March 2011

Almost the middle of March and it’s mostly a case of same, same.

Julie’s Dad has decided to move into a smaller apartment in the same complex. Julie of course would dearly like to go “home” to help and have one last look at her Mum’s stuff, but with her about to start a new job, it’s just not practical.

Meanwhile, we have managed to get away for the Canberra Day long weekend, back to what is rapidly becoming our favourite spot – Stewarts Crossing. It’s only 2 hours from home and it’s completely off the air. Not even the phones work here. The actual crossing where I drowned the Zook last time in 3ft of water is now just ankle deep, although there is still the nasty hole in the sand at the end of the concrete causeway. If it were not for that, the bus would handle it quite easily. We walked down there this morning and saw where someone had been stuck in the dry, soft sand and had done lots of digging to extricate themselves.

Going back to yesterday, on the way here. We had a VERY late start, as it seemed to take ages to be awake and motivated simultaneously. Then we had some shopping to do. We were not even out of Canberra when I swerved to miss something on the road, which looked like a rather expensive set of drill bits in a case that had already been mangled by the traffic. I thought I’d like to grab those, in addition to the safety thing of getting sharp drills off the road, as cars were running over them. So, we determined that we would turn around at the earliest opportunity. Up to the next set of lights, right towards Queanbeyan, then a turning strip came up unexpectedly. Jammed on the brakes and made the turn OK, but the action brought on an alarm light plus that piercing alarm scream from under the dash. Bloody Hell, we’ve broken something. Stopped on the little turning road and dug out the Isuzu manual, to discover that the light (remember, they’re all in Japanese) means “brakes, rear”. I did manage to silence the alarm, but not the light, by pulling the handbrake on just far enough without actually engaging it, and we slowly returned to the spot where the drill bits were still on the road. In between dodging the traffic, I retrieved nearly a whole set of drills, very nice, very sharp and very expensive. Some tradie is going to be kicking himself, although at least he can claim a new set on his tax return. It was starting to look like we were not going anywhere except home again, but while I was out there, I was also mulling over the alarm condition and thought back to other occasions, where switching the engine off resets everything. Voila! We’re on the road again.

We turned off the main road onto the dirt and were discussing the last time we were out this way and the wildlife we saw – a snake and a turtle. Rounding about the third bend after that, we came across a couple of young girls, dressed for the sun (hmmm), who were waving a map and clearly lost. We stopped and yes, they were seriously lost. So we set them straight and continued on. Gotta tell ya, we get some seriously good looking wildlife out this way. Less than a mile later, we spotted a rabbit, which was, in the grand scheme of things, a bit of an anticlimax.

I also wandered around the campground today, taking pictures that could potentially be submitted to the CMCA for use in their magazine or calendar. The set on the photos page is the result. They are probably not in themselves all that brilliant, but with some cropping, could turn out well.

On the way home tomorrow, we’ll try to get to talk to the showground people at Bungendore and also intend to go into the showground for another look at the place, to look at where things are located, where we could maybe park, etc. We’re even thinking of asking them if we could stay there long term as paying customers. In the interests of putting something on the calendar, we are looking at moving in mid to late April.

This is tomorrow and we were surprised last night by the onset of heavy rain. Fortunately, we now know enough about the bus to be able to rain proof it within minutes, simply by closing a few windows, lowering the hatch to the rain setting, putting out a towel to catch the drips for the leak I still haven’t fixed, and lowering one side of the awning to funnel the rainwater into a bucket. We now have enough to refill the drinking water container in the fridge with fresh rainwater.

Note to self: Stewarts Crossing is not necessarily our “favourite” spot, given the size of the March Flies out here. Those buggers really bite!

I happened to drop in one day with a Deane’s bus. It got a bit crowded there for a while.

A few weeks later and a lot has happened. As you know, we have been working in the background on moving into the bus. And Julie is still waiting to start at her new job. So we have been tentatively sorting stuff ready to begin the downsizing. Then I put a post in the Wanted forum at work and received a reply from an Army man, who said he had something that might suit. His friends at Gundaroo have a property that they are too busy to work, and he and his family do a lot of the work on it, but also use it for training their horses, etc. We went out there that very next weekend, and it is just perfect for us. We have access to a paddock bigger than a hockey pitch, close to the old shearing shed which has power, with fresh water not far away, grey water to irrigate the grass, and access to the septic tank when we need to dump the black tank. And all this at about the same distance from Canberra as Bungendore.

Since then, we have really ramped up our activity. I had also made contact with a young Defence colleague, again via the forums, whose partner has 2 small dogs and they are looking at moving in together and renting a house, but are really stuck by the need for references and the very small number of rental properties available that will even consider pets.

They have now seen the place and we have re-established our contact with the agent from Queanbeyan who managed our property there when we had it. We are now actively downsizing. We’ve sold the lounge suite to Tim next door, which freed up the lounge room as a staging area for the stuff to go into secure self-storage. Then the second bedroom is divided into stuff that we take with us and store in the shearing shed and stuff that has to go.

We move out during the week before Easter, use the Easter break to go and visit the kids in Melbourne and catch up with some fellow motorhomers, then come back straight to Gundaroo. Meanwhile the new tenants have all of Easter to move in.