Saturday, October 30, 2010

Be careful of what you wish for

The crops look good over here
Be careful of what you wish for! I announce that with my tongue in my cheek. LOL. Yesterday when we were camped up in “John Oxley Rest Area” west of West Wyalong, my darling husband (DH) sat patiently outside in his chair watching the passing traffic willing for someone to stop and talk to him. (How I wish I took a photo) He must have looked pretty forlorn because about 4pm a truck arrived for the night. Boy could that driver talk, he didn’t leave our motor home until 10pm (he used the excuse to get some water) and we still hadn’t had our tea by then. I think I can safely say that DH had finally met his match. LOL Never mind I guess he must have been very lonely and we did enjoy his company for awhile.

Our camp by the river in Forbes
 We stayed an extra day at Forbes as the fees were at the right price (free) in the Lions Park and caught up with the washing and explored the town before leaving on Friday.

The Forbes Post Office

Forbes Court House

St John's Church

The main street of Forbes
 We met Tony & Ros from Tasmania and they proudly showed off their Motor home, of which he built by himself and he had also implemented a lot of innovative ideas.

A goanna up the tree
 On Friday, we decided to break the journey to Griffith by staying in the rest area (163klms from Forbes) and we also stopped for lunch at Weethalle.

The Royal Hotel Weethalle
 Our pleasant weather changed last night and we were deluged with more wind and rain and we travelled in these conditions until we arrived at Willow Park in Griffith (63klm). This is a designated Rest area for recreation vehicles and Griffith is a certified RV friendly town. After a bit of shopping to stock up on the vitals needed we ventured out to Lake Wyangan where free camping is also allowed for short stays. We were originally going to stay there for a couple of days but due to the rain it looks a bit slippery so we probably won’t risk it. We hope to catch up with a friend of ours tomorrow. I quote from the brochure “The thriving town of Griffith is the regional centre of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area of Western Riverina, an abundant, picturesque oasis in an area which the explorer John Oxley described in 1817 as being ‘uninhabitable and useless to civilised man’.” Today the Riverina is a food bowl and together with the wine grape industry it proves that good wine and food go well together. Citrus Orchards are everywhere and there are at least 40 different grape varieties grown in the area and rice is also irrigated here. In fact they have just had their annual citrus sculpture display. Thousands of oranges are stacked and shaped to form aeroplanes Teapots and anything the mind can conjure up. As usual we missed it again. It would have been worth seeing.

Talk again soon

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Forbes, NSW

We left Gungal Tuesday morning and we really didn’t travel far.  We stopped off at Merriwa for morning tea and a short stroll through the town and a chat with a local lasso who, along with her husband run a Cattle Station just north of Cassilis.  We had lunch at Dunedoo, because everyone said they have the best pies. 
 I won’t comment on that. LOL 
The Main Street of Dunedoo
 We spent a couple of hours here, they had a local pub a few stores, a pie shop and newsagency. 

We visited the antique shop, which had a treasure trove of interesting items and the store seemed to continue back for ages.  We spent the night at Brocklehurst just outside of Dubbo in an overnight stopover.  We were still travelling with Maryke and Ted from Victoria.  After a fairly restless sleep (refrigerated trucks shared our camping spot) we continued on to the Dubbo Showgrounds to dispose of some waste.  Halfway there we received a call from Maryke that we still had our TV Aerial up.  It wasn’t until we arrived at the showgrounds that we realised we also still had our towels hanging on the front bumper. And what is unusual they were still there!!!!  Definitely losing the plot, Bill blamed me of course, just because I asked him to unpack the printer so that I could photocopy a patchwork pattern that Maryke had.  He said it put his routine out of wack.  At the showgrounds we caught up again with Gary and Susie (who we parked next to at the Whyalla Rally) and exchanged news and gossip from the intervening 18 months since we saw them last.  We decided to stop for lunch at Tomingley, before continuing on to Parkes. 
Silos outside of Parkes
 There were some beautiful coloured paddocks espied on the way thanks to the weed “Patterson’s Curse”.
  I did manage to photo some but I wasn’t quick enough for the best spots.  As we had all decided to spend the night in a designated Lions camp spot in Forbes by the river, Bill diligently put the spot into the GPS.
Camped at Forbes by the river
  When we arrived in Forbes it took us into the main street and led us to a bridge which was closed (according to the locals it was closed over 12 months ago) a quick decision was made to turn up the next street, nearly cleaning up a lamppost with the trailer at the same time.  We went right and Ted went left, he thought he would beat us to the spot for once because he knew the new bridge was off to the right.  We still beat him as he went to the wrong spot and we managed to find a culvert to cross over the river.  Maryke and I managed to find a lovely Aladdin’s cove of a patchwork shop namely “Nellies” and spent a wonderful hour reconnecting with our creative side.  A meal at the Sport & Recreation Club was next on the Agenda and then this morning we said goodbye to our new friends as we decided to stay another night and explore the town.  We will head off tomorrow towards Griffith and possibly we will stay at Rankin's Springs
Talk again soon

Monday, October 25, 2010

Larry's Revenge

Remember when we towed Larry at the Rally, well as they say what comes around goes around.  This is Larry’s revenge!  Pay back time with a vengeance!  Things were going fine everything was packed up and in its place and we were finally leaving.  OMG all hell broke loose!!  Turning around in the yard after the rain turned out to be a big problem!  We had nearly reached the road out when down she went.
She's well and truly bogged

Add some wood and chocks
  Jimny tried to shift her. 
I think I can, I think I can
 No such luck she wasn’t going anywhere.  So we next tried the neighbour’s tractor,
I thought I could, I thought I could!!
 nah! negative! she just dug herself in deeper.
Now the other side is bogged.

The front is now also bogged

  Nothing else left for it but to call in the big guns.
   The excavator from next door, arrived big, tough and mighty strong sauntered across the paddocks
Hook her up to the scoop

The mess left behind

The clean up
A quick lunch and we set on our way.  We hadn't driven too far when we caught up with a Motor Home in front.  Ted and Marissa whom we met a Bulahdelah.  We were able to ask them if someone had picked up an extension cord.  Now here's another story.  When we left Bulahadelah Bill forgot to disconnect his power cord.  Result 3 days later when he wanted to plug in-he discovered all he had left was a three point pin.  Ted and Marissa in their motor home "I feel better now" had picked it up and we were finally reunited with the rest of our cord.  Bill felt better then, because if we hadn't have gotten bogged we would have left earlier and we wouldn't have met up with them, so we wouldn't have retrieved our cord. 

See he's smiling now
We enjoyed Happy Hour with them and we are both parked in a rest area just outside Gungal on the way to Dubbo.
PS I must confess - when I was trying to take photos of the incident I couldn't see out of the viewfinder and I asked Bill what button do I press on the camera.  I won't tell you his reply.  After I had taken a few shots with the other camera he said "Did you remove the LENS COVER?"  You guessed it!!   I think there is too much grey matter between us. LOL
 Talk again soon 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hunter Valley Gardens & Lower Belford

What a difference a day makes.  Yesterday was fairly warm with temperatures of 31 degrees-Today-well we have had 13 mls of rain since 9.oclock this morning.  We had intended to leave today but unfortunately it was too wet, so here’s hoping that tomorrow is a better day.
 I have collected some photos to share with you of the Hunter Valley Gardens and us all here at Lower Belford.

 am nut sure but I think these roses are Karl Lagerfeld or maybe blue moon anyway they have a lovely perfume

 PS.  I just received notice today that my granddaughter is expecting a boy.  And in her words- I am hell excited.  I can’t wait to see her pot belly when we are home at Xmas.
Talk again soon

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Hunter Valley

Another beautiful day, another page turned and another inch or two marked on the map.  We awoke yesterday to a lovely clear sky and perfect weather for exploring the wonderful Hunter Valley.  Firstly into the little township of Branxton for the essentials needed to sustain us for a few days and then over to Lovedale Road for our first call at The Hunter Valley Chocolate Shop and Factory.  Yum! I had died and gone to heaven.  Woe and behold hidden amongst its shelves were some chocolates from USA and then I saw them.
  Peanut Butter M &Ms calling my name, now those that know me know that while in USA in 2007 I fell in love with these little delights.  Into my little take away bag went them followed by some white cocoa and some peanut butter fudge and I also added some macadamia nut honey just because.  We passed many lovely wineries during the day, some with rather unusual titles such as Ghost Riders Wines and Cockfighter Ghost Wines hidden near the well known names.  The scenery was picturesque with rolling hills of neatly maintained vineyards. 
 We called into the info centre in Cessnock near the Airport and watched the planes flying in and out.  From here you can have a ride in a real jet fighter, a L39 Albatros.  Imagine Cessnock to Bathurst 13 minutes!!  From here we arrived at Polkobin and Bill enjoyed a couple of beers at Potters Brewery, the Hunters only micro-brewery-The Hunter Beer Co.
Heritage Brick Beehive Kilns
  From here we went to the Hunter Valley Cheese Factory for the obligatory cheese tasting, I can recommend the Rileys Marinated Fromage Blanc.
 It was housed in the McGuigans Winery.  From here we went to another Hunter Valley Chocolate outlet attached to a winery and you could have champagne and chocolates.  The Hunter Valley Gardens are well worth a visit if you are in the area featuring over 25 landscaped hectares of magnificently themed display gardens.  Our next destination was the Smelly Cheese Shop at the Hall of Food @ Tempus Two.  They featured cheeses from local dairies Binnorie  and Hunter Belle as well as international cheeses.  It also boasted of fresh breads and pastries and condiments as well as 47 different flavours of Gelato.  The Mango, Macadamia & Yoghurt icecream was delicious.  I think we covered a fair bit of the area yesterday having covered most of the Wine Country Drive and through Broke and Kuri Kuri to return home in time for happy hour.
Talk again soon

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bulahdelah, NSW

Bulahdelah is a beautiful place with lots of friendly town’s people.  Bulahdelah is situated 2 hours south of Port Macquarie on the Pacific Highway.  As the quote from their brochures say “Bulahdelah is in the heart of the Myall Lakes.  With spectacular State Forests and breathtaking National Parks, Bulahdelah offers a refreshing change from the hustle and bustle of busy seaside resorts and the stresses of everyday life.  With a rich historical background, abundant wildlife, easy water access to lakes, rivers and beaches, endless forests and a full range of accommodation.” 
 Unfortunately the new highway will bypass Bulahdelah so to encourage visitors to their beautiful town they are in the throes of becoming an RV Friendly town.
  They have taken the initiative and with the volunteers from the Lion’s Club are doing a tremendous job in making sure their town is attractive to all visitors.  There was a little hiccup, as they were not quite ready for the 17 plus motor homes that descended on their fair city.  So if you are in the area and want to stay a short while you will be made very welcome.  We stayed at the Showgrounds with lovely hot showers and with green neatly mowed grounds. There is plenty of room for big rigs.  It may not be where they will decide to house the RV’s that visit but I am sure that they will find an equally divine spot for you to lay your weary head.  A Dump Point facility will be available soon.  The town boasts Butchery, Bakery, Hardware, Gift & Video Shop, Hairdressers, Newsagency, Chemist, IGA, 3 Petrol Outlets and some lovely Cafes and lots of other essential must haves such as hospitals etc.  I recommend the meal at the Bowling Club and meals are available also at the Golf Club and the Plough Inn.
From there we did an excursion to Forster, one part of a twin city seaside development, (the other half being Tuncurry) north from Taree.  After a lovely lunch we exited along the Lakes way wending our way into the lovely beaches and lakes on our journey back to Bulahdelah. 
 Boomerang Beach was very picturesque with lovely rock formations outlined against the crashing of the waves. 

 Bluey beach and Pacific Palms were well worth the journey and lastly Seal Rocks with the almighty Sugarloaf Lighthouse visioned on the headland overlooking Sugarloaf Bay.
  From here was an ideal spot to watch out for migrating whales.   Wednesday we followed the mountain trail up on Alum Mountain.
  The largest deposit of Alunite in the Southern Hemisphere was once mined here.  Many years before barges steamed up the Myall River to pick up the valuable resource to ship to Sydney then South Australia.  Now you can hire house boats from the Marina to explore the river. 
From the picnic area we ventured up a steep primitive path to finally be rewarded with magnificent views of the township from the lookout.  We were 200metres above sea level with only the local fauna and flora for company. 
 There were many unexplored caves amongst the rock face which were probably used once upon a time for the mining and also lots of interesting rock formations espied on our walk.  We left this lovely spot with regret on Thursday and are now stationed in Lower Belford near the wonderful Hunter Valley.  We are enjoying the hospitality of Steve and Margaret on their acreage and are accompanied by Julie and Peter and Donette and Larry.  More on this later.
Talk again soon