Friday, 13 February 2009

19 - Byron Bay

Yep come on Byron Bay.Down from Casino, through Lismore.....bought the Retroliner there from the Dodgey Brothers, then onto Bangalow, and into Byron Bay.
The view of Byron Bay from the top of the range on the Pacific Highway

More views

Good old Byron.....loved to death by everybody...and arriving on a Sunday what a disaster. With the new super highway from Brisbane, puts Byron Bay within an hours drive from Brisvegas, hence being a Sunday the place was packed to the rafters. Couldn't park anywhere near the town, and there must be a million back scratchers (back packers)in the town too. But that is pretty standard for Byron these days.

Gone are the days where the town was a mix of alternates, hippies, ferals, what ever you want to call them. All that part of the mixture has been pushed out to Nimbin or the hills west of Byron. The 21st century has seen the mix of Byron being largely back packers, tourists, and well healed yuppies. The cost of property in Byron is off the Rictor Scale, but again that's progress.

However to cut a long story short, we settled into Byron Bay Tourist Village, and went the full hog and got an ensuite site. Fifty bucks a night, yeah it was over priced, but the weather was superb, close to Tyagarah Beach, a legal nudist beach we always go too, and after all that driving in the heat just wanted to veg out for at least four or five days.

We had three great days on the beach, not all day, but would walk for about 4kms all up, starting at the southern end of the beach, just near Belongil creek, then walk up to the national park entry, a couple of kays up, have several swims, sun the body, chill out, then walk back to where we started from. Of course along the way jumping in and out of the water. A'h lifes grand.
To coin a phrase, don't take life to seriously, as no one gets out alive

Bryon Bay Headland & Lighthouse taken from Tyagrah Beach

Tyagarah Nature Reserve (he he!!!!)

When in Byron, do what the locals do...yaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!

All good things must come to an end, however the weather was responsible for that. Turning windy and quite cool on the fourth day of our visit. We just sat around, went out to shop, (more grog) had the odd BBQ, and generally got to hang out with our fellow residents, and had a great time.

Beer O'clock yet?

Is this where we are going to BBQ toight?

We left Byron on Friday 13th in pooring rain, and headed to our friends at the Gold Coast. An intended stay for over night only, but waking on Saturday 14th (happy Valentines Day) the weather had gone from bad to worse. So our plan to head off, with an over night stop on Saturday night at Sommerset Dam was soon canceled, staying another night at the Goldie. We headed straight back to Kingaroy on Sunday morning...a trip of about four till next time stay toooooooned!!!!

18 - Texas to Casino

After a nights stay at Coolmunda Dam, we headed off to Texas. Of course took the wrong turn and ended up in Inglewood.......geeeeezus I am going to have to sharpen up my navigation skills before we really drop out.

Not having the latest Camps 5, and of course not really set up to free camp (next time) the idea of going to Texas was to check out the free camps site we have heard so much about. Yep had everything I had heard about and more, but next time.

So we had a plan, once we hit Texas, across to Tenterfield down to Glen Innes, Grafton and into Coffs to see family etc......but that got squashed once we got to Tenterfield.

After battling the Great Dividing Range between Texas & Tenterfield, I had, had enough of the heat, the Muscle Car was really struggling, and had a sore arse through some much driving. So the bride said, why not go to Byron Bay, and have a week there and just "chill out." Now that's the most sensible thing I had heard for eons.

So the next stop would be Casino, and as we had done a relief job there a few years ago, I knew of one of the best parks in Oz, run by CMCA of Australia

But on the way down the range have a look what happened................

15 seconds earlier we would have had that tree on top of us
All hands on deck but couldn't move a thing

Tree wouldn't budge

During the time there on the downward side of the range, it was like a party. Of course I had to play policeman, and stop all the cars coming down the range....scary stuff, when you stand in the middle of a major highway and play traffic controller.

Anyway one of the stopped cars got sick of waiting for the SES, and seeing he had a giant bull bar decided to bulldoze the tree one self. Did the job okay and as soon as the road was clear it was like a major to continue onto casino.

We arrived in Casino, given a nice open site, showered and head into town to the RSL for dinner. Of course we were now on the NSW side of the border, and day light saving was the order of the day. Not keen about day light saving, even though we experienced DLS in our days in Sydney, 30 years ago. Casino is a neat town, a typical NSW northern rivers town.

After dinner we headed back to the park, and saw the most spectacular scene of the nightly parade of the local bat population.

Bats galore

Now this is a serious rig

Got to be a Lotto win

Okay it is off the Byron Bay

We are still waiting for Lotto

17 - Kingaroy to Texas

The has come to venture forth on our next adventure. had big plans to travel a squillion miles and just tour, but after a three days of solid driving, the bride & I were over it. So follow our adventure. 

The Muscle car and the Retroliner all ready to go

Our first destination was Dalby....only an hour or so run from our present base in Kingaroy. We headed for Dalby mainly because we opened a new property there in 2003...and we really enjoyed Dalby during our 15 months there.We made a bee line for the Myall Tourist Park, with intentsions of wandering around the town on our arrival. Decided to splurge out and get an ensuite site 

Dalby Myall Tourist Park

Well after we set up and about a skillion Pure Blond Naked's (beer that is) and because of the heat we just didn't move...apart from venturing into the nearest pub for a feed.The next morning was the time to go for a walk....and agahst......what has happened to our lovely little country town we new five years ago.......they have discovered gas seams, built a power station, and opening up coal deposits....that's what happened!!!!! So along with the regions cotton, pig slaughter house, Ag colledge an a host of agricultural industries that were always there; along has come all the other energy discoveries...and sadly Dalby is now a frigg'n city. Shopping malls, trendy cafes, re born pubs...flash looking 4WD's........aaaaaa'h I'm getting to old.

Main street of Dalby

The Coffee Club has moved in

After a feed in the Coffee Club and the amandatory walk through the new mall (it is a bride thing) we walked back to the CP to ready for the trip south west through to Texas, via Leyburn

At least the famous Myall Creek hasn't changed

Because it was so damn hot and time was getting away, we didn't get to do the rounds of the motels and the operators we knew at that time, just booted up the Mopar Muscle car and on the road again.Our track took us south west through Cecil Plains and linked up to the Gore Highway at Brookstead. Now the new map Hema Australia Truckies Atlas, clearly marks we do a right hand turn along the Gore and head towards Milmerran, before turning off to Leyburn.

Being the real "Wally" I am, I turned left didn't I, and just ignored all the signs that pointed to Milmerran going the other way, and of course ended up at Pittsworth. So the screaming session between the bride & I commenced in gusto, but I couldn't win this one. So we filled up with fuel with the outside temperature around the 38 degrees mark, and headed where we should have, in the first place...towards Millmerran, with the inevitable turn off to Leyburn.

Our, well, mine intentsion was to go into Leyburn, then hook up with the Cunningham highway, Inglewood, Texas and camp over night.Now you may ask why do I want to go to Leyburn.............cause those of you who follow Rugby League, one of the greatest prop forwards to play the modern game, and Brisbane Bronco to boot....Shane Webke....has a pub there. So being the groooopie that I am, I just wanted to have a beer at his pub, and say "I have been there done that"

The Royal Hotel at Leyburn (Shane Webke's pub)

Well there is nothing at Leyburn....but went through the pub and got into all the memorabilla of Shane's career, hang out with some locals, got the goss on how to get to Texas, you know all the usual things. 'Been there done that"

The bride at the Bottle Hole bar

The sun was setting, stinking hot....Texas here we come. But didn't get there did we. At this stage of the trip the Mopar Muscle car wasn't handling the heat and the two ton on the back with the Retroliner. So we discovered a little caravan park called Coolmunda Dam Caravan Park, about 12 klms short of Inglewood.

Because we are really not set up to free camp yet.......the little park was as good as free camping with all the goodies, like power, amenities block, with very little other travelers. It was a magic spot.We unhitched, set up and then headed into Inglewood, around 13kms for our spot, to get a few supplies, more Pure Blonde Naked and Vino. Now Inglewood is just your typical Queensland country town.....great atmosphere.....friendly people and just a good old country town....still bloody hot though.

Coolmunda Dam Caravan Park

Friendly Peacock

Thursday, 12 February 2009

16 - Sunlovers Retreat

Having commenced our next tour of duty at Kingaroy on December 1st, about the first time in history we were able to have the Xmas / New Year period off.
Ascot Lodge Motor Inn Kinaroy

Coming down from Cairns, we left our van at Hervey Bay, enroute to Kingaroy, as we knew our first "tour of duty at this new property was only short. So the logical event, was to return to this favourite spot after this first stint, not just to pick up the van, but enjoy the fine and hot weather, have Chrissy dinner with a lot of other orphans like us, and then party in the new year.

Mr. & Mrs Santa Clause

New Years Eve I was on the dance floor for over three hours and just went “off”. Haven’t rocked & rolled like that for a trillion years. Surprisingly however through so much dancing I saw the new year in stone cold sober…………,at least I didn’t wake up with a hangover.

The ten days were just glorious. Not like our month there in July as our blog for that month will show.

As all people will testify the characters you meet when traveling is just amazing. One could sit for hours and just listen to the stories of travelers…..totally amazing.

Ron the travelling Signwriter's rig

Stay toooooned for the next adventure!!!!!!!!