Tasmania 2020

First day of 2020 we were ready to hit the road. As usual we stopped at Horseshoe Bay in Bowen for a few hours. Had a swim and sat in my swimming togs under a tree. First mistake. Now I got a reddish glow all over. Arrived in Mackay later in the afternoon. They were working hard at preparing a X Mas meal for us. And they excelled themselves. Only a short visit and the next day stopped for lunch at Marlborough. This stretch of road was infamous for the amount of people that got murdered in the 70's. Stopped at a roadside rest area. Susan slept like a log but for me too much road noise. Next morning a two hour drive to Calliope river rest area. This is one of out favourite spots to camp. Pity we can only stay one day. The last couple of years we camped on the high side because the low side was washed out years ago after a flood. This time it was all levelled out and very busy. School holidays are still on and most workers have holidays as well. But we managed a spot beside the river.     Direction Brisbane again. Went to visit Betty Jenji in Harvey Bay. We know her from years ago and from the motorhome club. Spend the night there and on to Brisbane. New Farm park is where we have spend a lot of time during the years and it is close to our good friend Linda Lewellyn. The reason for going through Brisbane was I needed new shock absorbers for the bus and the only one who could supply a pair was a firm in Brisbane. We had to stay here two days because the shock absorber of the bus could not be repaired the same day.


                         Flynn Jed  Nikaela Susan                                                                    Old bushfire near Milmerran

Tuesday 7th. Half way the afternoon set the TomTom on Healesville where Paul lives and just followed the directions. We ended up in Toowoomba. More fuel and our first taste of an Aldi store. Followed the directions again and ended up in Pitsworth and camped beside a bone dry river. Milmerren and Goondiwindi. . On the way our first glimpse of the bushfires which came through here  a few month ago. We expect to see plenty more. While we walked through Goondiwindi we saw a sign in front of a Chinese restaurant lunch $7.50 and realised we ate there a year ago. History repeated itself. This time camped beside a river which had water in it. The days have been very hot but normally when the sun goes down it becomes very comfortable. Not this time. When we went to bed at 10 o clock it was 35 degrees inside and outside the bus.  
Thursday.  Only 150 KM. Not much to see. This is grain country for as far as you can see. Had a coffee in Moree. And because we had to forward our watch an hour it was nearly lunch time after I updated this in the library. Lunch was a foot long at subway. We camped beside a river where we had been before. This time it was hot and the water refreshing. Went in several times while Susan just kept reading her book.  While we were watching TV about the bush fires I noticed a red glow behind us and the wind picked up substantially. It looked like a fire was heading our way but it turned out to be a sand storm. We decided to leave because rain was coming and the dirt tracks can become very slippery. We just parked in town somewhere for the night and had a game of bush rummy and King in the corner. My lucky night I won both.



Only thing to do when it is 45 degrees.                                                                 A few hours later sandstorm                                     

Next night after 330 KM because there was not much to see in between we stopped in Gilgandra. A lot of sporting clubs and hotels offer free overnight stays in the hope that you spend a few dollars in their restaurant. And we always do. First happy hour in the bowling club and after that a Chinese meal. it was still very hot. Normally it cools  when she sun goes down but not the last few days. WE left all the windows open but at two in the morning another sand storm. Took a lot of cleaning. While watching TV in Gilgandra we saw that the Parkes Elvis festival was on. We were there two years ago but we did not aim for it this year. It just happen to be on when we pass through. Lucky after the sand storm the temperature dropped by 10 degrees and made it comfortable to watch the proceedings. We stayed two nights. Even if we wanted to stay in a caravan park that would not be possible because everything is booked out.

    The sandstorm was 200 KM long and this is what it looked like from the sky in Parkes                                  Little Elvis at Parkes
I always try to find a camp spot beside the water. Via Forbes we found one in Cowra. Had a swim in the river. This was a bit of a shock. All the places were we were before the water was a comfortable temperature. But here it took a bit of getting used to. I don't think I will be swimming any time soon anymore. When I looked on the map I saw we were only 180 KM from Canberra where we have family. I had planned to go there after we had been to Tasmania and hoped the roads would be passable again after the fires. We were welcome by Ria van der Zandt.  An also a surprise that it was Hans van der Zandt's 75th birthday and we were invited for his party at a restaurant. All in all a very pleasant few days.  After a family brunch we left on the 17th. On the way we visited Norma and Maarten Black. Always good to catch up with family and friends. Thanks to the Wiki Camps app we found another camp beside the river in Yass. When we went to the dump point there someone left his satellite dish there. Mine has taken a bit of a battering when I reversed in to something. It did not take to long to get it exchanged. We decided to stay another day. The temperature has dropped to 20 degrees when we woke up. In Canberra we even had some hail. While we were having happy hour a bunch of very large kangaroos dropped by across the river. There is a lot of live in them hills. All morning you see rabbits running around. Sunday parked behind a pub in Tumbarumba. Had a few beers and both of us a meal. During the night it poured rain. And the temperature dropped considerably. There are a lot of fire engines around but after this downpour they are not needed here anymore. During the day the temperature dropped to 15 degrees. Susan has her wish. We went south to escape the heat. Did not travel far on Monday. Camped beside a river Near Hume weir east of Albury overlooking a valley. Beautiful.
    Hans van der Zandt's 75th birthday                           Across the river in Yass                        Firs time we saw a lot of houses burned

The photo is not as impressive as the real thing. View from bus.


We did spend a bit of time in Albury. Uncle Dan Murphy, Aldi and fuel.  We wanted to visit friends in Myrtleford and when we called them they happened to be in Albury. Still made an appointment to visit them at home. We had some tyre trouble and I decided to use roadside assist to change the tyre for me. Yes I am getting lazy now I am getting older. We met the friends Vienna and Robert Broz in West Australia years ago. They did house-sitting for us in Townsville. We had a pleasant evening with them and it was good to catch up. Next day another couple we met in West Australia two Dutchies Bill and Phil van Ruth. Just went in for a cup of coffee or two. They have a big old bus but recently bought a caravan which they are doing up. Spend the night in Benalla. Had happy hour with other campers and when the wind started to blow and branches fell it was time to go inside. The weather changed and the next two days rain. When we woke up in the next town Yea it was 10 degrees. We are getting very close to Melbourne only one more visit before we reach Paul. Rie Oude Meilink is another old Dutch friend. Arrived in Healesville in the afternoon. Susan was not very impressed the way Paul left the house. She expected everything to be ship shape. What do you expect from a bachelor household. We had a wonderful relaxing time here.

              Paul Susan and the dogs in Healesville                                              26 January.   One more day and we are away



  The Tasmanian adventure is on Tasmania 2020 B