Echuca Day4

So today was originally the end of out trip as Bec had to leave today.  As the weather and the vibe in Echuca was so good we had the thought of one of us (Steve) driving the three hours home and collecting Max, do a few chores then drive the three hours back the next day.  This meant we could extend our stay here. The only problem was that Kaz is very afraid of spending a night alone but that couldn’t be avoided unless we both went together.

Having packed the car I left Echuca at about 9am.  The drive was uneventful except about half way and travelling at 100 kph I spotted something running in the middle of the road.  As I got close I could see it was a dog and a Border Collie at that.  I brought the car to a stop put on my hazard lights then attempted to pick the dog up as still cars whizzed past going the other way.  Thankfully a guy in a Ute stopped the traffic on the other side and slowly the dog came towards me.  I managed to pick her up and put her in the back of the car having checked for a tag with a number I could call but she didn’t have one.  I then thought what the hell am I going to do now.  As I looked around I could see a few farmhouses and headed for the first one which was a complete mess of a place with a million beer bottles lying around.  I knocked on the door anyway but got no answer then headed for the next house.  This place was a huge step up from the previous and in fact was a palace of a house.  Locating the front of the property I swung the storm door out and gave the door a good knock.  It seemed a few minutes but a lovely very old lady came to the door and I apologised for my intrusion and explained my plight with this dog and asked if it were hers and she immediately said no.  Any idea who’s dog it might be and again it was a no but try next door which was quite a bit from where we were standing.  As I left the ladies husband arrived and I  thought I should explain just what I was doing before I left.  I then arrived at the next house and relayed the same story regards the dog.  The owner of the house asked me if the dog was called Rosie, I said I have no idea to which she called the dog who seemed to recognise her name.  She said leave Rosie here and I will call round the locals and try to find out if anyone owns the poor thing or at worst drive it to the local vet.  I of course said magic, took a pic of Rosie and got back on the road with my drive now extended by 45 minutes but at least I had saved a life.

After any further interruptions I arrived home, greeted Max who looked glad to see me and got a washing on.  I then went shopping for supplies (more drinks) oh and some food then packed the car ready for the return leg in the morning. I Scoffed half a pizza then it was lights out ready for the morning and me and Max’s road trip.

Echuca Day3

Went along Scenic Drive which is an eight k’s walk along the Murray River starting at the back of the park.  

It’s a nice walk which gets quite bushy in places which provides some welcome shade. It also takes us under the construction of the bridge which gave us some problems getting back to camp but luckily there was a gate allowing us to pass otherwise it might have been a further 8k return walk.

I then spot a Scottish Saltire on a caravans tyre cover. Had a chat to the owners who are both Scottish, hubby from Aberdeen and the lady from Rothesay. Had a good chat about not missing the Scottish cold and a few other political topics then left them in peace.

After that we have another walk in to town to the American hotel and had a very welcome drink.  Then back to camp for a nice fillet steak and baked potatoes done on the BBQ at the camp kitchen.  We had a visitor there of a Kookaburra who was looking for a feed but was given nowt by us.

We then sat out for a while enjoying a lovely warm evening before lights out.

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Echuca Day 2

Out of bed late this morning (for us anyway) and see quite a few folks packing up and departing.  There’s been a bit of a breeze blowing through the area so that might have made them decide to move on.  This will give us some entertainment later when all the new vans arrive and we can have a laugh at them all reversing and setting up.Tea, toast and cereals done then walking shoes on and off in to town.  One good thing about this park is it’s great location to the centre of Echuca.  We have not used the car since we arrived.  

We head in to the information centre which is a really good spot full of great stuff including small animals in tanks.  They also sell Pacdon small goods which includes the Scottish delight of black pudding.  We decide to be good and not buy any this time around. Next up is the Port area which we have been through several times but this time we are amazed to find that there is a tour we never knew existed.   The tour itself is a self guided one and takes you through the history of both the port area as well as Echuca.  It gives a great opportunity to get under the massive pier structure which we feel could do with a bit of a rebuild in places.  There’s a few old time movies to watch and some restored machinery still operating from back in the day.  As always we look for a Scottish connection in heavy machinery and find a pump built by an  engineering company called Weir Pumps from Glasgow who still exist today but now are The Weir Group a huge multi National company.  It’s amazing to look round the place from a health & safety aspect which you wouldn’t see in present times.  

The rest of the day we spend reading and people watching.  Motor home lady stops by for a quick chat and tells us they will be leaving tomorrow on their way to Cobram.  We ask her what’s in Cobram and she answers Cobram, good answer.  They will then head to Mulwala which is a great spot we have visited.  Today we take the luxury of a wee nanny nap and have good hour and a half sleep.

After freshening up we have another luxury of finding a pub for tea.  Usually and in future we will have Max with us.  Short walk later we see a queue outside an Irish pub called Shamrocks.  We figure this must be the go to place in town and in we get.  We order drinks and are asked if we have a booking, we say no but can we at least have drinks, barmaid says sure but you will have to go outside, ok we say.  She brings back the drinks and we ask her if it would be possible to book a table, sure she says and gives us a table number which is outside!!  I ask for a menu, use the app she says, I don’t have the app I say, look it up on the website she tells me.  So can I order from the app which will have a QR code? No you have to come to the bar to order she says!! Lol.  

We decide on sharing some nachos then I went for the Chimichanga Chicken and Kaz decided on the children’s menu Mini Parma which I thought when I try to order from the kids menu I would get a no but there was no grief at all.  The Nachos were reasonably good, the chicken not so good and the Mini Parma was the best so it’s kids menu from now on for us.

After that it was a walk back to camp and lights out.

Echuca 3 day trip

So we headed off today without Max who is at home being looked after by the brilliant Bec.  We packed up early Monday the 22/02/2021 and managed to leave on time at 10am.


This trip will be short one at 4 days and three nights in Echuca which is north west of Melbourne, Victoria.  We have been here so many times and enjoyed every visit.  The town is very popular and has heaps to do and see.

As we are still testing our our new van we intended on trying to stay at free camps.  So onto our bible app WikiCamps and found a few around the place.  We settled on the Rotary Park site which is not completely free but is only $10.00 per night.  

The cruiser towed the van without issue and we had the addition of our newly fitted rear view camera which is great and allows us to see how many fuming drivers we have stuck behind us praying for us to pull in and let them pass.

The drive seemed quite long this time and again we had put our trust in to google maps who once again gave us a couple of bum steers in to little farm tracks which thankfully we managed to turn round and get out of before getting too deep in the cow pats.

Just over 3 hours later we finally arrived in to Echuca and made our way to the Rotary park site.  This place had received plenty of positive feedback but we must be used to and enjoy at least some facilities and this place although it has some great big spots looking on to the Murray river, it didn’t seem to have much else going for it.  We drove about for a bit checking out a few bits but decided this was not for us.

Not too far away is the NRMA caravan park.  We have seen this one but never stayed there and again it receives very complimentary feedback.  Our plan to tour Australia using free camps was quickly disappearing if today is anything to go by.

Anyway off we headed and booked in to the NRMA where we received a pretty good discount as we are members of the RACV which brought it down to $32.00 per night with free wifi, a great heated pool, a slab and grass level site and all the amenities including camp kitchen etc.  we convinced ourselves that this was only $20.00 more and was so much closer to the town that we didn’t really need much persuadingAs we may move on tomorrow and try another free camp (not) we booked in for one night with the proviso that we may say longer if we like it (we do).We will scout about tomorrow and scope out different free camps but will no doubt come back to camp and decide to stay longer.

After the drive and having reversed on to our site (which our neighbours in a new motor home complimented us on) and set up, we headed straight for the pool which was heated had shade sails above and amazingly no kids screaming around.  We wasted no time and got straight in, it was a fantastic temperature and perfect for a splash around.  
There was also entertainment in the form of an old boy who seemed to know everything about anything.  A bigger bum than ten arses as they say in Scotland and one of those that if you’ve been to Tenerife he would have been to elevenarife.  He seemed to have a harem of ladies of a certain age giving him a bit stick and him taking the bate.

On our way back Mr and Mrs motor home came over for a chat and wanted to know all about our van which they guessed correctly was a new one.  The motor home was also new and in fact was only their third trip with it.  The hubby was not keen on travelling too far “if I want to go to Perth or Darwin I will catch a plane” yep funny guy.

All set up and off for a walk around camp to check out everybody else’s set up’s and see if we can steal ideas.  For a Monday this place is really busy although Echuca is a year round destination and a great base for travelling this part of Victoria.  As we walk about there is the usual assortment of trailers, pop top caravans, tents, roof top tents, motor homes, converted vans and full size caravans similar to ours.  We spot mr know it all sitting with as you would expect a huge Silverline van set up with the entire catalogue of things to have or maybe not have whilst caravanning.

Just on the outskirts of the camp via a chain fence you can walk down to the Murray river to watch the powerboats and skiers.  There is also a great view of the new bridge being constructed over the river and in to Moama, NSW.  That will be such a great thing for the town as the current bridge can get snarled up causing tailbacks.

With the walk over and time for tea.  Tonight it’s on with the Weber and Aldi burgers.   No, don’t laugh they are delicious with our fresh salad, toms, cheese and coleslaw all washed down with a glass of red…….or two.  As darkness starts to fall we get inside with tv on but that doesn’t last long and we both fall in to a great deep sleep for the night.  

February 2021/A

Today’s mission was to tire Max out. Just across the road from the site is the Botanical Gardens.  We head off and enjoy a walk in the beautiful gardens and take a few pics.  

Steve then takes up the challenge to walk across the water on a fallen tree.  I was all set to get some great snaps as he fell in but alas it wasn’t to be as stepped of at the other end.  
M

A bit further up the road we join the Bendigo walking trail  and we go for a very warm walk.  

Eventually we head back to the site where all sorts had been happening. Earlier in the day a number of very very big trucks and a great big crane had spent the morning delivering a couple of cabins, there was  a few unhappy campers wanting to leave but the road was blocked until someone pointed out the other way out oops crisis averted.😜. Coming back the pool looked welcoming.   

I got changed and headed in. Steve then bought Max to the pool for a look and was informed that dogs are not allowed in the pool area. Max was then put in the van to have a quiet sleep and Steve then returned and had a refreshing swim. So much for Solar heating once you were in it was fine at least that was what I told everyone that asked…… it was as if they were heading to the North Sea – now that is cold.  The crane  had left the site but also left a burst water pipe with the sheer size and weight of it. Water off for the rest of the day.  May as well stay in the pool. Steve returned to the van and asked Wales if he had been barking and they said there was not a sound from him.

February 2021

The New Journey – Australia

After lots of delays, COVID, cancellations not to mention redundancies. we finally took delivery of our new home on wheels at Jayco Geelong. The van is a 2021 Journey Outback 19.6 non pop top this time.  Compared to our pop top this one is higher, longer, has more equipment and luxuries.

Day one

First trip for this adventure is a shakedown to find any niggles and or faults in the new van. Not wanting to travel to far from home we decided to head north to Lake Learmonth.  This is a small town just over an hour away which has received great feedback in the wikicamps app which we use all the time.  We also checked the forecast and all was to be good with a bit of sun and no rain. So Saturday morning in between some annoying rain showers we hooked up the van to the Landcruiser and off we went on the start of what will be a trial for our new lives as grey nomads for two or three years.

The drive was thankfully uneventful, the cruiser pulled the van with ease and if fact didn’t feel that different from our previous Journey pop top. 

Arriving in to Lake Learmonth is like driving in to most small country towns, quiet.  You would be forgiven if you thought it was Sunday but this was a Saturday afternoon and ok, we might have missed the Friday night rave and everyone’s sleeping it off but we have seen more people at a bus stop.  We do however spot as is our want, the local pub and it seems to be trading but is empty of course.  We make a mental note to return later then remember we have Max our Border Collie with us so looks like we won’t be partaking in pub drinks.

Dropping down off the Main Street greats us with a great view of the lake and what is a pretty small caravan park which though small is in very good condition as the reviews suggested it would be.  Kaz heads in to book us in and we have the choice of where we would like to set up camp..

Setting up we had a choice of sites we picked the Lake view. Little did we realise our mistake until later. We started to unpack when Steve headed off for a chat with the neighbours, returning 2  hours later ( yes I am exaggerating but it wasn’t 5 mins 😜) with invites for Beers later on. Then the lake breeze came and kept coming. This continued throughout the night and thankfully there was no rain with it but it felt like the van was at the top of Ben Nevis💨

Day2

Having survived the apocalypse we make the decision to move on and not stay for a second day of wind. We decided Bendigo would be between 23-30 deg the next few days,  lovely. Today would be Karens first drive with the new van attached. The Journey should be about 1 1/2 hours no issues……. Bloody google maps, don’t think they have any idea about caravans. So when we hit our first dirt track we had an opportunity to turnaround. The second not so much with a 25 kms detour. By the 3rd single track we both knew hugging it out at the end of the journey might be a little subdued this time….😘 2 1/2 hours later we arrived at the Big4 Ascot park.

We have stayed at the Big 4 Ascot before the new owners took it on just before COVID and they have done some really nice work Improving the place.  We are allocated our site and get offered a Stay 3 pay 2 night deal, perfect. Now our relationship gets tested again with the reversing/parking of the van – always a fun task but miracles can happen and it all
goes swimmingly. Maybe we should cancel those reversing and rear view cameras.
We settled in (hugged it out😜) max settled in as if this is how he has lived all his life.

We relaxed with a wine or two and prepped the Spaghetti Bolognese for the slow cooker and Garlic bread on the Weber – dinner done😁. Our big trip is going to be very different because we have Max.  Usually it is out to the pub or restaurants for dinners and the occasional BBQ.  It will definitely be a good different and I am sure we will find a pub or two that will welcome Max as well as us………beer gardens will be new norm.

Day3

This morning arrived bringing bright sunshine.  First job, taking Max for a walk then Weber on and bacon rolls for breakfast. Lovely sitting out in the sun.

After breakfast we head to ARB Bendigo as we need to get some equipment fitted to the cruiser. 

 We decided on a bull-bar, a snorkel for those river crossings, an oil catch can and a diesel fuel filter.  We did some other gear but soon we were up at $20K so shortened that list dramatically and after a bit off haggling agreed on what we wanted.   Most of the items have to be ordered and we will head back up to have them fitted when they have everything ready to go.

On the way back to White-hills we stopped off at Lake Weeroona and completed a lap which Max loved and with exercise completed we headed to one of our favourite places, the Beechworth Bakery and grabbed a couple of bee stings.  

By the time we return we have new neighbours from Sydney. They start chatting and one of the first topics is rugby and how we must have liked the result. (Scotland beat England at Twickenham) we soon discover he liked the result just as much as we did as they were originally from Wales.