Preparing the Van Continues

Preparing the Van

It is taking a long time to prepare the van, Myrtle the Turtle, for its first trip tomorrow.  The van has many items in it that I am replacing.  For example, I have a cutlery set – with purple handles that I have had for years that I want to use in the van.  There was another set (or part thereof) in the van, which will be donated to an Op Shop.

The refrigerator will shortly be replaced when I find one that fits into the space.  It is old and looks a bit battered.  I am looking at options.

One of the big mats has been removed.  I keep tripping on it – it will wait in my garage until I determine whether I want to use it.  Meanwhile little by little, it is turning into MY van.

Tomorrow, after I meet with the girls from Rolling Solo at Redcliffe, I set off on my first venture in the Van.  Not without some mild anxiety.

Coochin Creek or Neurum Creek?

A friend and I are going to Neurum Creek, which is some 60 kms from here.  We had intended going to Coochin Creek, but because that is a state operated camping ground, and many of these are closed, we were unable to book into that one.

It will be a test for me – as I have never done anything like this before.

What about the bed?

I laugh at myself.  Lacking in experience as I am, I have a few questions about using the van.  Lots actually.  But one is about using the bed.  Do I use a sheet?  Top and bottom?  I am used to sleeping in a queen size bed, and now I am sleeping in a single (and small single too) bed.  Luckily it is still hot weather – so I am not likely to get cold overnight but I wonder what everyone else does.

So the preparing of the van continues.  At least on this occasion, we are only away from 2 nights, and as it turns out, close to a town, so getting food or anything is not going to be difficult.

I guess it will take me a while to learn.

Have any of my readers any tips or ideas for me?

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An Inspiring Woman – Michelle Lang

An Inspiring Woman I hope to meet

In August I expect to meet quite an amazing inspiring woman.  I know little about her.  I do know that she is doing some amazing things.  Around December 2015, she started a group called Rolling Solo.  As someone who was employed in the RV/Caravan industry, she became aware of the huge numbers of solo women travelling around Australia in their cars (with tents), motorhomes, caravans and camper vans.

Michelle Lang of Rolling Solo

Some 15 months later, Michelle Lang is heading up a group of some 6000 adventurous women.  She is currently organising an exciting camping event in the centre of Australia, at Alice Springs, and some 500 women are planning to be there.  I am one of them.

Stuck in the Middle With You’s – An Epic Womens Camping Event 2017 from Michelle Lang on Vimeo.

I so look forward to meeting her.

Adventurous Women in Australia

Australia is a big country – with great distances between towns.  Driving on the roads can be hazardous – especially at night.  Kangaroos, emus, goats, camels and cattle are often found on the roads, and none have any traffic sense.  I don’t drive at night!

The idea of women driving solo on our outback roads is rather scary – and we are always being told we are brave or stupid.  Especially by men!!  It makes us laugh.

Travelling Alone

I am a solo traveller.  I have driven around Australia on my own, and completed many other long distance trips.  Other trips including going to London and driving around Ireland on my own.  Also I have lived in China (as an English Teacher), and visited several times since, and lived and worked in South Korea.  All on my own.

As readers will know if they have read previous posts, I have just purchased a campervan, and am about to live and travel in it.  One of my planned ventures is to go to Alice Springs/Ross River Resort to join the Rolling Solo Ladies.  I have been to Alice Springs on a couple of occasions, but am looking forward to this unusual venture.

Alice Springs in the middle of Australia

Alice Springs – photo from Wikipedia

Alice Springs here we come!

 

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Trying to Downsize

I have to downsize. Here I live in a 3 bedroom unit.  I would have, could have moved into a two bedroom unit – if there was one when I came here 4 years ago.  I had visions that my grandchildren would come and stay. But now I find I have too many possessions.

The two youngest did stay a few times, but these days are too busy – they are into their teens.  The older two have not spend time with me – they are too busy. It is a complaint of many grandparents.

I have decided to leave the unit – and move into the Toyota Coaster.  But I have a lot of things to get rid of.  I have to downsize and it is not easy.

How to Downsize

I have some BIG things that I need to find new homes for.  Two single beds, two televisions, a bicycle (electric two wheeler), some book shelves, books, a desk, some small tables, a filing cabinet – and lots more.

Will I be able to sell some of them?  Don’t know but will try.  There’s a big gas BBQ in the van that I don’t want, so I will add that to my list of things to leave here.

Car Boot Sale

It was a little disappointing.  There were not a lot of customers, so I didn’t sell a lot.  I did dispose of some things, though.  Some plants, and some fun things that I gave to children.  And I made a small profit.

FB Buy, Swap and Sell

Some of my items will find themselves onto this Facebook page this week.  Will give it a try. Even if I sell a couple of things it will be good.  Maybe the BBQ and the bike?

Off to Camp

This week I will attempt my first camp.  I am going to Coochin Creek, some 30 kms north of Beachmere.  I have not been there before.  It is not by the beach, but a creek.  A friend is supposed to be going with me – but not sure if that is going to happen yet.

 

 

 

So I have a lot of learning to do this week.  I still haven’t worked out how to switch lights on, use the water (and toilet).  There is so much to learn.  Hopefully I will survive.

Postscript: Due to the damage/result of cycle Debbie, I cannot book the campside at the moment.

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Now the Car Boot Sale

April’s Car Boot Sale

Each month there is a Car Boot Sale in town.  The idea is that you can drive in with your car boot full of things you want to sell.   As I am downsizing, it seems like a good idea to me, and I am ready for tomorrow’s event.  At one stage with the weather and damage by cyclone Debbie, it was likely that it be cancelled.  So far, so good.

I won’t be going in my car.  My things will be in Myrtle the Turtle. My Coaster.  I have a number of items I want to sell – or give away. The pot plants are ready to go, and several boxes of items, including some I will give away.  I don’t like trashing things that someone may still be able to use.

With Myrtle I will be able to take extra things in the back of the bus, and I will be able to shelter under the awning.  At least that gives me some practice on using it too.  I’ve never had to erect it.

 Updating Myrtle.

Today I bought a few things for my adventure.  One is a camp/tent light with a remote control.  I will be able to lie in bed and turn the light on or off!!

I also bought some fabric dye.  As you can see from the photo, the colour scheme is a bit odd.  The curtains look a rather rust colour – so I am going to see if I can dye them purple.  I’ll test the dye tomorrow after the Car Boot Sale.

Now I know they won’t turn out to be as purple as the cover already on the bed, but might look a bit better.  I have other options – perhaps get new curtains, or sew a fabric over the curtains – fabric that fits in with the colour scheme.  I also bought some netting – and stitched it around the edges – so now have two huge food covers.  Thought that might be helpful.

I keep finding things in the van and re-arranging them.  I have to check that the items are still of value.  For example, if I don’t think I will use it, I will put it in storage.  At least then if I discover that it would be helpful I will be able to retrieve it.

There is a lot of learning to do.  Maybe I will make some money at the Car Boot Sale.

On top of the pressure of packing up, preparing the Coaster and my other tasks, I am doing the Ultimate Blog Challenge. Again.

 

 



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Preparing to Travel – Happy April Fools Day!

Happy April Fool’s Day

A Pinch and a Punch for the first day of the month.  And it is April Fool’s Day.  A day for playing pranks or practical jokes.  Usually in the form of information that one might tell a friend or post on social media.  Something that is not true, that might result in lots of laughter when it is revealed that it was not true.  Fake News perhaps?

It is the first day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge!  Am I a fool to start it again, when I have always failed to finish it?  Why am I adding further stress to my life?  I am determined to finish it – though don’t know if this time I will be able to do so.

Moving into Murtle

However, I am starting an adventure, which I intend to document, so why not start right now with the story.  Murtle (a name I did not choose and may change) is my campervan.  A Toyota Coaster, set up for camping.

Murtle, out the front of my unit.

I am excited and sometimes freaked out about what I have done.  I am downsizing big time, vacating my unit and spending the next few months or years living in the van.

It is well set up.  The van has two single beds, a toilet and shower and solar power.  I do have some issues with some things.

For a start, it is not easy to get into to drive, though I have made a few changes.  It is easier to get in the side door, rather than the driver’s side door, when I want to drive it.  The interior colour scheme I do not like.  “Hate” would be a better word to use. Again I am working on that.

I can drive it.  Yesterday I even put diesel in the tank – or one of them at this stage.  I have to learn everything.  Yesterday I had “lessons” on using the switches and knobs in the driving area.  Bit by bit, I am learning how to use various equipment in the van.  I have much more to go.

Over the next few weeks I will move into Murtle, and vacate my unit.  Is it wise to start my planning and writing on April Fool’s Day?  Oh, well, here goes with the Ultimate Blog Challenge too.




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Stupidity in the wake of Debbie

Even knowing how bad Cyclone Debbie was predicted to be, it was far worse than anyone imagined.   What I find really annoying is the stupidity of people – particularly males.  There has been

Stupidity

There has been vision on television re stupid young men going board riding at closed beaches.  Others have been using jet skis in sports fields and flooded areas.  And lots more.   Children (usually boys) playing in flood waters too.  I find it so annoying and stupid as they not only risk their own lives, but those of those who have to rescue them if things go pear-shaped.

Beachmere Road, Friday morning.

Lose 200 points????

These signs were erected on Beachmere Road, yesterday.  However, people still drove around them.  Stupid!  They risk driving through flood waters, or as the sign says, risk losing points of their licence.

Cyclone Debbie

Later:

I don’t think anyone had any idea how much damage would result from cyclone Debbie.  The drama and damage continues hundreds of miles from where the cyclone itself was very active.  Most of Queensland has been affected and well down into New South Wales.  No one was killed in the Cyclone, but two women have lost their lives in NSW as a result of flooding.  So much flooding around both states. Homes have been destroyed, businesses have been lost and many farmers have lost property and crops.

Everyone is so aghast at what has happened, and what is still happening.  It is an ongoing disaster of mammoth proportions and it will be years before life returns to normal for some folk.

How many people though, through their own stupidity, have caused problems for themselves and others?   How many people have drive through flood waters – thinking that they know better?  So many rescues from cars caught in flood waters.

I am surprised at the last minute shopping too.  With our main road likely to close, people went almost berserk in the supermarket, almost wiping out the shelves.  I can’t believe that people think they need so much food for a two or three day (at the most) event.  Why would you buy extra food that might be not safe to eat if not refrigerated?  And so many homes are without power – days of no electricity is not going to help store some food!

Someone said yesterday, that “there is no common sense” any more.  I think that may be right.

Debris in the River




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Dear Debbie

Today we in south east Queensland are suffering from the weather events as a result of Cyclone Debbie.  No where near as much as those people in north Queensland.  I so feel for them.  It was such an extra ordinary nasty cyclone.  I doubt anyone has seen anything so destructive in Queensland, as Debbie, the cyclone.

Cyclone Debbie?

I do have an issue with the naming of such cyclones.  If you know a wonderful Debbie like I do, (in fact several!) you might wonder how using the name affects them in the future.  I mean if your home/life etc was damaged as a result, what would you think every time you heard the name Debbie?

Surely there must be another way to create names for these events.  How creative can we be.  Cybash?  Stormsplat?  Damagaroo?

Cyclone Wanda

I live in South East Queensland, so we rarely see cyclones or such massive weather events like Cyclone Debbie down here, though I remember an event in 1974.  Cyclone Wanda    The cyclone itself didn’t do a great deal of damage, but it is what happens after a cyclone that is often more dramatic.

 From Wikipedia “It had been an exceptionally wet spring, and by the end of October most of southern Queensland’s river systems were nearing capacity. Cyclone Wanda pushed the systems to the limit, and drew the monsoonal trough southward, providing the additional rainfall to the Brisbane River, Bremer River and Stanley River catchments to produce widespread and severe flooding. In the early morning of 25 January heavy rain began to fall on Brisbane. During a 36-hour period 642 mm of rain fell on the city.[15] These torrential rains were caused by Tropical Cyclone Wanda, a relatively weak cyclone which did not even rate as a category 1 cyclone.[16]  

We had not long moved to Brisbane, and knew nothing about cyclones.  We had two children under 5 years of age, and had no idea what to expect.  It was a scary time – the winds howled and I recall looking out the window at the trees blowing almost horizontal, and the rain.  There were floods and we were cut off by flood waters.  The roads in and out of the suburb were under water.  There were a number of deaths, and houses damaged.

We have lived through several other weather events, but this one we are experiencing now is bigger and scarier than all the others.

Where I live now, Beachmere, just north of Brisbane, flooding is usually the major problem.  It is by the sea and on the southern banks of the Caboolture River.  High tides and heavy rain often cause major flooding.  Usually, I stay home and avoid going out, but today I thought I would go and take some photos.

Getting the photos was not easy.  It was raining heavily and each time I opened my car window it felt like someone threw in 3 buckets of water.  It was not easy to stop as there was traffic on the road, and no safe spot to park the car.

Jocelyn Street, Caboolture – just off Beachmere Road. The road was closed due to flooding.

 

 

 

Beachmere Road

Property near Old Beachmere Road

Near Old Beachmere Road

 

 

Near Old Beachmere Road




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Doing the Washing – Laundry Duties

When I went to high school, the girls did Domestic Science which included Laundry Lessons.  The boys did Woodwork.  At the time I didn’t see that I was being programmed to be a wife and mother, chained to the house with domestic duties.  Later on, I “discovered” the gender issue. On that, I might write later.

I loved “Domestic Science”.  It was once a week, and we turned up at school with a cane basket with our apron, cap and other goodies that were required for the day’s lessons.  I loved cooking classes and had a ball doing them.  I also was interested in all the other lessons.  Yes, there was laundry lessons and housework to learn.  I enjoyed it all.  In some ways, I suspected that would be my life if and when I was married.

Working Wives

It is not something I recall thinking about.  I longed to be a teacher, although that didn’t happen for many years, I don’t recall thinking much about life as a “house-wife”.  My mother never worked after the children came along.  She and Dad were in the Army when they met and married.  After Mother had become pregnant, she left the Army and never worked for money again.  She was a good community worker, though – mainly the church and Girl Guides.

As it turned out, I did Nursing and married after graduation, and then worked on and off for the rest of my adult years until retirement.  I was always grateful for my Domestic Science lessons, though.

Pedantic Ways

Like her Mother, my Mother worked to a plan.  Washing Day was Monday.  We always had a Roast Dinner on Sundays.  Mainly fish and chips on Fridays.  Always meat and three vegetables.  Mum and Dad worked in our garden regularly and produced much of our fruit and vegetables.   There was a routine that we all knew.

Life in the 50’s

At that time of course, when my sister and I were small, things were very different. We’d moved into a brick house in Adelaide that our Father built.  We did have an indoor toilet, but no refrigerator.  An ice chest kept our food cool, and the Ice man delivered blocks of ice twice a week.  The milkman came with horse and cart and left the milk in a billy can at the front gate. The postman came twice a day on his bicycle.  Never a lady postie!

The road in front of our house was not sealed – in fact, it was a boggy dirt road.  There were no supermarkets – we’d walk to the end of our street where there was a grocer, green grocer and butcher.

Our washing machines were a little primitive.  The washing was sloshed around, and then we’d have to put it through the wringer and then hang on the long line with wooden dolly pegs.  Later Mother would bring it in, and much of it would have to be ironed as there were no synthetic fabrics then.  If it was wet we’d hang the washing in front of the open fire.

Laundry Now

These days I have a modern washing machine that does my washing “automatically”.  I press a few buttons, and leave it until I hear the “finished” noise.  Then I hang my washing on the line if the sun is out, and on a rack in the loungeroom if it is raining.  (I avoid doing washing when rain is about!)  Later I bring the washing inside when it is dry, or at the end of the day.  Sometimes I need to “air” it if it is damp.  Mostly it is neatly folded and put away.  I do little ironing.  Many folk these days would just put the washing from the machine into a dryer.

The Neighbours Washing

It keeps me amused.  I have had several neighbours over the last four years, but the last two groups of tenants have provided me with much amusement.

The clothes are put on the line in such a way that it might take days to dry.  Doubled over, one peg in the middle.  Other washing over the top.  But the big thing for me to laugh at is that they leave it on the line for days.  Weeks in fact.  Despite the odd way they peg it on the line, I suspect it does dry.   But they don’t take it inside.  Then it rains.  It must dry.  Then it rains again.

There are clothes of all sorts – men’s, children’s, towels and more.  Just hanging for days and weeks.

Maybe they need Laundry Lessons!!!

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Remembering Alice Springs – My Previous Visits

In August I will be in Alice Springs for a great adventure with the ladies from Rolling Solo – a group of solo women travellers.  I have been reflecting on my previous visits.

Alice Springs – First Visit, 1980’s

I have written on more than one occasion about the visit in the 1980’s when a friend Erika Ederveen and I went to a “conference” in the Alice.  Our luggage was lost so we had to try and buy things in Alice Springs.  NOT a big place for shopping way back then!!

The luggage arrived at the Ross River Resort, which is where I will be staying this time too, at around 10 pm.  The two of us answered the door wrapped in our bedsheets as we had nothing else to wear!!

The conference was uneventful.  The return journey to Brisbane was eventful.  The limousine we had ordered to take us to Alice Springs Airport did not arrive.  The VW Combi van (last minute arrangement) was involved in a motor accident on the way to the airport.  I was sitting in the front passenger seat, and a utility from the Ross River Resort rolled in front of us and smashed into the front of the VW.   Luckily no one was injured, but I was in shock.  An ambulance was following us, and we were quickly checked.  We rushed in a taxi to the airport and made it to the plane with minutes to spare.

Then a storm caused havoc with flights – scary with lightning etc dropping around us as we arrived in Sydney, and it seemed to follow us all the way to Brisbane on our next flight.  We didn’t think we’d make it. Clearly, we did.

On the Ghan

My next visit was when I went on the Ghan in 2015.  We left from Darwin and visited Katherine, Alice Springs and Coober Pedy.

I was not free to roam – we were in buses – taking in some of the sights, having lunch at the old Telegraph station, and then back onto the train.  One place that impressed me is the Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame and I look forward to visiting again.

Rev John Flynn Memorial

 

 

 

 

 

At the Old Telegraph Station at Alice Springs

Old Telegraph Station at Alice Springs

Me – with long hair  beside The Ghan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found this video on YouTube – some great places for me to visit in August.




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My Huge Learning Curve.

It is a biggy!  I am way out of my depth even now.  My “new” coaster has been out the front of my unit since Sunday.  I am working through it – removing items that I don’t want, cleaning, and trying to work out where I will put my things.

My Learning Curve

It is a bit freaky as I know I have so much to learn and at the moment I am just getting the feel for it all.  I have no idea of how to use most of the facilities in the bus.  Gas? Diesal?  Lights?  Power? What to do in case I break down.  No idea.  Hence the big learning curve that I am on.  It is not a curve.  It is a steep ride.

My Murtle – Soon to be Home

A local gent has offered to assist me.   He and his wife have invited me to join them – they are going out in their motor home and I can join them.  I will at least for a couple of days.

I am mindful of the limited storage space, and the need to watch the weight of things. The storage unit I am about to organise may not be big enough to put all my things in.  Decisions.  Fears.

Purple Bed cover and Curtains

Today I will cover one of the beds with a purple sheet.  Yes.  Purple.  Those who know me are not surprised by that.  The curtains are a rust colour at one end of the bus and a sand colour in another area.  I will buy some dye and see if I can get them closer to Purple. It won’t be perfect but might look better than I think it does with the rust hue.  Can only try.

To Alice Springs

I am booked to go to Alice Springs – in fact, to the Ross River Homestead/Resort in August.  That is one of the reasons I bought the van.  I will have to get it all sorted ready for the journey which will take me all the way from Beachmere to the Alice.  Then on to Uluru and then perhaps to Adelaide, before returning home to Brisbane.

I had been to the Ross River Station back quite a few years ago, and have few memories of it.  I certainly wasn’t interested in photography then.  The video below will give you some idea of the local scenery.

I can’t wait to take the photos!!

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