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Tales of the travels, trials and triumphs as we explore Australia in a converted bus

Motorhome Travels - September 2003

Our third month on the road starts with us in Goondiwindi.


We arrived in Goondiwindi fairly early this morning and it seems surprisingly cool here (temperature - not appealing). We picked up our mail from the post office (thanks Lee) and the new OziEX3D software and DEM data. This means we can now produce 3D maps of our travels. This can be done using the standard electronic maps we use or the geo referenced satellite images I downloaded from the web.

Here are a couple of examples...

a 3d mapp of the motorhome travels
Our track past Lake Moogerah. This is the
combination of a satellite image, the DEM elevation
data and the track from our GPS.
2d map of the motorhome travels
This is the flat map of the same area
a 3d mapp of the motorhome travels
This is the same area but using a standard topo
map instead of the satellite image.

In all cases the yellow line is the track that we took (as recorded by the GPS). All of these images are sadly lacking in the low res that I use on the web site, the real thing is very impressive. These are just screen captures - the application that displays the images allows for the rotation and viewing of the map from any angle.

Enough about maps ... Goondiwindi - described in the local tourist guide as "A rapidly growing, vibrant town that still retains its rural charm". Well I can report that they have a McDonalds!


We are still in Goondiwindi - not so much coz it is a wonderful place - it is because the pump we ordered from "The 12 volt Shop" (in Perth) has not yet arrived, so we are stuck here until it does.

Goondiwindi - [Click for a Larger Image]

After huge deliberation and lots of research, we have decided to buy a Minelab metal detector - that should be fun, it will be in St George in a few days.

Last night we went to the movies - Finding Nemo. Cool movie! We both enjoyed it. As we are parked not too far from the theatre, I went there a few hours before the movie start time to get tickets (well ya never know it could be sold out). After paying the money, I waited for the tickets and the girl just looked at me. I said "Tickets?" she replied "We don't use tickets, we just remember you". Goondiwindi is a small town!

Well I just went to the post office and to my joy, the package from the 12-Volt-Shop  has arrived. When I opened the package my joy turned to disbelief. They have sent us the wrong $#%^% pump. Unbelievable! I took extreme care when ordering the pump (fearing just this). I now have to make another expensive cell phone call to Perth, pay for the incorrect unit to be returned and wait another 5 days for the correct one. Now that "rips my shorts" - it is nothing more than a lack of care. Lets see how they deal with it. I will have to wait a few hours until Perth wakes up before phoning them. 



We have now moved on from Goondiwindi, west to Talwood. It is beginning to feel like the outback now with little sign of there ever having been rain here. We spoke to some cotton farmers today who said that it has not rained here for 2 years and they will not plant a crop again this, the second year of the drought. Still, that aside, it is nice and warm here, getting up to 32 degrees today. Talwood is tiny, just a shop and a pub, but they are very traveller friendly, providing camping at the local recreation ground (including power and hot showers) at no charge (one night max). We will head to the pub tonight to meet the locals.

The pump saga had a bitter sweet ending... when I phoned the 12 volt shop, they apologized and took an address to send the replacement pump. Before hanging up, I checked the model number of the pump they were about to dispatch to me and (can you believe it?) - it was the same as the one I had. The person I was speaking to clearly did not know what an in-line pump was. As you can imagine, I burst a blood vessel at this stage, and was then told that they no longer import the inline pumps. Great, lets recap ... I order an inline pump, they don't have one and so send me a submersible one instead. To cut a long story short (I'm sure you have read enough on this subject now) I went to the local hardware shop and purchased some pipe fittings and bits to convert the pump I now have to do the job. To everyone's surprise, it worked just fine. Lets call it Kiwi ingenuity! I will certainly think twice before mail ordering anything from the 12-Volt Shop again!



Nindagully - great outback pub - [Click for a Larger Image]
Nindagully - great outback pub

Yesterday we travelled the short hop to Nindagully and stopped at the pub for the night. They have a large area by the river set aside for camping, caravans and motorhomes. As it turns out, it was a special day for the Nindagully pub - the rally cars from the Endeavour rally (fund raising for something) arrived about 5pm.

Nindagully - [Click for a Larger Image]

We spent the day by the river talking with some other motor homers about fruit picking and other work stuff.














The first of our metal detected finds - [Click for a Larger Image]
The first of our metal detected

At this rate we will be rich in just over 900 years! We are still learning to use the machine but so far it is very impressive in its ability to identify the target. A camping area next to a pub is not a great place to try it out for the first time - over 100 years of bottle tops and can tabs. Among the find there is a 1925 sixpence - interesting if not valuable.

Today Tracey also caught two nice fish - unfortunately, in the process of getting them free of the net she severely cut her finger on the fishing knife. A quick trip to St George (45km) and a few stiches later - we are back at the motorhome. It was a very sharp knife - we know this because Tracey spent an hour sharpening it last night. She was a very brave girl and only cried when the doctor tried to tell a New Zealand joke. Stiches out in 7 days!





We have been without cell coverage for a few days and are now in Yuleba - actually we are just out of the town in a very nice camp spot by the river.

Yuleba  - [Click for a Larger Image]

Today we took the old Cobb & Co track from Surat - some interesting stuff on the way and we stopped off at an old 'change station' (where they would attach fresh horses to the coaches). The metal detector found all sorts of bits - harness buckles and horse stuff but nothing to make us rich.

A map of the motorhomes travels
this map shows our track for September to date.

The fridge has not been coping well with the heat and we have decided to replace it. We are going to go to an electric, compressor type fridge. This means we need lots more solar panels (just how many depends greatly on the fridge). Necessary I'm afraid - I don't mind the heat if I can have a cold beer at the end of the day, right now we have warm beer only! The sooner we can get the fridge in and working, the better. 

Tracey's finger is healing well and is now down to a light bandage - another week and she will be back on dishes duty (for quite some time).


On Monday we moved on from Yuleba to Roma. I have sent out lots of emails asking for pricing and advise on the replacement of the fridge and have had a few replies. We have decided to purchase a Waeco 220 litre 24 volt fridge to replace the existing temperamental gas fridge. This means we will need a lot more power, so we have ordered 4 additional Unisolar 64 watt panels. This, in addition to our existing 160 watts should be enough, but just in case it is not we will wire and allow space for one additional 24 volt panel.

On Tuesday we moved out to the show grounds at Wallumbilla (40k east of Roma). Here we found Tony and Liz (who we met in Surat). They are travelling around with their caravan for a few months.

Dinner at the mess - [Click for a Larger Image]
Dinner at the mess

This weekend Roma celebrates "Roma Remembers". Paying tribute to the war-time efforts of the people of Roma and the men who died during the wars. We have purchased tickets to a "mess dinner" complete with war time entertainment. On Friday night a mess style dinner is to be served in a mess tent at the Roma visitors centre.

Thursday - Today we moved the existing BP solar panels to make room for then new panels that we have ordered from Val at Fridge and Solar. There is a slight possibility that the gear (fridge and solar panels) could be here tomorrow. We have to go to Roma tomorrow as Tracey has an interview at the local hospital and our mess dinner is also in Roma tomorrow night.

Friday - all the gear has arrived and is at the depot in Roma - now that was quick. I will have to up grade my opinion of Val to "excellent fellow".

Tracey had her interview - She said that she was only asked two questions ...
1. Are you a registered nurse? and
2. When can you start?
The bad news is that it is in the aged care section - she likes old people only slightly more than she likes children. Never mind - I can lay the new tiles while she works to pay for them.

We picked up the fridge and solar panels and left them in the back of the motorhome while we went to the mess dinner.

We did not expect too much from the dinner and we were still disappointed. The entertainment was ok but the dinner was a bit of a shocker - if that is army food, I'd opt for the navy!


The old gas fridge leaves the bus - [Click for a Larger Image]
The old gas fridge
leaves the bus

Back in Wallumbilla - we are up early and ready to attack the job of removing the old fridge and installing the new one. While that may sound easy, it proved far from it. We will had to disassemble most of the new kitchen and a good part of the lounge. Tony was a huge help and I'm not sure that we could have moved the old fridge without his assistance.


By 4pm the old fridge was out and the new one was in place and cooling the beer. Liz was very kind and cooked dinner so we did not have to stop and find the kitchen. This allowed us to continue until we had most of the kitchen and lounge back together.

The new electric fridge is wired in - [Click for a Larger Image]
The new electric fridge
is wired in

Sunday was a day of rest - not much was done except some prep for the installation of the new solar panels scheduled for tomorrow.

Monday - up early and on the roof before the sun gets too high in the sky. The first bank of panels are up and working before midday. We will stay out of the heat in the middle of the day (it get up to around 37 degrees and seems like 47 on the roof of the motorhome). We started on the second bank when the shade from a tree provided some relief at about 3pm. By 5:30 we were done. And we enjoyed a cold beer with Tony and Liz and Pip and Mel (entertainers who have been playing in the area for the last few weeks).  The beer was the coldest and best beer we have had in months - it all seemed worth it at the moment of the first gulp! Once again the DeWalt battery powered tools have done their job - thanks Warwick.

Tuesday - a day of (well deserved) rest.
I called United Airline today to find out if they had sent my ticket for my trip to NZ yet (as we will be going back to Roma tomorrow and the ticket should be at the Post Office waiting for us). They could find not trace of the booking!!! Unbelievable!! They have promised to "get right on it" and will make the booking as soon as the computer comes back up (oh - I love that excuse). The tickets will be dispatched to Roma tomorrow.


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