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 ...

Friday, March 23, 2012

A scabbin' we will go!

With our new addiction, comes new furniture... today we went out with the trailer, with the intention of going to the tip... only to find out it would cost us nearly $100 to empty the trailer at the tip.. So we ended up going scabbing.  Boy did we score today!  

Here's some pics of our scores today.. I think this is nearly one of the best days we've had!  The next month is going to be pretty hectic, with Easter coming up and then Aaron is heading back to the GC for a week or so to do some work.

Easter we are heading away with some friends.. bit of camping and 4WDing.. can't wait!!

This is an entertainment unit we found.. needs a little work, but the basics are great!!

An amazing antique silky oak dresser .. Aaron's favourite pick today!

The lockers!!!  Original Brownbuild .. awesome!!!!  A little bit of work, needed, but so worth it!

We found 4 tressels - looked like they were used as an artists' table.. so I think I'm going to up cycle them into my studio bench.. eventually :)

We found this white dining table - extendable .. solid timber .. a perfect dining table, or work table.
Underneath is a solid timber coffee table that we'll eventually put industrial castors on.  And on top, an old makeup suitcase..a pretty pink

This is the tax sign we found on one of our very first scabs.. I keep thinking it's missing an i .. then it would be taxi.. hehe.

We found this really cool old bowling bag, but it was a bit far gone.. but Aaron decided to keep the balls

And the rule books...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Well, it's been a while (slight under-exaggeration) since we've blogged - very, very slack, I know!  I hope you've not deserted us and are still keen to hear from us :)

Since the departure from Bellingen, I towed the van to Newcastle .. and that's pretty much where we've stayed.  It was quite an experience driving the van for such a long drive.. exhausting to say the least.  A great experience nonetheless.  Aaron's hand is so much better - he is now only weeks away from working again, which he's very excited about.

So a brief rundown of our last 6-7 weeks.  We arrived into Newcastle and were fortunate enough to be able to stay with Aaron's Godparents for a few days before we were able to get into a caravan park.  Being peak season and school holidays, we were finding it really hard to find somewhere to stay.  We finally found somewhere that would help us out and we ended up in Belmont at Spinnakers Tourist Park - complete with 2 pools and a little gym. It was a lovely place and super handy to everything - Aaron was able to walk up to the shops and over to Lake Macquarie.  I started looking for a bit of temp work, to bring in some money.  I got a few jobs, which was great to get out of the van and into the workforce again - my eyes and shoulders definitely didn't think so though!  We have done a few touristy things - like Australia Day down in Newcastle - we bought a duck for the Ducks for Dollars race, which I've seen for years on TV.. so was quite excited to be able to see if for myself.  We didn't have much of a chance of winning - there were 7000 ducks!!  I'm pretty sure ours was one of the ones that snuck out the back and didn't end up racing.. hehe.  I got ridiculously sunburnt - one of those glow in the dark type sunburns.. ouch.  We did the walk up to the lighthouse and around the Newcastle foreshore.. lovely.

Fast forward a few weeks and we were meeting up with some good friends of Aaron's - Steve and Vicki. They own a house in Charlestown (conveniently located just a 2 minutes drive from a Robina Town Centre type shopping centre.. ) and were looking to rent it out... with Aaron being super comfortable here, having grown up here, and me falling more and more in love with the area everyday, we thought the only option was to rent the house and stay here for a while and earn some money and do some trips from here.  There are sooooo many options for trips away from here - so we've got a lot planned already.  It took us a few weeks to get into the house, as Steve and Vicki were doing a bit of work on the place and their son was still moving out.  So Aaron started helping out a few days a week to work his hand at his own pace and to keep his days busy - so he didn't get cabin fever.  There's still a bit of work to do, but I think Aaron's really happy that he'll have a few projects to do at his leisure - and it will give Steve and Vicki a chance to have a rest on the weekends.  They live on a vineyard about an hour and a bit away, so I can only imagine how they'd be feeling every Friday night after a week of work, to have to come down and work on the house for the weekend.

Aaron's showed me a few new surf spots - one complete with a nudie beach.. as you can imagine I was a bit shocked when we first arrived - Aaron didn't even tell me where we were going!!!  Me being me, couldn't stop looking, I was mesmerised!  And I don't mean in a sketchy way.  There were "situations" that had me a bit perplexed.. like a couple walking on the beach - full hats, zinc and shirts on, then no pants - letting everything hang free.. umm, I don't get it.  Nudies aside, it was a beautiful spot and there were plenty of peaks to surf .. the water was very fresh - and so much heavier than the Coast.  It definitely felt more sharky.  And speaking of sharky, I was surfing on the same day as that Newcastle local was taken by the shark at Redhead - surfing a beach about 2km away... scary stuff!  Hasn't stopped me though :)

As we were starting to think about moving into the house, we realised we had no furniture.  Steve and Vicki were going to throw out the sofa, fridge, washing machine & dryer - so we were able to keep those, which has saved us lots of $$.  We got to thinking that we didn't really want to spend a lot on furniture, in case we didn't end up staying longterm... and as we were talking about this, we started noticing a lot of "hard rubbish" (of bulk rubbish, as they call it down here) on the sides of the road... how convenient!  So we took a drive around the suburbs and started picking up bits and pieces ... and in the meantime, became ridiculously addicted to "scabbing" as we eloquently started calling it!  We have scored some of the most amazing pieces and pieces that you would pay a fortune for in shops.. so as you can imagine, we are so happy with how the house is coming together.  It's amazing what people throw away... we have a few favourite pieces, one of which is a round, bevelled edge gold mirror (not a silver mirror like the majority of mirrors) and it's stamped from 1949!!! Score!!

Here's a few piccies of our picks so far... and a few other things... just to keep you in the loop on our travels :)

The sunrise this morning.. we got a super early start for our 'scabbing'

Table picked (funnily enough from one of Aaron's old schoolmate's houses...we didn't even know!) Chairs from ebay

Cool retro cabinet thingo.. 

Old wooden crate and an umpire's board (not sure which sport)

Close up of the umpire's board .. so cool~!

This is a tin car we found.. minus one wheel - I think we'll respray and then find some old-school wheels for it

I've already started to paint the lamp base (left) - going to find a cool shade for it, and it will move to the studio

Aaron's temporary table - from an old door.. this will be our dining table until he finishes the other one.. a bigger door - it's going to be AMAZING! We'll spray the chair white and sand them back a bit

Details of table... complete with keyhole and lock

Our gold mirror.. so cool!! With a sneaky view of our kitchen

One of the ladders we found..

Cool retro chairs Aaron found

We found 2 of these - bedside tables.. complete with stickers of the original builders of the drawers.. very cool!  And only a wipe over needed.. even better!

This was our load this morning.. we needed to change cars and go back for round 2!!

3 of the 4 suitcases I found.. I have one more that is a bit of a pink colour

The cabinet we ended up finding late last night .. and went back for this morning, cause it didn't fit in the car and we didn't have rope.. in really good condition - very similar to the bedside tables

Found this really cool catalogue of old "how-tos" .. some really awesome designs and patterns - and in great condition!

A bookcase we hadn't gotten out of the car yet.. solid timber.. going to look great painted!  Maybe another one for the studio

Aaron's T scar.. it's starting to fade .. starting to come really good

With all the rain we had down here, I managed to get bogged in the caravan park.. yep, I'm very special

Aaron had to pull me out..

Australia Day - lots of ducks!

I'm not sure I'd be swimming with that swarm of stuff out the back there.. 

One of the borders on the walk up to the Lighthouse.. a pencil!

Roadkill... I couldn't stop laughing when I came up with this joke!

I didn't know pelicans flew like this!

Can you see our duck in there??

Our lunch on Australia Day - pizza out of the back of a van.. out of the pizza oven - only took 5 minutes to cook!

Az very excited about Australia Day

Another of the ladders we found today.. in mint condition

Barstools we found today - great condition, just a little bit of a re-spray needed 

We found a whole pile of clip-flooring in really good condition .. thought we might lay it in the kitchen until we tile it.. very nice!

Our pile of flooring

The table we found for the studio - such a great view too!  Another ebay chair (I got 4 in the set)

This chair started our addiction .. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

New home .. for a while

It's been a bit over a week since our last post - so slack!!  We've made a move from Bellinger River Tourist Park, where we stayed for 10 days in total.  A big thanks to Annette & Alan from the park for being such wonderful hosts and helping us out so much.

On the way back from the hospital, Aaron picked up that the front wheel bearings on the right side needed to be done.. as soon as possible.  So we got back to the caravan park and Alan recommended a mechanic in the next town over.  So off we went, and were so lucky to be able to put the car in straight away - we figured it must have been bad when the mechanic came back from the test drive and drove straight into the workshop... hhhmm.  Az spotted an old '48 Chev in the workshop, and of course we were then stuck there for another half an hour talking about the restoration of it (insert small yawn here.. hehe).  The mechanic kindly drove us back to the caravan park and said it should be ready the next morning, around tea time (I'm so obsessed with food, that I immediately thought he was meaning by dinner time the next night .. dirrrr Kesti!).  We had a pretty lazy afternoon - Az had beers with the permanent residents and the owner - having a chat well into dinner time .. I've learnt to just eat without him, cause he's such a social butterfly, he won't come home for hours!

I have started jogging/walking again (yay!!!!), so the next morning I had gone for a job/walk to the beach, thinking that Az wouldn't get up until about 8am..   So I got back in about 2 hours and he's up and ready to start the day.  As I was stretching, he turns to me and says, do you want to walk to get the car!! Well, I nearly fell over... but had to take the opportunity with two hands, as he NEVER wants to exercise.  I did think to myself that the mechanics is a fair way away .. by a fair way, I mean a LONG way.. but hey, who was I to bring that up :)  So after breakfast, we got the backpack ready and started out on our journey.. by the end of the road, Az turns to me and says, maybe this wasn't such a good idea.. I had to laugh!  We were only 20 minutes into the walk and the mechanic calls, saying it's all ready to be picked up and asked if we wanted him to pick us up.  Az, the avid walker, says to him, 'nah mate, we're all good, we'll be there soon anyway' ... ummmm, we weren't even half way there!!  So another hour later, and after a killer of a hill to finish, we made it to the mechanic, dripping in sweat and just glad to be out of the sun.  It was near 30 degrees, and VERY sunny.  I've never been so happy to be driving the Troopy - needless to say the air-con was turned on full ball as soon as we got in.

That afternoon, after a quick dip in the pool, we decided to pack up and leave the next morning.  What a mission - it took us a few hours to pack up.  It's amazing how much stuff you unpack when you're staying somewhere for more than a few nights!  Just as we hooked up the van, I remembered we were going to fill the car up before we hooked up the van, so I didn't have to do it once we were travelling.. Ooops.
The next morning (Wednesday 11th January), we got up nice and early, ready for the big day of driving the van on the open roads.  I managed to get the van out of the park by myself (well, with Az's guidance of course).  Backing the van is so much harder than he makes it look!

The van, nearly all packed up

So, I felt pretty good once we got on the highway, and I even got up to 90km/hr in some parts.. yep, I was movin'!!  While I was much more confident, we had the next challenge of filling the car up with the van on... deep breaths, deep breaths!  We turned off the highway, found a service station and just as I pulled in (without hitting anything.. thank you very much), we realised that the Diesel wasn't where we'd pulled up.. yep, obviously the concentration was on not hitting anything, rather than looking for the correct Diesel pump.  We looked around for the right pump, and it was right there, 2m from the entry door to the Service Station, right up against the wall.. seriously, what a stupid place for a petrol pump!!  So, lesson 2 in backing up the van.. lucky it was early and there wasn't any traffic waiting to come in for petrol!  I managed to get out the back, where there was a huge turning area for trucks and a random parking lot for the motel at the back - but there was no way I could get the van and car where it needed to be... especially as the petrol pump was on the wrong side to our car.  After a bit of swearing and frustration, we just unhitched the van (smack bang in the middle of the parking area.. hehe), and then I backed up the truck and filled up.  As I got out, I realised the Petrol Station Attendant was there waiting for us so he could fill up the car... slightly embarrassed I got out and said the first thing to come to my head, 'what a stupid place to put a petrol pump' .. hhhmm, should have probably taken a bit of time to think about something else to say!  So we had hitched up and were ready to go again - highway, here we come!

On this trip there were a few sketchy challenges that I had to overcome in order to get on with the journey... after the gas station challenge, came the skinny bridge challenge.  There is a steel bridge in Macksville that is so skinny that, while it is two way, you find yourself holding your breath when you cross,  and slightly sucking your tummy in - wishing it would make the truck narrower.  When we did the dry run, the bridge had been super busy and there were trucks coming the other way - it's one of those drives that you just want to close your eyes on and hope you make it out the other side.  As you can imagine, when it came time to cross with the caravan, I had been visualising the bridge as empty and as we came up to it, we only passed one car on the way over - yay!!!!  Challenge 2 = done!  The bridges after this were a piece of cake (well compared to that one anyway).

We made it to Port Macquarie by about 10am - I was killin' it!!  As we were making great time, we decided to go a little West from Port Macquarie and go to Timbertown in Wauchope.  Az has talked about  Timbertown quite a bit, so we thought it would be a good place to check out.. like most things though, it was much better in his memory than in real life.  We spent a few hours checking out the old timber machinery and looking at the old displays.  Not somewhere we would probably go back to, especially at the $20 p/person entry, but nice to see once.

On the platform, waiting for the Steam train

The steam driven saw mill

I don't think this is going to be a problem, except for Spiderman 
The sign reads, "WARNING Stand or walk only upon lines of nails or screws in THIS direction"

The Fire Station memrobilia

One of the Horse & Carriage horses .. beautiful

I was feeling pretty good, so we decided that we'd keep on trekking on, and would stop a few more towns South - as it was still pretty early in the day - had only just turned midday.  Before we knew it, we'd driven 350km and were only about 50km out of Newcastle!!  Needless to say, I felt pretty good about my driving effort - was exhausted, but was pretty happy that I'd gotten us, in one piece, to a few kms outside of our end destination.  Az did a wonderful job as co-pilot.  We found a nice little free camp on the riverside at Kuruah, so pulled up there and 'set up camp' for the night.  We went for a bit of a walk and found a bottle shop - I needed a drink!  Now I understand why Az just needs to sit down with a beer when he's been driving all day - I have a whole new appreciation for his efforts thus far on the trip!  And he too, has a new appreciation of a co-pilot.. not quite as easy as I make it look .. hehe.

We had dinner, sat outside and sipped our drinks and appreciated the scenery.  Just as we were getting ready for bed, a Winnebago pulled up behind us and an English family got out and asked if it was ok to camp there - as there was a sign that said no camping (we hadn't even noticed this.. oops)... we all got on the same page with a story in case someone came round, but we didn't even make it to the morning.  At about 9.30pm, we were awoken (yep, we were sound asleep already!! Oldies!) by a HUGE gust of wind... that shook the van like you wouldn't believe.  We were parked on top of a steep hill to the river .. so were a little worried we might get blown 'overboard'.  As we were considering what to do, we heard the Winnebago speed off....  guess they were thinking the same thing.

So, at 9.30pm, and still in our PJs, we made the decision to move camp, and as there was nowhere close by to stop, we ended up driving another 15km to a truck stop on the side of the highway.  While we were out of the wind, we were now listening to trucks stopping just behind our van for the rest of the night - they would stop for 10 minutes, motors running and then drive on... needless to say, we were more tired when we woke up, than when we went to bed.  After a lazy morning, we made our way to Newcastle - with no idea where we were going to stay the night.

We ended up parking the van outside Aaron's Godparent's house and did a drive round town, stopping at each caravan park in and around Newcastle... with no real luck.  If they had a spot, it would be nearly $400 a week, due to the peak period we are in.. bugger.  The drive into Newcastle with the van was nail biting to say the least.. but Az took me the long way round, so wasn't too bad.  Even driving without the van through town was stressful enough!  Understandably, Az just wanted to jump into the driver's seat, as he knew exactly where to go, and was getting frustrated at having to give directions for every turn.  We made it through the day though and even got to catch up with one of Az's friends that he grew up with - having lunch at the Honeysuckle Hotel - which was a beautiful converted woolshed.. we were drooling at the fit out.. so nice!

Sandra and Graeme (Godparents) were gracious enough to allow us to stay in the van out the front of their house until Sunday, when we were able to get into a caravan park at Belmont, just a few kms from their house.  So we are now settled into Spinnakers Leisure Park, where we'll be for the next month - maybe longer depending on where I can find a job.  It has a little gym, 2 pools and is a short walk to the shops and only across the way to Lake Macquarie.  It's quite a nice spot really - we're right up the back of the caravan park, overlooking bushland - so quite private and we have our own amenities - which is just a 10m walk.. perfect! 

We had a few days where we were feeling quite beaten - nothing was going right, everything seemed to be going against us, no matter what we did - making us question our journey.  We wondered if these things were telling us to turn around and go back.. but we've decided to keep at it, and take one day at a time.  I'll be starting to do some markets in the coming weeks, and hopefully work on Milkk Money a little more.  I'll have a job in no time, and in about 4-6 weeks we're hoping Az will be able to start the recovery towards being back on the tools - as you can imagine, he's chomping at the bit to get back to work, but is focused on a solid recovery.

Today I went for my first surf in Newcastle - I was quite nervous, as I was surfing without Az and at a new spot - I usually get quite nervous even with Az when I surf a new spot.  But managed to get a few waves without any board breakages or beatings :)  Am now looking forward to another surf very soon.. and at least we have a pool to get wet in anytime.

So if anyone is coming to Newcastle in the next few months, make sure you let us know, would love to catch up :)

Our new spot for the next few months .. just lovely