Sunday, 7 December 2008

14 - Cairns to Kingaroy

Where have those last two months gone.

I am going to approach this blog after this entry, more on a regular basis, just showing little bits more often, than a lot of everything. It all becomes too hard, so I will tidy up the last two months in this entry.

We arrived in Cairns end September, and promptly parked ourselves on (Micheal & Haley’s’) front yard. That is our Cairns based son, and his bride. A two week time frame went into six. Already getting a bit itchy, to do something, after having all of September off; two days after we arrived in Cairns, I took on a job driving a shuttle bus. This entailed driving holiday makers from Cairns airport to Port Douglas and return, couple of times a day. Worked for the same mob last time we were freeloading in Cairns in 2005, so I knew all the workings.

During the time in Cairns, we managed to take in the Christening of our grand daughter, and celebrate the engagement of Micheal & Haley. The Leader of the Opposition, better known as the bride, just played “granny” during our time in Cairns………but I guess that’s her job, being a granny.

As it is happens in this high flying world of business, the company I was working for was Cairns based, however was taken over by a Mossman based bus and coach company, four weeks after I started. Now the town of Mossman is an interesting bit of geography, to be kind, but not going to talk about that one! So an executive decision was made. Move to Port Douglas, and commute the 14kms to Mossman was the most logical thing to do. Had the option to base ourselves in Mossman….but that was quickly quashed for lots of reasons.

We shacked up in a great park at Craiglee, known as Glengarry Holiday Park, which is just to the west of Port Douglas. So we were not really in Port, only five minutes away, so we had the best of PD, and only a 14k drive to the coach depot in Mossman. We were in an area in the park, where there were a few other drivers and various contractors, which was quite social….although a bit boring for the bride, as all these drivers, contractors etc, were single males. No girlie talk for the bride and nothing for me to check out…..bugger.

Anyway into the new position, but it emerged very quickly, the 14kms to work in Mossman…….prepare a bus, then drive to PD for your first pick ups, was adding about an hour onto the start. At the end of the day a reverse procedure applied……Mmmmmmmmmm, have to think about that one.

A week or so into the new arrangement, I was allocated the 3am starts out of Mossman. That meant out of the cot by 1.55am, fumble around an 18’ caravan, trying not to disturb the bride, get dressed in a fashion, then start the mighty Mopar Muscle Car. Ever tried to start a 32 year old throaty 265 Hemi motor at 2.15am without waking the dead!!!!!!!!! Any way drive to Mossman in the dead of night, park the Mopar Muscle car in an unsecured car park, and prepare a bus….scary stuff!!!!!!!!. But won’t go there, about this northern Queensland town.

Just as Wendy found a casual job, the next adventure was starting to unfolded before our eyes. We were offered another 4 star motel on a permanent relief basis in Kingaroy, in the South Burnett area of Queensland. A four star jobbie with all the benefits attached, and a remuneration not parallel to that of a busie. We took into consideration the heat and humidity, that was just starting to hit with vengeance in the tropical north, the onset of the wet season, the possibility of being laid off anyway as the tourist season was dying a fast death. So crunching some numbers, the decision was made to run away from the tropical north and go back into management………….even if only in the short term to build up the bank.

We headed back down the coast, via Rollingstone, Midge Point, Yepoon, and Hervey Bay. That took us two weeks and we started at Kingaroy on December 1st

In the mean time stay toooooooooooned for the next adventure of the “Retro Roamers.

Friday, 3 October 2008

13 - Brissy To Cairns

Yes I know, have been slack in the blog department but having to much fun.

Actually, been off the air as we travelled all of September from Brisbane to Cairns. Put off getting an aerial thingy for the lap top, but the pressure was on when arriving in Cairns, so finally we are back on line.

Once we left the gig in Brissy, we headed north to pick up our van in Hervey Bay. Yep, you guess it, after a month (August) of not a cloud in the sky; we ventured forth on September 1st, and low and behold, started raining. So our trip to HB was miserable to say the least. We stayed in the Bay for a couple of days, while we got ourselves together, and bit the bullet to head north. Well the rain just got heavier didn’t it. So with Retro Liner in tow, windscreen wipers on full bore, Yepoon here we come.

Our arrival in Yepoon was to be kind; fairly ordinary as far as weather, but wakening the next day was just superb. Been to our favorite camping spot quite a few times in the past and we thoroughly enjoy it. This time was no acception. Went for a walk on the beach the next morning, and just toured around and had a look. I have got to say Yepoon is looking very tired, needs some TLC big time.

While at our camp site we caught up with those larrikins Peter & Geraldine, who were just returning from their back adventure. A great time was had by all, especially our dress up dinner under the stars.

After a week in Yepoon, we headed north up to Sarina, to Goodies Retreat. For those of you that have done that drive from Rocky to Sarina…… hasn’t changed much….still as boring as @@@@@@@@@. Upon arrival at Goodies Retreat, and although we haven’t been there for a while, still was as beautiful as ever. Although only spending a couple of days here this time, we had a nice relaxing time, doing nothing, but on our return trip when ever that may be, sure to spend more time there this time. Met some great travelers as well, and the happy hour was good fun.

Having lived in Mackay in the early 80’s to mid 90’s…..what a cultural sock going through there again 2008. Man what a change. It is another big frigg’n city. O’h well can’t stand in the way of progress. We didn’t stop to look around, as we struck it on a Saturday morning…say no more.

We headed north to the Whitsunday’s, and again visiting Taylorwood Resort. Did the usual touro thing around Airlie, however. This is another joint that has just exploded with development. We were only there 24 hours, and was offered a job……..but not this time, needed to get to Cairns to see the kidz and grandies. Spent four days there, just chilled out, and didn’t do much.

Headed north from there and the heat was really kicking in. Passing through Townsville, (Mt. Isa by the sea) it was hot and dusty. Wind was blowing at a zillion knots, and the dust coming off the gazillion developments in the area was horrendous. But again development here is unbelievable. Always glad to see “farewell from Townsville” signs, both north and south of the city.

Our bee line was Rollingston. A great caravan park, right on the beach. A bit pricey, but we splurged out with an ensuite site. Met lotsa great folk, just traveling this fantastic land of ours, and just wandering with the wind.

One last stop before Cairns and that was Mission Beach. We always enjoy this part of the world, and although didn’t take any photies, we just again lazed around the park….and didn’t do much. Although the park was a Top Tourist park, and beautifully manicured with perfect lawns, we just found no was really was all that friendly. We have found that a bit in developed parks, that’s why we love our alternate sites.Three days saw us out and did the final leg into Cairns.

Not much has changed here since our long tour of duty between 99 and 03. Although we have been back a few times, we noticed this time that due to the credit crunch a lot of development has stopped dead. A good thing I guess as Cairns was starting to get a Gold Coast feel about it!!!!!!!! We are camped on our son’s front lawn, and yep, I have got a job driving tourists from Cairns to Port Douglas and return in an airport shuttle bus. I did this about three years ago, so all going well will continue on this path until such times as the season dries up or I get sick of it. In the meantime we are spending quality time with our son, his bride and the two gandies.

This is our son, working on the Mopar Muscle Car. He's handsom like me (he he!!!!)

In the mean time stay toooooooooooned for the next adventure of the “Retro Roamers.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

12 - Another Week In Brisvegas

Well at the time of writing this, being the 10th of August 2008, we have just completed another week here at the Manly Marina Cove Motel. As in an earlier post, this property is extremely busy, so busy in fact; I haven’t even left the premises. The bride gets out occasionally, hence the other day she took a break and did coffee with some dear friends who were up from the Goldie, and managed to take a few more happy snaps.

Like any new property we relief manage, they all take a little time to digest computer systems, policies and procedures. However being the “old geezer” I am, nothing was going to beat me. Hence it has been pedal to the metal & face to the rock wall. Now we have just about conquered all, therefore the balance of our stay will be just that little bit easier. This also gives me the opportunity to thank the staff from the Manly Hotel (our bosses) for their support and help during this first week or so.

Also got to give a wrap to the Australian School Boys under 18 Rugby League team, players, coaches and officials, who have been staying with us. All have been a pleasure to have. The team played the Poms last night, and although won a very tight encounter, most of the lads are fairly stiff and sore this morning. Have also met some interesting people from wealthy yacht owners, high flying engineers, right down to Mr. & Mrs. Average. Great cross section of people. We have accommodated some crews on super yachts…..what a great life they have. Thought us being a couple of Retro Roamers, did it pretty good…phew….we have nothing on these folks.

I don’t know much about Manly, but what a really neat area it is. Some really flash houses bless the surrounding hills, and the huge marina with super yachts, worth gazillions of dollars at our door step, just blows me out of the water. The village of Manly has a real nautical feel about it. Again haven’t had a lot of time to discover the area, but might be able to do some tooooooristy things in the future. Enjoy the photies

In the mean time stay toooooooooooned for the next adventure of the “Retro Roamers.

Friday, 1 August 2008

11 - Busy Brisbane

Well here we are at Brisvegas for the month of August. We are managing a very new 40 room motel right on the bayside of Manly. Although very early days into our relief management at the time of writing this, we have been kept on our toes, adapting to new computer systems, procedures and policies. A very challenging role to date, but getting quite comfortable with the operation as such.

We won't have a lot to talk about this month, due to our work commitments, however will update with lotsa photies as the month goes on. Below is some photos taken of the sun rising over Wellington Point and Waterloo Bay. The others are the property proper.

We have been passing through Brissy from north to south for eons, but never been to this part of the bay. The little township of Manly has a great atmosphere, and the other night before we started here, went to he best Chinese restaurant ever. Dead set, to look at the joint, looks like a haven for the Dodgey Brothers, but the food was sensational. I can see a few take awys over the next month.Enjoy the pikkies and stay toooooooned!!!!!

Sunday, 27 July 2008

10 - Wet, Wet, Wet

Good heavens, did we do something to upset "Huey the Rain God"!

Our camping spot has been awash for a fair part of our third week here at Hervey Bay. What a shocker!!!!!!!!!

We did have campers coming and going, however the weather up north was no better than what it is here.

We spent a lot of time just sitting and sitting, and anxiously waiting for the water to reach the floor of the van. Luckily the tap was turned off. Me and the bride have become experts at board games like, Dumb Ass & Smart Ass. Some of the card games also were very interesting. I also honed my pool skills.

Definitely over this rain thing and you watch it, come Wednesday when we return to do that gig in Brissy, it will be just fine and dandy.

Hope you enjoyed the photies, and stay toooooooned for the next installment.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

09 - Another Week in Hervey Bay

Taking advantage of some nice weather, we ventured out from our camp spot, to do a bit of sight seeing. Although as we have said before, spent a few years around the Bay & Fraser Island, we went down memory lane on a glorious day. This first photo once you double click on is Big Woody island in the foreground with Fraser Island behind.

So why not walk the historical Urangan Jetty, all 800 plus meters of it. Taking a few photos you will see how long the jetty is, and a photo telling the history of this wharf.

More photos were taken from the end of the wharf looking back to the main land. I assure you a lot of that development was not there during our years from 94 to 98.

There are also some great shots in the Urangan Boat Harbour. A busy little port this one, and of course all the operators are gearing up for whale season.

When we worked on Fraser Island, one of our favourite boats was Kingfisher 1. Backward and forth from the island, this work horse did about 5 services a day. However in saying that, Kingfisher 2 came on line around 1996, and took over from Kingfisher 1. Kingfisher 2 a much bigger boat, became the work horse, with Kingfisher 1 specializing in Whale Watch, and a back up to Kingfisher 2 when 1 fell over.

Another photo which means nothing to anybody, the sign about “The Take Away”, was a haven for our son Michael while we lived on the island. Going to school daily on the mainland, this take away was Micheals' favourite hang out, till catching the 4pm service back to the island. At times he missed the 4pm service back to the mainland, so why not enjoy the goodies, while waiting for the 7pm service. Many a bill was thrusted in our face when we visited the mainland…….I think I am still paying it off!!!!!!! Na………. just joke’n. These folks in the takeaway were excellent to the kids who commuted every day, and we all knew they were being watched over and fed till the next service.

Our son Michael will get a laugh out of that one.

Stay toooooooned for more soooooooon

Monday, 14 July 2008

08 - Hervey Bay Leg - July 2008

Sunlover Retreat Recreation Room

We arrived in Hervey Bay at Sunlovers Retreat, just as the weather was starting to close in. As in previous posts we are here till end July before heading back to Brissy for a gig.

We had initial plans several months ago, to wander up the coast, say to the Whitsunday’s, then fly back to Brissy end of July. However when we weighed up the cost of fuel, then the airfares to and from the Whitsunday’s’, was just all too hard and expensive. So the better option was to stay in the Bay and just veggie out.

Hervey Bay is not new to us. Apart from being at Sunlovers Retreat, for a week last January & again at Easter, we just like the joint. Our familiarity is also enhanced by the fact we lived on Fraser Island, from ’94 till ’98, and during that time the Bay was a small coastal country town, basically Gods’ waiting room. We used to come off the island to do some shopping or just be a couple of tourists for the day. You know go to the pub, catch a movie, and of course had to feed the brides addiction of shopping. Of course while on the island, took advantage of four wheel driving and whale watching.

Of course we all move on, and after an absence of 10 years we came back in January ‘08, and man o’ man, what a culture shock! Shopping centers, development, high-rise, traffic lights, road construction, jet airport and the list goes on. Population wise it is one, of the fastest growing towns on the east coast….but still very evident of Gods’ waiting room.

Sunlovers Retreat Pool & Spa

But luckily Sunlovers Retreat being a naturist retreat, we feel we are a million miles away from the population squeeze. We also had intentions of doing the Fraser Island tours and whale watching again, but all in all, been there done that, ten years ago. Sooner save the bucks and do something different once we come back from Brissy 1st of September.

So what have we been doing.......not much really? We have taken the advantage of some early not so good weather, to stock up the RetroLiner and just do nothing. During the fine spells just soaking up the winter sun and working on the all over tan, and just recharging the batteries. From now till the end of July we will be doing much of the same, so our blog will stay a little quiet unless something exciting happens, or when we get to Brissy.

So as usual stay toooooooooned

Our camp spot

Monday, 7 July 2008

07 - Bribie Island / Rainbow Beach

Wendy, Paul & Geraldine

Venture forth straight onto the beach in the Krooooooozer, we found a magnificent spot, where we made camp, and just lazed in the sun, fed our bellies, in our little part of private paradise. Peter tried a bit of fishing, but has about as much patience as me, and lasted about 10 minutes.

A perfect day at Bribie Island
Of course like all things the day started to come to an end, quicker than we all wanted it to….so as it happens, we broke camp and headed to Pete & Geraldine’s house at Bribie for a nice hot spa. Then the pizzas were made and settled in for a big night of State of Origin rugby league. Yes much shouting and cheering, and of course Queensland won the game and the series, much to my bride’s disgust who was and always does barrack for NSW……….traitor. However after two days we were already exhausted…..but so much fun was to be had….but it was time to move forth to our next stop, Rainbow Beach.

Having not being there before, so why not! Now not being a great lover of packed caravan parks, we sure did find one. “We now have a full house” was the greeting! We were directed to our site and progressively squeezed into a spot where we had a Britz Campervan not a meter from our drivers side of the van, and maybe only two or three meters from the other side, were move vans. The decision was then made that an overnight stay was about all we could handle in this environment. Yes the park was picturese, with the beach across the road. The amenitities were spotlessly clean, and all the visitors within our proximity were very friendly and helpful. We did notice that like all these parks, they are a haven of many who go to the same place from year to year, and all meet up year after a year. That’s cool, but we like the challenges of doing something different, and meeting new folks. I have no doubt this park would not be so crowded, out of season, when all the grey nomads return to their southern homes.

We went for a quick walk around the village, and although not large area, it was evident of a lot of building in the way of two storey apartment style complexes. It seems to me that the park we stayed in was being slowly eaten up by development, and I believe the park will no longer exist after the next five years. The park is actually surrounded on three sides by development and work in progress. It is a little off putting to hear first thing in the morning, cranes and the drone of construction. Naaaaaa time to move on!

But I will mention the Rainbow Beach Surf Club. This establishment provided us with a sensational evening meal at a good price. Highly recommended!!!!!!!

We had intentions of staying at Rainbow Beach for two days, and then head to Poona for a couple more, before arriving at our special camping area at Hervey Bay. As the weather was starting to change, we moved our plans forward and headed to Hervey Bay. This will be our home till the end of July, before heading back to Brisvegas for all of August to do a relief management gig.

More on Hervey Bay next episode.