Home again

After our visit to the Residency Museum we went to the bakery for a pie. We then walked to a Bushland Garden, which is partway up the hill. There wasn’t very much in flower, but it was a pleasant place to be and we enjoyed walking back down to the main street a different way and seeing different parts of the town.

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At the Bushland Gardens

I rather fell in love with this little stone house, and only afterwards noticed that it is for sale. Possibly a lot of work needed…

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We bought two new gas cylinders and the boy at the hardware shop obligingly put them in for us and connected them up. I bought some crisps and we headed up to Mt Brown to catch the evening light.

I was a bit worried about coming back down the steep road as I haven’t worked out how to drive the Winnie in manual. However, I kept the speed slow and it stayed in 2nd gear, so I was using the brake, plus low gear in coming down. Not nearly so scary as I had feared.

After initially parking in a spot with no view we moved into a better spot and after walking around and taking some photos we had our drink (of diet coke) and nibbles, whilst enjoying being in such a beautiful place. There are views on three sides from the top position, with a viewing platform.

We had an interesting experience, as well as enjoying the changing light towards sunset. A young couple arrived with a photographer who was using a drone to take photos and perhaps videos of them walking around. The couple were dressed in evening clothes and it must have been very cold indeed for the young woman with bare shoulders and arms. The drone appeared to be vaguely menacing as they walked along with it hovering above.

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I used my A6000 at first, then got out the A7RII with my new (used) A mount 24-70mm 2.8 lens. This is the lens I should have had to photograph my niece’s wedding a few weeks ago. It is the Zeiss lens, and the rich colours and interesting flare effects are just lovely, I’m very glad to have it. Secondhand, it was $1350 – I got $550 for my FE 24-70, and $800 for the FE 16-35mm lens, which has been largely unused since I bought it. I already had the “3” adapter, which allows almost all of the lens functions. I still have the 35mm F2.8 FE lens if I want absolutely all of the functions.

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The Winnie at Mt Brown
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York farmlands

When we got home I worked out how to get the TV going, there was a little switch next to the arial plug, and once lit up, we had no problems with reception. We watch the news, then had another episode of the Durrels, this time on the TV as for some reason the HDMI input also worked.

I put the water heater on, and when I had a shower about an hour later the water was really very hot, I had to add lots of cold. I soaped up, then used the shower to rinse. Then we switched off the gas for safety overnight. In the morning, the water heater initially started, then kept switch off and trying to relight. I switched it off completely, then tried the other gas cylinder. Still no joy. I decided we probably needed to check on the gas flow, so put some eggs on to boil. I found I could only use one burner at a time, the flow was very weak, and the water took more than half an hour to get hot, but was still far from boiling. I then used the frying pan to cook the eggs for our breakfast.

This morning, I have rung Parkland RV to ask if it can be checked out, and they said they will get back to me with a date when it can be seen by their gas specialist.

So, it was a slightly less satisfying morning after having such a good experience with the hot water system the night before.

However, we feel very happy overall with the Winnie, with the slide out it feels very spacious inside and we love having the comfort. It feels very solid and well built. Even emptying the toilet cassette at the dump point was interesting for us, learning how to do it. I enjoy the driving and we used heating and the windscreen wipers with no problems.

On the way home we had one stop to let people past, then went to the Maundering Bakery for a pie and hot drink for our lunch. We have used the special RV parking area before with the caravan and it is well located, just across the road from the Bakery.

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Posing on this rock at Mt Brown lookout is ‘the thing’ – so Stephen did it too!

Somewhat embarrassingly, I have just been testing the hot water system/stove top. I was using a method of turning on the gas, then winding it back slightly. That was enough to slow the flow of gas considerably. I experimented with not turning it back at all after turning on and was able to switch on the water heater in one go and get all three gas burners working on the stove top at the same time. I left the heater on long enough to get the water hot. I sent a text to Bruce at Parkland RV to let him know.

First outing with the Winnie, a trip to York

Since we picked up the Winnie it has been parked either on the driveway when our neighbours were away, or on the street outside. There are normally lots of cars parked in our street, so we feel reasonably confident that it won’t be vandalized. However in a recent discussion with our neighbour, he said he thought it could be parked in our spare bay, and paced it out in steps. We have agreed to give it a go when we get back. We may need to get rid of the rosemary bushes on the fenceline, he said he and Linda were already thinking of doing that, and planting some flowering plants instead. Stephen has sent an email to the group (Kim, Norm and me) suggesting this happens soon, but leaving it up for discussion.

I’ve spent a huge amount of time setting things up here in the Winnie, but it has still been frustrating to some extent as we learn the ropes. I had to put the fridge on gas, and George was using the gas to test the hot water system before we picked it up. I’ve realised this morning that we appear to be out of gas. There is the spare bottle, but it is not connected. The hot water only got slightly warm last night and we have no hope this morning. Despite that, I had a wash in the shower last night and plan to shower/wash in a basin of water boiled in the kettle. The reason being that the Mt Bakewell Caravan Park showers looked pretty grotty last night, though  the toilets are fine.

Yesterday we drove to York, stopping off to see Mum on the way. She was on her own, so we had lunch with her. Jamie and Tracey arrived back before we left. Jamie has bought a new Toyota ‘truck’, the one that looks like a Hummer. Very stylish, and for his prospecting, very useful indeed, especially as the previous owners speced it up with all sorts of useful stuff, then decided it was too high for them, and traded it in after 10,000 kms. He is delighted, of course. We then showed them through the Winnie.

We arrived in York and checked out the free (with electricity) sites in town, but they were all taken, there are only four of them. Then we found a bakery and had afternoon tea. A visit to the Tourist Information Centre was lovely as the person there was very friendly and helpful. There are places to see wildflowers here, or we could explore some of the other attractions in town.

Then we came to the caravan park and have quite a good spot here. After set up, minimal, we had a rest, then went for a walk. There were good views of Mt Bakewell and we spoke with a group of caravanners who were enjoying some social time sitting outside. One couple is from Streaky Bay in South Australia. Eversley fell in love and wanted to move there ( briefly anyway).

This morning we took our time over breakfast and getting ready to go out, eventually driving out at around 12:00. The water hose connecter was a little difficult to detach, but Stephen managed it on his own. I did the electrical cord. We even put our plastic outside mat in the van, not wanting to leave anything that might get stolen. Though who would bother with our old mat we don’t know.

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The Winnie with slideout. Not something that was on my list of requirements, but it is wonderful how roomy it feels inside.
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Out position
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Out position – other view. We are able to store the ukes up in our clothes cupboards sitting on top of the clothes.
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Some friendly caravan folk, including a couple from Streaky Bay, SA. The mozzies were bad, hence the insect repellent rings
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Evening view of Mt Bakewell
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No wildflowers here, just flowering weeds

We have spent some time in the Residency Museum, with display boards giving information on the history of York since settlement, and some information about the local Aboriginal population. There were Chinese and Albanian immigrants as well as the usual ones from the British Isles. Stephen takes a bit longer than me to go through, very handy as it has given me time to finish off this blog entry.

Winnie at home

We drove the Winnie (I drove, Stephen is co-driver) to Marie and Geoff’s in Roleystone. On the way we bought some fuel as the tank was under half full. As I was getting back in a lady asked ‘what is your next stop’ assuming we were travellers. That was a good feeling, even though we were essentially using the Winnie as a car. The plan was to leave it at Marie and Geoff’s place, parked alongside their carport, fairly out of the way. But, on the way I thought it would be an idea to take it back home again, just use the trip up there to get some practice driving and let them have a look inside.

Fortunately, Stephen agreed that we should keep it at home, especially as we had worked out that it would fit in the parking bay outside our little group of houses.

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Parked on the street outside our house.

We are planning a couple of nights away next week and will need to set things up for the trip. But, it may also be good to get some more practice driving around. On the way out, we went to the shopping centre and parked near the library for Stephen to drop off a book. We basically want to be able to take it anywhere as once we are travelling we will want to be able to drive in towns as well as on the open road.

We enjoyed having lunch with Marie and Geoff. In fact, Winnie would not be able to be stored in the place next to the carport at the moment because of overhanging branches. It would have had to have been parked in their front yard, blocking the view and being in the way of getting their caravan out. The decision to drive it home again appears good all round.

When we arrived home I was very, very tired, perhaps from concentrating so much. The floor of the motorhome needs cleaning and we still have the outside of our caravan to clean and the car could do with a wash. I expect the Winnie’s floor will come first.

Winnie (the Pooh)

We have actually bought a motorhome and its sitting in our driveway temporarily as our neighbours are away. It’s 23 feet long and to put that into perspective, our car and caravan together are about 33 feet. In fact, it seems as tall as it is long.
Stephen was very sceptical, but even he is getting excited about this new phase n our travels in Australia. It’s 10 years old and we have the full service history since it was new. Bought from the same dealer who sold it new. So, we hope it doesn’t cost us a fortune in maintenance!

The bathroom has separate shower, toilet and basin and there is a slide out that increases the living area when parked. There’s a double bed with proper mattress in the caravan part and an extra bed over the cab. The dinette can also be made into a single bed, we won’t need that but Stephen is already thinking of motorhome exchanges with people overseas.
We are both excited and anxious about this purchase which is mostly funded by a pre inheritance gift from my mother.