Day 194 of retirement

December 26, 2017

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Hi All

Monday 18th December:

Left Menindee for Mildura. Now we had two choices of routes. One was 300km with 130km of dirt road. The other 400km but all sealed road. We took the 400km route, as we didn’t fancy doing the dirt bit in the Mazda.

We arrived in Mildura early afternoon in time for lunch then checked into our luxury cabin and had our afternoon siesta, as it was another scorcher outside.

Tuesday 19th December:

Another scorcher today so off to do the 11:00am paddle steamers cruise. Very interesting 2 hour cruise as we heard all about the old days of steamer boats on the Murray.

Back at 1:00pm and off to Gol Gol for lunch. Just as we arrived the hot north wind hit and it blew a gale (whitecaps on the Murray River). So after lunch it was back to the cabin for our siesta in the hottest part of the day.

At 4:00pm a huge storm hit with thunder and lightning along with pea sized hailstones. Just on 5:00pm as the storm subsided the power went out. Learnt from the park owners that 2,800 homes in Mildura are without power and they hope to have power restored by 9:00pm.

Then the sun came back out it became extremely humid. Ooohhhhh well good training for when we return to Marinduque (brownouts and all).

Wednesday 20th December:

Left Mildura for Renmark (150km) in much cooler conditions this morning. Along the way we visited the Inland Botanical Gardens and Orange World.

The Inland Botanical Gardens has the Sturt Desert Peas in full bloom, which was spectacular. The rose gardens were also in full bloom. Very nice place to visit as it was full of color and the smell of the roses was fabulous.

Next stop just up the road was Orange World. We took a tour of the 10,000 orange tree orchard and heard all about growing oranges, mandarins, lemons, limes and avocados. Also very interesting.

Made it to Renmark by 1:30pm so into town for lunch. Back to our very nice huge cabin and settled in for the afternoon.

Thursday 21st December:

Left Renmark for Port Willunga (our home away from… well no home) in nice cooler conditions (330km @ 4 hours drive). Grabbed a few groceries and lunch then back to the house to unpack the mighty Mazda as we are here for a week.

Guy found a cherry orchard 20 minutes away that allows self-picking of nice plum sweet cherries. So off we went and filled up a bucket and of course sampled a few (well quite a few) cherries. We both felt sick from an over indulgence of cherries.

Gave the mighty Mazda a wash and vacuum, as she was looking a bit rough and eeky after her outback experience. Like new again.

Friday 22nd December:

Leisurely morning as we made our way into Adelaide to the central market. Caught up with my sister Sandy and planned out the food requirements for the next 4 days. All stocked up and back to Port Will for a relaxing afternoon.

Saturday 23rd December:

Lazy day relaxing and eating with a siesta thrown in for good measure. For dinner Guy and I took Sandy & Brian out to the Star of Greece restaurant. Awesome food and view over the beach. After dinner we wandered down to the beach and watched the magnificent sunset.

Sunday 24th December:

After a last minute dash to the supermarket for a few supplies it was off to Second Valley south of Port Willunga to have a look at the geological formations.

A very interesting place with some magnificent geological formations to look at.

Then back to the cherry-picking farm where we picked another bucket of plump, juicy red cherries. Should last us a few days. Back for a late lunch and our afternoon siesta.

Monday 25th December:

Merry Xmas everybody. We had a light lunch with just the four of us as the big Kloeden family gathering is tomorrow. My boys (Rik, Jas & Mike) arrived late afternoon to stay the night so good to see them once again.

Tuesday 26th December:

We spent the morning preparing food ready for our Xmas celebrations at lunchtime. The rest of the family (my brother and crew) arrived at midday and the feast began for all eleven of us.

A great day was had by all.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

Day 184 of retirement

December 17, 2017

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Hi All

Monday 11th December:

Left the magnificent Wilpena Pound for Broken Hill (500km / 5.5 hours). Beautiful countryside and no traffic. After checking into our motel it was off for a late lunch and then into the info centre to plan our next few days. The temperature is climbing to 40oC over the next few days so will need to plan our exploring to work around the heat.

Tuesday 12th December:

Off Silverton way toady with the first stop at the old Day Dream Silver mine. It is 20km on sealed road then 13km on dirt road. The dirt wasn’t too bad and the mighty Mazda handled it well. The old mine is certainly in the middle of nowhere. Amazing how somebody actually found silver right there.

We did the mine tour and heard all the stories of years gone by (The mine is purely a tourist attraction now).

Following the tour we had the best ever (just like my mum used to make) scones, jam and cream (real whipped cream).

Then off to Silverton and visited the Mundi Mundi lookout (looks out over a vast beautiful nothing) and the Umberumberka Reservoir which is now dry. Back to the pub for a cool Coke and a real old fashioned hot dog (just like I used to have as a kid). We decided to stay at this hotel for 1 night to stargaze as we heard this place to be real good for it.

On the way home we detoured to the Sculptures in the Desert for a look. Did a wander round but had to cut it short due to the heat. It was damn hot.

We made our way back for the sunset. Awesome magical and well worth the visit. Although we did get eaten by little black ants. They attacked everybody there so we weren’t alone.

Wednesday 13th December:

In for a scorcher today so only small activities planned. After a sleep in and a load of washing it was off to the Pro Hart gallery. We spent about half an hour watching various video clips of his life and talking about his art works.

Then we wandered round his gallery (No photos allowed) looking at a very good selection of his works throughout the years. It was extremely interesting and we both topped up on culture.

Ooohhhh and it was air-conditioned, so bonus.

After lunch at the local Demos services club we headed to the Silver City Arts Centre. The attraction here is “The Big Picture” which is a 100m long by 12m high circular canvas painting (the largest canvas painting in the world).

Local artist Peter Anderson took 2 years to paint the canvas. He used 9 tonne of paint and added 300 tonnes of red earth and 10 tonnes of rock to make it feel like you are standing in the outback. Very impressive (no photos allowed unfortunately).

Then back to the room to sit out the hottest part of the day. Just checked the temp on BOM and it is 41.6C at 3:00pm.

Thursday 14th December:

Much cooler this morning (42C down to 28C) so a perfect day for a city tour of Broken Hill. Met our guide Milton at 9:00am and once again we were the only clients, so a very personalised tour.

For three hours Milton drove us round the hill and told us of all the history and goings on. Very entertaining.

After lunch we made our way back to the memorial for the miners up on the waste dumps. Very interesting place with great views over the township.

After our afternoon siesta we made our way back to the lookout for sunset. Beautiful sunset as a fitting send off for our last night in Broken Hill.

Friday 15th December:

Left Broken Hill for Silverton (25km) so a very short drive. Before we left Broken Hill we visited the Palace Hotel where some of the movie Priscilla was filmed. Each year in September, Broken Hill have the “Broken Heel” festival, which is a celebration, of all things Priscilla.

The Palace is also an attraction in its own right with all the murals painted on the walls and ceiling in the pub. Very impressive.

On arrival in Silverton we visited the jail museum. Silverton used to have a population of 5,000 with 10 pubs in its heyday. Now it has a population of 40 people, 5 Donkeys, 2,250 Goats and lots of Roos.

After a very yummy country lunch in the one remaining pub, we borrowed the DVD for Mad Max 2 from the pub and watched it as it was filmed just outside of Silverton. Great to see the local landmarks in the movie.

Just on sunset we made our way back to Mundi Mundi lookout for the sunset and stayed on for a few hours to see all the stars come out. It was truly magnificent to see all the stars out with no light pollution from civilization.

Saturday 16th December:

Did you know that the original BHP was founded in Silverton on July 16th 1885. There were seven founding members who formed the new company BHP. Five of these men became very rich as shareholders of BHP.

Left Silverton for Menindee (150km). A quick stop in Broken Hill as we went through to get Internet to update email and Facebook.

Made it to Menindee in time for lunch at the pub. As it was a scorcher outside we settled in the room for the afternoon and managed a nice siesta.

Once things cooled down a bit in the evening we went exploring some of the lakes. Beautiful lakes and rivers with lots of camping facilities.

Sunday 17th December:

After a bit of a sleep-in (and before the heat of the day) it was off to Kinchega national park to see the old Wool shed (20km away & dirt road). With my dad being a sheep farmer I spent many a day working in the shearing shed. Not as big a shed as this one but nonetheless, it brought back fond memories of days gone by.

On the way back to Menindee we followed the Darling River track to the main road. Dirt road all the way but the mighty Mazda handled it well, corrugations, potholes, washaways and all.

Lunch at the pub and settled in the room under the aircon for the afternoon siesta as it is another scorcher out there today.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

Day 177 of retirement

December 10, 2017

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Hi All

Tuesday 5th December:

Quick trip into Adelaide to gather some info on Wilpena Pound and Broken Hill, our next stops.

Called into Chinatown as Guy was looking for her chili crab dish. But alas the restaurant that served it only opens at 5:00pm. So had to settle for Peking duck instead. Still very nice since no chili crab.

Called in to see Sandy (Sister) and Brian (Brolaw) for a quick catch-up before we hit the road on Thursday. Back to Port Willunga in time for an afternoon siesta and some clothes washing.

Wednesday 6th December:

Last day of rest before we hit the road tomorrow. Gave the mighty Mazda a wash and vacuum today. Might be the last one for a while.

Both Guy and I repacked our bags. After 5 months on the road we have been able to cull a little more stuff that we thought we would use but haven’t. Basically we both are living out of a standard suitcase each that holds all our clothes, shoes and toiletries.

It is rather nice living a very simple life out of the car.

Thursday 7th December:

Left Port Willunga for Wilpena Pound (500km). It rained all the way to Port Augusta (350km) then cleared up in the Pound. I was here 42 years ago but don’t remember much. Staying in the resort this time. Camped out last time I was here with a group on motorbikes.

Friday 8th December:

Off wandering round Wilpena Pound today which consisted of a 4×4 tour, visited the Cazneaux tree and hiked into the Arkaroo Rock art site.

Jimmy our local guide on the 4×4 tour was a wealth of information on the history of the area and its people. We learnt why the Emu has three toes and how the Crow and Magpie were created.

After a very yummy lunch we hopped into the car and made our way to the Cazneaux tree (300 years plus old).

Photographer Harold Cazneaux photographed this tree back in 1937 and it is one of his most famous images. A very majestic tree with such character.

Next stop was the Arkaroo Rock paintings. Bit of hike in but well worth it. The paintings are different to the ones at Cooktown (QLD) which are different to the ones at Kakadu (NT) which are different to the ones at Arkaroo (SA). All very unique and beautiful.

Home to a hot shower and rest up for tomorrow’s activities.

Saturday 9th December:

Hiking day today. After a hearty breakfast we hiked to the old Hills Homestead then up to the Wangara Lookout before it got too hot. About 8km / 3 hours all up.

The old Hills Homestead was originally built in 1888 when the area was opened up as a sheep farm. The original structure was wooden. In the early 1900’s the stone house was constructed. It is currently being restored.

The Wangara lookout climb was 600m vertical and in the sun. We got a little bit warm going up but the view was well worth it.

After lunch we had a siesta and then planned to head to Stokes Lookout to watch the sunset, but decided that tomorrow might be a better day for it.

Sunday 10th December:

After another hearty breakfast we headed north on a road trip to Blinman. Had a few stops along the way to view local attractions and wild life. Confirmed that the Stokes lookout will be a great spot to watch the sunset tonight.

Blinman is an old copper mining town that in its heyday had 2,000 people in it. Today there are 17 residents. They have a very active progress association that with help from outsiders has opened up part of the mine for tours to show the hard life of a miner in the early 1900s.

Cornish miners were imported to operate the mine because of their mining skills. They worked in atrocious conditions. Boys entered the mine at age 14 and worked alongside brothers, fathers, grand fathers and other family relations.

Each family worked a vein of ore bearing material and were paid on how much copper ore they extracted.

Finished off the day at one of the lookouts watching a beautiful sunset over the pound.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

Day 171 of retirement

December 4, 2017

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Hi All

Wednesday 29th November:

Time to pull out all our gear and load up the mighty Mazda once again for living on the road. Gave the Mazda a wash and vacuum as not sure when the next one will be.

We hit the local Victory Heritage Hotel for lunch and enjoyed the views over Aldinga Beach.

Kind of excited that we’re back on the road again. Getting itchy feet.

Thursday 30th November:

Up early (6:00am) to head down for Cape Jervis to catch the Sealink Ferry to Kangaroo Island. And of course we were early.

After a nice smooth 45 minutes ferry crossing we arrived at 10:15am on KI. As it was too early to check into our cabin, we went for a leisurely drive west to the Flinders Chase NP (200km round trip). But wouldn’t you know it, just as we arrived the heavens opened up big time (pouring rain) so we abandoned the visit and headed back to Kingscote.

Stopped for lunch at the Seal Bay Café on the main road and had some very nice local King George Whiting for lunch. Back to Kingscote for a few supplies from the supermarket and checked into our cabin.

Friday 1st December:

Drizzled most of the day but we still went out exploring anyway and managed to dodge most of the rain.

We visited Emu Bay, Stokes Bay and Cape Borda Lighthouse (300km round trip) plus a few lookouts. Got to drive on good old corrugated gravel roads once again. Haven’t had that pleasure for many years, but all good.

Kangaroo Island is a beautiful place with its many different rugged coastlines and some isolated attractions as well.

We had an awesome lunch at The Rockpool Café in Stokes Bay. The Garfish and local prawns were outstanding. The prawns were that good we ordered a dozen more with salad.

Saturday 2nd December:

It rained off and on all night. Still showery this morning till 11:00am ish. After a quick trip into town to get some new windscreen wipers for the mighty Mazda (had a wiper blowout) we headed east to Admirals Arch and Remarkable Rocks (280km round trip). A light shower along the way but at both venues no rain while we were exploring.

Admirals Arch is a very impressive huge arch in the limestone rock. Seals live all round it as well and we watched them frolic in the wild seas, squabble with each other and then slumming it on the warm rocks. It was very entertaining.

Remarkable Rocks is equally impressive. A mini version of Ayers Rock (Uluru) with huge rocks on top. We wandered round them in the howling winds. At times almost getting blown off our feet.

On the way back to the cabin we called into Seal Bay and had a chat to the NP staff re guided tours amongst the seals. We booked in for the 9:00am tour tomorrow morning.

Sunday 3rd December:

Weather looking a little better today. The sun is trying to come out from behind the clouds so with crossed fingers, we’re going to see what we can see.

First stop today was at Seal Bay. We did the 9:00am tour and as we were the only ones on the tour we got the full story of the life and love of sea lions from Suzanna, our great guide.

Next stop was the Kelly Hill caves. A small complex of caves but nonetheless very spectacular.

Then it was off to American River to The Oyster Farm Shop for an awesome seafood lunch consisting of 12 Oysters Kilpatrick, 6 Whiting bites and 12 mini abalone. Very yummy.

Last stop was Penneshaw (we arrived here) where we fueled up and after a drive round the township went for a walk along the white sandy beach. Back to the cabin after a 325km round trip.

Monday 4th December:

Goodbye Kangaroo Island. We will miss your tree-lined roads, corrugations, gravel corners, sandy tracks and the one-finger wave (Country thing) to passing motorists.

We left Kingscote for Penneshaw to catch the 11:30am ferry back to the mainland. We arrived an hour early just as the 10:30am ferry was loading. As it turned out there was a single car space available on the 10:30am ferry so we were loaded. Made it back to the mainland an hour earlier, which was nice.

Stopped at the good old Victory Hotel for a nice big steak lunch as it is just up the road from Port Willunga.

Guy had an issue with her iPhone 6 Plus this morning whereby it would give a black screen and exit to the login screen every minute or so. Tried the usual reboot procedures but to no avail. Once we were back at Port Willunga (with good NBN internet) I was able to Google it and discovered it was a known issue and the fix was to download 11.2 being the latest update.

After half an hour of tense waiting the iPhone was back good as new. No more issues.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy