Motorhomes Australia

 Part 2
The travel adventures of
Geoff & Margaret Clifton
CMCA Member



Home Page

Thursday 04/03/04
7.30am vitals. Fridge 5.1 deg, Amb 18.3 deg. 24.7V, -21.4Ah. I didn't look at the float/boost lights but now at 9.10am PL is boost.

Bugger. I've done my jobs and am ready to exercise the fishing rod but it's blowing a bit hard. Beautiful clear skies and great visibility, a tad cool in the wind but a light jumper and shorts is all that's needed.. I'll go and find a sheltered spot near the bridge.

Summary for yesterday. Margaret scissor cut my hair for the second time. She had been most reluctant for fear of stuffing up but I gave her a couple of tips on how to comb up two fingers and trim and away she went. I've been cutting hair for the family for ages, self taught on the basis it can't be that hard, other humans can do it :. Margaret has been doing number 4's on me for a couple of years so there was nothing to lose. If you muck it up I'll have a number 4. Anyway she did fine and by this second cut she's juggling the comb & scissors like a pro.

Shopping time.
Woody would have loved it, about a Km and half walk into town and then back loaded with four bags a piece. Got just about everything we wanted. New hose tail for the loo tank breather (I fitted a piece of garden hose with a click on and f-f coupler so I can clip a hose to it for a good rinse and flush), puncture patch kit, some contact adhesive to replace failed double sided tape holding up a mini flouro and 2 meters of thin polytube to make a new squeeze water dispenser with a plastic bottle for battery water top up (no room above the batteries to just pour).
Stopped at the TI office which is run by J&E's daughter, Tracy, and a damn fine job she is doing. There was a better display of guides, info and maps than were at Batemans Bay and Narooma put together. Tracy was also kind enuff to send a fax to Nowra for us.
Supermarket. We did quite well in buying less than double what was on the list. As an aside, much as we have discussed Loo Brew on Delphi our tank was beginning to let itself be known after 5 days so I emptied and recharged. Got me thinking about how much we've been told that borax is not friendly and I was going to try a dose of MYO only without the borax or ammonia. Country town IGA's tend to be expensive and the MYO was $1.65 (200mL) compared to the $1.05 I last paid at Woolies. Got me to reading labels on the other disinfectants and Black & Gold lemon flavour contains quaternery ammonia compounds, same description as MYO but $1.80 for 2 litres. Clearly it will be a much weaker brew but we'll try a three or four hundred ml dose and let you know.

Back at R2 I thoroughly cleaned up the tyre, rust band and spare tube with a wire brush and talc, gave the freshly painted rim a good dusting and slipped it all back together. Started the truck and filled it surprised me a bit, in that it took the best part of 10 minutes to bring the air tanks up and the tyre to 95psi. I patched the punctured tube and left it over night with a brick on the patch but damn! This morning I blew it up and an hour and a half later it's sagging. More than one leak to find. Oh well, better than it being in a tyre.

A note for Margaret hid the silver hairs today.
Margaret finally found a way to remove the flyscreens on the hatches in the roof, without ripping them, they were washed surrounding area cleaned and screens replaced, by the time I came back from fishing. Made the inside of R2 look brighter.

Friday 5/3/04
VS - Fridge 8.4 deg Amb 17.9 deg. 24.8V, -19Ah, boost.

Happy birthday to me. The radio tells me I share it with Sir Rex Harrison and the late Andy Gibb. The wind dropped and it was a great day, the second without wind since we got here. Days of wind can become irritating. I had and, leaving Margaret in her favourite position in bed reading, grabbed the fishing rod and went for about 3 hours. Ended up walking to the ocean mouth of the harbour and fishing the entrance. The sea was quite rough and the water boiling around a run out tide. Hundreds of small bites and landed two little tackers. It was lovely just being there, dinner would have been a bonus.
Job list for today. Have another go at the hws which is occasionally blowing out the pilot when the burner ignites. Fix the tube again and check all the transmission oils. The tube was easy, leaking valve. I will never know now if that contributed to the flat or if it gave up with me pulling it in and out fixing the puncture. Bent the pilot beak around which has been holding up fine since, hang on I'll go take another look ….. yep, it's fine. Oils. The gearbox and transmission both have minor oil weeps from their shaft seals and a little drop of oil goes a long way to making things look much worse than they are. The leaks were caused by years of storage and lack of use by the previous owners in North Qld, the exposed end of the shaft tarnishes and then rubs the seal. A couple of mechanics have said they may well polish up and come good with use and that appears to be the case. Levels were fine. The back diff was good but the front, oh yuk. I admit to being remiss in doing this one as when I bought R2 their mechanic told me it was a bit dirty. Bloody understatement, curdled grey sludge it was. Dunno why but the back diff has a breather extension, just a hose that goes well higher than any possible water when fording creeks & rivers, but the front only had dust cap. I pulled that off and replaced with a fuel line connector scrounged from the local garage and bought oil and hose at the local hardware.

Saturday 6/3/04. 99615
VS fridge 5.5deg, Amb 18.9. 24.9V, -22Ah, boost.

Drained the sludge overnight and put 8 litres (yes eight liters) of fresh oil in. To get the oil I sweated the end of two meters of 20mm polypipe over the neck of a 500mL coke bottle. Cut the bottom off the bottle, held the pipe in the diff with a couple of wooden wedges, held the bottle up at shoulder height to get some head and in it went, quick and clean. I've heard some real messy stories about back yard transmission oil changes. I had scored a fryola drum at the fish 'n chip shop into which went the sludge which I was able to leave at the recycle collection point at the fisho's co-op.

We were packed and ship shape about 1pm. Cruised slowly down the coast road (tourist rout 9) and stopped at Middle Beach camp ground for lunch. This is the northern camp in Mimosa Rocks NP. Quite nice but walk in campsites which don't suit us. For one we would be camped in the car park and even if we had a tent to carry in I think these walk in camps are a thieves paradise with the car left unattended and out of sight. Back up the track to the black top (the beaches here have about 4Km of dirt road access) we went through the little town of Tanja and into Gillards Beach campground. This is very nice. On the same 20Km stretch of beach with vehicle access and long drop dunnies. Still bloody windy.

I forgot to pack a bit of bait so went looking for pippies without luck. Gotta get this bait worked out by learning to get beach worms. I've watched it done, have got a pair of bent long nose s/s pliers for the job but don't have the mandatory bag of rotten fish heads to tether at the half tide mark to bring 'em up. Think I'll buy a tupperware at the next town and the heads can live in there and in the wood box under the back of the truck.
Margaret had a phone call from Rod her brother this morning telling her of the death of her last uncle (uncle Keith) on her dad's side. Margaret attended another Uncle's funeral in Sydney only three and a half weeks ago.

Sunday 7/3/03 999663 Gillards Beach
VS Fridge 5.3deg, Amb 18.5deg. 24.7V, -36Ah.

Yesterday Margaret discovered that if she move the fridge probe from the front to the back of the fridge the temperature read 4deg lower. OK I'll live with that as the high readings were bothering me. Turned the fridge back a couple of notches which will save a lot of battery power. FYI a fridge is best run at 4deg. For each deg below this you use at least 105 more power. I was surprised at the variation in temperature from the front to the back of the fridge tho.

We were treated to a big pod of Dolphins working the surf this morning. Lots of breaching and a couple actually rode the waves. Makes you feel good inside when you see that stuff.

Have found a problem using Outlook Express to collect our email on our off peak cdma phone deal. We get 5 minutes for 18c after 8pm. If the waiting batch of mail does not completely down load then they don't get marked off at the service provider (Dodo) and you get them all again. Bloody annoying as last night I had about 3.8 of 4 messages in when I had to hit the red button on the phone. It won't send us completely broke to let it run but a dollar a minute ain't as nice as five for 18 cents. Will have to look at going to Dodo's website where maybe I can select what to down load and get rid of unwanteds without looking at them. Other than that I can set OE to get message headers only but then a lot of time gets wasted negotiating single downloads and deleting without downloading is very hit & miss.

A friendly request should you reply to our emails, and we hope you do. Remember that using an old laptop and cdma phone is very slow so please SNIP (that is delete the body of the message you are replying to) and don't insert or attach pictures. If you want to get an attachment to us then please use our hotmail address ( ) which we shall check when we get a landline to call in from.

Dinner last night was a successful experiment, called cleaning out the cupboard. Chopped and boiled two spuds, a huge zuch and a piece of pumpkin. Fork mashed into a baking tray and topped with sliced onion, tomatoes, mushrooms and czabi. Poured 4 beaten eggs over and baked in a med oven for 40 minutes. It was all right.

Ugly group of Jap tourists, no acknowledgement or 'Gooday' and a trail of Winfield butts from their car to the beach and back.

I was going to talk about the phones but just had an email break (off peak all day Sunday) and my bloody Kyocera has packed. "Service Required". Until then I could say that this was the first location where Margaret's digital GSM would not work but the cdma did. Went fine last night and just now logged into Dodo then it lost the call and died. Humfff. How the heck do I get a phone fixed while travelling.

Monday 8/3/04
VS Fridge 2.3 Amb 19.8 24.7V -34Ah

Tried the Kyocera phone again this morning. It comes up with a big egg timer and displays fs_dir.c for a while then 'service required'. Who will I call.

We left Gillards beach after midday yesterday. I had seen a sign to Bega, 17Km. via Dr George Mountain Road a few Km's back so deciding it may be a more interesting drive than the road we were on (no logic as the road was lovely) we headed towards it. Within a few meters it became a dirt road and before much farther I had R2 in low range crawling and bumping slowly upwards into Biamanga NP. Some way in we came to a sign pointing right, 12Km to Mumbulla Creek Falls, OK. There was a turn for the last few hundred meters descent to the falls area and at the turn another sign continuing on for Bega, 24Km. I was surprised to find that the falls were a place that J&E had taken me to for an afternoon out a few years ago. Considering the map it was only about 45Km from Bermagui although it had taken us two days to get there. On our previous visit Elaine had been amazed at how much work and money had been put into the place since her previous visit. Walking paths, bridges, viewing platforms, toilets and lots of storyboards explaining the significance of the area to local aboriginal culture. The falls are quite small, about a 3 meter stream dropping over a smooth rock face into a big rock water hole. All smooth and pink tinged, my guess, granite. A group of young guys were having a ball sliding down the falls and being ejected off the base into the water hole with a big splash. Margaret wouldn't be in it :. Another group we chatted with could not believe we had found the place by accident but there will be plenty more such times as I wonder 'what's down there'.

Out and onwards via the dirt road we saw a steeply climbing track to the right and on the off chance it may lead up to a lookout we turned in. It was steep narrow and bumpy. We got to the crest after about 3Km at the intersection of a fire trail (stringy bark ?) but unfortunately could get barely a glimpse through the forest of what would have probably been a great view. Back down and on towards Bega. This was the hardest driving I've put R2 through to date. No 4wd required but lots of low range and bumpy track. She handled it well, as did Margaret with not even a moan muttered.

Coming down off the Mumbulla Mountain into the farming Hamlet of Greendale was a huge contrast as the dull lit greys and browns of the forest quickly gave way to the brightest green grass fields and blue skies. We rumbled along very slowly just soaking up the quaintness of cows and calves and ducks and dams and lush green pastures. We came out to a T with no signpost. Um left or right. We chose left and some way down the track pulled up to a farmhouse to ask. A very wary chap told me we had guess right and were half a Km from the Princes highway where we turned left to Bega. It was after 5pm so I started looking for a spot to stop and go into town tomorrow. Along the river would have been great but all fenced off from the road. At the top of a hill we found the Bega Valley Lookout, a couple of Km's north of town. No signs other than it's name so we pulled up onto a grass area at the back and opened a beer.

A few things go together. Pasture = cattle = flies and they do spoil a relaxing moment admiring the view. I've copped a few other bites over the last few days which are persistant little hard lumps with an itch the size of a tennis ball. Sand flies, dunno, but when they get warm in bed they are maddening. Trying tea tree oil and alloe vera but not much help. I must remember to put more repellent on and take Vitamin B.

Will be heading into town for a bit of shopping and a visit to the library, maybe internet tho all I need is a connection for a local call. We are close to Candelo which was Margaret's Darragh ancestors were from 1862 to 1903 when they went to the Northern Rivers area of Kyogle.

Tuesday 9/3/04
8am. 3.3/19.1 24.2/-51

Woke to a grey misty morning back up on the Bega Lookout. The first waking was at 3.40am when I thought a semi had pulled in to join us. It was the garbo truck emptying the bin, cripes talk about an early start. The house batteries are halfway down in their 'safe zone'. I've set the discharge floor on the Emeter to 11-Ah which is 50% of their total capacity and best kept above there.

Yesterday was interesting and successful tho we spent the whole weeks allowance. Damn, we'll have to go bush and stay away from shops for a week.

On the way down into Bega we passed the cheese factory. Well you gotta have a look, I reckon I have shares in the place the amount I've eaten over the years. I was here about 30 years ago and have vague memories of a small shop where big lumps of cheese were cheap. That's all changed of course, the cheese is virtually the same price as at Woolies, but the museum and production viewing area were very worthwhile. I just luv old machinery that looks like it was made to last a thousand years. Big castings and bearing blocks with worn timber handles and polished brass makers plates. Dunno why but it gives a nice warm comfortable feeling that you just don't get from a nylon bush and a pic chip.

We went into Bega and started at the local crazy bargains type shop where we got a lot of useful bits. A couple of wooden door wedges which I'll try on a tyre instead of kindling next time. A pack of little plastic beads which I hope will solve a fishing problem. I've been finding that a running sinker tends to jamb on the knot above the swivel and becomes a fixed sinker. Going to try putting a plastic bead between the sinker and the knot.

Next stop the local mobile phone and electronics shop to see about getting the Kyocera fixed. No chance, they send them to Sydney. Funny enuff the lady had seen the fault once before, the guy bought a new phone!

To the TI. This one is run by two lady volunteers, good on 'em. They were very friendly and helpful. Told Margaret where to go for info on her family history, recommended some must sees on the way south and said we could return with the laptop to use their phone line for a local call to do email. People are much more informed and comfortable about letting you plug a computer into their phone line than just a few years back. They now believe you are not calling the USA :.

Next stop the Bega Pioneers Museum where Margaret bumped straight into the lady research officers. Ah this was Margaret's place and of course why we're here. Over the next couple of hours I think Margaret gave as much info as she got. Addresses were exchanged and promises made of more to come. They kindly let us hook onto their phone line so we never did get back to the TI. Shall do that today tho and send this one off.

And finally Woolies for food & drinks. Have already told you we made a dent in the card.

I bought a few cheap cans of fish. Home brand tuna, one in water, one in oil, plus a chunky pilchards cat food. Nah it's not emergency rations for when we're broke! Chap told me when we camped at Macksville about very successfully using tins of cat food to bait crab pots. Just bang a few holes in with a screwdriver. Now that's a great idea if you don't have anything else around and of course the tins can stay in a cupboard. Got me thinking about getting beach worms for bait. Drag the tin around instead of an old fish. Will let you know.

Last notes for yesterday. The local St. George did not have an internet banking terminal as does Nowra. They had phone banking but I've never done it and probably wouldn't know all the right numbers so we did it online at the Museum. I should assume this will be the case at a lot (most) of smaller branches.

A telephone tech point which maybe someone could confirm or correct. The museum had a commander system and a separate fax line. I used the fax line as I believe the commander system uses around 25V dc and normal landline 48V ac or vv ac/dc. Some years back in Singapore I connected a data device to a commander socket and they had to call in the repair man. Strange tho that I've never seen modems labeled 'do not connect to commander' or commander sockets labeled 'no modem'.

Today we shall tour the museum, visit the library and then head for Six Mile Creek campground near Candelo



Home Page
Top of Page

Copyright © Motorhomes Australia.    
Latest update March 2018

Click to visit our Sponsor "Fridge & Solar"