January, February and March on the road again ….
NOT ALL MISSIONS ARE IMPOSSIBLE …at least we hope not and it's good to be on the road once again …
We had unpacked over 120 boxes and installed ourselves in a lovely home at Tea Gardens Grange, viewing the scenery and enjoying the company of some very good friends, native animals and local attractions, when we realised it must be time for another caravan outing. After all, we’d be in one place for just over 2 months and it was time to be off.
We did have a mission in mind though and wondered if it might just pay off.
The caravan was stored just 4 minutes from our house, it was reregistered and given it’s 12000 km check and we were ready to pack it up. This time we planned to get down to Ganmain, just west of Wagga, to see our little Miss Gracie into school at St Brendan’s Primary there. That was our mission.
This was our one and only plan – truly – and from there we thought we might get down to Albury and see Mike and Jenny and then see what turned up! Our time was our own and now we live in a village which is cared for and tended to during our absence, for however long we might wander so there was no rush to get home again. Skippy was a happy passenger and off we set on a grey, cold and very wet day.
Our journey from Tea Gardens to salubrious Rouse Hill mobile village, just north of Sydney, where 95% of tradies live in cabins, was uneventful except that it poured with rain and it kept on pouring down for 3 of the 4 days we were there. Heavens above, this isn’t much of a start for a holiday, but we suspected the weather would improve as we headed south. Caravanning takes on a whole new meaning in the rain doesn't it.
Our destination this time was close to Wagga and in Junee Tourist Park – just near the Liquorice Factory there and overlooking a duck-filled pond and surrounded by green paddocks and sports field. How lovely we thought which is was and very quiet too.
As always when our mission was to see Gracie, and we of course wondered how we would fare with her mum and her partner. It was usually ok and manageable, but we never were really sure. However, our arrival at Waratah in Ganmain, which is Peter’s 6000 acre crops and sheep property, was really super. Little Gracie ran out of the house straight towards me, arms open wide and I gave her a big hug. (Tears close by at this time ..!) She seemed as pleased as we were to see us. She did say rather quietly "where are the teddies Gran?" Ooops, I always bring the two big teddies with me when we see her and she loves them. But in our haste (and I suspect they are still in a box) I had forgotten them. Oh dear ...
Our afternoon, however, with her and Mel was a happy one and she rode her pony Cowgirl very well and we were proud of her. She is after all, only 5 years old. But she has a good seat, rides well and seems confident too. Apparently though her latest interest is in aerials - you know, those long elastic ropes when you jump on a trampoline and soar into the air. Just like her dad - completely fearless!
Maybe this was a Mission that was turning out to be possible after all.
The following morning we were outside the school very early and Gracie arrived with a few other littlies due to start kindergarten on the same morning. There were just 7 newcomers, and a total of just 40 children in the entire school – how lucky is Gracie!
We saw her classroom, met her little friends and spoke with her teacher Julie – a happy morning and just after 9.15 the school bell rang and they lined up and went into their classroom. All the new mums – we were the ONLY grandparents there – were busy taking pictures through the classroom window .. and so did we!
Another Mission had been accomplished !
From there we decided to head off and it was during this time we got the news that dear Jack Whitcomb had passed away on Sunday in Adelaide and his funeral would be in there on Friday 6th. Our next mssion would therefore have to be to get there in time. It was important - Jack had been an integral part of Dave's life - with Chris - when they arrived shortly after Jack and Greta did - in December 1964.
So- instead of heading south to see Mike and Jenny in Albury as we thought we might do, we had to turn west towards South Australia. We travelled through Narrandera and Balranald and found a delightful little place on the banks of the Murray, just over the river from Victoria for our overnight stop. This place had the cutest name – Tooleybuc. What a wonderful name, and we stayed there overnight in a tiny caravan park surrounded by roses and fruit pickers in the cabins. Quite an experience especially when the pickers arrived back from the pub late and celebrated their pickings until the wee small hours. We couldn’t complain – after all, we’ve done our share of celebrating until well after the wee small hours!
Today we crossed the River Murray at Tooleybuc, across the bridge that still can be ‘lifted’ in order to allow the paddlesteamers through – an amazing piece of Australian history when wool and timber were shipped down the Murray the third-longest river system in the world) to Adelaide - over 1000 kms.
Travelling across the Mallee Highway today through tiny hamlets such as Walpeup Lakes, Ouyen and Patchewollock, we found ourselves at Tailem Bend and now we are in South Australia. This state borders Victoria and it is here one must surrender any fruit and vegetables that you may have in order to reduce the incidence of the dreaded fruit fly – which is not found in South Australia. This has us wondering really – do those flies really know when to stop at the Quarantine Station? That is a mission that’s impossible – at least to our tiny minds.
Mid afternoon we arrive at Tailem Bend on the Murray River and found a delightful caravan park here, high up and overlooking the river. The wind is almost gale force but bright sunshine and so we challenge the elements and sit looking across at this stunning view enjoying our usual glass of … what is it today .. oh yes, white for D and red for me.
Another mission accomplished….
Tomorrow we are heading for Semaphore Beach caravan park (NE of the city of Adelaide) and along the way we shall drop Skip off for 3 days at Mt Osmond Pet Care – taking a dog to a funeral is not a mission that is possible – however on Saturday we’ll collect her from there on our way south via Port Noarlunga on our way to Port Jackson, a delightful spot on the Coorong National Park – where the film Storm Boy was filmed. From there it is likely we'll head for Mt Gambier and then the Great Ocean Road in southern Victoria.
That is possibly our next mission …. You’ll have to wait and see !