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

Motorhome Travels - August 2004


The end of another month and I'm still in cold Melbourne. At least it is all in a good cause (mainly that we will be able to eat for the next few months).

The work here is going well and I am enjoying being back in the thick of IT. I was due to leave on the 9th of August but there is just a few more things to be done here (including a #@$% Citrix server). So I will be here for two weeks more. The plan is to leave Melbourne about the 20th.

Speaking of plans - we have been looking at the map and the weather averages for the Northern Territory and Western WA, we do not want to rush to be out of that part of the country before the cyclone season hits. So we think we may change the route (being flexible is great). We may just head to the centre for the rest of the winter, have a look around Alice Springs etc then ... well then, who knows?

We are really excited that John and Glenda (friends of ours in NZ) have bought a bus! They are going to have such a great time travelling around NZ. Once they have covered NZ hopefully they will bring the motorhome over here.


OX in Melbourne - [Click for a Larger Image]
OX in Melbourne

Today I leave Melbourne! I have really enjoyed my time here, but I'll be glad to get back to the motorhome and a normal life. To all my friends in Melbourne ... many thanks for making it a fun place to be. Don't be surprised if you arrive at work one day to find a big white motorhome parked in the driveway (blocking the ice freezer). Thanks to Geoff the web developer, I have learned a few new tricks, you may see some of those on this very web site quite soon!

We still are not sure where we are heading from Cairns - but we will be leaving there in just a few days.  Gee - I hope the old girl starts, it's been a while!














The All Black Supporters - [Click for a Larger Image]
The All Black Supporters

While we are all too aware that the Tri-Nations is all over, I was pleased to discover that Tracey was as supportive of the All Blacks while in Cairns as I was in Melbourne. This photo was taken the night the New Zealand All Blacks faced Australia in Sydney. Tracey, Lisa (the pom) and Troy in the motorhome before descending on the local sporting pub.













Leavin the park in Cairns - Crunch! - [Click for a Larger Image]
Leavin the park in Cairns - Crunch!

Oh how good it felt to be finally heading out that gate! It seems so long ago that we were driving in that same gate. Unfortunately the motorhome seems to be a little wider on the way out - just as I was taking this photo I heard the unmistakable squeal of distressed metal as Tracey attempted to widen the exit with the motorhome! Fortunately it sounded a lot worse than it really was. We simply wiped the lower part of the awning bracket clean off the side of the motorhome. One phone call to the helpful people at AussiTraveler and a new bracket is on it's way to meet us at Georgetown.  Just a few little things to pickup around town, some replacement studs for one of the front wheels and we are heading out of Cairns. We liked Cairns a lot, it is a place we could live (although we have not been there in the height of summer). Before we left I arranged the flights for Zoie (number one daughter) to meet us in Alice Springs. I guess that takes care of any decision on where we are heading.  We have got a couple of months to get there!



Map of Cairns 3D - [Click for a Larger Image]
Map of Cairns 3D

This 3D (OziExplorer) map/satellite photo is of the climb out of Cairns and up onto the Atherton Tablelands. The yellow line is the track we took. As you can see it was quite a climb, but the old bus never missed a beat, she just climbed like she had been resting in preparation for it for months. (click on the image for a larger version)

Today we visited the coffee factory in Mareeba. We now realise just how little we knew about the production of coffee. For $5.50 each we were guided around the factory and given unlimited access to taste all 12 of the coffee blends produced at the factory, these included some fairly spectacular flavoured varieties. We also consumed a little more than our fair share of chocolate coated coffee beans. Needless to say we were seriously buzzing with coffee overload by the time we left the factory.






Today we travelled to Chillagoe - a fairly quiet little outback town with a fledgling tourist industry based on the limestone caves found in the area.

We decided to explore a couple of the self-guide caves and found them a welcome refuge from the midday heat but lacking in the normal intricate formations. In the evening we enjoyed a drink with Ian and Anne who parked next to us, followed by a BBQ meal and a pint or two at the local pub.




We left Chillagoe yesterday morning and after a short visit to Australia's (and perhaps the worlds) only BYO pub (located at Lappa) we headed west over a heavily corrugated dirt road that shook the crap out of us for over an hour. With our teeth severely loosened, we stopped for the night near a tiny stream. The thick layer of dust that coated the entire contents of the motorhome prompted us to once again attempt a dust proofing exercise.

With just 40km of dirt road remaining (and 494,361 corrugations) we took to the road a little after 10am. The one good thing about corrugated back roads is the feeling of relief you get when you finally get back on the tar!

Only flat on the bottom - [Click for a Larger Image]
Only flat on the bottom

It was while travelling along one of those good sealed roads (at about 90km/hr) that we were treated to the most bowel evacuating, explosive noise, a violent shudder and heavy swerve to the left. The left front tire had exploded. It took about a 100m to pull up and the motorhome stopped shaking immediately - we took a little longer. About two hours later we had panel-beaten the inside of the guard back into shape, fitted the spare tire and were heading for the nearest town appropriately named "Mount Surprise" (although "Mount Crap-ya-dacks" might be even more appropriate).

Unfortunately the surprise part of Mount Surprise is that there is nothing other than a general store there (the other surprising thing is that there is no mount - what a surprise!). 100km further on we found Georgetown and more importantly a tire workshop. The owner "Bushy", who seems like a reasonable bloke, has found a replacement tire  but it will take 6 days to get here. Just as well we are not in a hurry. We will find a nice secluded spot to camp for a few days, chill out and recover from today's heart-stopping, pants-soiling fun. 


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