31 May A trip to NSW and a new motorhome March – May 2019
We have been very slack and not updated this blog for a long time. So, this is a quick update of 2019 travels and then we will try and keep up to date with current travels.
27th March 2019
On the road again at last. This trip is to Wagga Wagga NSW for the Stone the Crows festival over Easter. That gives us 3 weeks to get there, so we can take our time and meander a bit. We delayed the trip a week or so to sit out the heatwave conditions in comfort at home, then to try and avoid the predicted rain coming from Cyclone Trevor.
In the end we just decided to go, and left home in sunshine but soon drove into rain which lasted the whole day. We stayed at Goombungee showgrounds for the night in cool, wet and windy conditions but cosy and comfortable in the van.
Dry and warmer today and we drove to Millmerran and stayed with friends on their property. There has been just enough rain to make the grass grow and start greening the country. They need a lot more rain to soak in for the crops to grow.
We left Millmerran and drove to Coolatai Hall free camp, near Warialda. It was very warm and dry and we parked on a paddock near the hall. One of the locals told us that rain was forecast that night, so we shifted to harder ground next to the hall, and just as well we did as it bucketed down overnight and well into the morning and we could have been bogged in the paddock. We left just before noon when it had cleared up and the sun was shining again.
As we left late, we decided to make a short day driving and after refuelling at Warialda we turned west and went to Gravesend. It is a tiny town with a recreation ground where we camped for free, unpowered. We found a level patch of ground and stayed there, very windy and stormy looking but no rain and enough sun to power up the batteries. Late in the day we wandered up to the pub for a drink, then back to the van for a quiet night. It turned very cool overnight – Autumn at last.
A bright sunny day with a cool breeze. After a lazy Sunday breakfast we drove through Bingara, Barraba, Manilla and Wallabadah to arrive at Willow Tree and stayed in the Recreation grounds there for 2 nights, unpowered for a donation. The grass was lovely soft green, a welcome change after the mix of dry dust and mud over the last few days. The railway line and some large silos are on the boundary of the grounds but passing coal trains were not too noisy.
One thing we noticed on the drive today was the large number of dead and dying trees along the roadside and in gardens, mainly native gum trees and pines. We believe this is the result of the long term drought in this region. Water supplies are very low and strict water restrictions are in force in many places. We took a photo of the Barraba silo where the artist had made a great start on the silo art.
We left Willow Tree and drove to Jerrys Plains recreation ground.
We drove to Bennets Green to Australian Motor Homes just to look at new and used motorhomes and see if they were interested in trading in Stopalot & Fang. Somehow we ended up signing a contract to buy a new Avida Birdsville motorhome, plus a few extras, and trading in our rig. We agreed that we would collect the motorhome after our trip to Wagga Wagga and they would have the extras done by then – solar panels, extra battery, diesel heater.
After a long day of looking at various motorhomes and negotiating a deal, we left and drove to Bulga Recreation ground for 2 nights to mull it all over and sort out some of the paperwork.
To Singleton showground for a night. Bev had been suffering stomach problems since leaving home and it was not improving so we managed to find a doctor who diagnosed gastritis due to having been taking Mobic anti-inflammatory pills. The doctor prescribed a calmative for the stomach and things started to improve very soon.
To Dubbo where we stayed at a MSO (a CMCA member stopover) for the night. Bev had an episode of severe head pain and facial numbing, so fearing the worst Frans called an ambulance and we spent the afternoon in the emergency department. Various tests and a CT scan showed there was a brain, and there was nothing obvious wrong with it. The diagnosis was migraine –the first I have ever had. All seemed well the next morning so they must have been correct.
To Trangie to stay with good friends Sue & Jim on their property for 4 nights. With plenty of space around us Frans emptied out the holds in the van and the truck and sorted through all the accumulated “stuff” from our many years of travel. Knowing that we cannot carry much in the new motorhome, we offloaded a lot of heavy and bulky gear which our friends can use, such as the firepot and camp oven and firewood and associated bits and pieces.
We repacked the things we are keeping and put all the throwaway stuff into bags for later dumping. Bev went through the van and pulled out all the kitchen utensils and other bits & pieces hiding in cupboards and never used, to go Sue’s local Op Shop. With the van and truck much lighter we were ready to head off again.
To the little town of Weethalle which has a small camp ground and a beautiful painted silo. The silo art trail is growing all the time in rural NSW.
To another tiny town called Wombat with another small camp ground. We went to the local pub for lunch.
Via Grenfell and another recently painted silo to Wallaroo to stay with friends Rod & Judy. We stayed here for a few weeks in 2013 as volunteers to help with the restoration of the original timber slab cottages.
It is great to come back and see the finished cottages and to know that we played a small part in the restoration project. The cottages are now regularly visited by tour groups and descendants of the former owners.
Rod offered to put our bags of stuff for the dump with his pile, so we trawled through it with him and found several bits & pieces he could use, and left the rest for later disposal.
We stayed at The Rock near Wagga Wagga for the night
To Wagga Wagga for the Stone the Crows festival. We were camped with a group of friends from RV Homebase and had a very pleasant and social few days. We even played some disc bowls and Frans entered the Stoning of the Crow” competition which is throwing tennis balls at a corrugated iron Crow. No winners in this family though.
While there we managed to offload a lot of stuff from the fifth wheeler onto our various friends to take home for us. It is amazing just how much stuff we had with us.
We left Wagga Wagga and meandered via Harden, Newbridge and Gulgong to a caravan park in Belmont (Newcastle) where we did the final cleanout of the fifth wheeler and F250.
We went to Australian Motorhomes and parked the fifth wheeler next to the new motorhome and spent a few hours transferring all our stuff. The poor little motorhome was crammed full and we had to leave some things behind in the fifth wheeler.
We then headed back to the caravan park for the night to sort ourselves out and make sure everything was working in the new motorhome.
Friday – We started our journey home in our unregistered motorhome, with a permit from NSW transport to get us to the Queensland border. As the weekend was in the way and the Monday was a public holiday in Queensland we had to time our border crossing for the Monday afternoon so we could have the vehicle inspected and registered on Tuesday morning. We stayed at Kootingal and Tenterfield, then Stanthorpe.
With the motorhome registered and legal, we went to Toowoomba showgrounds for the night.
Home. We then spent a few days emptying everything out of the motorhome and retrieving the stuff our friends had brought home. We soon had a pile of things to be disposed of or sold. Now we have to get used to travelling with a lot less and not having a car to run around in once we are camped.