Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Flying Visits to Sydney and Nowra

Thursday 9th May

Dutifully deposited at Darwin airport, we made our way through to the terminal gate. Paul did not wait, being as how the plane was due to depart at 1.40 am. Ron was randomly selected for the explosives test and they suggested I remove my charm bracelet in case the alarm went off. I didn’t and it didn’t!!

We made our way through and seated ourselves and waited, and waited and waited. Of course the plane was late. They did say they would try to make up the time.
We saw the sunrise over the wing. Very pretty.


Then we realised it looked pretty good from the window behind with all the fluffy clouds. Finally we flew into Sydney via the northern beaches and the southern suburbs? (Don’t ask me, it’s what the Captain told us!)


Guy was busy doing laps of the airport (we didn’t make up all the delay time) and had left numerous messages on the phone number he had in his contact list for Ron. (Unfortunately for him, the new Secretary of Queensland Cricket Umpires Association now has several early morning messages regarding airline schedules). We finally found each other and duly arrived at the Fibro Majestic by mid-morning.

Much of the rest of the day was spent trying to catch up on missed sleep.

Annette and Guy went off to the theatre again in the evening and Ronnie and I were tucked up in bed and sound asleep by the time they got back.

Friday 10th May

Guy had a doctor’s appointment around noon so we all trundled off to E-woo, this time to the Korean Bar-b-que Restaurant, you know the ones with the ducks hanging in the window. Well, let me tell you, those ducks are delicious, especially when teamed with bar-b-que pork and assorted side dishes – yummo!!!!!

After lunch and Guy getting a good report from his doctor, we set off on The Bridge to Bridge (not the famous Sydney road race but a brisk walk from Meadowbank railway bridge to Ryde road bridge and several points in between.)


By this time, it was coffee o’clock and as our calorie count was now undoubtedly in credit, we stopped off at a lovely little Greek cafĂ© and had coffees with Baklava and Turkish Delight.

I finished knitting Xander’s monkey. (Don’t you love the effective use of mirrors?)

 I have ordered a book ‘That’s not my Monkey’ from Fishpond and that is being posted directly to him and I will post the monkey in the next few days.


Saturday 11th May

This morning we are heading off to Nowra to Ros and John’s and then we will decide where to from there.    

We are going down through National Park and following The Grand Pacific Drive so we can drive over Sea Cliff Bridge (the one that sticks out over the ocean).

It was a fabulous drive. The weather was great and the scenery was gorgeous.


It was Adam’s birthday so we were fourteen and a half (Laylah was the half) for dinner. It was a lovely afternoon and evening with all the kids around and Laylah really liked her little doll.


Of course, me being me, I had managed to leave my jumper and another book I had bought for Xander at Annette’s. So it will be back to Sydney again tomorrow.

Sunday 12th May

I woke up at 7.30 am to a Happy Mother’s Day message from Ben.

We figured we would leave Ros’s  early and grab our stuff on the way through. To this end, we left at 8.00 am and stopped off at Kiama for breaky and bought some groceries.

Then it was out over that gorgeous bridge again and through to Ryde.


Paul rang to wish me Happy Mothers Day.

We finally arrived at about 3.00 pm only to find out Annette and Guy are deserting us. They have a better offer – dinner with friends at the local Thai Restaurant.

 We have decided to stay the night (and not leave anything behind tomorrow) because we would not be able to get far enough away from Sydney if we left now.

Ron is making bacon, eggs and toast for dinner.

Dinner was divine and now I am off to luxuriate in a hot bath.

Monday 13th May

Because circumstances have over taken us (as indeed does most of the traffic – especially up hills) we won’t be able to catch up with Bob and Fran in time to travel together. This is very sad but hopefully we will still meet up in WA and maybe on their next trip we will be able travel together.

We have decided to strike north (to the warm weather again).

We left Sydney at about 10.00 am as we had decided not to leave at Stupid O’clock (peak hour) because if we did we would not get out till ten any way. So after a hearty breakfast and fond farewells, we hit the road.

 The drive was lovely, winding along the edge of Yengo National Park and the scenery was as always beautiful. We headed up through Peats Ridge, Bucketty, Laguna and stopped for lunch at a little park in Wollombi. We even had a luncheon  guest.



From there we drove on to (206) McNamara Park at Broke. What a lovely spot! It is huge, grassy and the toilets are so clean. There is a local store within walking distance as well. I know because I walked up and bought some ham for our lunch tomorrow.


It is very cold, so cold in fact that Ron is wearing his hoodie for the first time since we left home last July!!!!!!


Tuesday 14th May

It rained over night and was very overcast this morning. It was also quite cool. Undaunted, we went for a walk to the shop and purchased two onions and one tomato. That has bolstered the economy of Broke (and almost sent US broke at the same time!!!!)

The sun is shining now so we will see how the batteries go and that will determine if we stay tomorrow or not.

Cool Runnings

Wednesday 15th May

We decided to push on and packed Indie ready for our departure. I went and sat in the shelter shed in the sunshine (it was too cold to sit under the awning) and have my tea and toast. We got chatting to another couple, Ray and Brenda and didn’t get away till close to lunchtime!!

We drove up to Singleton, home of the world’s largest sun dial.

We did some more shopping and I posted Xander’s monkey to him. 

From there it was on to (187) Burning Mountain. We arrived at about 4.00 pm, set up camp and put out the awning. I went for a walk around the camp, mainly to keep the blood circulating, it was so cold – we’re talking tracky dacks and hoodies here. Just a few days ago it was 34 degrees and sleeveless frocks!!!!!

The locals didn’t seem to notice the cold.


We met the neighbours, Kevin and Lorraine from Queensland, Peter from Western Australia and Rosanna from Tasmania and chatted for a while but finally the cold beat us and we all retreated indoors again.

It was so cold, Ronnie refused to cook outside and we ended up having sandwiches for dinner.

During the night, it got quite windy and Ronnie braved the elements (and frost bite) and brought in the awning.

Thursday 16th May

We decided to do the walk up to the lookout. The walk is described as about 4 klms and suitable for anyone of reasonable fitness. While you may be aware of measurements like metres and kilometres we have discovered a new one –

Ronometres (named after our Ronnie). One kilometre equals approximately five Ronometres. The sun was shining when we left and without the wind, it was quite pleasant. After driving through the mining areas around Singleton and seeing what the open cuts do to the landscape, the scenery here was magnificent (if somewhat steep).

We finally reached the area that is Burning Mountain. It is a naturally ignited coal seam that has been burning for several thousand years. It was noted by Sir Thomas Mitchell in 1829.

The area has a moonscape look to it. It is completely bereft of vegetation and the ground is quite warm to stand on.

The area itself is quite small and to be totally honest, we were a bit underwhelmed by the whole thing. There were occasional puffs of smoke to be seen rising out of small holes and that was about it – more a smouldering hillock than a burning mountain but quite interesting none the less.


Having completed our 20 Ronometre round trip, we headed off through Musswellbrook and Murrurundi and arrived at (386) Quirindi Caravan Park at about 1.30 pm. ($23.00 per night for a powered site).

We needed to recharge everything we own and do the laundry. It started well and then the temperature really plummeted. Ron dug about in the boot and got out our little red fan heater and put it on to warm Indie up this afternoon. After a few hours, we realised that we have reverse cycle air conditioning – duh - obviously the cold has played havoc with our brain cells but we have thawed a little now.

Again, Ron has refused to venture outside to cook but he made a delicious beef curry this time.

We watched the news this evening and it does not auger well weatherwise with the bureau threatening even colder weather – into the minuses even. With this threat hanging over us we have decided to get as far away as we can tomorrow.

Moving to Moree and Mungindi

Friday 17th May

With the promise of today’s high temperature at Moree being 20 degrees and all around in the teens, we opted for the prospect of warmth.

We left the Quirindi caravan park and headed out through town. We hadn’t gone far before we spotted the sign to the lookout

 And, who’d a thought it, you could see the fog rolling through and lifting between the mountain ranges in the distance.

There was a pretty impressive view of Quirindi as well.
From here, we headed across towards Narrabri. The sun was shining and it was quite pleasantly warm in Indie.
Between Gunnedah and Narrabri, we came across two men and a dog droving about a hundred head of cattle
We stopped at a little park in Narrabri to stretch our legs and we had a bit of a wander through town. It is very small and quite pretty with lots of little flower beds on the sides of the roads
From there, we drove to (902) Tookeys Creek Rest Area. There is no creek but there are toilets! I only mention this because it says in my book that there aren’t any (would be worse if it was the other way around!) It is quite cool but not as cold as last night …yet.

Ronnie whipped up a splendid meal of bacon, egg, sausage, vegetables and mashed potato fritters. He did have an ulterior motive however; he wanted to listen to the footy before we watched our TV shows.

As I returned to Indie, having availed myself of the facilities, at about 9.00 pm, I could see reflected in the light from my headlamp two small green lights about 40 odd centimetres above the ground. Too low to be a U.F.O. but, it turned out, just the right height to be a fox!!! It came straight towards me, bold as brass and followed me right up to Indie’s door. I was quite frightened.

Saturday 18th May

We were ready to go early this morning and our cunning plan has paid off. The weather is quite pleasant. The sun is shining and I have taken some time to do some Tai Chi.
You really know you are in cotton country here. There are piles of cotton bales ready for transport

and there is cotton all along the side of the road that has escaped from the road trains en route.

We did not stop at Moree but drove through to Mungindi and stopped at Major Mitchell Crossing on the border of N.S.W. and Queensland.
It is beautiful here beside the Barwon River and it is the resting place of the wandering geese whom, it would appear, wanted to join us for lunch.

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