Monday, August 29, 2011

The Journey has begun....

Well it has finally happened!!
Departure from the lovely 'BrisVegas' happened Saturday the 27th of August.

Several unpacked items were remembered about 0.5kms from home, so back we went to collect them.
(3) days in we are remembering things that have been forgotten.
Nothing we can't live without or buy along the way.

Peter Puppy was dropped off at the long term 'dog spa' run by our Granny at Greenslopes.
Not happy Jan!
We said our goodbyes and headed out of Brisbane along Ipswich Road for (4) months of fun and adventure.

The rain continued until the other side of the Great Dividing Range and then we enjoyed extensive flat, fertile farmlands until we reached gorgeous Dalby for the night.

No need to even unhitch the van- fantastic!!
Great time saver!

Frank and the kids put  a yabby pot in the nearby creek (Mile Creek) to catch any mystery victims swimming by.
They had no luck but everyone was screaming with excitement as they saw slightly aggressive native water rats protecting their territory.

Our enthusiasm levels are extremely high at the moment and everything is turned into a learning experience of some kind.
Animals and birds are looked up in our resource books.
Mountains of coal, landscapes, and Wheat Silos are discussed at great length!!!
I have no doubt this will subside with time and as Mum and Dad become exhausted and cranky.

After Dalby we travelled through Chinchilla, Miles and Roma to have lunch with the ducks and geese at the Roma's Big Rig travel stop.

Here we did a little train ride and were lucky enough to see Darren Lockyer's childhood football ground. His first team was named the Wattles.

Fascinating for some.....

The Wattles home ground......where it all began for Darren!
Having fun jumping puddles..
I then had my first caravan towing lesson between Roma and Mitchell.
I can't say I loved it.
The palms were sweaty and a slight tension headache seemed to come on relatively quickly.
The situation wasn't made better by all the poor (not alive) kangaroos on the side of the road.
(62) were counted and heavens knows what would happen if one jumped out in front of me.

Our night at Mitchell was thoroughly enjoyable and action packed!!

We had a swim in their hot spa (38 degrees). The kids jumped from this temperature to another pool which had a temperature of 20 degrees. Bacteria happiness I say!

Walking to the hot springs across the Maranoa River

We then rushed back to the caravan park to listen to the slightly 'politically incorrect' 85yo very talented and nimble Bush Poet.
Charlie and I then wandered off to admire the noisy cockatoos and galas being fed....

Frank then called us back as there was a horse nearby.
Well it wasn't just any was a 20yo horse called Honey with her owner John.
We wandered down to pat Honey and boy o boy where we introduced to a couple of absolute local characters.
John and Honey
Ella and Honey
Honey and Bob had a very special relationship and bond.
We heard stories about Honey enjoying a rum and coke at the pub and then being able to 'push' John home if he had had a little to much to drink...

Honey could count to five with her hoof...

And give you a big smile...

John then hitched Ella and Charlie up on her back for a bit of a little bareback ride...

This was truly an amazing experience for a couple of city kids and their very excited mother. An experience not to be forgotten in a while. Thank you so much John and Honey! It was so great to meet you both!

We left Mitchell quite early and headed on up the road.

We were pleasantly surprised by Augathella and stopped for morning tea. Town pride and spirit could be felt from the local picture theatre and new parks and gardens.

The local picture theatre.

Sound appealing???
(It was actually a lovely newly constructed playground and public area)

Next stop Tambo.

The kids were at fever pitch about visiting 'Tambo Teddies' which is a local business which makes sheepskin teddies. It was started in 1992 to stimulate local interest and jobs in the town. It appears to have been quite successful and has become quite renowned.

Between Tambo and Barcaldine we come across some other caravanning travellers who had experienced an unfortunate accident.

Their bearings 'went' on their caravan tyres which then caused their tyre to 'blow'. They lost control and swerved onto the other side of the ride.
The heat from all this caused the roadside grasses to catch on fire and the fire seemed to spread rather rapidly.

Neither of them were hurt but they were both quite shaken.
The local fire brigade was on the way when we arrived.
Seeing things like this reminds us how dangerous caravans really are. 

It certainly made me rethink my caravan towing training. Heavens knows how I would have reacted if this happened to us. 
I don't think it would have been as good as this guy.

After seeing they were safe and the fire brigade on the way, we had to speed on as the fire was spreading fast and getting closer to where we were on the road.

High drama on the road to Blackall.

(Thank goodness my mother isn't reading this blog)

Tonight we are in Barcaldine and we have travelled 1000kms so far.
The kids are holding up really well.
We are all enjoying these gorgeous towns filled with history, special appeal and great people.
A stark difference from the city!!

Off to Longreach tomorrow......

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Heading off real soon

It is close.
The beds have been made up in the caravan.
Food shopping and final housework is happening on Friday.
Departure day is coming.

The family is very excited and nervous at the same time.

'The Long Lap Around' will have (5) authors (hopefully).
Frank, Megan, Ella, James and Charlie will author this blog on our journey around Australia in our much loved Caravan.
Feel free to visit 'The Long Lap Around' and see where we are and what we are up to.

We would love to hear from you.
Feel free to say hello and leave a comment.

Bye for now.
See you on the road.