We’re finally on the road again and heading south. Before we left, we went to Mark’s cousin David’s wedding and so glad we did. It was one of the most beautiful events we’ve ever been to. We also got to see our kids and their partners at Windellama on the last weekend before we left, and so it was worth it to stay around a bit longer than we’d anticipated.
There were two false starts where we had to go back to Windellama twice after we had left on Tuesday. We got to Callala Beach at Jervis Bay, and stealth camped in a carpark facing the beach, seeing the “No camping” sign and ignoring it, so we were unsurprised that Council officers knocked on the door in the morning. They let us off with a warning, probably thinking we were ignorant Queenslanders (Katya, our pet name for the motorhome, is registered in QLD). Apologies to any Queenslanders – no offence meant!
We drove to Huskisson for lunch and realised we had received an email from the Explorer company about our issue with the weight distribution. Long story, so I won’t go into it. Anyway, we decided that we probably should sacrifice the bikes, flat pack firepit, camp oven and hotplate, for the sake of trying to get within our rear weight limit. The bikes were more trouble than they were worth anyway, getting dusty all the time and having to be taken down whenever we needed access to the rear storage. So, as we were only an hour and a half from Windellama, back we went to unload those things, and spent Wednesday night there. We also decided we might as well service Katya since we were near 10000km, and then we could do another weigh-in in Goulburn.
On Thursday, after the servicing at Toyota, a wheel alignment, a car wash, and a final weigh-in, we realised that we had left the smoked salmon we’d had the night before at Windellama, in the fridge.
Back to Windellama again, to retrieve the salmon, and rescue the fridge from having to be thrown out from the permanent putrefaction which would have occurred after an indefinite period of storing an open packet of fish inside.
But this time we didn’t stay the night, instead deciding to head towards Bateman’s Bay despite the lateness of the day. The bushfire smoke from a fire that had started near Braidwood was getting denser and finding its way down the coast, so that Batehaven, where we eventually stopped, and normally a pleasant coastal town, was grey, dismal and unpleasant. I say this, knowing that there are heroes out there fighting these fires, while I whinge about the smoke. We are hugely grateful to those people who risk their lives, allowing the rest of us to get on with our lives and holidays.
We headed to Bega. We’ve been there before, about 10 years ago, and I guess we went there just for old time’s sake to see what the cheese factory was like now. It hasn’t changed at all, with a museum of old milking equipment, a souvenir shop and a café. According to the video playing in the café, the factory has grown, and the Bega brand now owns Vegemite, but apart from seeing Vegemite merchandise in the shop, the place was exactly the same. I guess they don’t make their money from the tourists and don’t spend any to improve the tourist attraction. If you haven’t been there, it’s worth a quick stop.
With no plans in place, the only thing we had on the radar was going to the Candelo markets on Sunday, so we headed in that direction on Saturday. The free camp at Candelo isn’t available on the night before the markets, and since it was Saturday night, we thought we might try and find somewhere with a decent pub. One hundred kms later we are in Cooma, at the Royal Hotel. Nice pub, but a bit out of town, and no live music. Consequently, it was an early and cold night, which allowed us to test the diesel heater at least. While outside it bottomed out at 4⁰C, inside it was a cosy 22⁰C. We love our Katya!
Back at Candelo in the morning, and sure enough the markets were worth the 100kms back there. Among other things, Mark scored a set of bongo drums. I am, as you can imagine, not impressed, but he was so disappointed when I initially said no.Now we are staying the night in a free camp in White Rock River National Park.
No mobile reception, no satellite TV because of the tree cover, and no fires. The only thing to occupy us will be finishing off my blog post, bird and lizard watching by the river, and at night, watching the next few episodes of Silicon Valley that we have downloaded – we are still civilised after all. It’s a beautiful spot and apart from the logging trucks that go past, up on the road occasionally, we are alone. Blissfully quiet, except for Mark’s bongos. Tomorrow we’ll work out where we go next.