We've given up our jobs, we've sold our unit ...
Now we're ready to live life - a caravan, a car, just the two of us . . . the possibilities are endless.

Come join us on our adventures ...

Monday, May 30, 2011

On the road again...

We hadn't posted any photos of the truck finished... so here's a few of the inside and from the back, showing Aaron's drawers he made..and all our storage compartments.

Yesterday was our first ‘real’ day on the road.  We had stayed at Aaron’s parents’ house for 2 nights to work out the bugs we’d found in the drive between the Gold Coast and Toogoolawah.  Lucky we did, as Aaron spent a full day working on the truck (I shall refer to our ‘rig’ as THE TRUCK.. hehe).  I was finally over the bug I had and was able to give a hand.. of moral support – and sweeping up after him (which I might add can be a full time job!).

We left in the wee hours of the morning (about 5.15am) – and had had a night full of rain and storms, so everything was a bit damp.  Sleepily, we started the journey.  We were both quite excited about what lay ahead, albeit a little anxious not knowing what we were getting ourselves into.

Our first stop came quite quickly, as we had to fill up and were pleasantly surprised that the diesel was cheaper than the Gold Coast.  We stopped at a place called Yarraman.  It’s just a small town, one of those country towns that has the handpainted town maps with activities numbered and the corresponding number marked on the map showing it’s location.  As the petrol station didn’t have a toilet (I don’t think it even had heating!) we stopped at the public toilet up the road.  I can see that my legs are going to become quite hot from all the squatting I’m going to be doing over public toilets!!  As I was about to lower my rear onto the toilet I glanced down, to see a shape very similar to the rear legs of  a frog… needless to say my business was concluded in a very fast manner and the ‘toilet squat’ was born.

We continued on to Kingaroy for a naughty brekkie of ham and cheese toasted sandwich (yes, Mum, we are being good and making all our meals..apart from this one).  As we were waiting on our brekkie, I looked across to an elderly man walking his dog.  With all the rain, the small bridge across from the petrol station was flooded and water flowing quite quickly.  The old man proceeded to take off his sneakers and socks, and wade across the bridge (it didn’t appear to be anything of interest on the other side of the bridge) and sit on the other side and put his socks and sneakers back on.. quite odd I thought.  Why wouldn’t he find a path that didn’t require him to disrobe his feet and possibly catch a cold – as it was quite chilly.  His dog was loving it though!

Once we had yummy food in our belly, we were ‘back on the road again’… we did a big drive until we arrived at the Citrus Capital of QLD… Gayndah.  Home of the Big Orange.. oh yes, a sight to see J  As we pulled into the outskirts of town there was a field just full of oranges on the ground.. like they were being thrown away.. a bit sad to see really.  Right next to that was a HUGE orchard of oranges.  Then everywhere we went, we saw the Gay..ndah orange man .. even on the Court House roof!!  In the coming days they are hosting the Orange Festival… sure to be a great festival (with lots of yummy food!!).  You know you’re in the country, when you see a Festival stall that sells pumpkin food!!  Pumpkins painted all over the van.. I’m curious!

Just a field of oranges on the ground.. very pretty though

This little guy was everywhere!

The Big Orange!

There he is again.. on top of the Court House

Love this sign.. looks like a little choo choo train on the side road

Right up from the Big Orange, we came across the Big Mandarin!  Unfortunately, he wasn’t on our route so we couldn’t get a photo. 

As we were walking through town, it got me thinking about small towns, and I realized that no matter how small their town icons may seem to the outside world,  they held them quite close and promoted them with a great pride.  This made me smile, as I realized this is what made small towns so appealing – the people in them and the pride they took in their small piece of Australia.

Monto was our lunch stop – we pulled over to a rest stop, just like a couple of grey nomads and made our sandwiches.  As we pulled in, I glanced out the window to find a jockey statue encased in a plastic box….  Yep, they have a jockey in a plastic box.  I had a good chuckle about it, until I actually walked over and realized that it was a tribute to a jockey who had passed away in 1993.  In saying that, surely they could have given him a more fitting tribute than a statue in a plastic box??  Before we pulled over, Aaron had stopped at a corner store to pick up some cordial…they are very relaxed out here.  He had to go out the back to find someone to pay for the cordial.. he found the staff out the back having a ciggie and a chat.    The birdlife in Monto are very friendly.  As soon as we sat down at the table, we were joined by about 10 birds.. jumping on the seats next to us, on the tables and on the beams above us…  As we started eating, they became very curious and starting jumping over to us.. I was half expecting them to start jumping on our shoulders and eating from our mouths!!  

Aaron looking very pleased at my photo taking.. he was the lunch chef today

Pulled over at the rest stop

Jockey in a plastic box

After stopping at Bilouela, I now understand why country folk get quite overwhelmed when they come to the ‘city’.  We stopped at the local shopping centre to grab some fruit and water… the shopping centre had a ‘food court’ consisting of 3 food outlets.  Outside the shopping centre there were the local teenagers, up the duff… smoking.    

From here we went straight to Rockhampton – which we made in good time.  We got there about 2.30pm, and drove around searching for the battery isolator thingo.  We stopped in at the local supermarket to get some groceries for dinner and then drove some more to find a rest stop to stay the night… which took a little longer than anticipated.  We ended up driving out of Rockhampton about 30km to Yaamba where we found Joan Tierney Park.  It’s a free rest stop with public toilets etc.  We have started a rating system for our free rest stops.. and would give this one 7/10 – it had a clean public toilet, all night lights, BBQ and table and chairs.  There’s also a little pub next door.  As we pulled up, there were 2 big mine trucks on the back of trucks ready to be hauled somewhere…  It was a pretty busy little rest stop, which made me feel quite safe.
When we first got into the truck for sleep, I had my first little panic attack.  It was really hot and felt really cramped.  After having a bit of a girlie moment of ‘open the windows, I need air!!’, I settled down and worked out where things went and how to lay etc.  We are both so glad that we ended up going with the thinner mattress!!  There was one thing that I hadn’t really thought too much about since we decided to sleep in the truck.. and that was the midnight pee.  Now, I am quite open to admitting that I am a big girl when it comes to the dark.. depending on my mood, I still need someone to walk me to the nearest toilet when it’s dark.  We all have our insecurities don’t we…  As I lay there last night before I dozed off to sleep, I was working out my plan of action if the need arose to go to the bathroom before the sun rose.  And I can tell you, I was coming up with some great ideas!!  Basically though, I just bitw the bullet and grabbed a torch and became a woman… and went to the toilet by myself.. yep, I’m a big girl now (until next time when there’s no lights and it’s scary outside!).

Saturday, May 28, 2011

First day on the road

After a restless night (for Aaron anyway.... I was knocked out on drugs, so slept like a baby!), we did the final packing this morning, and left the Gold Coast at about 10.15am - after the posing 'farewell' shots by the truck and kisses and cuddles from my Mum and Dad... they're not going to know what to do with themselves without all our mess and cars around the place!!!  Although, I'm sure they'll adapt quite quickly :)

We didn't get too far though - we got stuck in the huge traffic jam that was the M1 - due to an accident at 3am this morning.  Sadly there were fatalities from the accident.

Before the traffic jam

Right smack bang in the middle of the traffic jam

Being that we're 'travellers' now, we put the CB (or UHF or 2-way... not sure the 'technical term') radio on, and boy were we in for some entertainment from the surrounding truckies!!!  It's funny you know, I never really thought politics and truckies went together, but they seem to put it in most sentences... albeit in a crass way - I can tell you I definitely learnt some new sayings and language today!!  As we were listening to the banter, we were looking around at the trucks, trying to work out who was who - needless to say, we had NO idea!!  The delay would have been unbearable had it not been for the entertainment from the Truckies :)

Our first stop for the night (possibly 2) is at Aaron's parent's place in Toogoolawah.  We worked out that the dual battery system isn't working, so he is going to spend a bit of time working on the car to get it ready tomorrow.  After packing it to the brim (I need a bigger truck!!!), Aaron's a little unsure of how it's driving, so wants to make a few adjustments.  Definitely best to get it out of the way now, while we are still in an easily accessible area.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

One week to go.. not even

After all this time waiting, we are leaving on our Cape York trip in 4 days!!!  We've had a few get togethers with Skye & Swifty, the other couple who are going with us - making lists, working on the trucks, trying to decide how much chocolate will get us through.. and the boys making up stories that Skye and I will be on a sugar high (or slighty tipsy) when they come back from fishing.  Skye and I are more realistic of course, and think we'll have made sculptures out of the trees around us and be quite crafty... or we may just be sitting around in our comfy camp chairs :)

Aaron has been working around the clock to get everything done - with a bit of stress added in for good measure of course.  We've still got a few bits and pieces to go.. he's out at the moment for a last dash to get better springs in the truck.. we just loaded all our food - hehe.  While we were packing, he looks at me in all seriousness and says 'so how much cooking do you think you'll actually do???' .. I just smiled and packed some more flour :)

The drawers that Aaron's made are great.. very impressive (will post photos soon).  Lots of storage compartments .. although you can never have enough.. well in my opinion anyway.  We were originally going to use our double mattress that we had in the house, but after a few trial runs, it was decided that it was a bit too high, and heavy.  So we made the mission to Anaconda and Ikea yesterday, and now have a very comfy set up at a smidgen of the weight and width.

Making the drawers - giving them a nice sand.  This is prior to the roof rack being put back on

With the roof racks on - lookin' good!!

Now that the roof racks are on, Aaron hasn't stopped looking at it, each time saying 'How good does it look?!  It looks like such a truck now!'  I think I've been cast aside for a truck!!!

Cushions cushions... looking good

With so many projects on the go to get the big trip ready, it's great to see each of them coming together..

We recently had the cushions for the caravan covered.. and must say, they look pretty good!  I chose a beautifully bright green colour for the splash back - and before the cushions were covered I think Aaron was a little skeptical on the green... actually I think we were both a bit skeptical.  With everything still in the 'nearly done' stage, it's a little hard to visualise.  I think it will all look great though!!

The caravan's been put on hold now until we get back from the Cape, as we've run out of time..  So will update the trip in a bit..