Sunday, 28 February 2010

60 - Narrabri - Running Bare

Before we start this story, the comment from "The Traveling Swingers" has now been removed, due mainly to the misinterpreation of their " blog name." To set the record straight "The Traveling Swingers" are rock and roll dancers, definately not the other lifestyle choice.

Hope that clears that up.

Enjoy the story.

Our next camp near Narrabri has been on our radar for a million years, however the property being inland NSW, we just never seemed to be in the right area geographically to have a visit. It was only because the gig in Dubbo came up, followed by Goondiwindi, that put us in a direct line up the Newell Highway, of which goes through Narrabri.

Like a lot of these camp sites we visit in our travels, most tend to be a little out of town, with access a little hard on the Val and the RetroLiner. But in all cases the solitude and the atmosphere is just amazing. Running Bare was no different.

On arrival we were met by one the properties owners, Glenys, who promptly directed us to our site for the next three days. In brief we were suppose to be here for a week, however mis-calculated the days between gigs, as February had only 28 days not 31. So our week was reduced to three nights. One hundred points for being the worlds biggest "Wally"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The pool at Running Bare

Like all the out of the way properties we regularly visit, there are always quite a few other visitors, and again this one is no different. As always we met a million new friends and travelers, had a many drinkies at happy hour and made some great friends. A special hi there to Ray & Lesley from WA.

The RetroLiner and the Val at camp near the pool.

On our arrival day the weather was hot. The sky clear. That night being (Saturday) we went to the movies. A big large screen in the open. Good fun, although the night critters were a bit hungry.

The camp spot

Of course what do you do, whan at camp, and the days is go for a swim don't ya!

The bride with the new hairdo enjoying the pool

Just dive in ya sook

Check out the statue (he he!!!)

Our next day the weather was quite overcast and cloudy, however still very warm. We just layed you do, and did nothing...... Took a few more pikkies, had a fun gam of Trivial Persuit that night. All good fun.

At the time of writing this blog, it is Monday 1st march 2010, and the weather is quite cool. We actually stayed in bed till about 9ish, before being russtled up by Ray & Lesley who were wandering off on the long journey back to Perth. Had a cuppa with a few others, kisses and cuddles all round, and it was goodbye to Ray & Lesley. Hopefully we will meet again, when we get to the west.

Being a miserable day not to much sunning and swimming was going to happen, so we ventured into Narrabri, to see what Narrabri had offer. Not much may I add, however we caught up with some moteliers, had lunch at the RSL and then headed back to our camp at Running Bare.

Tomorrow 2nd March, we head off to Goondiwindi to start another gig, so for the next month, so there probably won't be much to report.....but you never say never.

Stay tooooooooned!!!!

59- Dubbo

Well what can I say about Dubbo. We arrived a couple of days before starting our gig at the motel, which would keep us there for around three weeks.

Being a major inland town, it was exactly that. Quite large, with all the facilities.

We had heard all the horror stories about Dubbo, especially about the local natives. However in our three weeks there, we did not encounter one single problem, from anybody. Although in saying that, I would not loiter around the main town late at night, but that's the same anywhere.

Not much to talk you about our gig. Like every other property, we do what has to be done. On the owners return we hand over. go over a few relevant points, stay over the night and head out to the next morning. I will give a special thanks to Brad & Tracy, the owners of the property.

The morning of our departure, which was delayed by a day, I made a bee line for the public weighbridge, just to satisfy my mind on the weight of the RetroLiner. And what type of reaction did you get from me. You guessed it.

I only got to weight the combination of the car & van, then the GTM which is the weight on the wheels of the van.Feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerk again.

Wasn't game to weight the RetroLiner, by itself, just to painful.

So we motored up the highway gloriously over weight, having thoughts of what if again!!!! But strangely enough the RetroLiner towed like a dream. The Val just crooooozed, the best I have ever felt it. We also happily chatted to the truckies, and a couple just had to know more about the Val.

Our destination was Running Bare just south of Narrabri. So after about four hours we arrived at our destination. More on that next post!

The Atlas Motel Dubbo

The second or back block of the Atlas Motel

The rig already to "rock & roll"

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

58 - Burrendong Dam

As the way this blog is set up, the newest blog is always shown first. Hence for me to flow from one to the other, you really need to read the previous blog first. Enough of that, so if you have read the last blog, you know about the drama with the blow outs......rardy..rardy..rardy.

We arrived at Burrendong Dam after limping there from our episode with the blown tyre. The Val looked very odd, 3 flash looking mag wheels and 1 spare, that has been used 3 times in 34 years. But we arrived safe and sound, but very shaken.

Well another dam, yes I'm over dams, but a good choice. Arriving at the security gate, we found a huge area, with lots of permanent caravan type homes, obviously holiday homes for all and sundry.........but hardly a sole to be seen. We found a site, a bit unlevel, but did the job. The Val sighed, especially the spare tyre that the RetroLiner was off the back. We settled in, had about 2 gazillion drinks and again counted our lucky stars.

Burrendong Dam, another low tide jobbie

The bride looking glam at our camp spot

It was time to get dollied up and head to the local tyre dealer in Wellington to get the rear of the Val re-shod. We rang the local tyre dealer, via the recommendation of the manager at Burrendong Dam. So off we went the 40 odd kays to Wellington. Even though the Val felt good, even with the odd tyre arrangement on the back, I was still happy to get to the tyre dealer in Wellington.

Initially I wanted the same tyres for the rear as I have on the front 'Kumo All Terrain". On arrival at the dealership, Kumo All Terrain, were no longer made in that pattern, however with the expert advise from Brett the manager, it made sense in taking into consideration the weight on the rear end of the Val, we settled on a set of Mitchellen, light truck tyres. Apart from the extra side wall height, each tyre has the ability to handle up to 950 kls. Yes they cost more, but who cares. A special thanks here to Frank Cross Tyres in Wellington.

Wellington a nice country town, had a little look around, went to top up on groceries, grog...cause we drank all and sundry the night before, trying to calm our nerves. All loaded up, it was time to return to the dam, and get a feel of the Val with tyres on the back. Yep seemed pretty good, although the back end is a bit higher because of the extra side wall on the new tyres. The back end was already a bit high due to the extra leaves and coil springs I have had fitted.

Once at the dam again we had a bit of a drive around so here are some more pikkies

Running at about 10 per cent capacity

More on the dam

This track leads to the beach. I was keen to have a skinny dip, but the bride recons the crocs might get me. Sorry dear, you have been reading to many Kimberly Adventures

More dam pikkies

That's me....something must have tickled my fancy

That's it for the dam. We hooked up after two days. I felt we should stay another days we didn't have to start at the new gig in Dubbo for another couple, however the bride was a little bored at the dam, and I will agree also, two nights was enough.

The night before we left the start of the rain that we have all heard about hit the dam. Heaps of lightning, buckets of rain, it all happened...more feeeeeerks from the bride......Huey's going to get us now.

We woke to an overcast morning, although not raining. We promptly hooked up the RetroLiner and made our way out of the dam and headed towards Dubbo. Yes the combination car, van and new tyres, felt a little loose. We arrived in Wellington which will give us a good idea how the rig will perform on a reasonable highway up to Dubbo. It started to rain, pretty slippery under foot. Still not all the comfortable with the set up. Tended to wander a bit.......might have to drop a bit of pressure in the rear tyres, as they are now at 45 psi.

Listening to and gathering a fair bit of info on Dubbo, it was decided we will go into the security of a caravan park. We chose the Big 4, and as members, the cost was reasonable. Again not a lot there at the park. So we unhooked, set up and then headed into Dubbo to have a look. More on the next post.

We spent two nights at the Big 4 at Dubbo, and as the weather was stormy to be kind, we didn't do much, just sat an vegied.

More on Dubbo next post

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

57 - Good God!!!!!We'll all be killed!!!!

Sorry no photies with this story! Just glad to be here to tell the story.

After leaving Molong, supposedly a not to long trip to our next destination of Burrendong Dam. We chose this spot as it was listed in Camps 5, and seeing all the rug rats had gone back to school, should be fairly quiet.

So we ventured forth, with high spirits and thoughts.

Just to back track here a bit, I said to the bride, on leaving Narooma, "I will get a set of new rear tyres for the Val once we reach Dubbo, as the existing ones had been on for a few years and had done a lot of work." Although they were, and looked fairly good, when taking into consideration the weight on the front of the van, for safety sake time to up grade.

So moving right along with the story.........we were very happily motoring towards Wellington, and during that time, always in communications with trucks on our UHF radio. We chat for safety reasons with the truckies, who really appreciate the communication, especially from caravanners. One truck had passed, and I noticed another coming up fairly quickly from behind. As I do, I called the truckie, and advised him, I will get out of his face as sooon as I can pull off the road safely. He answered with the usual, "thanks mate"

No sooner I put the radio down.....then we experienced the most frightening thing of our lives......BANG, BANG, BANG in decibels that AC/Dc would be proud of. The Val veered, rocked and rolled, went sideways to the left, then side ways to the right, heading towards a tree on the wrong side of the road....the banging was even louder.......feeeeeeerk I heard from the bride.....we're gone!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was wrestling with the Val, the bride was hanging on......I looked in the mirror, the RetroLiner was still there.....I corrected to the left, then to the right......were we going to roll............feeeeeerk was from me......more feeeerks from the bride....are we going to join the relos in Molong.................NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! not going there, no nude beaches in Molong.

The val is slowing......the banging is decreasing.......we are back on the right side of the road. The RetroLiner has helped in pulling us up....what happened!!!!!!!
Once we gained control, I managed to pull our rig over to our side of the road. Shaking like no tomorrow, and as we were pulling up the following truckie came on the radio, "Great recovery", with my reply, "Pretty good for an old bloke". Geeeeeeezus we could have been killed, how can I joke about that!!!!!!

On stopping the first thing I thought was a blow out on the van.......or maybe a rear tyre on the Val. You guessed it, a blow out on the Val. What a mess. The tyre was shredded, ripped the mud flap off...but all in all we have survived. The truckie that was following us, pulled over a little down the road, with me advising, by the radio, we were all good. "That's cool mate", was the reply, "I'm just going to have a piss." Maybe I should have joined him.

As per normal I couldn't get the rear wheel nuts loose, bloody rattle guns. I huffed and puffed, but no movement. As we couldn't get mobile service I radioed a few passing trucks to alert the NRMA in Wellington. Even trucks passing the opposite way, after the incident advised us the NRMA had been contacted. I can't thank those guys enough....and thank heavens for our UHF radio.

Anyway we stayed for ever it seemed, with no NRMA truck in sight. Then out of the blue along came a farmer who's house was just down the road, to see if we needed some help. Being a big strapping man, like a man mountain he grabbed hold of our wheel brace and promptly released the wheel nuts. He even bent the frigg'n wheel brace. Wouldn't like to get on the wrong side of him.

We changed the tyre to the spare, of course isn't a mag, and then limped into our destination of Burrendong Dam. All the way I was waiting for that tyre to burst as well....but it didn't. We also kept saying what if..there was traffic coming the other way...what if we rolled......what if the truck was over taking us.......what if!!!!!!!!

We can only be very thankful we survived. I am not a religious person, but Susie who we love dearly, and is very strong faith always prays for us, during our travels. I am sure someone was looking out for us........thank you Susie.....thank you God.

55 - Canowindra - Molong

After our couple of days in Cowra, we said good bye. As earlier a nice little town, still has that old country town atmosphere.

This part of the trip, was one of a little bit of nostalgia and history. The plan was to travel Canowindra, better know to the locals as "Canoundra". This is where my brides sister got married.

Then mosey onto Molong, and this part of the trip was all about the bride tracking down all her relos in the cemetery, as her dad came from Molong, and of course all the relos are there, that the bride didn't even know about.

From there it was possibly hit a free camp near Wellington for a couple of days, before moving onto Dubbo. Now here's the story.....................

Back in the late 70's when we (the Bride & I were just starting to play games) we went to her sisters wedding in Canoundra. Being a a city slicker, I was only interested in fast cars and fast women. Going to a one horse country town for a weekend, was unheard of, and would cramp my style. But to cut a long story very short, a great wedding was enjoyed by all. Returning some 30 years later, one can now appreciate the warmth of the country, and what a great little town. To bad one didn't appreciate its beauty way back then.

We didn't stay in Canoundra, opting to move to Molong, as the bride was all fired up to track down all the relos and the history, so our stay there was going to be a bit longer than a pit stop.

We parked just at the top of the main street at Molong, to get some directions to the cemetery...and two hours later, we were part of the community. From the local vet, The yarn store, Mitre 10, to the local cafe, we were welcomed with open arms. Just couldn't believe it.

We went and called into the "Yarn" which is like your tourist info centre, and the ladies there, could not do enough for us. Next thing we were over at the Cobb & Co museum (no camera like a dork!)getting a personal tour and presentation from one of these magnificent ladies. Even I was interested.....well for a short time anyway.

The bride of course struck up a re pore with these ladies, regarding the history she has with the it was off to find the cemetery. Some of the following pikkies will not be of interest to most, however as the bride is one of five, and of course our own children, may find the photies interesting.

We got to the cemetery, and went on an adventure to find the relos. Of course I got bored within 30 seconds, but the bride wouldn't hear of leaving until she found the here they are..........The brides maiden name is Robards...and what a fair maiden she was, eeeeer still is!

All excited the bride just had to go back into town, and see the ladies of the Yarn. As we do carry with us the family tree on her side, and history of the family, which was promptly retrieved from the van. Once outside the Yarn the bride, excitedly ran into the Yarn, to tell the ladies of her discovery.

"Here goes another two hours", I said, more concerned in getting to our next destination at Burrendong Dam........yep another dam. But the bride was out in record time, totally chuffed that the ladies photo copied the family tree, and were interested in her attachment with Molong.

Now isn't that a nice story!

54 - Cowra / Japanase POW camp to Lake Wyangala

From the Japanese gardens we then made our way to the actual camp site associated with the break out. OF course there is not much to see as all the buildings etc., are long gone. However once again we will let the photies tell the stories

The Cairn about the history with the break out

The layout of the camp

More on the camp

Replica guards tower, over looking the Val

Seeing we were on the tourist trail, it was best we now go and have a look at Lake Wyangala and dam. Why, I don't really know, we are bit over dams, however might as well and have we will probably never get back there anyway. Also a good time to do the loop drive from Cowra to the lake and back to Cowra via Woodstock. Hey Bro!!!!!!!!.

Like all of NSW we have seen so far, the country side was parched to the max, so no doubt we were going to see more country side and waterways stressed like you wouldn't believe......we weren't disappointed as you will see.

I will add however, at the time of taking these photies and our visit to the area, was late January, and at the time of writing this post, being 17th February 2010, all of NSW has been deluged, hence the land has gone from parched rivers and fields, to overflowing water ways and lucious green grass.

We were also attracted to Lake Wyangala, by a brochure which showed eons of water, activities, and people having fun. Even though of staying at the lake for a couple of days at the camping spot, however after seeing the lake / dam and then they (rangers) wanted $8.00 per head, to even walk around the park to have a look for a camp, was just to much for me. Especially of the memories are still very raw with our episode with the NSW Parks & Wildlife at South West Rocks. Bloody bureaucrats

Lake Wyangala

Lake Wyangala dam wall. Pretty dry eh!

Low tide or should I say no tide

Hey Bro...peace...and let it all hang out at Woodstock. They say if you don't remember the sixities, you weren't there!!!!!

Coming next Canowindra, Molong and another dam Burrendong and Wellington. Stay tooooooned!!!

53 - Cowra / Japanese Gardens

We left Canberra as it was time to start making our way to Dubbo for our gig. Our trip was very uneventful, not like the Cowra - Wellington leg, more on that next post.

We arrived in Cowra from the south, and again haven't been there, I don't thing in my life time. Our first point of call was the tourist information centre, and like most towns, this is the place to go when you want to find out, what's going on around the joint.

Apart from getting the guff on the best park to stay at, we were ushered into a little theatre in the complex, to watch this unbelievable show all about the Japanese breakout during WW2, that has made Cowra very famous for. The presentation was just unbelievable, and the concept was based on a polygram set up, which I have never seen before. Again me being the greatest pain in the arse with organised activities, I was spell bound, even my claustrophobia didn't even get me. If you are in Cowra, just gotta see this one.

After the show we booked into the Cowra Caravan Park, which was just a hop from the main city centre. The park was really neat and tidy, and we were parked away from all the others, not that there was many others anyway, as per my request.

The first afternoon we just enjoyed a bit of R & R, and visited the town. What a nice country town, but of course our bee line the following day was to visit the Japanese Gardens and Wyangala Lake and dam.

I have made it fairly clear about my reluctance to visit touristy spots. Unless it is a deserted beach, don't wanna play any where else......but in saying that, the Japanese Gardens are a must see.

Once again I will let the following photos do their thing, firstly at the Japanese Gardens, Wanangala dam Woodstock (hey man peace)

The bride ringing the bell for lunch

Feel like joining me in the Japanes bath Pauly Poo

Rolling Hedges

Japanese Carp....where's the fishing line

The lakes are just sensational. The bride scrubs up pretty good too

I come up pretty good too

From the top of the gardens looking down

More water falls

A tranquil lake

More lakes and conference centre

Bonzai trees

Aaaaa'h what a good looking pair of trailer trash

From here we made our way to the actual site of the camp, where the breakout took place.

Monday, 8 February 2010

52 - Canberra War Memorial

Okay I am not one for museums, villages, zoos, freak shows, or what ever else is out there to take money from me. However we just had to visit the war memorial, a must see in Canberra. As we haven't been to Canberra for a thousand years, we were not going to miss the opportunity....and me being the worlds biggest scrooge IT WAS FREE!!!!!!!!!

Even if it wasn't, we were going regardless. I guess also being called up in the ballot for the Vietnam war, and thank heavens I was medically unfit, (they recon I would talk to much in the jungle), I have mates that were called courtesy of the ballot, and a couple that served in the reg in Vietnam.

We entered the main hall, and all I can say is spectacular. If anybody is in Canberra you just cannot miss it.

The actual bridge of the HMAS Brisbane

Gee, you have a big one mister

The Bride

The Bride under a WW2 bomber

Now this is scary.

WW2 Spitfire

The boys filling up and ready for action

Japanese Zero

Another Spitfire

My dear old Dad, used to hang off one of these during WW2

A chopper out of Vietnam

Troop Carrier in Vietnam

The shows and the graphics was absolutely unreal. To get the real feel you just have to go there...words here just can't describe the event, the emotion and gut wrenching feelings you have for all Ozes who served, in all theatres war.

Coming next Cowra. Stay toooooooned