566. Sunday 13th August 2017. Donnis is home, Nuff said…

Monday 7th August

A big day starting with a 4.30am start.

I left for Brisbane Airport about 5.45 am and was not surprised by the volume of traffic on the M1. As I got closer to Beenleigh the traffic grew heavier and the speed limit if 110 Kph was down to 100 Kph. Crossing the Logan River where the official speed limit is 100 Kph.  I was soon jolted to a slow 90 then 80 and soon the traffic stopped and started until I was past the Springwood exit when suddenly the speed jumped to100 Kph and the numbers of cars reduced. Once joining the airport exit the stop start began again but soon it was back to a cruising 100 Kph. Despite the stop start and changing speeds I still managed to get to the airport at 7am and stopped for breakfast at McDonalds. I watched Donnis Air Canada plane arrive, on time, via my Samsung A3 with the FlightRadar24 App. Hmmm! The plane sat on the tarmac for 17 minutes before taxiing to the terminal. What was that all about?

Collected Donnis and she explained that 4 hours into the 17 hour flight the man in the seat behind Donnis projectile vomited at least 4 times during the flight. The plane sat in isolation on arrival while health officials boarded the plane and took the man for questioning. He claimed it must have been the tomato sauce on the past the airline served him. Nobody else got sick.

Next the cabin and passengers were sprayed with disinfectant, seat covers removed, toilet bowl was removed before the plane was allowed to taxi to the terminal and passengers could disembark. Donnis commented that the man was dry heaving during the flight and he could be heard throwing up in the bathroom. There was no sleep for passengers and it was a bad flight.

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A big block of units were being built next door. They are finally dismantling the huge crane. The biggest crane in Oz was called in to take down the pieces.
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First job is to remove all the heavy concrete counterweights. These men are waiting for the hook to remove each weight, one by one. Firts they had to find a way to remove and relocate a huge eagles nest which was home for a family for the last four months.

Wednesday 9th August

Tonight we attended a Wine & Cheese night at our clubhouse where the dress was Black and White. Had a wonderful night of good company, cheeses and other accompaniments, wine and then we played some good ole Rock n Roll (and some Line Dancing) and the dance floor got crowded. A great night enjoyed by all.

 

The rest of the week has been quiet with Optometrist, Doctor and Hearing appointments as well as a walk along the beach getting back into a routine…of sorts..

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This Pelican was following a fisherman on the beach. The tourist with the camera kept getting in his way.

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Busloads of Asian tourists arrive at the beach daily. They take off their shoes here then run into the surf and get wet fully clothed. They have fun.

We we are planning another bush walk / climb in a couple of weeks.

 

565. Sunday 6th August 2017. Looking for a big rock…

Monday 31st July

Today we leave Coonabarabran and head back to Port Macquarie via a different route. As the route would take us through Gunnedah we thought we would catch up with Tony’s brother but he had appointments which could not be broken. We also planned to catch up with my nephew Grant but we could not reach him either.

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Sunrise and on our way from Coonabarabran to Gunnedah.

So the route was through, Quirindi then on to Wallabadah.

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Clear flowing water at Wallabadah Creek.

Tony wanted to explore Wallabadah Rock or as it is also known “Rocks”. It seems this “rock is classified as the second largest monolith in the southern hemisphere. A quick Google search reveals there are several locations with rocks claiming to be the biggest or second biggest monolith in Australia. Semantics on how monoliths were formed etc aside, Wallabadah Rocks does win the title of second largest despite grudging acceptance by other contenders. Wallabadah Rocks is located entirely on private property. There is no National Park boundary within cooee so entry is by invitation only. Once more, Google came to the rescue, this time via Google Maps.

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No sense stopping at this Chilcott Creek farmhouse for directions. The sign said Keep Out. Love the old fireplace chimney though. Corrugated iron chimneys were common in the early days of opening up of land and building a house.

It got us to within a few Klms of the location but once again we came up against private property. Tony was able to throw around a few names of people he knew when he lived in the area. The farmer gave us permission to enter his property and general directions on how to reach a nearby hill from where we could get a good view.

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Wallabadah Rock (or Rocks depending on your location.

The Prado got us as far as it was possible to go before new growth, fallen trees, rocks, creek crossings and thick bush told us we had reached the end of the line.

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Come on Tony just a little bit further. A little bit further is about all we could take the car. From here it was up up up, boulder strewn, fallen trees and gullies. The Prado took us as far as it was able

Even hiking as far as we could go would still only give us a view of the monolith. There would be no hiking on Wallabadah Rocks today. The rainforests that snake up Wallabadah’s weather-formed gullies have never been studied by biologists, and earth scientists have only recently dated the plug of the extinct volcano at 45.5 million years. The rock would have been formed from molten material that cooled in the throat of the volcano. Still it was fun 4 wheel driving through the cattle property.

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Wallabadah Rock. It looks like sheer cliffs.
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Zoom in for a closer look. Those rock faces are actually millions of barrel size rocks. Very similar to the rock faces we saw at Bundellah Lookout on Coolah Tops which I wrote about last week. Not surprising they look similar. Although they are about 150 Klms apart as they crow flys they are both part of a chain of ancient volcanoes.
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Volcanic Erruptions in this area was 33 – 45 million years ago, The volcanic structures in Coolah Tops last errupted in that same time period as they are both part of the multiple volcanoes in the Liverpool Range.

Leaving the farm we joined the New England Highway near Murrurundi after driving along a back road – Chilcotts Creek Road – serving farms in the area. We continued to Singleton where once again we struck out through back roads, joining the Pacific Highway near Taree and on to Port Macquarie. It was a long day of driving having left Coonabarabran at 8.30am and arriving at Port Macquarie by 8.30 pm.

564. Sunday 30th July 2017. Surfers Sunrise, Barrington Tops, Coolah Tops and Warrumbungle climb…

LOTS OF PHOTOS THIS WEEK.

Tuesday 25th July.

I have been promising myself for weeks to get up early and visit Surfers Paradise for some sunrise photos.

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Sunrise Surfers Paradise

Every morning I wake around 7am because I am warm and cosy under the doona. Why get out of a warm bed to go to the beach? For some reason I woke at 4.30 am and was unable to get back to sleep despite the aforementioned warm and cosy. I dressed quickly. It was still dark and the temperature was 7 degrees. My clothes felt like they were frozen.

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The sand pumping ship as Surfers paradise.

Down at the beach the sun knew I was waiting, freezing, despite warm clothes, a beanie (a Tuk actually) and snow gloves. Good old Sol hid behind horizon cloud so I would stay chilled.

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High Rise at dawn

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Eventually I realised it was a choice of waiting for the sun to rise above the cloud and be chilled to the marrow or hightailing it back to the car with the heater turned on. Hightailing won.

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Dawn breaks

Thursday 27th July

After a Social Club Committee meeting I was on the road by 10am. Google Maps, as always tells me it is a 6 hour drive to Port Macquarie. Stopped just south of Grafton for some lunch which I had packed before leaving. Google Maps does not know about the roadworks which are ongoing all the way from Ballina to Port Macquarie a distance of 376 Klms. In only a few places do speed limits of 100 or 110 Klm PH apply. The rest is 80, 60, 50 (through small towns) and 40 Klm PH in School zones. I arrived at Port Macquarie at 5pm and will stay with Tony tonight then we begin our boy’s road trip in the morning.

Friday 28th July

Tony suggested we take a scenic drive through Gloucester,

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The town of Gloucester nestled in the foothills of Barrington Tops.
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Stopped at Gloucester for a coffee. In one short block Gloucester had seven coffee shops.

Barrington Tops, Merriwa and a host of even smaller places to arrive at Coolah where we will stay at the Black Stump Motel.

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The Black Stump Motel. Despite having booked two days previously and they were expecting us it took 10 minutes for somebody to show up at the office. Next day another couple arrived and were ringing the bells and nobody came, I suggested they get a cut lunch while waiting. Eventually staff did arrive. Once upon a time the end of civilisation was here in Coolah. Land grants did not extend any further west than here. In those early days some grants of land were descrided as being within a certain distance of a “black stump”. Therefore reference to a place being remote it is called beyond the Black Stump. Coolah trades on the name at many shops.

It is an average motel by good motel standards but is average by average standards. No meals. No breakfast but they do point the way to the hotel 200m up the road.

The trip up, through and over Barrington Tops was an experience. It was about 60 Klms of mostly well graded gravel road, narrow in places with several cattle grids and one very large gate to be opened to leave the park.

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To exit Barrinton Tops this gate must be opened and closed by all traffic.
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After exiting the Barrington Tops Tony waits for me, the gate closer, while parked near a very steep hill around 1,000M above sea level.

At a height of 1,500m above sea level it is quite high in the clouds. It is thickly timbered. It was very windy and cold. It snowed here three weeks ago and some of the cloud looked threatening enough to bring on snow.

It didn’t.

The narrow almost single lane along a steep ridge line wound around and down offering spectacular views across the valley and on to the next part of the Great Dividing Range.

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Exiting Barrington Tops looking across the valley.
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The slow steep descent frpm Barrinton Tops to Copeland along a narrow, winding gravel track.

There are many options of adventure in the park but we had no time to stop and look. Our first stop was Gloucester which owes its fortune to timber cutting and sheep grazing. We only had time to pick up a coffee and get on the road again and next big town was Scone where we stopped for a quick lunch. The entire trip today has passed through some wonderful country leaving the way open for future visits.

Saturday 29th July

The temperature dropped down to zero overnight. Tony had left a damp chamois in the car overnight and it was frozen this morning.

I travelled over 1,000 Klms to find an example of horizontal Basalt Columns. No, we did not find them as they were even further away. Next on the list was Lava Caves. Again not found as National Parks no longer maintains a trail or even advertises the caves. Also, not found were some basalt columns from which 200 core sample were drilled in 2011. Those core sample confirmed the last magnetic pole reversal occurred some 40 million years ago. I had packed a detailed list of how to find these locations but left them in the motel.

Sigh!

We drove to Coolah Tops National Park which is mostl;y about 1,000m above sea level. There are lots of campgrounds inside the park, one cabin built in 1937 set in what can only be described as an alpine pasture.

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Brackens Cottage built 1937 and set up for serious hikers. It contains 5 spring bed bases, a rough wooden table and bench seating and the biggest indoor fireplace I have ever seen.

Several kangaroos were grazing nearby. On the drive up the steep winding gravel road to the park saw lots of birdlife, flocks of goats, a fox, kangaroos and a wombat.

The plan today, after not finding the caves and columns was to look for The Pinnacle Lookout near which was supposed to be an ill- defined track to take us to the basalt columns and lava caves. Naturally in situations like this where we left the mud map back at the motel we took a wrong hiking trail. After an hour of walking with no sign of our objective we turned back.

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I believe these are Snow Gums but they may be Ghost Gums. Maybe an eagle eyed arborist can tell us which one they are.

On arrival at the car park we were surprised to find another three carloads of people also looking for the caves.

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Bundella Lookout looking across at ancient volcanic craters and plugs in the distance of the Liverpool Plains, breadbasket of NSW wheat growing.

This time we found the Pinnacle Lookout which basically is a rock formation with sheer 300 metre walls jutting out over a valley. In places the rough track was little more than a metre wide with the rock edge showing the fall to the valley floor below. There are no fences or safety barriers here. While Tony managed to carefully walk as far as possible and sit on a convenient rock I took photos.

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My friend Tony sits on a rock at the edge of The Pinnacle with a steep 300m drop on three sides.

Finding I had mobile phone signal I was able to call Donnis in Canada and show her a live video of our location.

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Tony returning from his perch on The Pinnacle. It was at this stage I discovered I had phone signal so called Donnis in Canda and showed her video of our location.

The Pinnacle is not a hike for the faint hearted or those nervous of heights. That said, the view of the surrounding countryside, which is all volcanic in origin, combined with the precipice all around made for a breathtaking view of the Liverpool Plains. Being so close to the drop off was also breathtaking.

Next we looked for the trail to the lava caves. NSW National Parks is not promoting the caves so there are no signs or notices to tell you how to get there. The other groups of people had no luck either despite scrambling over steep rock falls and thickly wooded hillsides and steep cliffs.

We took a long walk to Norfolk Falls which at this time of year has no water flowing except for small amount which was still loud enough show where it was located. The track was 500 steps down to a viewing platform. The 500 steps climbing back up was tiring.

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Well set up camp at Cox’s Creek where we expected to see Basalt Columns. Later we found out the waterfall (where there was no water) runs over the columns. Pity we did not search a bit further.

All up we hiked for about 4 hours today. We were so glad to get out boots off when we arrived back at the Black Stump.

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These are original telegraph lines which once upon a time were the only “modern” means of communicating in the outback.

Sunday 30th July

Wow! Wow! Wow!

We drove from Coolah to Coonabarabran

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Coonabarabran once boasted a thriving rail service as did hundreds of outback towns. Sadly most have been closed for years.
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many old stores in Coonabarabran are empty and abandonned. Most businesses are confined to the main street and a few metres down a few side streets. That said the most amazing ornate Chinese Restaurant with the biggest menu choices is right here.
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Bakery door at Coonabarabran.

where we had coffee at a newly opened, popular, funky coffee lounge called Feathers. Great coffee wonderful atmosphere, home style cakes etc.

From there we drove out to the Warrumbungles a range of extinct volcanic plugs, sometimes called “jumpups”. The Warrumbungles suffered a devastating bush fire in 2013.    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-28/nsw-coroner-unable-to-find-cause-of-coonabarabran-bushfire/6809016

The fire destroyed much of the National Park, destroyed farms and homes and even threatened Coonabarabran and the Siding Springs Observatory. It has taken a couple of years but new growth is taking over but evidence of the fire is still very much prevalent. The huge steep rocky plugs are part of the Warrumbungle National Park and several steep walks are available mostly for the experienced, fit, fearless and may I say foolhardy hikers. Naturally Tony and I can be described by at least one of those descriptions. We therefore chose the steepest climb called Belougery Split Rock walking track and did it in the reverse direction.

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Belougery Split Rock. Or challenge for the next 3.5 hours.

Split Rock was formed by volcanic activity about 70 million years ago. The volcano erupted through  a base of sandstone rock. The resulting dome of molten rock bubbled up to the surface clogging the source vent creating the Split Rock. Looking back we think that was a wise decision by error.

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These wild “mountain” goats are ideally camoflouged to hide in the rocks. We disturbed the entire flock of about a dozen goats within 30 metres of starting our hike. A big male with black wool was always last, ensuring the herd was safely moved before he joined them.

We walked the steepest hardest part of the climb going up.

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One of many tight steep places we had to follow.

We are doubtful how we would have coped coming down such a challenging slope.

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Not only resting but this was the point we shook hands and agreed to continue the hike as going back was now out of the question.

The distance was shown as 4.6 Klms and to allow 2.5 to 3.5 hours. It is assessed as a Grade 4 in the Australian Walking Track standard which has a maximum of 5 grades. We did it in 3.5 hours and were totally exhausted with sore muscles and aching joints. The views, when we had time to take our eyes off the rock track, were stunning.

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Getting closer but the track moved up and away and around the split.

Climbing up rock faces we could not see how steep the climb was until we stopped for water, a breather and photos.

Once on the peak we were able to see the surrounding valleys and other volcanic plugs.

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The Breadknife and Grand High Tops. Note the charred remains in trees in the foreground.
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Bluff Mountain in the Warrumbungle Ranges

We also saw the steep drop offs we had to climb down. We needed to be careful where we put our feet while at the same time we were using a hiking pole, it also had to be carefully placed. Some sections were very steep and difficult to climb from one level to another. Other sections were over steep, slippery open rock faces some as much as 10 metres tall. Even climbing up to some caves above the track where we stopped for an apple and a drink was a challenge in itself.

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Just one of dozens of caves on Belougery Split Rock. No doubt the caves are the results of air pockets in the lava.
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Tony wonders how to climb the two metre ledge to the caves.

From the caves we could see the Australian Observatory at Siding Springs. (no time for a visit on this trip)

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From the caves we were able to see Siding Springs Observatory.

The summit is 770m above sea level.

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We have finally reached the summit where we look down into the split.

Coming down some of the steep sections which were over smooth volcanic rock my knees would tremble with the sheer effort of maintaining control. We were oh so glad to finally reach a reasonably flat, obstacle free walking track leading back to the carpark.

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We were ever so pleased to find this sign at the end of our walk as we came along the track in the background. I did commence this walk, alone, in 2012 but had to stop due the heat in October and the only person in the area. The slippery rock surfaces and steep incline could lead to accidents.

For the last 800 m we talked about wanting a cold Solo Lemon drink. Tony had some in his Waeco Fridge. By the time we reached the car our clothes were drenched in sweat.

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Belougery Split Rock is dotted with dozens of caves.

Tonight we went to an ornate Chinese Restaurant in Coonabarabran. A wonderful dinner with a couple of beers and we will sleep well after two days of tough physical activity. Considering the trip was only planned on Monday this week it has all come together perfectly. Yesterday we had stunning clear blue cloudless skies. Today was overcast and a chill breeze cruising through the valleys. It needed to be cooler for our hike.

Looking forward to next year when we try some of the other hikes.

 

563. Sunday 23rd July 2017. A quiet week apart from building a small garden deck…

Donnis is still on Prince Edward island in the Province of the same name, Prince Edward island, eastern Canada. She has lots of photos to share but they will not be available until she returns next month.

I have been doing whatever I need to do around the house to keep busy. I would like to say the deck I was building is complete. The deck is, the plants are mostly in their pots in place on the deck and I just need to complete the water trickle system, paint the black pots a clay colour and it is all done. It was a wonderul project and now that it is 95% complete I am looking around for a new project.

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Taken with my trusty Samsung Galaxy A3. Those black pots on the bench seats have clumping bamboo planted in them. They will clump and give us a nice outdoor garden view from the bedroom window, The rest of the plants are various part shade herbs.
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I might even have morning coffee here when spring arrives.

I am planning an outback adventure in the coming week so I should have some interesting places and photos for next Sunday.

If you like photos I have been contributing to two photo Facebook pages.

Have a look at Australian Outback Photography and Amatuer Photography.

Its a short report this week, but expect a big report next week.

562. Sunday 16th July 2016… Let’s talk about a road trip across the Trans Canada Highway…

Sunday 16th July

Last week we left Donnis when she arrived at Thunder Bay in the Province of Ontario on the shore of Lake Superior. This lake is shared by the USA and by coincidence they also have a town, called Thunder Bay on the shore of Lake Huron in the State of Michigan.

The next day following Lake Superior and the Trans Canada Highway they arrived at Sault St Marie on the US border but still within the Province of Ontario. It was at the motel here that Alecia was bitten several times by bed bugs. Hmmm!

Another long long day of travel they arrived at Ottowa, which is still in the Province of Ontario. Remember as they travel east they are moving into an earlier time zone so their travel days had to be planned so they could arrive at accommodation and restaurants at a reasonable hour and to get to bed and a good nights sleep to start it all again the next day with another time zone change.

The last two days has been through a small part of the land of a thousand lakes. In fact there are around 35,000 lakes. I am still unsure if all the lakes have a name.

Next day was much shorter, only a few hours drive to the city of Montreal, the most populous city in the Province of Quebec. Now they are in the heartland of the French speaking part of the nation. It is strange to note that Canada, a bi-lingual nation, has legislated that all public signs, labels, notices, warnings etc be printed in French and English, nation- wide. Quebec seems to thumb its nose at this legislation as very few directional signs are shown in both languages. Driving around this city you need French as your second language.

Another short drive to Quebec City capital of the Province of Quebec and definitely pro French. In 1655 there were 550 people living there in 70 houses. Hmmm! Sounds a bit crowded to me. That’s about 8 people per household but of course that was around 350 years ago so big families meant survival.

The final long day of travel brought Donnis and Alecia across the Federation Bridge spanning 12.9 Klms across the Northumberland Strait to the Province of New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island their final destination for the next week or so.

I am looking forward to seeing the photos.

On another matter, for those of you who have a Facebook account may I suggest you have a look at Australian Outback Photography. I have been posting a daily photo of our outback travels.

 

561. Sunday 9th July 2017. RACQ Motofest and travels in Canada…

Sunday 9th July

Along with friends Graham and Wencke we drove to the famous Eagle Farm Racecourse in Brisbane. The Queensland Motoring organisation, Royal Automobile Club of Queensland – RACQ – held a motorfest. Pretty much all things to do with motor cars, motorcycles, racing, camping etc.

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These motorcycles with sidecars provided the first RACQ Roadside Service.

The amazing thing about the fest was the entrance fee. A gold coin donation, $2 per person. There were food vendors and importantly real coffee barista’s. There were roving entertainers. We interacted with a pair of roving “Policemen” who must have had good memories because they remembered the cheek, especially Wencke gave them on arrival.

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Fake Cops.

They gave back the cheek on our second meeting. It was all in good fun. A couple of young ladies on stilts must have had their smiles frozen on earlier in the day. They never stopped smiling as they moved among the crowd saying hello.

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Very pretty, always smiling, girls on stilts.

The sun shone as we wandered among the 380 motor vehicles and cycles on display.

I really wanted to see a Ford Mustang Convertible. On my bucket list is a trip across Australia, or Route 66 in the USA or the Trans Canada Hwy in a Mustang.

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This is a Mustang Convertible and one which I would love to do a long driving trip…in the summer of course.

I also saw a Shelby Cobra which would be a fine vehicle for the trip as well.090717 maybe

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Thios is definately not on my drive across a nation bucket list. Apart from being a gas guzzler it barely has any ground clearance.

I also got a chance to see the new Hyundai i30. Even the base model was impressive along with a base price. The new top of the range comes in at double the price of the base model.

I also enjoyed seeing a Willys Knight.

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This was a luxury Willys. Our family had a Coupe. It was always breaking down giving Dad The Willys.

When I was a young boy my dad had a Willys Coupe which had a dickie seat. My Nana sat in the dickie seat.

One of the disappointments was the much lauded Poo Car.

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The Poo car. Rather dissappointingly it does not really run on Poo as the name suggests. It runs on a battery motor and the battery is charged by the process of gasses given off by Poo and coberted to electricty.

The way it was promoted in the news was it was the first car to run on, well. Poo. In fact it does not. How this one prototype works is this. Normal sewerage gives off a gas. The gas is used to create electricity most of which is put back into the grid. Some is syphoned off and storage batteries in the car are charged. Basically it is an electric car but so far can only be charged via the Poo created electricity.

Some other electric cars were also on display but they were a disappointment in that they can only be charged by plugging into a mains power source so basically you are limited to only being able to travel as far as a fully charged battery system will allow. The last southerly charging station from Brisbane is at Byron Bay in northern NSW. Most of the electric cars would need to charge once before arriving at BB. The next charging station in NSW is Sydney some 800 Klms further south. The battery cars are only good as a local area means of transport. They are expensive to buy, the batteries are expensive and only have a limited range.

On the other hand the Toyota range of electric cars were not on display. They are a hybrid of electric and a regular motor. When driving the alternator charges the battery as does the inertia when putting a foot on the brake pedal. Even the rotating wheels generates electricity to charge the batteries. Even so, the batteries are still very expensive as is the purchase price. If I was entertaining buying an electric car it would have to be one of the Hybrids.

The vehicle which I spent most time looking at was the privately owned ex Army Ferret Scout Car.

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This Ferret Scout carb brought back memories from my Armoured Corps days.

When I was in the Australian Armoured Corps I started my career driving and or crew commanding one of these. Crew commander sounds impressive but really there is only a driver and a commander who handles radio, macjing gun, grenade launchers, navigator and telling the driver where to go.

Across the Globe Donnis and her daughter Alecia are driving cross country on the Trans Canada Highway. Starting point was Calgary in the Province of Alberta. At the end of a long day they arrived at Regina the capital of Saskatchewan. Interestingly Canada has their Census years the same as Australia. Regina the capital had a population of 214,000 in 2016 whereas the Province had a population of 1,098,000. On the drive they passed through towns with interesting names. Medicine Hat, Swift Current, Moose Jaw to name a few. Day two was a a long drive through the Province of Saskatchewan and equally long drive through the next Province, Manitoba and the capital, Winnipeg, population 705,000. Another long long day where they arrived late at the city of Thunder Bay which is smack in the middle of the Great Lakes. Great Lakes! There must be thousands of them. In fact Wikipedia tells me there are 35,000 lakes. If you took all the lakes out of the Canadian land mass it would be 25% smaller.

560. Sunday 2nd July 2017. At home…

It has been a quiet week. My bad back has restricted me somewhat but getting out and going for a walk is good therapy.

With that in mind I thought I would show a little of the northern end of The Gold Coast near where I live.

I went to Paradise Point for a walk along The Broadwater foreshore. It is school holidays and family groups were everywhere and every barbecue was occupied and the smell of sausages and rissoles wafting in the breeze along the path was enough to make me weak in the knees.

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Looking south over The Broadwater from Paradise Point. Southern end of Ephraim Island can be seen.
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Ephraim Island
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Paradise Point sailing Club.

I also drove over the Ephraim Island Bridge to umm err Ephraim Island. It is a bit exclusive and has a gate controlled by security staff.

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The bridge to exclusive Ephraim Island.

Two days after visiting the island a 78 year old mother and her 54 and 53 year old daughters committed suicide in their exclusive suite.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/three-women-found-dead-on-gold-coast/news-story/17be47da502fc8f865c2c472ba99ed10

Sad.

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To the north is the equally exclusive Sovereign Island (which is a half dozen islands connected by small bridges and connected to the mainland by a long bridge.

Later in the week I walked around our village in bright warm winter sunshine. I mention the sunshine as all night a soft gentle rain fell, lulling me to sleep. By mid morning the clouds disappeared and a beautiful day followed. We live beside Biggera Creek.

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The bird life loves living around our village.
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Note how you can see right through the ducks breathing slits in its bill. (Ducks have bills not beaks.
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I am fascinated by this old Royal Palm stump. Seeds dropped by birds have sprouted within the stump and we have a Ficus Ficus (Fig) and a species of Yukka fighting for root space but seem healthy enough.
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Biggera Creek with rain drops still on the Yukka leaves.

The rest of the week was spent doing very little and avoiding annoying my back.

Next week promises to be better.

559. Sunday 25th June 2017. Brisbane War Memorial, Commonwealth Games and Canals…

Monday 19th June

Whoooee! Today I took a train trip from the Gold Coast to Brisbane. It was far cheaper than taking i30. No traffic, no parking fees, no fuel, no city traffic woes. I was able to sit back and read or use the WiFi provided by Queensland Rail.

On arrival I went to Anzac Square which lies across the street from Central Station

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Central Station is located behind this tiny facade. Buildings have been erected around and over the station. Inside it is huge with 6 platforms in constant use.

and stretches between Ann Street through to Adelaide Street.

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Anzac Square with the clock tower of Central Station in the bottom right.

The Doric Columns and most of the memorial walls and floor of the Memorial Shrine are made from a rock which looks like dressed sandstone. It isn’t. I believe it is made from a local rock known as Brisbane Tuff.

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Doric Columns of the Brisbane War Memorial in Anzac Square.

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Brisbane Tuff  is a type of rock, formed as a result of a volcanic eruption. As the name suggests, it is a type of tuff found around Brisbane. It is a form of welded ignimbrite and was quarried extensively in the early history of Brisbane at the Kangaroo Point Cliffs for use in construction of Brisbane’s earliest buildings.

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The popular Kangaroo Point Parklands. Evidence of the quarrying of Brisbane Tuff is easy to see.

Brisbane tuff comes in a variety of colours: pink, green, blue (grey) and purple. The different colours are due to the extent of oxidation of iron and manganese.

A Perpetual Flame burns in a bronze urn. Anzac Square was opened on Armistice Day 1930 and is included in the Queensland Heritage Register.

The square, the shrine, the pathways, the lawns, trees and shrubs are all specially chosen and tended as being of a place of solemn significance.190617 ice

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While ice skating is conducted in King George Square the ever popular meeting area now has a temporary food alley.

Tuesday 20th June

I attended a group hype session and a personal interview to be a volunteer driver for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

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Volunteers posed for photos.

The first thing which was obvious was the amount of planning and implementation so far. The games entire volunteer crew is planned to be 15,000 people. Almost 50,000 applications were received and this has been narrowed down to 25,000. Now comes the interview process to bring in the final 15,000. On the fleet drivers section they need a crew of 2,800 and are going through the process of bringing the 4,000 applicants down to that number. The games will have a fleet of 771 official cars which will move sports people, officials and dignitaries around on a 24/7 basis. In fact in the lead up to the commencement of the games will be a lead in period of one month when attending personnel will require transport. If I am chosen it will be a busy period during March and April year. There are about 8 different types of cars to be used from small 4 seaters to larger 6 seaters to 12 seaters and Toyota Coaster 30 seaters. I can drive all of those vehicles except the bus which requires a LR or MR type license. It was interesting to note that even in my group there were those who were nervous about driving anything bigger than a 4 seater and some were restricted to automatic cars only.

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Volunteer interviewees are encouraged to leave a paint fingerprint in a stylised aboriginal dot painting of the main area of the Gold Coast being used for the Commonwealth Games. My fingerprint is at the bottom of the photo shown by a red arrow.

Wednesday 21st June

Game II State of Origin.

What can I say about tonight’s game?

Qld lost the first game three weeks ago at home in Brisbane to NSW.

Tonight was played in the NSW home arena against the pumped up unchanged side. Qld had 4 debut players and the return of 2 key players. One from injury, the other from simply not being selected for the first game. At half time NSW led 16-6 and the game looked all but over. The NSW side was dominant until a little into the second half. Then the game changed. It changed almost suddenly. Qld scored two converted tries, the second, two minutes from full time. They looked set to put on another try but the full time siren closed the game. Qld won 18-16 setting the stage for a final decider in Brisbane in three weeks. It should be a sellout.

The star player, Jonathon Thurston injured his already injured shoulder. Medical advice is he should never play again. That means his representative career for Queensland and Australia as well as for his home team is all over. All Rugby League fans will be sorry to see Jonathon leave the game but we all believe he will be back in some capacity either as a coach or a highly paid TV commentator.

Friday 23rd June

Today I went to the Runaway Bay Shopping Centre to collect my laptop which has had a new solid state hard drive installed plus a few tweaks.

The shopping centre backs on to a canal system. For those who do not know, the Gold Coast has a huge canal system of residential land. Every house on the canals has a water frontage many of them have landing jetties and pontoons.

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A tiny part of the Gold Coast Canal system.

All canals are part of a creek or river system which flows into The Broadwater, one of the premier waterways playgrounds in Australia, if THE premier waterway. The shopping centre knows that much of its custom comes from yachties who live on their boats in The Broadwater, local home owners on the canal, visitors on hire boats and houseboats, fishermen even jet ski riders. The shopping centre provides two jetties and associated pontoon berths so boaties can land, do their shopping and return to the boat.

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Runaway Bay Shopping Centre Boat berthing facilities.

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The canal in this instance gives direct access to The Broadwater.

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Canala Entrance at unaway Bay where it merges with The Broadwater.

558. Sunday 18th June 2017. A model, a long walk a beach walk and a head cold…

Thursday 15th June

It has rained all week. On Sunday I left a bucket on a table in our back yard. The bucket is almost full. Weather reports state we have had about 300mm of rain this week. My bucket gauge supports that information.

The sun has been allowed to make brief appearances through the cloud today. Those brief appearances are important. First I was able to get a load of washing on the line and dried. More importantly it was an opportunity to get out of the house for a wind in the hair and salt air in the nostrils experience at the beach.

As I arrived at The Spit the sun broke through the clouds and shone on what I thought was a navigation beacon out of place.

I saw this model in the distance and enjoyed lots of poses.

Those building in the distance are on The Broadwater at Lands end.

Nope. It was a photo shoot with a professional model, lovely gown, flowers, hairdresser, wardrobe stylist, photographer and director. Whew! All I had was me. The sun shone just long enough to fire off almost thirty photos. Then the sun took the rest of the day off. Still the results were great so I selected the best half dozen.

Photo shoots are wonderful especially here on the Gold Coast with so many attractive background locations. Sometimes I stumble across a shoot and can get my own photos. Shoots are good in that they are not a closed set but do have several people involved often with more than one photographer. Movie shoots on the other hand are usually a closed set with lots of security. Much of the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie were shot here on the coast in 2015/2016 and all locations were closed.

Despite the unpleasant weather and the confused seas I still managed this great photo of the beach, the ocean, the sand pumping station and Surfers Paradise in the background.
This sand pumping station has a small kiosk at the land entrance and charges a 42 entry fee to allow a walk to the end. Fishermen enjoy the opportunity.

Friday 16th June

I drove to Southport Surf Life Saving Club and parked i30. Then, armed with camera I set off to walk to Surfers Paradise for no other reason than I wanted to, It is a 3.2 Klm walk both ways. About halfway to Surfers I noticed what appeared to be a strange dark coloured, rounded hill in the distance where there has not been a hill previously.

Sand pumping ship and the brown hill it created.

The day was overcast with threatening rain and a strong southerly wind so visibility was a bit limited. As I got closer realised there was a ship where there ought not be a ship. It was spouting a huge dark arc of…sand and water slurry.

You can see the sand particles suspended in the spray.

It is being thrown towards the beach. There is a distinct lack of information about this particular sand pumping ship but locals say it arrived yesterday and began pumping sand around the Miami Beach area. Within 10 minutes of me taking photos the ship stopped pumping, moved offshore and gradually moved further north to begin another pump to bring sand off the sandbars and to build up the beach.

The sand is ejected out of this 25mm pump.

I stopped at Hogs Breath Café for a lunch of Flathead fillets and a cold beer before walking 3.2 Klms back to the car.

It was enjoyable but I really felt the effort after I arrived home. I need to keep the walks to build up my stamina.

Sunday 18th June

Maybe I have overdone it

Went for another long walk, this time along Southport Beach.

I know its winter. It’s not summer, it’s not spring. Judging by the number of people on the beach a lot of them think it is still summer. It was a glorious day to be on the beach.

Perhaps I have taxed my capabilities to the limit and my resistance to infection is severely limited.

Feel terrible tonight.

I think I have a blocked node and a hed gode.

Feelstuffedupwithablockednoseheadacheandgenerallyfeelingwornoutandunwell.

 

557. Sunday 11th June 2017. Guess who went to Canada so lets open a few Doors…

Monday 5th June

Up bright an early to drive Donnis to Brisbane Airport. Generally the trip is around an hour give or take 5 minutes. The flight leaves at 10.40 and she has to be at check – in 2 hours before the flight. That is peak hour traffic time so we believe leaving home by 6.30 will be enough time to allow for traffic on the M1. Hmmm! The first 50 Klms were normal traffic conditions. Lots of cars all zooming along at 110 Kph or greater but traffic was flowing. Once we reached the southern fringes of Brisbane (some say it is the northern fringes of the Gold Coast) on ramps were loaded with cars joining the M1. Five lanes became four lanes then three lanes and traffic stopped. From here until we turned off on the Gateway Bridge Motorway traffic crawled along, stop start with those usual cretins who weave from one lane to another thinking they are getting somewhere faster. All they do is push the other cars a little further back making traffic worse behind them.We wave at them as we pass them 50 metres further down the road. Ur time plan has paid off. We arrive at the airport at 8.10. By the time Donnis finds a trolley for her bags and works her way to check in it is 8.20. I have breakfast at McDonalds until I get the message that she has checked her bags and has a boarding pass. There was a complication. Last night we checked her in on line. Today the Air Canada staff told her that dual passport holders are treated differently and they have to check her in manually and there is no point checking in on line. WOT THE!

She’s leavin’, she’s leavin’, she’s on the ship now and leavin’

Standing by the gangway, tossin’ streamers over my way

I find it kinda hard believin’

(With apologies to singer songwriter Kevin Johnson)

Sob sob boo hoo.

Sunday 11th June

Nothing much to report since Monday. Just doing little jobs around the house, playing bowls, Table tennis, helping other people in the village with their computer, tablet and mobile phone problems.

This week we will have a look at some doors which caught our attention over our years of travel.

Miles.

The town is on the Warrego Highway, 340 kilometres (210 mi) west of Brisbane, the state capital.

It has a twice weekly railway service.

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Miles Railway Station located about 350 Klms northwest of Brisbane.

It was formerly known as Dogwood Crossing located as it is beside Dogwood Creek. That was its official name in 1844 when there was little more than a few tents scattered along the creek. Formerly named Miles in 1878 when the Post Office was opened. Originally an agricultural location growing such things as wheat, sorghum, barley and cotton ( a water hungry crop). Later it was also found to be ideal as pasture for sheep farming and so it went for the best part of about 140 years. Now it is a centre for controversial industries such as electricity generation, coal mining and thereally  big controversial new industry, Coal Seam Gas and the dangers of fracking. On the one hand the town was beginning to feel a decline in wealth and population but the new industries are bringing people and businesses back to town.

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Old Bank Chambers at Miles Qld.

 

Coledale and Scarborough are northern beachside (or should I say Cliffside) suburbs of Wollongong. Here the escarpment, which is part of the Great Dividing Range _which runs along the eastern Australian seaboard from the tip of Cape York all the way to Victoria – comes to the closest point to the sea. In fact the cliff edges for around 10 Klms falls sheer into the sea. Once upon a time the entire area was a maze of cola mines dug into the cliff face.

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Private residnce on clifftops at Scarborough NSW.
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Private residence on clifftops at Coledale NSW.

 

Inverell NSW is a town nearly 600 Klms northwest of Sydney.

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Inverell Town Hall

The town is on the Gwydir Highway and the first commercial building was a trading store on the McIntyre River in 1853. Originally the area was known as the Green Swamp. Apart from sheep pastures the district owes its original wealth from diamond mining. Imagine that! When we think of diamond mining we think of De Beers in South Africa or Argyle Mines in Western Australia. Inverell NSW is not well known for diamonds since mining ceased there in 1922. However in recent years, a possible new mine is being proposed at Bingarra, not all that far from Inverell.

 

Highgate Hill

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Strange homemade door.

The Hand Made Naturals store makes and sells skin care products. In their spar time they collect fallen tree limbs and branches and make doors. If you want to know more about natural skin care products then have a look here.   https://www.naturals.com.au/

 

Lightning Ridge

Aaaah! The Ridge. I do not know why but this dry and dusty outback NSW town has a sort of charm which entices us back. All the eccentric people live here. (does that mean we are eccentric?) The Ridge is world famous for Black Opals. On this occasion we visited the site of the original shaft dug by Charles Waterhouse Nettleton in 1902.260115 nettleton Many hundreds of shafts have been dug in the area since then. Many thousnads of shafts have been dug at The Ridge and surrounding districts since 1902. A few people have made a vast fortune. Many live on pensions hoping for a big find…one day. The builder of this house came for a visit and stayed. Looking for some of the worst roads in Australia for your next outback adventure movie? The Ridge has the worst roads umm err tracks some disappearing into the unknown becoming nothing more than dry and ancient creek beds leading I know not where.

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Open doorway of a private residence at Lightning Ridge. The house is made from bottles and has not yet had a dor attached to the doorway.

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Airlie Beach. Qld

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The Port of Airlie Qld, Marina and Cruise boat harbour is a very modern facility opened in November 2013.

The builders of Port of Airlie spent a lot of money, time and effort building a new first class marina and harbour. The owners of a Morrocan Restaurant went to a lot of trouble and very little expense converting modern premises into an old bazaar style eatery. On Tuesday nights diners can sit on cushions on the floor and watch old black and white movies…about Morrocco.

Uralla NSW

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Private residence at Uralla NSW.

Uralla is an old mining town probably more famous for a bushranger who is buried here.Captain Thunderbolt terrorised the district robbing the rich and giving to the poor…Thunderbolt was poor.

Mt Tamborine Qld

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Hand Made Mt Tamborine Qld

First opened up for settlement in 1878. It calls itself the Green Behind The Gold referring of course to the Gold Coast. These doors are on a retail property called The Handmade Cottage. Mostly the handmade are dolls. Dolls of every description. Dolls everywhere. Some handmade timber bits and pieces but the crowning glofry are the dolls.