned to drive huge generators. The end product, electricity, is boosted to extremely high
voltages and fed to cables on pylons which take it to where it's needed. No surface transport required.

Friday 6th February 2015

We had to drop Billy off for a service. Roger picked us up and took us out for the day. He gave us a quick tour of Traralgon and I spotted a church I wanted to see. I had read about the stained glass wall it had. We poked our heads inside and to our dismay, Mass was in progress. Roger backed out quickly, I quietly looked at the wall and Pete Mate took a photo, then we scarpered.

Church Window Inside

Church Window Outside
Upper: The stained glass wall in St. Michael's Catholic Church from inside and (lower) the outside.
We then drove out to Yarram via the Tarra Bulga National Park which has the most beautiful tree ferns. Along the way we made two stops, the first being a better lookout for the power stations. The views from the lookout were quite spectacular. The second one was to see a water fall. We had to descend down some stone steps but it wasn’t too far and the falls were small but pretty.

Creek

Yarram was a nice town with friendly people; we ate lunch at the bakery which is supposed to be famous for its pies. We then received a phone call to say the car was ready so we did a quick trip out to Port Albert before returning home. Roger dropped us off to collect Billy who apparently is in good shape so our travelling days can continue without a hitch. In the evening we met up with Roger and Dawn at their club. We also met Dawn’s nephew Johnny. Once more we enjoyed a lovely meal and had a good evening.

Saturday 7th February 2015

Not a lot happened today, it was a day of shopping and a few chores. Later I did some knitting and we watched television.

Sunday 8th February 2015

The caravan park puts on a cooked breakfast every Sunday, we asked Roger and Dawn to join us. Dawn couldn’t make it so Roger came alone. It was very pleasant and I enjoyed it a lot because I didn’t have to cook it. After we had said our goodbyes to Roger, Pete Mate and I did some packing up ready for a journey tomorrow.

Later in the afternoon we heard our neighbour’s husky yelping and whining; eventually it got too much to bear. We assumed they had gone out for the afternoon and left it tied up. Pete Mate had gone over to bring it to us when a lady from the office came across to tell him the chap had collapsed and had been taken to hospital in an ambulance. So Buttons stayed with us for a few hours. She was not a happy little lady but Pete Mate seemed happy enough taking care of her. She let us know when our neighbours returned because as soon as she saw them she was trying to get free from her leash. It all turned out okay but the poor chap had two nasty grazes on his head from when he collapsed.

Monday 9th February 2015

We left Traralgon around 10ish and made our way to Dandenong. It was a good journey but oh the traffic, it is everywhere and we are not used to it. On arrival we received a friendly greeting and were given our site number. It was fairly straightforward getting on to the site and we were soon set up for the next week or so.

Tuesday 10th February 2015

Pete Mate took Billy into the workshop to have the paintwork done. Then to my surprise he brought Billy home again. There had been a mix up with the booking and now Billy has to in next Monday. We took the opportunity to have a lay day.

Wednesday 11th February 2015

It was Pete Mate’s turn today for an overhaul, he has to go every two years for a camera down his throat. It is just a check up and the results were all good. The doctor that does this keeps you waiting for hours and hospitals are not the nicest of places even though the staff are absolutely lovely. I took my knitting and some crosswords so they kept me occupied. Once it was all over (I think Pete Mate quietly enjoys all the attention from the young nurses), I drove us home. Not my favourite pastime, driving, but I did it with very little stress.

Thursday 12th February 2015

Victas We visited the Australian National Aviation Museum at Moorabbin I found this on trip adviser and it had some good reports. It was quite interesting and being allowed to go inside the Viscount was a plus. We asked could Pete Mate sit in the pilot’s seat so I could take photos. Our guide said yes so PM hopped into the seat and just as the guide said “do not touch anything” PM moved the control column and some levers. The poor man nearly had a fit and I think he was glad to get us off the plane.

The Victa - see right - caught my eye. I am not at all sure I would trust a plane made by a lawnmower manufacturer.

Luggage I loved this display of some 1950’s luggage. Can you imagine travelling so light these days?

I finished my browsing much earlier than Pete Mate so I sat in the shop area in a very comfortable airline seat and read whilst I waited.

We left there and Pete Mate declared we were going to the Caravan Show at Sandown. That was a surprise as we hadn’t talked about going. We got to Sandown and alas, the show was nowhere in sight. If in need you phone a friend and this is what I did. Monika said the show is usually at Caulfield so off we went to the Caulfield Racecourse. We still saw no sign of a show.

I had spied a café so my suggestion of parking up and going in for some lunch while we made further enquiries was warmly received by the driver. Pete Mate discovered that the caravan show was being held at Flemington Racecourse so we decided we would have some lunch and then make our way over there. Pete Mate then tripped up a step and took a tumble. He went with a bang down on the floor, his glasses went one way and poor Alice went the other. He made such a clatter we were joined by three staff members who were incredibly kind and considerate. Once he was on his feet they found comfortable chairs for us to sit on and given drinks. I purchased a couple of sandwiches and Pete Mate recovered. His knee was grazed, his elbows bumped and his pride dented.

We travelled over to Flemington arriving at the show with only an hour to view the caravan we wanted to see, we had no time left to look at anything else. We loved the caravan, a Jayco Silverline and then discovered Billy can't legally tow it. We then looked at the new Starcraft and were tempted but not for long. The cons were greater than the pros and we are happy with the ‘van we have. We left there and immediately hit the rush hour traffic. I was stressed and I wasn’t driving. How people cope with it day in and day out I‘ll never know.

Friday 13th February 2015

We decided a lay day was in order.

Saturday 14th February 2015

We met up with our friend Wendy at a café in Mt Evelyn. Wendy’s husband, John was playing bowls. We had a really lovely time, we had a good long chat about all sorts and ate delicious food ... well, Wendy and I did. When we left Pete Mate and I were carrying rhubarb and tomatoes from Wendy & John’s garden. We do get spoilt along our travels. Once home PM had a nanny nap and I went on Skype.

Sunday 15th February 2015

We enjoyed a lazy morning before heading out to Frankston to look at the new Sand Sculptures. It was a beautiful sunny day and hundreds of people had the same idea as us. When I suggested this I had completely forgotten that Sunday is a weekend day and lots of people with children go out for the day. When you are retired, one day is pretty much the same as another. It took us a while to find a parking slot but eventually we did and we didn’t have too far to walk. The sculptures were magnificent and I was amazed how talented these people are.

Evil Queen
Disney's the 'Evil Queen' in sand.
There were lots of children having a great time spotting their favourite Disney character; all the sculptures were based on the Disney theme.

Toy Story
From the 'Toy Story' movies.
We walked around and took photos and then retreated to a marquee for ice creams. We shared a table with a family and the little boy gave me a picture of Goofy that he had coloured in. Really cute. It made my day.

Monday 16th February 2015

Pete Mate took Billy in for his paintwork. The sun was shining so I had a washing fest and got everything dry. Apart from that we did our usual hobbies.

Tuesday 17th February 2015

A lay day as we are carless. Pete Mate is missing Billy. I wonder about this man; when Alice went for repairs he said he missed her. Now it is Billy. What I wonder is, did he miss me when I went into hospital last year?

Wednesday 18th February 2015

Another lay day. Late afternoon Pete Mate collected Billy, he is pleased with the results except for a couple of minor things on the spare wheel cover. The bonnet looks great.

Thursday 19th February 2015

We attended a Jayco tour of the factory today. I really didn’t know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised. The caravans are made in a very cost effective and efficient manner. Each Jayco model has its own factory with its own workforce. Each man or woman has one particular part to work on and then it has to be passed by a quality inspector.

Now the tour unravelled a little as our guide kept drumming into us that ‘Gerry’ (the Jayco owner) was big on quality. We were four on the tour and in turn we tried to open a cabinet door without any success. Supervisors were called over and after much fifing and faffing the cabinet was returned to the work bench. This gave Pete Mate the opening he needed to tell our guide what he thought of Jayco quality. If Pete Mate thought he was going to win the argument he was wrong, the man was thoroughly Jayco indoctrinated and it was PM’s fault for accepting shoddy workmanship and poor service! We walked for two and half hours between the different factories and believe me they were big. By the time we had finished I was pooped. We then had to wait for an expert to give Pete Mate some advice about our interior lights. That, according to PM, was a waste of time as the man talked through an area of his body he should have been sitting on. Definition of 'Expert' from PM: Ex is a has-been, spurt is a drip under pressure.

Overall it was an interesting tour and I would recommend anyone having a look even if they were not Jayco owners. We left there and drove to a shopping centre do to some shopping and for some lunch. Once home it was rest time.

Friday 20th February 2015

We enjoyed a lovely time with friends, Monika, Eckerd, Lorraine, Hans, Susan and Theo at the Greyhound Bistro. The lunches were substantial and very reasonably priced. Once home again we finished packing everything away for our move tomorrow.

Saturday 21st February 2015

We left Dandenong around 10.30am. It was only a short journey through to Werribee but Melbourne gets in the way and the traffic was awful. I get more stressed than Pete Mate. We cannot wait to get back to the country towns. We arrived at the caravan park to a friendly welcome and we were soon set up on our site. After lunch we did little else other than explore the park. The internet connection is rubbish so my Skype session only lasted five minutes.

Sunday 22nd February 2015

The RAAF museum at Point Cook had been recommended to us so we took ourselves off to have a look. When we arrived we had to pass through security which amused us somewhat. Yes, they asked for identification and made a note of the car rego but that was it. We could have had all manner of weapons of mass destruction packed away in our car.

The museum was very well laid out and very interesting. I didn’t realise that the first women allowed into the RAAF were nurses. I found the articles about women pilots also interesting. Below are some facts I have taken from an official website.

There are no restrictions on the employment of females in the Air Force, including all pilot positions. Female pilots in the Air Force are currently flying the following aircraft types:

• C-17 Globemaster
• B737-AEW&C Wedgetail
• C130J Hercules
• AP-3C Orion
• KA350 King Air
• KC-30A MRTT
• CT-4
• PC-9

As at January 2015 there were over 700 pilots in the Air Force, 25 of whom were women, which equates to around 2.8%.

Although women are eligible to fly all aircraft in the Air Force, there are currently no female fighter pilots. Women are successfully flying fighter jets in the United States, France, Turkey, Israel and other nations, and the Royal Australian Air Force actively encourages women to apply to fly fighter jets in Australia.

Each Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday the museum flies one of its aircraft. Today we were treated to five aircraft flying in formation and a couple of them doing aerobatics. They were practising for the Avalon Air Show which is happening at the weekend. At the end of the display the pilots answer any questions you may have. We thought the whole experience pretty good, especially as it was all free.

Monday 23rd February 2015

We had some shopping do to and I needed a shopping mall that had all the places I needed. I found one but it was miles from the town centre and, unbeknown to us, on the doorstep of our friends Gail and Jerzy. I did some of the things I wanted to do and then we rushed home to get ready to go the Gail & Jerzy’s for happy hour and dinner. It was a lovely evening and the time just flew by as it does when the company is excellent and food and wine good.

Tuesday 24th February 2015

Lay day to do washing and some cleaning.

Wednesday 25th February 2015

Today’s itinery was to visit the zoo, the rose garden, the sculpture garden and the homestead. After four hours at the zoo we saved the rest for when we are here next time. The zoo was absolutely wonderful, it lived up to all the reports I had read about it. When we arrived we had a short walk to the gorillas. We only saw one and it was big.

Gorilla
Anyone you know?
We then made our way to the safari bus ...

Safari Bus
The Safari Bus towed three trailers. It carried 142 passengers when full - and it was.
... for an hour’s tour of the animals not accessible on the walking tour. We saw so many beautiful animals quite close to the bus. It was very apparent that these animals were well looked after and loved. Pete Mate took some marvellous photos which I am hoping he will put on the web site. Once the bus tour was over we found a café to have some lunch and to our delight from the café we could see the Meerkats at play.

Meerkat
Me? A cat? No, a meerkat, a type of mongoose from Africa.
We then walked the rest of the zoo to look at the rest of the animals. I was so disappointed to find the lion and lioness some distance away under trees. We both enjoyed the day immensely.

Hippo
The pointy end of a hippo.

Thursday 26th February 2015

Pete Mate went back to the museum to see some planes fly and I met Gail for some retail therapy and lunch. In the evening we met up with Gail and Jerzy for dinner at a very nice restaurant. The food and wine were great and once more the company excellent.

Friday 27th February 2015

We collected some mail form the post office in town and then went to have a look at The B-24 Liberator. Yes I know another plane. I intended to have a quick look and then retreat back to the car and do a crossword. It turned out it was a lot more interesting than I thought and I did enjoy the tour around. Our tour guide, one of the many voluteers, took pleasure in showing us everything. I do believe however, once I excused myself, Pete Mate and this chap really got into the nitty gritty of it all. That was fine as I was having a lovely chat with the two ladies in the shop.

We enjoyed a quiet night in preparation for the big day tomorrow.

Saturday 28th February 2015

At last ‘D’ day has arrived and we are off to the air show. The first amazing event was the fact Pete Mate was in the car ready to go at 7.10am! We had a really easy drive through to Avalon and parked very close to the entrance thanks to the disabled sticker I have. (At the moment I am in a lot of pain walking). We quickly found out where we were to go and as we were early we sat and had some hot drinks before finding our seats.

The second amazing event arrived shortly after in the guise of our friend Jim who had flown from Perth to join us at the air show. We met his brother-in-law, Bernie, as well. It was so lovely seeing Jim again and I enjoyed his company as much as the show. The third amazing event was to see lots of biplanes and triplanes up in the sky all at once. It was a wonderful sight.

Biplanes
Biplanes and a triplane simulating a WWI dogfight.
The rest of the show was pretty much what we had seen before and by the end of the day I was hoping I would not see another plane again for a very long time. We said our goodbyes to Jim and Bernie and then made our way home. Again it was an easy drive with very little traffic which confirmed to us that the numbers were down this year.

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