07.06.13On the road a bit late this morning 0815, but the trip will be longer than usual so not overly worried about it. First issue is getting past several schools on our way to the highway. I can’t believe how driving rules go out the window if you are a parent dropping your kids at school. The roundabout was choked with vehicles, so that you couldn’t even get on it, due to vehicles no even bothering to give way and allow others to use it. I’m assuming the lights are red because those that are on the roundabout aren’t moving at all.
We negotiate our way through the blockage and traverse straight though, realising that passing the schools is going to be a bit of a nightmare, and decide that the high school is the way to go. No-one blocking entrances and exits this way, which is great, but we get stop signs instead.
Once we make it to the highway, we keep a good pace heading north. Over the Gateway and we make good time heading to Gympie. I’m delighted that we also get to use the newly constructed section at Curra and it saves us some time.
Once in Gympie, Glenn has thoughts about buying a roast chicken for lunches, but as we get closer to the shop, he claims he can’t find anywhere to pull over and we pass it without another thought.
At the Wood Working museum, I toot the horn, as a friend lives not too far from it and can hear the highway from her house. I said I would toot, although we are about ½ hour plus behind schedule, so I hope she’s been listening for it.
Our next turn takes us over
Bridge and the mighty . As always it’s a dirty brown colour and the
water level is well under the bridge. It
would be an awesome site to see it under water. Mary River
We start to measure off our distance to our next turn off and before long we are there. It’s going to take us through a state forest. A few turns more and we are entering the gates of our destination. Tranquillity. From what we can see, it is exactly that.
Our host has said that they would be able to hear us come through the gate and they do. I realise that they have an electronic eye set up that alerts the house to our arrival. As we make our way up the driveway, Zeus comes out to greet us. He’s their 3 year old German Shepard and he’s huge but very friendly.
We pull up outside the house and meet Lu. She’s extremely friendly and gives me a hug and peck on the cheek. It’s a nice touch to make us feel at home. We are taken towards the house to meet her husband Gary. Unfortunately he’s not well and can’t travel far from the house, but he is also gives us a warm welcome.
is a very funny man
with a joke list that’s rather impressive and I’m glad that we’ve made our way
We get given a guided tour of the facilities, which are ample and spotless. Showers, toilets, kitchen, pool table, games room, pool ... it’s a well thought out and setup place. We are given the choice of sites as we are their only guests this weekend. As Lu leaves us to set up, she requests our presence for Happy Hour at 4pm on their veranda, which we happily accept.
It doesn’t take long to set ourselves up happily and we can relax immediately. We have access to the entire 86 acre property and make ourselves at home. One of the first things we do is make ourselves at home by removing our clothes ... it is a naturist venue after all.
Our site fee includes electricity, so we’ve bought our power cords and Amp-phibian from home to utilise as I’m sure we won’t see enough sun this weekend to keep that Amps up to the battery.
Lunch out of the way we are completely relaxed and taking in the bird song from all directions. We’ve been able to let the dogs get to know each other, and they all seem to be behaving themselves. Zeus is very keen to get to know our girls, but they aren’t as keen. After a little while, Kiah ends up rounding him away from camp, but he’s ever persistent – which is very amusing. We are very happy that we’ve been able to see some sun as well. Didn’t think it would show itself for awhile, but it poked its head out from behind the clouds and we are glad it’s made the effort. The breeze is rather cool and constant, but we are in the sun so it really doesn’t matter so much today.
The next few hours we relax in the sun and meet Fred, the third of our hosts. He’s here assisting the others with some intensive labour and enjoying the peace and quiet as well. I will admit he’s doing a wonderful job with it. We realise he’s done quite a lot of work here. I’m sure Lu and Gary are very happy to have him around.
Eventually we must inspect the grounds a bit more. Heading through the orchard, we find ourselves at the dam. Telashi is the first to make her way into the water. It still amazes me that she’s immune to the freezing temperatures. Zeus has made he’s way down with us as well and the girls are tolerating his company well.
Back at camp, we relax once more and before we know it Happy Hour is upon us. We sit listening to
and laughing ourselves silly. They are
drinking home brew (Glenn says it’s good) and have provided us with nibbles
which are lovely. The dogs are sitting
with us as well. Lu just loves Kiah and
gives her some special attention. Before
we require lights and it cools down too much, we head back to camp to organise
ourselves for a shower and to cook dinner. Gary
Glenn has already set up the OzPig and tonight it will be chops and vegies, which we get under way quickly. As it’s cooling down quickly, we shower under hot running water and rug up before sitting in front of our OzPig and feeding in small amounts of wood to keep it burning.
After 2000 we head to bed wondering what temperature it might get down to overnight.
Our morning starts slowly after 0800, but the day has dawned sunny and almost cloud free which is a blessing for us. Breakfast is a slow event and we enjoy the sunshine from our chairs with coffee in hand. Last night got down to 11.6⁰C so very happy with that. It could have been a lot cooler.
I’m keen to see what the kitchen facilities are like as we did a quick perusal yesterday. Heading into the rec room, I note a microwave, fridge, kettle, and ample bench space, utensils of many varieties, crockery to keep any housewife happy and a large sink area. There is also a television in the rec room along with a pool table, table with seating for 6, stools, a wine barrel for leaning against and putting your drink, games of many kinds (board and outside types), and book shelf lined with books to swap, and magazines of they type one finds at a naturist venue.
We sit in the sun for another hour or so, and then decide to make our way around the perimeter. Zeus comes with us, and before long he and Telashi are chasing each other around. I do start to worry when he thinks snapping at her rear end is fun, so decide to send him home. “Go Home Zeus” and he retreats home with a look of sadness on his face and a final backwards glance before doing as he’s bid. Very glad he’s obedient. His 55 kilo frame would be very hard to handle otherwise.
We continue our walk around the perimeter and find ourselves at the front gate. I can see the electronic eye well, so we don’t break it’s connection, but head up the driveway towards the house to where the driveway splits in two. Instead of going towards the house, we take the other branch and head to the highest point of the property and find the timber supply for the house fire place amongst heaps of building materials. From here we can see a fire break in the surrounding forest, where the electricity line runs towards us, as it gives us a good view of the surrounding area – although through the tree line. Heading down the western fence line, we can see where they have unsuccessfully built another dam – apparently it just won’t hold water – and have been turned into their dumping grounds. From here we head east again towards all the buildings which sit on a high ridgeline through the centre of the property. Their water tank is huge and I understand why as they aren’t on town water here. As we walk up the northern boundary, we can see Fred making a block fire pit. He’s just started and has been making the foundations while we were here. Not 100% on what it’s going to end up looking like, but it’s going to be large.
Lu is giving the pool a once over and gives us a weather report. It’s sounding like rain, but shouldn’t be too much, as it’s heading in from the coast. She tells us that rain doesn’t often get this far inland alas, but at least we know what to expect now.
Back at camp, Glenn decides its lunchtime and he’d like that chicken he thought about yesterday, so at 1115, he gets in the car and heads into town. I hear him go through the gate because the sound of a door chime heralds it. About 45 minutes later I can hear that door chime again and realise he’s back. About a minute later, he’s pulling up at camp with a # 13 roasted and stuffed chicken from Brodie’s. It’s time to cut a bun or two and add some chicken to it for lunch. I’m glad he was able to find his way back without incident, being that his Nav-Woman was out of action (that’s me by the way).
The day dims somewhat as we are eating, as some clouds have started making their appearance. They look rain filled, but head over quickly. The constant breeze becomes quite cool, so we put up the draught flap and an end wall to give us some relief from it. Glenn heads inside to close up the windows and doesn’t make it back out. I’ll bet he’s gotten as far as the comfy bed and pillow. Never mind.
Zeus heads to the safety of the rec room awning after realizing that no more chicken scraps are coming his way, so now it’s just me and the girl dogs. About 15 minutes later, I can hear Kiah snoring. It is unusual for her to fall asleep through the day, but at the age of 10 it’s only to be expected I guess.
The sky is starting to fill with clouds now, but the sun is still trying to get a look through. I hope it will win, but the forecast makes it unlikely. The breeze hasn’t changed direction so that’s something in our favour. We noticed it when we arrived, but being lovely and sunny it wasn’t much of a concern, but with the sun disappearing fast, that wind has got a bit of a nip to it. I’m glad we always carry out extra canvas.
I write my blog and once we are up to this exact moment, I put away the laptop. Not sure how to spend my time whilst Glenn is snoozing, I decide to investigate the book swap to see what’s there to read. Bingo! I find one of my favourite authors (Dean Koontz) and it’s one I haven’t read before. I take it back to camp and get settled in.
About ½ hour later, Glenn emerges saying he wasn’t asleep, just dozing. Yeah right! Book away, we start thinking about what to have for dinner. Tonight it is Thai flavoured Barramundi fillet with green prawns and chips. Mouth watering stuff! He removes the fish and prawns from the freezer to thaw. I restocked the ‘spice rack’ before coming this weekend. Now I’m glad I did so as we wouldn’t have had enough spices for tonight’s dinner otherwise.
Lu comes over to tell us that they won’t hold the Happy Hour today as it’s just too cold on the veranda today. I assure her that we aren’t disappointed at all and she’s glad. I’m sure if anyone is disappointed it will be her and Gary. I think they love meeting new people and hearing new stories over a few drinks. You can’t help the weather I’m afraid.
We settle into camp and have our own Happy Hour. Before long it’s time to get dinner started. While Glenn lights the OzPig, I get out some alfoil, line it with baking paper, add fish & prawns and sprinkle over my special Thai spice concoction, before parcelling it up and adding it to the camp oven. Glenn works on the chips and gets the peanut oil good and hot. Once dinner is underway, we sit back to enjoy the last of the day. Once our meal is ready we eat without delay, while a second batch of chips cooks.
With dinner out of the way, we sit back and enjoy the last of the light. As the sun sets in the west, we are given the best sunset I’ve seen in a while. As the sun sinks lower, it improves the colours going from a rich gold to a purple red, before it disappears completely into the dark of the night. Not long after we hit the showers and try to get warm.
As its Saturday night, Glenn decides that he will be able to watch RockWiz on SBS because there is a television in the Rec Room. I’m not so sure we’ll be able to last that long, but willing to give it a try. At 1800 Glenn has the radio on listening for the news but more importantly the weather report. We are both disappointed that all we get is a five minute sport report which included the scores for the netball game I had taping at home so I’m glad I wasn’t’ paying too much attention. Neither of us think about going and turning on the tele to listen to it.
About 1915 we head over to the Rec Room with drinks in hand and take the cover off the pool table. After 3 games where Glenn wins, I concede defeat. It’s still ½ hour off the start of the program he wished to watch. To be comfortable, we’d have to get our chairs and some nibbles from camp, but it’s getting cold and I’m getting tired and would rather go to bed so that’s what we do.
The next day is wet and windy, glad we’ve got the draught flap up already. It did rain through the night, but being up on a ridge, there is nothing much to see but wet grass. One of our first priorities is to get some cover up on the offside over the kitchen box. The rain is coming in that way as it’s a sideways sprinkle currently. I put a suggestion forward that we use the portion of the offside awning (would be the top of the shower tent if we’d bought an Ultra) that would go there anyway. It velcro’s on along the kitchen canvas and we can tie it off to cover the area completely. Glenn thinks it’s a great idea and we get it done. It proves to be well worth the effort – stopping the rain and all wind from that side.
Coffee is the next important thing we need to do to warm our insides. We spend most of the morning under canvas as the sideways sprinkle is hard to cope with using an umbrella – which I’ve retrieved from the ute during a break in the sprinkle. Not long after Glenn retrieves our galoshes.
We setup the awning so we are comfortable. The table get moved from its usually spot beside the kitchen to under the end wall. Our chairs go up against the camper beside the kitchen. And here we sit for the next few hours. Zeus sets up camp under the Rec Room awning. When he approaches, one of our girls rounds him away. It’s hilarious. I’m not sure Zeus thinks so, but he’s being very persistent regardless. I’m sure if we were here for a week, he’d be like one of the family, but right now, he’s still on the outer with the girls.
Before lunch, the sprinkle gives over to just windy, so we head out for a walk, with brollies in hand just in case. Seems we head over to the dam, after a stroll though the orchid. Once again my crazy dog goes for a dip. The sprinkle starts up again so we head back to camp.
Lu comes over to say Happy Hour is off once more. It starts to rain, so I escort her home under umbrella for which she’s grateful. She invites me to check out her home brew kit and we spend a few minutes discussing the in’s and out’s of how to do it. It’s very interesting. I might look into it and see if I can save myself some money. It sounds a bit involved, probably expensive to set up in the first instance, but Glenn said it was a good brew, so ...
Glenn and I spend the rest of our day sitting under canvas reading – me my book and him some TAN magazines. It’s nice to sit and be peaceful when given the chance. Of course we have dinner to think about, so have some steak defrosting for one of Glenn’s favourites – stew. I’m going to make mud cake for dessert as we haven’t had it for a bit.
The sideways sprinkle is easing off which is appreciated. The pups are both inside the camper on their mats. Once through the afternoon, we return to the orchard to see if we can find any passionfruit that’s easy to reach and ripe. We are in luck with the ripe, but not so lucky with in reach, finding only one that we can access. The rest of the afternoon is spent doing nothing much at all until it’s time to start organising dinner and getting the fire lit. We’ve relocated the OzPig so that we can still sit out of the wind.
With the stew on and cooking, I butter some bread to have with it. Now it’s time to think about showers to get nice and warm before dinner. I have to say that it’s wonderful to be able to stand under a hot shower and be out of the wind. Even thought the concrete floor is cold, there are some rubber mats to stand on whilst getting dressed which we haven’t used until tonight. Lu & Gary have thought of everything.
While Glenn has his shower, I make the mud cake and put in the tin which is actually one of our camp saucepans. They are stainless steel saucepans of various sizes. All have lids and a handle which can double back over the lid and be clipped down to seal them. Very handy for storing left overs, and in this case, cook cake as sealing the lid makes them super moist. I usually make a ½ mix up which fits in the middle sized pan very well. I use Green’s cake mix as they taste great and also come with icing which we nearly always use. The ½ mix gives us a piece each for dessert and one to eat the next day or take home for afternoon tea at work.
After dinner there isn’t much else to do but feed more timber into the OzPig and relax until we feel tired.
Today is nothing like yesterday. It is sunny and bright which will give us the opportunity to get the canvas dry before we pack up. Yay! Nothing better than dry canvas to take home, as It will save us having to reconstruct camp back at home.
Unfortunately today we must go home. Always a downside to weekends away is the fact that they end. Sigh.
After a reheated breakfast of stew, we get the dishes out of the way and start packing things away slowly. Glenn has also gone around the camper and dried as much of the velcro as he can with a cloth we always bring along for the purpose. Doors and windows get opened up to let the airflow through and extra canvas gets unzipped and untied before being thrown over the ute to dry in the sun. The floor gets a sweep, table and chairs go away, bed gets made, clothes get packed, dog mats go in the dog box, kitchen gets a makeover, dishes put away and the offside box gets repacked.
This all takes several hours to achieve as we are in no hurry, but we keep a very good eye on the horizon to look for any further signs of rain. About 1130, we see some coming and it’s decided to pack up the camper before it arrives.
Fred has already given the camper the once over and asked that we give him a call when it’s getting packed up, so we do. He’s very interested in seeing how it goes together. We drop the awning, use some poles to throw it over the camper roof and go about packing it down. In less than 5 minutes it’s shut and secured. Fred tells us he’s impressed with how quickly it happened. He now understands why we said it can be up in less than a minute, or 5 minutes if you want the awning up as well.
I’m sure he gets that it’s all the “other stuff” that takes up ones time when packing or unpacking. Yes, we could be erected and sitting having coffee in fewer than 10 minutes, but there would still be a lot of things to do around camp to make if comfortable.
With everything packed away in the ute, the rain comes down in earnest. Yes, actual rain, pelting down. I’m sure Lu is happy to see it raining so hard as this helps to fill her water tanks – buying it is rather expensive the further from town you are. We grab our chairs and head for the Rec Room awning just in time.
As it’s just before 1200 so we think it’s time for lunch. We still have a chicken carcass to pick over and some bread to polish off, so chicken sandwiches looks like the order of the day. I head over to the camper as the rain slackens off to grab what is required to put lunch together. And the rain then carries on pelting down.
Lu comes over and asks if we wouldn’t mind sitting with them on her veranda for a good chat before we go, and we oblige after packing away our lunch things, chairs and hooking up the camper. It’s just after 1300 before we are on the veranda and chatting with them. Lu brings out her photo album and shows us how the place looked when they first moved in a few years ago with the plan to turn it into a naturist haven. Overgrown doesn’t quite do it justice ... you can see just how much hard work and time has gone into making this place how it is today. Lots of clearing debris, trees, and opening the block right up, much work with the bob cat, and putting in of tanks and sheds, obviously a few fires to burn the debris ... it hasn’t been easy for them, but it has been very rewarding. Obviously they still haven’t finished everything on their list, but they aren’t very far off having exactly what they want. Glenn wanted to be on the road around 1300, but hasn’t minded having a good chat with Lu, Gary & Fred as they are such lovely people.
Just before 1400 we say our goodbyes and head home. Our trip back to the highway is a bumpy one, but to be expected on the state forest dirt roads. Once at the highway, we take a right and head back over the
, before turning
right again and meeting lots of traffic on the highway. As we enter Gympie again, it starts to rain
once more and it continues our entire way home, washing all the dust and dirt
from both car and camper. Mary
Our only issue on the trip home is meeting a traffic jam just before the Ettamoogah Pub and not being able to do more than 5 or 10kph until we almost reach Caboolture. Exactly why these “jams” occur and dissipate so quickly is a complete mystery as I don’t understand how it can happen at all on a road meant for 110kph.
Regardless it takes us almost an hour more than it should have and it’s almost dark by the time we reach home. By the time we’ve unpacked ¾ of the ute and camper it’s pitch black and I have no outside light on this side of the house – going to have to fix that I think. What ever else needs doing can be done in the coming few days or over next weekend. But we both agree that we’ll raise the roof and let the canvas have an airing next weekend just in case there is any moisture left on the canvas to prevent any more mould growing. Previous lesson learnt.
Trip Kilometres: 439
Trip Duration: 96 hours