The Big Hike Back to the Tropic ~ May 2015

War does not determine who is right - only who is left.

Friday 1st May 2015

We were not firing on all cylinders today after the big day and night yesterday. We toyed with the idea of staying another night but decided to press on. We enjoyed an uninteresting journey through to Hay and arrived around 4.00pm. The welcome was polite but not overly friendly. The sites are wide and grassy which we will enjoy. We set up camp and then had a very quiet happy hour.

Saturday 2nd May 2015

Before booking this caravan park I read the reviews on trip advisor. I have found the amenities block in need of repair and not overly clean, the reviews said otherwise. One shower has broken tiles where one would stand, very dangerous. The park itself is very pleasant with the trees and lots of lush grass, the overflowing garbage bins spoils the vista somewhat. We enjoyed a recovery as we found yesterday to be long and tiring.

Sunday 3rd May 2015

After a late brunch we went for a drive around Hay. The place was closed except got the pubs. Even the information centre was closed. We were not overly impressed. We returned home and I sat outside and read for a while. It is very pleasant to sit in the sun and relax.

Monday 4th May 2015

The major event of the day was that Pete Mate washed Billy. Apart from that I sat in the sunshine once more and read. The other major event in the park was that the garbage bins were emptied. How this park got a Big 4 rating is beyond me.

Tuesday 5th May 2015

We decided to come to Hay because:

a) we hadn’t been here before, and
b) we were interested in the POW camp of WWII.

Hay was not a very interesting town, I didn’t like the caravan park and the museum was rubbish. Thank goodness we leave tomorrow.

Wednesday 6th May 2015

We enjoyed a good run through to Griffith seeing lots and lots of cotton either growing in the paddocks or in bales. We received a very friendly welcome from the caravan park owner and could choose our own site. We were soon set up and after a lunch Pete Mate took Billy to see the air bag repair man. (These are the air bags in the back suspension, not the ones that inflate in your face if you hit a cow.) The man was busy so PM had to come home and go again later. PM returned as requested and the news is not good; we have to have new ones fitted. The car is booked in on Friday which messes up our plans to leave Friday morning for Temora. Ho hum.

Thursday 7th May 2015

We did few things in town including having a fifty minute wait at the chemist for our scripts. I think they must have been on a go slow.

Friday 8th May 2015

Pete Mate took Billy into the workshop but was home again in no time at all. The ordered air bags are still in Sydney. We were not happy. As the sun was shining I took the opportunity to do the washing. Pete Mate tried to repair my bedside light but we need a new one. The ‘airbag’ problem is now going to be solved in Rockhampton.

Saturday 9th May 2015

We had a good run through to Temora. Harvesting is well and truly underway for many crops. Those grown in this area are canola, wheat, oats, lupins, cotton and barley. A local man is using some of the local barley to brew boutique beers. This is a community project and seems to be a success. Whilst researching these facts I discovered that 96% of the cotton grown in Australia is exported and that ours, along with the Egyptian cotton, is the best in the world.

The temperature outside is freezing so as soon as we had set up camp we stayed inside with the heater on.

Sunday 10th May 2015

It is even colder today and the heater was battling to keep us warm. The wind howled and the rain lashed down, it was a day for remaining inside with a good book.

Monday 11th May 2015

In the morning the weather was still appalling and we delayed our trip into town until after lunch. I collected the mail which was the new carry bag for my turbo oven; I am very pleased with it. We did a couple of other things in town and then returned to the warm caravan. I am beginning to think we should just pack up and head north now.

Tuesday 12th May 2015

The weather has improved but it is still very cold. I did some more de-cluttering and found a handwritten account of my Mum’s holiday to Australia. It was lovely to see Mum’s handwriting again and whilst reading it, happy memories came flooding back.

Wednesday 13th May 2015

Another day of sorting out cupboards and moving things around. The sun is shining and the washing got dry but it is oh-so-cold.

Thursday 14th May 2015

More cleaning was done today, inside and outside the caravan. Pete Mate braved the cold to do the outside work. The caravan park is starting to get busy and we wondered why until I remembered the dog show was happening this weekend at the showground. PM enquired, Would I like to go? It took me half a second to reply with No.

Friday 15th May 2015

It was a beautiful day here in Temora, warm sunshine and clear blue skies. A 'good to be alive' sort of day. We spent quite some time in town as I had a few places to go to and some major grocery shopping to do. When we leave here we will be moving around quite a bit until we reach Emu Park so stocking up on everything makes sense.

Saturday 16th May 2015

Finally the day we have been waiting for has arrived. The weather was perfect and we had clear blue skies. The programme had four planes flying but ...


Spitfire Mk 16 ... for me the best of all was the Spitfire and always will be.

Sunday 17th May 2015

We are surrounded by gypsies; they arrive and more or less take over. They are roof painters and we have encountered their like before. They do not speak to the likes of us and have droves of children and spend their time in and out of each others ‘vans. Very noisy, but apart from that they are no bother at all. We packed away things and got ready for tomorrow’s journey. The gliders were flying today so there was a lot of plane noise as well. Thankfully the nights are quiet.

Monday 18th May 2015

We enjoyed a good run through to Blayney. The scenery was green and hilly, a big difference from the Hay plains. We received a very warm and friendly welcome from the caravan park owner, Helen. Helen gave us a lovely level site and we soon set up camp in the glorious sunshine. About 3.30pm the sun was still shining but there was a chill in the air and it was time to switch the heater on. The caravan park is small but very nice, well maintained and little touches like the bath mats in the shower block make for a good impression.

Tuesday 19th May 2015

The rain started overnight and didn’t stop all day. It was late evening before we got any break from it. I spent the day reading and playing computers. Pete Mate played computers.

Wednesday 20th May 2015

The sun was shining so we ventured forth and visited the town of Blayney. The chap in the information centre was not very good, getting information from him was like drawing teeth. He did tell us of a pleasant drive out to Canowindra so we decided to give it a go.

On the way we saw a signpost for Carcoar, the town time forgot. We did a detour and were very glad we did. It was a lovely little village with old buildings and some history.

The village of Carcoar in its autumn colours seen from the abandoned railway station.
Bushrangers held up the Commercial Bank in 1863 and the museum building was built by convict labour in 1849. Carcoar was founded in 1839 and, believe it or not, was once one of the most important government centres in Western New South Wales and the second most populous town west of the mountains. Long delays in bringing the railway to the town resulted in the population drifting away; today it is home to less than two hundred and fifty people.

The railway finally arrived in 1888 but in the 1980s rail services were suspended. The section was re-opened by the Lachlan Valley Railway which ran tourist trains and hauled general freight but was closed again in 2006. People appear hopeful the line will one day reopen but if all the wooden sleepers are in as bad condition as those at the station, the cost may be prohibitive. Another idea is to take up the track and create a 'Rail Trail' such as those in Victoria for walkers and cyclists.

rusty tracks
Not a busy line.
railway tracks
Pete Mate looking for trains.
We then continued our journey to Canowindra. The scenery along the way was beautiful, rolling green hills and the trees were magnificent, the colours were all shades of green, orange, red and yellow.

We were not overly impressed with the town of Canowindra so after a picnic lunch we pressed on to Orange. Again the scenery was lovely which is more than we can say about the roads; one road in particular had more patches than road. We have visited Orange before and liked it very much so today it was just a visit to the Jayco shop. Pete Mate got some lights he wanted but not the hub cap to replace the one we have lost along the way. The weather had by now turned dark and threatening so we pointed Billy in the direction of home. The rain came later but by then we were all warm and cosy in the ‘van.

Thursday 21st May 2015

Not a lot happened here today, weather not that good so sightseeing was off the agenda.

Friday 22nd May 2015

We were going to go and check out Millthorpe today and then do a couple of things in the town of Blayney. Something at the back of my mind was telling me we had already been to Millthorpe so I checked our website. Yes we had, and we had enjoyed it so we decided to give it a miss and just go into town. What a delightful little town it is too. The people are friendly and cheerful; strangers who say hello as they pass by always make one feel welcome.

Saturday 23rd May 2015

We packed everything away ready for our move tomorrow. It was a beautiful sunny day with clear blue skies. I walked over to the paddock next to the caravan park because there are some statues there that have intrigued us. All the time we have been here the gate through has been open but today it was closed. Damn Murphy. I took a couple of photos through the fence but without any conviction they will be any good. I called in at the office to find out what they were all about. It seems to be an interest of the park owner - he bought them at an auction and is looking for more to create a little statue park. I finished the day with a nice chat on Skype with my sister, Angie.

Sunday 24th May 2015

We awoke to a freezing cold morning and our part of the world covered in white frost.

Frost at Blayney
Frost at Blayney. The brochure says Blayney is not cold, just cool!
The water hoses were solid and the heater was battling to keep us warm. I took some photos as we do not see frost very often. We didn’t waste time getting ready this morning I can tell you and we were soon on the road heading to Gilgandra and some warmth. We enjoyed a good journey and had a couple of stops on the way so I could walk around a bit. The sun was shining and we had clear blue skies all the way. Once at Gilgandra we set up camp and rested ready for the next leg of our journey tomorrow.

Monday 25th May 2015

Another perfect day for travelling. We enjoyed a good run through to Narrabri and once again once we had set up for the night we enjoyed a rest ready for tomorrow.

Tuesday 26th May 2015

We are so lucky with the weather, beautiful warm sunshine. The roads were a lot busier today with many trucks going about their business. We arrived at Goondiwindi and again set up camp for the night.

Wednesday 27th May 2015

These overnighters and travelling every day is beginning to take its toll and I do not feel as chipper as I did two days ago. We had a very relaxed and easy run through to Possum Park and were soon set up on our site. We walked over to happy hour which is around a large camp fire. We met some lovely people and enjoyed a very pleasant hour and a half.

Thursday 28th May 2015

We spent a nice relaxing day reading or playing computers. It was so good to sit outside in the perfect temperature and read. We went along to happy hour again and met one or two people from last night but mainly they were all new. It was very pleasant.

Thursday 28th May 2015

We spent a nice relaxing day reading or playing computers. It was so good to sit outside in the perfect temperature and read. We went along to happy hour again and met one or two people from last night but mainly they were all new. It was very pleasant.

Friday 29th May 2015

Another glorious day at Possum Park, perfect temperatures for sleeping at night and then sitting outside during the day. Once again in the evening we went to happy hour and enjoyed the company of fellow travellers.

Saturday 30th May 2015

We dragged our feet a little as we were both reluctant to leave and wish we had booked in for longer. Once on the road we enjoyed a really good run through to Moura and a free camp. We haven’t done any free camping in this ‘van and this was a trial run for later in the year. We were surprised to see so many ‘vans already set up at this free camp. Having a closer look we could see some had been there a while.

We found a spot near the toilet block and near the Dawson River. We were quite happy with our find until we were told twice it was the noisiest place to choose as the water pump and sprinklers came on at 2.00am. We decided as long as we kept the windows closed on the sprinkler side of the caravan we could survive a night here.

We were invited to go and listen to some singing at one of the caravans. We walked over with our chairs and drinks and joined a few people already there. Talent-wise the chap had a good voice and could do a very good Elvis. The lady was okay but entertainment wise they were hopeless - we might as well have been listening to a CD. As soon as the light started to fade I wanted to go home as the ground was very uneven and I forgot our torches. We enjoyed a very pleasant evening listening to a local radio station that played all the music from our era.

Sunday 31st May 2015

We had a good night’s rest and never heard the pump or the sprinklers. We were ready to leave - fairly early for us - and decided to call in at the roadhouse at Banana for breakfast. We then pointed Billy in the direction of Bell Park and off he went without any problem at all. We arrived to a very warm welcome and it was so good to see familiar faces and reacquaint ourselves with friends. We set up a basic camp and as it was really hot we retreated inside with the air conditioner on. A week ago we were freezing and now we are too hot!

We went over to happy hour for a short time and then went up to Sue’s house to eat pizza and watch a firework display. Quite a few others were there and it was a really nice evening. The fireworks were not to welcome us ‘home’ but to celebrate the start of Queensland Week.

That ends May. Please click on 'Next Page' below to continue in June.

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