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Sunday, 21 April 2013

210 - A Day To Remember Or Maybe Forget

Over the Great Dividing Range
Okay, the time was right to move on from Glenreagh. Can’t hang around sunning the bods for ever. As usual packing up was a nightmare, a two day jobbies. We are notoriously slow when it comes to packing up.
Where to from here……………north, south, east or west? Go west young man was the cry, so it was decided to go over the range, and that meant going through Grafton, up the Gwydir Highway to Glen Innes, and beyond.

Still going over the Great Divide
So off we go, with the Val bulging at the seams, the RetroLiner weighed down with so much crapp and 40 ton of water, geeeeeezus how I am going to get this combo over the range. For those of you who are familiar with the old movie about Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez on a caravan holiday, well this was the 2013 remake…….Holy Moly!!!!!

We were going to free camp at the bottom of the range, but we were only an hour into the trip so it was decided to keep going. We did contact a few National Park camp sites, but they want big dollars, and that’s without power or water………………get a life.

So we decided on a FREE camp at Natures Bend or something like that. Now the bride being the 10 star camper she is, once I decided that we should try this site, I got the usual “whatever” and a the mandatory stare out of the passenger door window……….I knew all was good (he he!!!)

Got over the range okay, strangely enough, and only a half a tank of juice……..I was now starting to doubt my wisdom of going west. A’h the sign to the free camp was upon us, and turning off the highway…………….free camp here we come, with more “”whatever’s” from the bride.

Well the Camps book doesn’t tell ya, that it is about 20kms off the highway, nor do they tell ya that the road is steeper than the mountain we just climbed, and with a combination of gravel and tar, and close to being single lane to boot. Holy Crapp Batman!!!!! So off we go………….down, down, down, round corners, down, down, down, our ears are popping, our undies are soiling, did I pay the funeral insurance this month!!!!!
Going dooooooown!!!
What’s that smell was the cry from the bride, receiving a back hand?????? O’h nothing dear, just the brakes, nearly on fire?” Holy Crapp Batman again.” So the “whatever’s” went into more colourful description of the decision to free camp…………..my ears were burning not from the backhands but the colourful description of our journey. I was bleeding from the eyes, my arms were screaming, I need “Huey”  

Of course there was nowhere to stop, to turn around,………..look out Desi and Lucy, as we are about to crash off the mountain…………………feeeeeeeeeeeeeeerk!!!! Will we be ever found, I hate snakes and creepy crawlies, didn’t want to share my last hours on this earth sharing the Val with them. Golly Gosh we are in low, low gear, standing on the brakes, is this the end!!!!

Yaaaaaaaa, and luckily we spotted a turn off area, on our out of control decent…….phew!!!!!!!! So we managed to pull out of this nightmare wild ride, and try to bring the rig to a halt, Not much room, lots of gravel mounds and the cliff, the feeeeeerk’n cliff ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh, sheeeeeet.……………..but with skilful driving, and a bruised head from the back hands, we came to a halt.
Yaaaaaaaa! I'm still here!
After a few “Hail Mary’s” and a few more feeeeeeerks, we adjusted our state of dress, checked the rigs, and had a stiff “water.” It was decided not to proceed any further, and return to the highway. That means back up the mountain. So off we went, and yes, all I got was “I told ya so, and to add to this Pauly Poos, I am now a 20 star camper, and you can stick this free camping in ya “didgeridoo!”

So we climbed back up the mountain in first gear all the way, and nicely blew the remaining half tank of fuel I had left.  So we limped into Glen Innes and found a really neat caravan park. More on that and Glen Innes next blog.

To conclude this eventful day, the brides star rating for camping went from 10 stars to 20, and not to take a lot of notice of the free camp book. O’h well see what comes from the next adventure in Glen Innes…………………..so stay tooooooned

Friday, 19 April 2013

209 - Glenreagh Getaway 2

Aaaaaah the morning view from our patio deck
Before I start with this post, we are a little behind due to poor internet reception. We are currently at Glen Innes in the new England High Country, and we are feeeeeerk'n feeez'n. From sunning the buns only days ago to being covered neck to knee with enough regalea to feature in the Sydney Gay Mardi Gras. Not happy Jan!!!!!!
Anyway after two weeks at Glenreagh, we decided to stay for another week or so, even though our mates Geoff and Helen moved on for family reasons. So we promptly moved to their site, better known as “Glenreagh Heights”. Great views from here, and with the morning sun streaming onto the patio deck, makes for a glorious way to start the day. All the other guests at the camp, who were here over Easter, have also moved on leaving us “home alone.

The rain doesn't come that way, silly moo!!!!
What a fantastic place to have to our ourselves.  However, in saying that, we have wandered down to Coffs Harbour / Sawtell a couple of times, mainly to see the bride’s sister and family, as well as my brother and partner, who live only streets apart. Also another important part to our visit to the big smoke, was to visit the crematorium where my parents are “in residence” and resting in peace.

Our visit was a fairly moving, as you may remember the passing of the bride’s nephew in June 2012, and we visited Sawtell Beach Headland, where his ashes were scattered, over the back beach, where Josh (the brides nephew) had spent many a day surfing the back beach break. There has been a memorial stone laid, overlooking the surfing break, however we couldn’t find it, although our thoughts were passed on.
Sawtell headland and back beach.......Josh's second home

Had a couple of days at Sawtell, did the shopping thing,  hung out at Bunnings, Auto Barn, Camping World, Clarke Rubber to name a few, and our favourite place…………not…..Park Beach Plaza. After two days we had enough of the big smoke, and glad to head back to our getaway.
One of the locals at Glenreagh Retreat coming up for happy hour

Another reason for our extended stay here; we have been waiting for a former employer of our ours, who was to purchase another motel, and we were to do some very, very casual consulting. However that “tour of duty” has finally fallen over, so we will make plans to wander off somewhere in the future.

I want to head west, then North West, and loiter around south west Queensland, however the bride wants to go to Melbourne to see her beloved Annie. I don’t have an issue with that, however not the best time of year to head to down there. To feeeeeeeeerk’n cold for the old fart here.

Stay toooooooooned!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, 1 April 2013

208 - Glenreagh Getaway

The Bride and "The Golden Dog" in Glenreagh
We left Iluka mid- morning, and having only an hour or so drive in front of us, meant for a leisurely journey down the Pacific Highway to Grafton, then off around the outskirts of Grafton, allowing us to link up to the Arora Way to Glenreagh.
Enjoying Friday night dinner at the "Golden Dog" pub

Now Glenreagh is just a village basically, steep in logging, however our destination was a beautiful property about two kays out of town southbound, then for another two kays of graded dirt. Our destination is a very delightful getaway known as ‘Glenreagh Getaway”, with ample camping areas with power and water, beaut heated pool, sauna, spa and camp kitchen, with an activity room just up a bit from the main camp kitchen. Inside this area, there is an humongous TV, open fire, pool table and lounging areas, and all this for  just over twenty bucks a night. We have actually been here before, in 2006, when we were staying at Coffs Harbour, albeit only a day visit, and vowed one day to return for an extended stay in our van. Well here we are!
The pool and rec area of Glenreagh Retreat
On arrival we were greeted by Geoff and Helen our partners in crime from Iluka, and were expecting Brad and Eva to be set up as well, but after, near on a week here, they are yet to be seen. Maybe they got lost (he he!!!)
Apart from Geoff and Helen, and another couple, as well as the owners, we are it. By all accounts Easter, and the forth coming school holidays, won’t be that busy either, so what a great way to hide from the east coast maddening crowds during this crazy period.

From the time we arrived here, of course lots of socialising, happy hours, but also a lot of de-stressing  just hang’n out in the pool, not that we need de-stressing. For a change the weather has been very kind to us, shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh don’t say to much.
Even got our own ensuite
The view is sensational
    We will probably shoot into Coffs Harbour after Easter to catch up with the rellies, and to visit my Mum and Dad’s cremation plot at the Coffs Harbour Crematorium.

 Stay tooooooned for more on Glenreagh………………….coming sooooooooooooooooon!!!