This morning finds us at a locked gate entrance to the Ballarat Reservoir at the
end of a dirt road which we found yesterday evening after a fair bit of cruising
and looking for a suitable spot. We left Ararat yesterday after a week with
Uncle Les who retired to a new house on 2 acres 3 years ago. An absolute credit
to him it is too with a lot of love and hard work gone into turning a gravel
paddock into a landscaped garden. Sisters Pam & Jan, with Craig & John, came
from Melbourne for the weekend and we had a great time.
A big thanks to all the family and friends who have shared their homes with us
over the past month. Good wine, great food, fun company and lots of laughs.
Travelling itself is a fine thing but punctuated by time with family and in no
hurry to be at the next place really enhances our time. This was very true of
our last trip up in Northern NSW with Margaret's folks and this time with mine.
Last diary ended with us leaving Portland for the Grampians. Probably a
combination of being a bit traveled out, colder weather and having recently been
through such spectacular coastline but we were not as impressed as we
anticipated. The climb up Mount William was exceptional and some great views of
rocky mountain sides were well worth seeing but the camp sites did not inspire,
the lake was almost dry and looked a bit like a mine site and the $2000 nasty
signs were prolific. The area seems unjustly pompous and unwelcoming in total
contrast to the East Gippsland (90 mile beach) side of Victoria where free
camping in really nice bush and beach areas is condoned and encouraged. Horses
for courses I guess and for many a week in a cabin at Halls Gap would be a great
change from a city apartment.
Ararat was a nice town and although we did bring a couple of wet days and about
20mm of rain with us for them the rest were fine with crisp nights and blue sky
days. The town is quite well serviced and real estate reasonably priced with
small acres not much dearer than town blocks.
We had planned to go to Sovereign Hill today. We were there 20 years ago and
have good memories. Checked out the car park and admission on arrival yesterday
arvo and wow, $29 a head to go in, a bit bloody steep! Anyway we decided to
make a full day of it today however it's looking a bit iffy as the weather is
crap. Grey, cool, cloudy and occasional drizzle which would not be pleasant to
walk around in. If it doesn't improve we'll pass on this trip and do it when
Off for a shower, just. The hot water system has played up since we left and
has about come to the end of bush mechanic solutions. It will run with its door
open but prematurely shuts off with it closed so something gets warm that
shouldn't or is faulty. Fingers crossed it sees out the trip and can get a
serious repair when we get back. What's the bet it's replace not repair?
Well we did pass on Sovereign Hill yesterday and headed toward Bendigo to visit
JD. Once again we were assaulted by dry grazing land and dams that were down to
a couple of inches of muddy water. You really have to feel for the people on
the land but on one positive note, although numbers would clearly be way down on
the 'good times' the sheep and cattle appeared to be in remarkably good
condition. I don't think I could ever cut it as a farmer. I've seen cattle
around Canberra with white frost on their backs and frozen at the thought. This
trip I'm seeing little lambs only days old born into the beginning of winter and
often as not some bugger has pinched mum's coat just when she needed it.
Drove up to the summit of Mt. Franklin for lunch but were denied a great view by
all the trees around the lookout. This area abounds with water springs of
supermarket familiarity like Franklin and Hepburn.
Bendigo came as a bit of a surprise. Following Ararat and Ballarat I expected a
smallish city with a few old buildings but it is much more grand than that.
It's suburbs started some 10Kms out and the old city buildings are absolutely
grand. We shall go for more of look around today.
Ok I've been slack about finishing off the diary for this trip but have been
busy busy busy since getting back to base at Bomaderry. From Bendigo we had
planned to visit Margarets relos at Finley and then to friends at Narrandera.
It turned out that the Finley folk had gone to Melbourne and, as nights in N'a
were close to freezing we simply decided we'd had enuff for this trip and
pointed the truck towards the Hume Hiway. Two days and about 17 hours driving
later I brought R2 down through the Barrenjoey and Cambawarra mountains in the
dark to home. A big adrenaline drive I can assure you.
Our house was in great shape. Our wonderful neighbours had mowed the lawns,
watered the garden, the alarm and timer lights were all set and everything was
ship shape. Thank you great people.
To date I have overhauled 3 computers, 1 mine, 1 neighbours and 1 friends.
Fixed the motorbike, fixed R1, collected and cut firewood, had motorhoming mates
Joe and Elaine from Bermagui for a few days, been fishing twice and caught lots
of tailor, tidied the garden, sorted registrations and paid bills. Joe got the
HWS sorted, well done. Turned out to be a constricted line to the pilot and a
misshapen pilot burner. Oh and same bush mechanicing which was best restored to
the way the factory had made it :). Last night the stove died so today I'll
pull that apart.
We anticipate being around here for a few weeks to make a few changes to R2 and
sort out the tax return then we'll head north to find a warmer winter. It's 4
bloody degrees here this morning.
We took three months and traveled 4,873km to see a small part of a little bit of Oz. It was a great trip!
Well of this trip anyway
Geoff & Margaret