Monday, August 27, 2012

The Nomad Chronicles III

19/7 Stopped at large Top Tourist park at Longreach with 3 friendly resident brolgas.   

Met two couples we knew from home at church! & one at the Stockmens Hall of fame – which we enjoyed.  
Needed front end alignment – not the pot hole we thought but the extra weight of the camper made us toe out instead of toe in.   We were more impressed at the Matilda centre at Winton than the hall of fame.  

We are now in shorts but the rain tumbled down.  An inch overnight flooded the caravan park & lot’s of people were stuck.  The Terang folk were bound for the Boulia camel races but turned for home.  They were cancelled.  

At Cloncurry we watched a couple pull in with a muddy outfit.  They had been stranded at Lawn Hill, bogged & punctured at the same time. Our commiserations were greeted with “That’s nothing.  Last year our old van passed us on the left hand side & tipped over in front of us. The kind policeman winched the van apart so we could put our belongings in his paddy wagon.  He then suggested that maybe he could breathalise me.  It was half an hour later when my wife suggested that that maybe she should be too – as she was driving!”
After Mt Isa there is the Barkly Tablelands which are fairly flat with a lot of dry feed.   They are just entering their fire season & are concerned about the fuel load.   There was increasingly more controlled burning as we entered the Northern Territory.  We stopped at roadside stops with a lot of other grey nomads until a welcome stop at Mataranka & a dip in the thermal springs. 
Along the way we met another tale of woe at a lunch stop.   Wife with little dog reading in the shade of Winnebago.  Husband on his own at the picnic table on for a talk.  This was difficult as he could only whisper.  His vocal cords were damaged during surgery 5 years ago.  2 years ago he was kept in hospital for 3 months with a staph infection after surgery – both at K private.   “We have been on the road 8 & a  half months.  It has taken that long because the wife does all the driving & she doesn’t like it much.   I wish we could go home” he whispered, “but we can’t until October because she has rented the house out.  Even then we have to sleep in the van because she sold all the furniture!”

The last couple of days we have spent in Litchfield National Park.  A lot of it has been freshly burnt so it is not at its best, but the Florence Falls & Wangi Falls where we camped were worth the visit.  Tolmer Falls were also scenic.  We are spending a couple of days in Darwin.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Last weeks muck up run was a Fartlek session.  Stop giggling.  It's not coordinated farting while running!  Fartlek is Swedish for Speed Play.  In running training this generally means running fast for a short period, then having a shorter recovery period, then running fast again; as you can see, it's about playing with your speed.  You can read more about them here & here.

After researching I decided on a pyramid style Fartlek training session on the treadmill as it's easier for me to control the speed.  Basically I did a warm up of slow running for 15 minutes, then ran faster than my proposed 5km pace for 1 minute, then 1 minute slow recovery, then 2 minutes, 3, 4, 4, 3, 2, 1 each with a 1 minute slow recovery & 10 minutes walking to cool down.  I ran the second half faster than the first & was completely pumped at the end of the work out.  I was bouncing off the walls actually!  The whole thing as around 6kms of running & .5 walking.

As my training runs are lengthening out, I'm struggling to get them done in the mornings.  I was saving the muck ups for the weekends, as generally I need to go somewhere to do them.  Like find a hill, or cross country or beach etc etc.  None of which are at my door.  I'm really enjoying running outdoors & have not missed the tready one little bit.  

But, it looks like I'll have to do the muck ups on the tready for the next couple of weeks after work & save the long run for the weekend.  I really need to get into the gym & do some strength training & some cross training on days when I'm not doing a run.  Hopefully this week that will happen.  Work has been super busy & I'm too wrecked (or should that read unmotivated) by the end of the day to do anything else!

That coupled with trying to keep up to date with general house hold chores is often a struggle.  I wonder how people with kids manage!  I've only got 2 adults to sort & the laundry, food, cleaning, tidying seems never ending.  Chuck in a couple of ruggies (as my mate calls kids) I just couldn't imagine how I'd keep up!

Anyhoo.  Like everything in life, organisation is the key & that means I need to stop bloggin' now & get my shite together :0)


Monday, August 20, 2012

The Nomad Chronicles II

Day 8: Wednesday – Slow trip into Carnavon Gorge.  Everyone books months ahead but we were given a site when we asked if there were any cancellations.  We were very lucky as the parks site is only opened for school holidays & was inaccessible last week.  There is mostly lovely soft walking among tall timber, large ferns/palms except for the many wobbly stepping stones across numerous creek crossings.   With towering white sandstone cliffs we walked about 10 kms.   The park is shady & grassy & even had hot showers.  There is an expensive caravan park & up market resort further out.  

Carnarvon Gorge is full because of school holidays so we have to drive in & out tomorrow.  The camper is going well & we nearly have everything sorted out.  Today is the first sunny day (14C) but the wind is still cool.  Nights are cold, mornings cooler & Mt Kaputar was (very scenic but)freezing!  Luckily we thought to buy a brlliant little gas heater - with low oxygen cut out. 

Day 9: Thursday - Walked into Mickey's Gorge & another with an ex NSW ranger & his wife, absorbing lots of travel tips along the way.  We admired the very healthy looking Santa Gertudis cattle grazing the forage oats on the way out of the park.  Then onto Emerald to park under the bridges with all the other overflow campers - maybe 50 vans or tents at 5.30pm.  

Day 10: Friday -  Long night & early start.   Drove to Rubyvale & did laundry in very smart new Laundromat.  Had a coffee & 2 of Poppy’s “Boulders” – magnificent scones – one ginger with marmalade & cream – guess who?   Mum in shorts for the first time.  Found a camp site out in the diggings & had a not very serious scratch for gem stones.

Day 11: Saturday – Stopped at the quaint miner’s market on the way out.  Nice easy trip to Longreach.  We need to stay until Monday to get a front end alignment.  A front tire is scrubbing probably due to a deep pothole (in the bitumen).   Took ages to get a human to help with recharging our mobile Internet device.    We should be OK when we get coverage & the netbook is recharged.  The solar on the camper works very well but it doesn’t charge the computer.

Day 12: Monday -Everything is going OK except that we need to get a front end alignment here on Monday - a big pothole in the bitumen that we didn't miss. We didn't find any emeralds at Emerald but we have had 2 nice sunny days now & tonight is our first night without the heater on.  Stopped in Barcaldine & watched some campdrafting today - people & horses everywhere.  We will see the Stockman's Hall of Fame & the Qantas museum tomorrow (it started here).

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Nomad Chronicles I

Tales from Mum & Dad's 3 month trip from Western Victoria, up through central NSW & QLD, then across to the NT, then WA stopping in to visit Mum's brother in Denham/Shark Bay.  Not sure of the return route yet.  None of the photo's are their's, I've borrowed them from the web!  

Day 1: Wednesday 27th – drove to Bendigo after work with all our gear tarped on the ute to be at Kyabram early for fitting the new slide on camper.

Day 2: Thursday – Fitting & packing took all day so we stopped in a nearby park overnight to make sure everything worked OK.

Day 3: Friday – Travelled all day to stop in a caravan park at West Wyalong.  Young owners had their first billy tea & damper night – but they need to change their damper recipe.

Day 4: Saturday – we stopped at Hickey Falls near Coonabarabran with a few other free campers.  Just off the road & very pretty.   

(Mum) starts driving the breakfast to lunch shift.  It goes OK 85 – 95 kph & 13 – 15 litres per 100ks, depending on the wind & how lumpy the roads are.   Lots of water lying either side of the road near Forbes. (Mum doesn't like driving & would never tow the van........)

Day 5: Sunday – Travelled to Mt Kapurtar via Narrabri.  

Quite a climb to a good national parks camp site.  Time for a good walk before tea & sharing a camp fire with our neighbours.  At over 1000 metres it was a cold night & a freezing morning.

Day 6: Monday – Stopped in Moree to get fog lights seen to.  No luck so on to Goondawindi where they replaced a dodgy joiner & poor wiring (Warrnambool 4WD).  Not that we need them but now we are legal.  This year we have seen cotton in large wrapped round bales about 3m across (legal truck width) in paddocks & being transported to the mills.  Spent the night at a truck stop/caravan park.

Day 7: Tuesday – Frosty morning (-3C at Miles) but our first all blue sky day.  Did our laundry at Miles & drove to Roma & north to Injune where we camped by the billabong at the back of the (full) caravan park.  From now on we are told the motels & caravan parks are full with miners.  Injune caravan park (immaculate)  had new accommodation for road  & telecommunication construction crews.   Lots of work being done on the roads.   A new 500 bed village is being built nearby.  Many dongas (Atcos) & heavy machinery passing us at speed.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Operation Possum Rescue

Plumbing Boy radioed in yesterday afternoon in great excitement, "come out the front & have a look, there are 2 Magpies trying to beat up a possum"!  Office assistant & I rush out to find this poor little guy hanging on to the fence out the front of the office for dear life. 

They were trying to peck out his eyes!!!  They got his ear too....  I know not everyone loves possums, but he's a native ring tail possum.  If you can zoom in you can see his face is all bloody & his ear's a bit mangled.  O.A. shooed the Magpies away while I grabbed a towel & held it over his head/body to stop him climbing further up the fence.  O.A. grabbed on of the guys (to help grab him!) & a box once the Maggies had decided to leave us alone.  I'd asked PB to help but he was clearly too busy with something else!

Once safely in the box, I called the RSPCA who put me onto Wildlife Victoria who asked me if I could drop him off to a local vet where he spent the night nursing a possible broken rib (maybe the Maggies pushed him out of the tree!!!!).  They thought his eye would be OK.  Looks like we rescued him just in time.  

He's a fully grown adult male. Today he'll be collected by a carer who lives 1 suburb away who will look after him until he's well enough to be returned to the wild (after Magpie swooping season has passed!) & will be put back in the tree in front of our factory.  I don't know if he's been living there or was visiting from a nearby tree, but it is preferred to return them to their natural habitat, which is generally where they were found.

Operation rescue complete it was time to head to the supermarket where I ended up parking a car for a young P plater who'd driven in to a park on such an angle then tried to reverse back out (to straighten up) that she was about 1cm from the car next to her on a very odd angle.  

I explained that she needed to pull forward & the direction she needed to turn her wheels in order for the car to move away from the adjacent car, but she was just too scared & asked me to do it.  Mum & (possibly) sister were still in the car, so I jumped in & parked it for them.  Mission accomplished!  

It's been rather wet & cold here this week; not so conducive to plumbing.  We have been able to (mostly) find indoor work (or at least undercover work) so the guys aren't out in it.  Only one with a cold this week, but no sick days, just sent home early for a snooze.  The 3 weeks prior we've had multiple people with multiple sick days.  So far PB & I have escaped the germs.  Hopefully the weather will be kinder next week as we hope to start a big roofing job!

Mum & Dad are off travelling again, this time a camping trip  in the top end of Australia.  Dad has been feeding me his dialogue which I've been putting up on the family blog, but I'll do a series of post here; check in every Monday for at least the next 6 weeks for updates on them!  

I'll update my running page this morning too so you can see if I'm keeping up to date with my training for the 10K race.

Have a great weekend everyone & if you are in Melbourne town, rug up!!!!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Stand Where He Stood

We recently watch the TV series Band of Brothers & it rekindled my interest in the Kokoda Track.  

Kokoda is something I've wanted to do for a while now & I finally started looking at tours this week.  I'd settled on a particular company & then started to ponder where it was my Grandpa fought in relation to Kokoda.  I started searching place names & Kokoda based on the information I had & found The Black Cat Track.  This is where my Grandpa was.  He references many of the points in the series of posts I did 2010 about his life.  I've linked the first post, there were 2 more if you can be bothered going back to read them.

I'm so excited!  I can't believe the track he fought on is called the Black Cat.  My nickname is Cat, I have a black cat, I love black cats, I barrack for the was meant to be!!!!  I've emailed Dad & my Aunt & Uncle (Grandpa's 3 kids) to see if they are interested.  Dad has expressed interest, as has Mum although she's not sure either of them will be fit enough to do it.  Plumbing Boy is in.  Did I tell you how excited I am?  :0)  I'd love to do it with my Dad; or either of his siblings.  My aunt & I sat with Grandpa in hospital the day he passed away & have shared a special bond since then.  My uncle is tops as well; although he has a heart condition, so may not be good candidate.

I've emailed my expression of interest for the 2013 trip; just waiting to hear back.  I was almost in tears just reading the itinerary alongside the documentation I have on Grandpa.  I imagine it will be a very emotional time for me, but that's OK.  I cant wait to stand where he stood.  I can't quite describe how I feel about the affect/effect War had on not just him, but all involved.  It fills me with such sadness at the awful things they encountered.  I am also very proud of the Man he was.  I'd better change subjects before I need to wipe my eyes again.

I've updated my running page & have almost finished week 3 of a 10 week training program for the 10km fun run I've signed up for; 1 run left to go this week.  I did my first 6.5km in a long time yesterday morning (it was 3 degrees & bloody cold let me tell you!) & my calves are feeling it still!  I'll post the program soon so you can give me heaps if I slack off.  I need to knuckle down next week & get some weight & cross training happening.  I've got the ANZAC spirit with me now, so I'd better HTFU & do it!

Hope you all have a marvelous weekend.  I hope the catters will be using hawk feathers for toothpicks later tonight.....................