Monday, 27 February 2017

TOURIST TUESDAY: ROAD TRIP SOUTH AUSTRALIA DAY FIVE

I was so keen to get going, and leave the caravan park. I wonder if I would have been so eager, if I had known what the day had in store for us?


The day started off similar, town after town. Continuous road. With a break in Yass, and lunch in Sutton. The end of the day, is what held the twist. The original plan was to drive through Sydney (Justin's plan) and stay in a caravan park just outside of Sydney. Estimated time of arrival about 5pm....

No. What happened was we got stuck in Sydney peak hour traffic. Torture for all of us. The stop start towing a van is not easy. Justin and Jarvis were starving, and do not function well with lack of food. I know just how hungry Justin was, as we ended up pulling over in a servo, and having Maccas for diner. First time in ten years Justin and I have ever had Maccas for dinner. The food was still as crap as I remember. Jarvis opted for banana bread and a chocolate milk from the Mccafe.


It was then back on the road, and my turn to drive to the caravan park. Justin and Jarvis must have fallen asleep in a sugar/grease induced haze, as they slumbered I started to think I could smell smoke... All too soon I was driving through bushfires. Very surreal to have flames on either side of the road.

Even worse, was the fact that when I finally got to the caravan park I realised we would not be sleeping there for the night! Bit to close to the flames! The whole entrance was ablaze!

There were lots of road blocks and detours, and we did not even drive through the worse of it. But, what I did drive through was daunting enough.


So I drove on and on and on. Trying to get us as far away as possible from the fire and smoke. After three hours, I could drive no more, so I pulled over and slept the night in a rest stop on the side of the road. There was a loo, and somewhere to clean our teeth. Wet wipes as a shower. And the traffic to rock the van, and us, to sleep. What more could we want? 

Monday, 20 February 2017

TOURIST TUESDAY: ROAD TRIP TO SOUTH AUSTRALIA DAY FOUR

This is the one day of the trip, I seriously have trouble remembering.


I did the "check-in" on Facebook for the whole journey to help remember where we stopped, and what we did. According to Facebook we drove through Robinvale, Swan Hill, Berrigan, and stopped for the night in Albury. Only memory is that the caravan park in Albury, was pretty crap.



Justin had planned we would go the back...back way that day. To avoid the boring roads we had already done, and to go around the flooded roads.

But, wow, this was an isolated back road journey. Yup, nothing of interest on those roads.


We stopped to take a photo of a tree, because it was the most stimulating thing we passed in hours.


Not sure if the tree was worth stopping for? Think I prefer the next photo, of Justin and the caravan, when I turned around to walk back to the car.


Now, I think of the craziness of newbie caravan towers going over these rough, and sometimes unsealed, partially flooded roads. With flooding in some parts right up to the road.




I just asked Justin if he remembered this day, he answered "you were sleeping most of the day". Must admit, I am not a very great passenger, I do love a good car nap.



 If Jarvis and I were not napping, this cutie kept me company with his endless enthusiasm for car games...

Monday, 13 February 2017

TOURIST TUESDAY: ROAD TRIP TO SOUTH AUSTRALIA DAY THREE

I woke super early, as this, was the day that I would get to see my caravan for the first time!



After fuelling up, we drove back into Hay. For every stop along our journey I wanted to buy a fridge magnet, and we had gotten into Hay too late the night before. Pretty much every stop Justin bought a coffee and I bought a fridge magnet.


Balranald was our first stop of the day. For Jarvis and I, to use the toilets, and Justin for more coffee. Can't say I was enticed to stay any longer than a loo break. So we headed off to Mildura, where we stopped at a cute cafe for lunch. Or in a crazy parenting move, allowing Jarvis to eat his body weight in meringue!

The idea was to go across the South Australian boarder to Lyrup, pick up the van, then drive back, and stay in a caravan park in Mildura. Justin estimated two hours for this....

What we didn't count on was the previous owner! Des... how funny was he, when he figured out that neither of us had owned, or towed a caravan. That Justin, had never even towed a trailer. So he took a huge amount of time, and effort, to teach Justin how to hook up the van, and all of the little nuances of the van.




I admit, it was too hot to stand in the sun, and get a lesson on the van. So Jarvis and I hung out in the van.


Very interesting couple, Justin stayed even later to do a portrait shoot of them. Anyhow, much to Des's concern I drove off the property towing our new van! Only under the strictest of promises, that if anything went wrong to phone him.

The car towed the little van pretty well. I took it easy, and sat on around 90 KLM instead of the 110. Thing I did note, was how towing the van sucked up the fuel. In my mind I could hear my credit card screaming in pain.

Pulled into the All Seasons Caravan park and the fun began. I made Justin park the van. I know when to admit that someone does things better than me. The set up was all pretty easy. Bar for the fact we could not get the power to work. Thankfully our neighbours came over and sorted it out.




We were all so tired we didn't really get to enjoy our night at the All Seasons. Also, their name is misleading, we only got sweat box hot in the afternoon, and so effing freezing overnight we all slept cuddled together like popsicles. Even after I added every towel and every item of clothing on top of the bed to add any warmth possible. Lucky for us it was cold, cause three in a double bed is cosy. 


Sunday, 12 February 2017

HORROR STORY AHEAD, READ WITH CAUTION. BUT ALSO A HUGE THANK YOU TO THREE WOMEN.

I have often lamented that retail is a crap job. Equal to the hospital trade. Normally when I go out I try extra hard to be nice to people working in these jobs. I like to think I never add to their worries.




Image is me, a wreck of a customer. 

WARNING GROSS READING AHEAD


However....

Friday night I became the horror customer. The one that they will talk about in years to come.

Friday morning, I felt feverish and queasy. The heat? Premenopausal? Premenstrual? Blame it on the new Happy Hormones and liver detox I started on Thursday night? What ever it was I spent the day progressively feeling yuckier.

Friday night Jarvis reminded me of my promise to get him a 50cent cone from Maccas. Crap. I felt like shit, but a promise is a promise. As soon as I pulled into the car park, I knew all was not good. So we sat in the car for a bit, Jarvis playing, and me gulping cold air con air. I thought I felt better, so in we went....

As soon as I walked through the door of Maccas, the stale smell of greasy air hit me. I grabbed Jarvis's hand, and ran like crazy to the loo.

I had to make a choice, I knew I was going to have explosive diarrhea, and vomiting, so I chose to sit on the loo. Without much thought, I whipped off my tshirt, thinking I could 'catch' the vomit. Okay, so this worked for the first time, but not after that.

There was just so much. It splashed up the walls of the cubical, on the floor into the next cubical, and sad to say all over Jarvis's, and my legs and feet. I felt sick as, and knew I needed help. I made a sobbing phone call to Tamika, and Justin, to come and help us.

While waiting, I continued to erupt all over the loo. I screamed at one young girl to leave, saying "get out! So sorry, but get out!" My first thanks goes to her. She went and informed the manager that there was someone in trouble.

My second thanks, goes to the lovely sweet manager. Poor thing. She walks in on the carnage that I have done, and sweet as, she offers me iced water and damp towels. I repeatedly said "I am so sorry, I am so sorry". But all the time she is a sweet as and calm.

But then to my horror, she start fucking scooping up my vomit and cleaning up. Holly shit balls, NO! DO NOT PICK UP MY VOMIT! Especially not with your freaking hands!

Luckily, Tamika and Justin arrive to save the day. Teak gets Jarvis out of the cubical, and washed him down in the sink. Sending a very wet, scared boy out to his dad.

Then, she proceeds to help clean me up. That task is not so easy. Neither was cleaning up the floor. I think it took a carton of paper towels. Then, we mopped twice. All the time we were cleaning up, the manager keep saying, no worries, I can clean up. Teak and I keep saying no and kinda shoved her out the door.

Oh, and since I have been asked a couple of times....yes I threw the tshirt away. Lucky for me without asking, Tamika thought to bring me a clean top. Not that walking through Maccas in just my bra would be embarrassing compared to what I just did in the loo. 

Words can not express my mortification and sorrow to this manager. I have called and spoken to the day manager and offered apologies and thanks for her help.

But somehow, I do not think this is enough. I feel I have forever scared this young teenage manger, who sweetly tried to help by scooping up my vomit... yup I have now become the customer that remains in someone's mind for years to come, AND so not for a good reason.

Dear Upper Mount Gravatt Maccas Night Manager,

words can not express how sorry and how grateful I am

thanks from the horrid, vomiting customer, from Friday night.


Tuesday, 7 February 2017

TOURIST TUESDAY: ROAD TRIP TO SOUTH AUSTRALIA DAY TWO

After we awoke to the dulcet tones of the road traffic, we had breakfast, and re-packed the car. Ready, and roaring, to go for another twelve hours or more in the car. Luckily Justin can manage long stretches of driving. 


Me? After 20 minutes or so the internal child in me is asking “are we there yet?” Though I found if I can push past the hour, with a daggy local station on I can do longer drives, until either my bladder or back need a rest.

Jarvis was an amazing passenger. We would alternate between letting him play games on his phone. Or his two favourite travel/car games. Eye spy, which is a tricky game to play with a four year old who spelling is not amazing. Or pick a colour car, or thing first one to spot theirs wins.

First big stop of the day was in Forbes. Can’t say I liked their customer service, seriously how long does it take to make a long black? However, I enjoyed sitting on the river having lunch.




Because of flooding we had to drive the back...back way. Narrow, bumpy, pothole roads. But, the advantage was we passed an interesting town called Weethalle. Not shy of getting our cameras out, Justin and I took turns playing with Jarvis in the park, or exploring the town. Okay town is a huge stretch.. as I could walk it in under ten minutes. But got some great photos. Everything looked/seemed abandoned. Oh, bar for the pub, but of course. And the grilled restaurant, though was not tempted to eat there given the name.








Next was THE most boring stretch of road. I started counting how long in-between spotting another car... Started have Wolf Creek visions which where amplified by a truck that came out of now where than opted to sit right up our back bumper bar. 



Just when the vision of being gutted with a knife was becoming complete, a massive truck passed us. But the truck driver must have been nodding off at the wheel as hit a road post which was flung up in the air almost hitting our car. Shocked into being wide awake we drove into Hay looking for a place to sleep.

Caravan park was okay, but because of the flooding we got attacked by mozzies the size of freaken birds. 



After swallowing a few of them unpacking the car, we walked across the road to the Hay pub, for a parmie and a beer. Well, Justin had the beer. I am so wild, I had water.


On a side note: receptionist at the caravan parks said there are many accidents and deaths on the road into Hay. It is so boring, and straight, drivers go into a road haze/fatigue.


Tuesday, 31 January 2017

TOURIST TUESDAY: ROAD TRIP TO SOUTH AUSTRALIA DAY ONE

With a combination of jetlag and excitement, we started our trip to South Australia. We all woke, way, way too early.


Justin to drive his Mum to the airport so she could fly back to Townsville. And me to pack for our week (or more) road trip. When Justin returned, we just transferred a sleeping Jarb into the car.


I packed super light, as far as clothes, but filled the boot, and most of the back seat with food, and drinks. My logic was on a long road trip, not only is the food and drink normally crap, it is expensive. After our trip to Hong Kong, and the purchase of the van, I needed to keep expenses to a all time low. So I packed food for breakfast, lunch and snacks. Thinking we would eat a take away dinner while we were on the road.

We were aiming for about eight hours of driving, so with stops that was going to be around a twelve hour day. First stop was breakfast in the park, nice place to picnic, and good for Jarvis to have a play and stretch his legs.



We had to stop in Stanthorpe to take photos of apples and dinosaurs, plus a much needed loo break. I have a dream of traveling Australia, in the caravan and taking photos of all the "Big Things". I have even since purchased a map of Australia which marks out all of the big locations. What is your favourite? 





Lunch was a random park, where we took the time to play soccer with Jarvis.




The longest stop of the day was in Tamworth. What started out as a stop for coffee, ended up with us going to Super Cheap where we bought presents for the caravan.




My favourite stop of the day was our last in Coonabarabra. We found a dodgy motel. I love the "Bates Motel" feel of these old style motels. Makes me feel as if I have stepped back in time, or walked onto a movie set. 



It was also my favourite stop of the day as it was our last stop. We all shoved a greasy pizza into our mouths, and then collapsed into a greasy, 12 hour drive, exhausted sleep. 

Monday, 23 January 2017

TOURIST TUESDAY: PRELUDE TO THE ROAD TRIP TO SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Have you ever come home from an overseas holiday, jet lagged as all get out, and think it would be a great idea to go on a ten day road trip? No? Am I the only crazy one?


Rewind to the beginning of October, I was having a moment. Okay, I was having a sulk. All my life I have wanted to own a small caravan. I had been watching this van on Ebay for a bit. Both Justin and I had emailed the owner with a gazzilion questions. I knew that this was the van for our little family. Even though my instincts told me the price was too good that there had to be something wrong with the van...I just fell in love with it.

It did not sell the first time, and when it got re-listed, I thought to myself, "it's a sign! The van is meant to be mine". Did not matter that I did not have the money to buy it. It did not matter that the van was located in South Australia. It did not matter that we were going to Hong Kong in October to take Justin's Mum over to visit her family. It just did not matter. I wanted that van.

At the beginning of Chester's second birthday party, I thought... okay I didn't think, I just acted, and bid on the van. The day passed, and we all had a amazing time at the party. It was not until we were driving home that I thought to look at the listing. This is when my sulk started. I had missed out on the van by the smallest of amounts.

Even Justin was super disappointed, he spent the night looking at other vans to bid on, trying to convince me this van was not the only one. I didn't care, I went to bed with a sulk and a tear in my eye.

But!!! I woke up to an email from the owner, the other bidder was not being pleasant. So he retracted it from sale. And sold it to us privately. THE VAN WAS MINE!

Justin and I, okay well I screamed with excitement. And then the realities hit. I had to pay for the van AND pick it up. We sat down to look at our rosters and realised the only gap we had was immediately after Hong Kong. I was so thrilled at the thought of the van I thought "no worries, we can do this"....


Sneak peak at our van, swoon, isn't she a gorgeous old girl?!