Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Turning the page.

From the sublime to the ridiculous as the saying goes.

Had occasion to go camping in my dingy, my Suzuki. Fitting in all the bits required to sleep, cook and clean up was OK but both at once, no way. To sleep in the back and roll out a mattress and associated bedding required the removal of everything else. Then an extension to the cargo space needed to be concocted to get the flat length required. With the back door open, and a makeshift frame for a wet weather tarp in case of rain or dew. Lots of time required to set up and no security during the night for me or my belongings, not ideal. But it was a shake-down trip to see how/if it worked.

The plan: to drive from Cotton Tree in Qld to Tumut in the Snowy Mountains of NSW and then back again accommodating myself in the Suzuki whilst on the road.

Simple but effective if the weather permits.

Complete with bug net and surprisingly comfortable, for sleeping anyway.

It's mid-December and I headed off not totally happy but committed to the venture. Three nights on the road on the way down and one night on the way back and I'm over it big time. Mind you, I was dry every night even though it rained heavily on two of the nights. The Suzuki scooted along and was easy to drive but cruise control would have been nice, no scratch that, mandatory.

So now back in Qld and I'm considering it might be time to make some changes. Open a new chapter in my life, turn the page. Commuting up and down the east coast between Maroochydore and Tumut looks to be what I will mostly be doing for the foreseeable future. Not living on the road as before, but doing a couple of nights on the road type trips, every now and then.

Love that car but hey it's just not made for the job.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Maintenance and repairs 2020


Imagine sometime in the future... the conversation goes a bit like this. Hey Grampa how did you survive the 2020 pandemic? What did you do during the lockdown and travel restrictions to stay sane? Well, son, I refurbished my motorhome.

The work gets done at a local workshop, it's a team effort, the mechanic does all the spanner work and I do all the bill paying. It matches our individual skill sets.

Currently, the motorhome is still in bits, awaiting some other bits from the states, metal bits, not animal bits, but they have to go through quarantine apparently?

But the patient is progressing well she should be back together soon and better than ever. All that's needed then is; restrictions lifted, borders open, free travel everywhere. We'll have to wait and see on that one.

Had to take the front end assembly off to drop the engine out.

The cylinders, pistons and block are all good.

Both heads when tested leaked like sprinklers.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Bird of Prey

Wow, how things have changed in a month - COVID-19, but hey life goes on.

The MH is in the workshop with no indication of exactly when she will be ready for the road again. But as things stand there is no hurry.

So yep I'm in lock-down like the rest of the nation - pleased not to have found myself on the road at this time. I'm able to get out for exercise, bike riding and Stand-up Paddling are my preference. The weather here has been pretty good of late for both.

My accommodation here in Cotton Tree comes with a roof garden giving me a bit extra space to hang out in. It's complete with pergola and shade sails and I have a $20 inflatable swimming pool for when it gets really hot.

Of late I've noticed I've got a freeloader perching on a corner of the pergola keeping an eye out for fish in the river. This bird of prey seems not to worry when I walk past or stop to take a photo from just a few feet away and I feel privileged to be able to be this close.

I added an extension to his perch so his poops go over the side


Not everyone is happy Ol' Mate is here!

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Cotton Tree Real Estate

Returning to Cotton Tree for a bit and notice my new neighbour, just two doors down, has nearly completed his new buildings. 14 three-bed units, lettable office space and with his private home in front on the waterfront. The home alone reported at costing 15 million. Lord Edmiston from England if you don't mind. Be pleased when it's all finished as it's been a real pain with the construction noise, traffic disruptions and construction noise. Did I mention the construction noise? He just best not complain when I turn my stereo up.

There is so much construction happening around here and I'm going to have to find somewhere new to park the MH. My friend's vacant site, where I've been parking the MH just 3 mins walk away, has now sold 9 out of the 10 of the planned units and the construction there will start soon.

So before that, the MH is going in for some much needed mechanical attention, she's showing her age. Then it will be back on the road for an unspecified period of time. By far the best way, no actual firm plans. What happens after that I'm not sure but we'll cross that bridge when the time comes.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Woodenbong BA Closing soon

Lately, we've been working really close to the Queensland border, actually on a property with the Queensland Rabbit Exclusion Fence running through it. It's rough terrain in the foothills of the McPherson Range. Mt Lindesay, as always, features on the horizon showing yet another majestic side.

Just about all of the farms have been completed now. Just a week or two left to finish off some of the bits that were waiting for bulldozers to clear fence lines or gullies, and terrain to dry out.

The weather has been slowing things down as we've been rained off several times, once for five days in a row, after really heavy rain. Had to wait for the ground to dry out sufficiently to get back on the paddocks. That tends to test your patience looking for things to keep yourself occupied.

Anyway, homeward bound soon.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Woodenbong BA progress

Mt Lindesay is in the background every day. It presents a differing view as we progress from one end of the farm to the other. The fence we are building goes upstream along the banks of the Richmond River. The same Richmond River that goes via Kyogle, Casino then Ballina to the coast. Here it's more a creek than a river and we have to ford it multiple times. 

Gumboots are the order of the day, with all the rain about, and it has been a challenge just getting to the fence. So yep, each day is a mix of a 4x4 driving adventures combined with building a new fence.

Depending on the weather and condition of the terrain, our team of 4 old farts, have been completing 150m to 450m per day. A very creditable effort our farmer continually tells us. Needless to say, he is very pleased.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Woodenbong Big Job

Farmers up this way seem just a little more laconic than others I've met in my travels.

When arriving on-farm and meeting the farmer for the first time, it's best to shot-the-breeze for a bit. Not rush things. Let him set the pace. So after a bit of to-and-fro, we ask if he has a lot of fences burnt and needing replacement? I got a shipment in he says as we drive to where the wire and posts are stored. Far out! That's going to take some doing! Yep about 17km in all he says. Next question, what is the terrain like? Yep, a bit up and down in places. Nice NOT! 

But hey if we weren't doing this we would be going something else. Probably something a bit easier *me thinks* but whatever and we make a start.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Woodenbong BA

Rappville - January 2020.

How things have changed since October/November last year. The fires have extended all the way down from northern NSW to Victoria and right now there are 23 BlazeAid camps around Australia needing volunteers.

I spent most of December and Christmas New Years in Cotton Tree then returned to Casino. Casino camp had plenty of volunteers so after 2 weeks I decided to move to Woodenbong camp.

Woodenbong is closer to the Queensland border and is 520m above sea level so it's a bit cooler in the day and more importantly at night, nice. Only 11 registered farms but there are some big ones among them with 5 still to be completed, probably by the end of February. Mt Lindesay (1170m) not far away provides a picturesque backdrop to our work.

These photos are from Rappville area and show the recovery of the trees and grass. It's the first thing I notice on my return. Stunning when compared to late last year.

The burnt forest machine photo was taken near the site of the burnt fence post photo, but about 10 weeks earlier. Nice how the brown has turned to green. 

October 2019.

January 2020.

The extent of the Rappville fire before the Myrtle Creek fire started.