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Guess Who no.2

Guess who no.2 ?

Guess who no.2 ?

If you can’t guess who this is – read on, all will be revealed.

Route 66 Charity Bike Ride

Back in early October a few of the Emerald riders set of for Blackwater Social Riders Club. The occassion was their annual charity poker run. Riders gather at either Rockhampton or Clermont, and head back to Blackwater, collecting cards for their poker hand at various checkpoints (aka pubs) along the way.

Marc and I joined the group heading to Rocky – about 20. What a surprise to find 80 bikes already at Rocky when we got there. A pleasant group ride back to Blackwater just in time to meet about 30 riders coming from the opposite direction. A good night was had by all – I swagged over.

Route 66 charity ride 2009

Route 66 charity ride 2009

Last Friday night Marc and I went to their monthly meeting. As a result of that charity ride $5,000.00 was donated to worthy causes in the Blackwater area. Him and I are now members of the club.

Changes on the 2 wheel front.

Things have changed a little on my motorbike front. Gone is the Honda and in its place is a big cruiser.

The bike is a 2009 Kawasaki Vulcan Voyager. 1700cc, 6 speed, belt-drive, cruise control (which I love already), ABS brakes, proportional braking, radio with Ipod connection, trip computer, 2 glove boxes, top box and panniers, etc. Not the performance of the Honda, but way more comfortable for me to ride.

Vulcan Voyager 1 week old

The cruiser is a whole lot more comfortable for me and Jan. Yes, she came for a ride with the crew last Sunday and then we had our customary “new bike bbq”  – the day after I picked it up from Rocky. And today we went for a ride on our own out to the gem fields. Had lunch at the Anakie pub and cruised our way back home.

Oh, if you haven’t figured it out by now, Guess who no.2 is Jan. She is  rigged out with her own riders jacket, gloves and helmet. She is starting to enjoy the armchair ride that the pillion gets on this bike.

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A priceless Storm

Blackwater Social Riders

A few weeks back the Emerald riders met with the well organised group of social riders from Blackwater. Well organised is something of an understatement – they have their own clubhouse and grounds just on the edge of Blackwater. Bar, large kitchen area, showers and toilets, outdoor stage, burnout pad and drag strip, kids playground and more. It’s amazing what you can achieve with a bit of organisation and a supportive Council.

Blackwater Social Riders Clubhouse

Blackwater Social Riders Clubhouse

Ninja, Marc, Pouffe & Terry enjoying facilities at Blackwater riders clubhouse

Ninja, Marc, Pouffe & Terry enjoying facilities at Blackwater riders clubhouse

A good time was had by all – live music, a good feed and an ale or three. Most of us Emerald riders camped the night. After a hearty breakfast we hit the road for the short squirt home.

A ‘priceless’ weekend

About the time St George dropped out of the NRL finals, Rod rang and asked if I was interested in going to the NRL grand final. His mate Glen had a block of tickets available – they are mad St George supporters and lost interest after they were defeated.

Both Rod and I barrack for the Melbourne Storm so going to a NRL final seemed like a good idea. (I have been to an AFL GF albeit in 1969. I can’t remember who was playing – I was on an end of season  footy trip.) A quick check with Jan, and a bit of time on the internet saw me ride the motorbike into Rocky on Saturday morning, flights from Rocky to Sydney via Brisabane, trains from the airport to Strathfield and a “short” walk to our accomodation in South Strathfield during which I got drenched in a Sydney downpour. Rod drove up from Canberra after he finished work on Saturday arvo.

Sunday saw us drive out to Parramatta for a squizz and then on to Homebush for the final. Us Storm supporters were well out numbered but as they say – winners are grinners. Wow – what a memorable time we had.

NRL GF 2009 - a memorable Stormy night

NRL GF 2009 - a memorable Stormy night

Father & son - having a ball

Father & son - having a ball

An early start the next morning. Rod dropped me at the station and then headed back to Canberra – he had to work. I had a direct flight back to Rocky, then a ride back to Emerald, proudly flying the Storm flag from the back of the bike. As the bank advert says – a “priceless” day and a bit with Rod, and as a bonus another Grand Final flag to brag about.

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Townsville, with a surprise finish

No posts for nearly 2 months, and now 2 in just over a week. Lets just say those Tuross people stirred us up!

Townsville Trip

I had 3 days in lieu owed to me  and last week seemed like a good time to take some time off.  So after making up our minds on Tuesday morning and getting approval from work, we headed off on Wednesday morning for our first trip in the CRV.

Headed north for 105km through Capella to Clermont ,and then another 380km of nothing till Charters Towers. At least the speed limit is 110 for most of the “nothing”. Charters Towers seems a nice older town- it has some fine examples of late 18th century architecture.

Charters Towers Post Office and old Bank of NSW buildings - both 1890s vintage.

Charters Towers Post Office and old Bank of NSW buildings - both 1890s vintage.

Another 130km got us into Townsville. We found an old Queenslander that has been set up as a B & B and booked ourselves in for 4 nights. Lovely breakfasts with a big plate of the freshest tropical fruits you could ever imagine.

Castle Hill lookout, with Magnetic Island in the background

Castle Hill lookout, with Magnetic Island in the background

Right in the centre of Townsville Castle Hill gives magnicent views over Townsville and across to Magnetic Island which is 8km off the coast. Jan had a sore ankle so we left going to Maggy, as the locals call the island, for another time.

Selection of views from Castle Hill

Selection of views from Castle Hill

We did the usual tourist things – a bit of shopping and a bit of sightseeing.

Magnetic Island ferry on its way through the Townsville Port

Magnetic Island ferry on its way through the Townsville Port

Enjoyed lunch one day at a place called Fishermans Landing – a rustic cafe right on the river bank on the dunes behind Balgal Beach.

Fishermans Landing and Balgal Beach - north of Townsville.

Fishermans Landing and Balgal Beach - north of Townsville.

And the surprise ending

After the long drive back to Emerald all we wanted to do was unpack and relax. Just as I was unpacking the back of the CRV I got a bit of a start to see “that” Tuross couple, Di and Peter, walking towards me.

It turned out that Di had done a bit of sneeky planning by ringing my boss and the caravan park to organise a couple of nights with us before they continue their jaunt around Queensland. Good thing she did ring as our last minute plans to trip off could have spoilt the surprise.

It was great to catch up with them both and topped off a long due break for us.

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It’s a Longreach to get rid of Tuross Stale Bread

Far be it for me to bow to peer group pressure, but a very pushy couple from Tuross Head (no names) reckon the bread must be well and truly stale by now (first photo in my last post to this blog) . So just for Di and Peter, here is an overdue update.

Port Macquarie for a week

Workmate Marc and I went to Port  Macquarie for an intense week of training in IP telephone systems. Drove to Rocky, flew to Sydney and then another flight on to Port Macquarie. We shared a lovely 2 bedroom studio right on the river foreshore. Trip home was a drag – flew to Sydney, then to Brisbane, then to Rocky, then the 3 hour drive back to Emerald.

The view of the foreshore from the balcony of our unit at Port Macquarie. Oh, that's Marc blocking the view.

The view of the foreshore from the balcony of our unit at Port Macquarie. Oh, that's Marc blocking the view.

Mystery Ride

Back in July I participated in a “mystery” ride. Some 40+ riders set out from Rockhampton on the Saturday morning. The 8 Emerald riders meet up with them at Dingo. We all then headed north up the beef road, refuelled at Middlemount and onto Nebo for lunch. Just a short ride towards the coast for our overnight stop at the Retreat Hotel. A good night was had by all even though it got a bit cold.

The next morning the Rocky group headed for Mackay and trundled back home down the coast. The Emerald group headed inland to Moranbah and Clermont on the way home.

Another Honda

I’d been on the look out for another car – something a bit more comfortable to get about in, given our closest reasonable size town is 300km away and all the roads around here are far from smooth. Finally found something we are happy with – a 2003 Honda CRV. Lots of room for a smallish car and excellent economy. Suzi is currently collecting dust in the boss’s yard. Came in handy for my workmate Aaron who borrowed  it while his car was off the road.

Honda no.2 joins our fleet - this one has 4 more wheels than no.1

Honda no.2 joins our fleet - this one has 4 more wheels than no.1

Longreach

As part of my work I had to do communications audits of 7 banks in our area. North to Clermont, Middlemount and Dysart, south to Springsure, east to Blackwater, west to  Longreach and here in Emerald. I organised the Longreach job for a Monday and took Jan out there for the weekend so we could have a look around.

Bogantungan range - 100km west of Emerald

Bogantungan range - 100km west of Emerald

Barcaldine is 3hrs drive west of Emerald passing through a range at Boguntungan. Longreach is an hour further inland. What a waste of public money the Barcaldine “tree of knowledge” memorial is. I’m told they spent over $10M on this and I have just learnt they are about to spend another $2M repairing it. Seems they used green timber and it has shrunk (doh ! ) and is in danger of spearing unsuspecting tourists. Meanwhile Barcky residents are still waiting for a small retirement village after 10+ years of chook raffles, etc.

Tree of Knowledge monument Barcaldine - a gross monument to Government idiocy

Tree of Knowledge monument Barcaldine - a monument to gross Government idiocy

Jan revisited her childhood at Ilfracombe where there is a display of old farm machinery that stretches for 1km along the road reserve thru town. Here’s a shot for her Dad, showing her back on a grey fergy – only about 50 years since her last try.  Least this time she didn’t hit the gate.

Jan back on a grey fergy for the 2nd time in 50 years. Just ask her Dad about the first time.

Jan back on a grey fergy for the 2nd time in 50 years. Just ask her Dad about the first time.

A wander through Longreach’s Stockmans Hall of fame is a day well spent.

Longreach Stockmans Hall of Fame

I also enjoyed the Qantas museum – Jan wasn’t keen and did a bit of retail therapy instead. Not much else to report from Longreach.

Jumbo - up close they are not so big

Jumbo - up close they are not so big

Collage of the trip out – Alpha and Barcaldine area.

Bogantungan and Barcaldine's Monument to Government idiocy

Collage of Ilfracombe farm machinery along road reserve

Farm girl Jan reminising

Farm girl Jan reminiscing

Collage of Longreach’s main attractions

Longreach Stockmans Hall of Fame and Qantas Museum

Longreach Stockmans Hall of Fame and Qantas Museum

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Bread, Bikes, Beaches . . . . . .

A couple of Saturdays back Jan and I hitched a lift with Marc (one of my work mates) to Rockhampton for the day. Marc’s wife had 2 music lessons, the rest of us got to do a bit of shopping. I got some riding gear – boots, Dragin jeans (lined with Kevlar) and some waterproof over-pants. Also got a bikers swag for my upcoming long weekend trip.

We also got a new TV to replace the Conia crap that came with the van. Seems the “nice” importers declared one company bankrupt to dodge a faulty batch of TVs and have since started importing them again using a very similar company name. So much for our consumer laws in Australia! Got a Grundig this time, with 5 year warranty thru Hardly-Normals. Also wangled a good deal on a bread maker.

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Our 1st loaf - tasted pretty good

June Long Weekend

Marc organised a bike ride up to the Whitsundays, with 2 nights camping on his mates front lawn.Five of us turned up on Saturday morning for the 550km ride thru Capella, Middlemount, Nebo, Marian (bypassing Mackay), thru Prosperpine to Cannonvale/Airlie Beach.

We arrived in time to set up camp in daylight and do a run to the shops (pub, mainly).

Mike & Karen's tent, my swag, then Marc's & Terry's in Grizz's front yard, just out of Cannonvale.

Mike & Karen's tent, my swag, then Marc's & Terry's in Grizz's front yard, just out of Cannonvale.

On Sunday we rode into Airlie Beach for breakfast and had a look around Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour.

Airlie Beach Lookout

Airlie Beach Lookout

Looking out over Shute Harbour

Looking out over Shute Harbour

Then we went up to Bowen for lunch.

Horseshoe Bay, Bowen, on 7th day of winter 2009

Horseshoe Bay, Bowen, on 7th day of winter 2009

For all you southeners, the temperature got to 27 and I’m told the water temperature was still 25.

Sunday arvo and night saw an impromptu jam session of local mussos at Grizz’s place. And a couple of cold ones as well.

Marc's mate Grizz (far right), on his veranda - warming up for a jam session. Fellow riders Mike, Terry & Karen round the table.

Marc's mate Grizz (far right), on his veranda - warming up for a jam session. Fellow riders Mike, Terry & Karen round the table.

Monday saw some kerbside repairs on Mike’s bike and then the 550km trip back to Emerald. Lunch at the Nebo pub – a magnificent example of an “old” Queensland pub, with a great menu – gave us a plan for another trip in the future.

We got home at about 5pm, a bit saddle sore but very happy after a memorable long weekend. Jan had an enjoyable break in Emerald.  Our current next door neighbours are a couple from Narooma and they know some of our Moruya friends – sure is a small world.

June 9th – Finally time for a jumper

June 9th just happens to be my older sister’s birthday, but for me this year it also was the first day since we headed north last November, that I have worn a jumper. The morning are now a bit cool, but most days by 11am its back to short sleeved shirts.

Triumphant weekend

The Triumph dealer from Rockhampton had a test ride day in Emerald last Sunday. They had 7 models to choose from. I paticularly enjoyed riding a Speed Master – a cruiser with a retro style. Asked for a changeover price, but the dream was shortlived when the dealer came up $2K short on the trade-in. Oh well, back to work for another week.

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Barron Mackay

We don’t get too many ‘name’ acts coming through this area, so when we saw a ad for comedian Carl Barron at Capella (50k north) we grabbed a couple of tickets. Actually the venue sold out over a week before his performance. As it was on the Saturday night of a long weekend up here, we took the chance to have a couple of days away.

Carl Barron was great – lots of laughs. After the show we continued north and stayed the night at Clermont. Next morning we headed north-east, through Moranbah and on to Mackay.

When we bought Suzi we never imagined doing trips  in her like this – the roads are pretty rough and being such a short wheel-base, Suzi is pretty rough to travel in. The distance between towns is also a lot more up here. Mackay is just under 400km from Emerald – our second closest larger town. Rockhampton is closer, at 300km to the east.

We both hit the shops on Sunday arvo in Mackay. Both of us had a few things we wanted, things just not available in Emerald. Stayed in the CBD, on the south bank of the river. Had a nice tea out at Hogs Breath.

Mackay breakwall and boat harbour

Mackay breakwall and boat harbour

Monday morning we both indulged in our favourite breakfasts at the harbour – pancakes with lemon for Jan, eggs benedict for David.

Some of the 400+ boats in Mackay harbour

Some of the 400+ boats in Mackay harbour

We had a look more of a look around Mackay and then Sarina, 40km south. We then headed back to Emerald on a slightly different route.

Sarina beach

Sarina beach

This trip to Mackay was our first but it won’t be our last. So many things to see – so little time.

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Why ? ? ?

Ever noticed that just when you think life couldn’t get much better, something happens that brings you down with a thud.

I (David) have just starting to settle in at work. Getting to know the ropes, getting to know all the crew and getting on well with my boss, Les, who is best mates with so many people. Never have I had a boss who so enjoys life, and the odd beer after a hard days work, and his family, and his work “family” et al.

I am thoroughly enjoying my motorbike and enjoying the camaradery of the Emerald riders who came with us on rides just about every weekend. Les is chief organiser of these casual rides and is never happier than when his front driveway is full of motor bikes, as in the next photo.

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Les, out the front of work, just before one of our social rides.

On Sunday 19 April 2008, seven of us set off. North to Capella, then south-west to Rubyvale where we met up with Jake who had his wife Mel as pillion. Terry managed to dent both his wheels on a pothole in Rubyvale, otherwise an uneventful run on a lovely Sunday morning.

On to Anakie and then west to the turn-off to the Willows. The next photo was taken on the Willows turn-off. Typical Les, all smile and both thumbs up and thoroughly enjoying himself.

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Les, as always, enjoying the ride. Just off the highway in Willows Rd.

Some twenty minutes after this photo was taken, life changed dramatically. Les came off his bike for no apparent reason. Neither speed or alcohol were an issue. Something happened to make Les sit up as he rounded a fairly tame corner. We can’t help but think that perhaps he had a heart turn.

His injuries did not appear to be life threatening – a nurse driving past cared for him until the ambulance arrived. We took care of his beloved bike and then rode back to the Emerald Hospital to see how he was going. Not long after I arrived things took a massive turn for the worse. He was flown to Rockhampton but passed away on the operating table from internal injuries.

The funeral was huge – something like 700 at the church, 500 at the cemetry. I am blessed to be part of Les’s “family”. His wife Debra and his four children Ashley, Laurel, Evan and Bryce has been amazing since. It was an honour to be asked to ride with the others that were there on the day, to lead the procession from his home to the church and then to carry him into the church.

I can just imagine his smile if he had seen the 40+ bikes that assembled in the front yard. And I am sure he would have been the life of the party at the celebratory get-together after. I’m sure he handed me a XXXX or 2 in the arvo.

Les loved the fact and reminded us often, that his surname Hodda was only a letter different to Honda. I only meet him on Jan 5th this year.  I feel blessed to have know him. My and Jan’s lifes are the richer for having spent time with Les.

Les Hodda  1965-2009

Les Hodda 1965-2009

Les will ride with me, and many others – we have a badge that says “LEZ 6509”. LEZ 65 was his number plate. My badge is on my riding jacket, just above my heart.

Carl Barron

Jan and I are off to see Carl Barron at the Capella Performing Arts Centre this Saturday and then  will go further north for a couple of days. May Day holiday on Monday. Oh, one final note for you southerners – I have not worn a jumper since leaving NSW. We are both loving the autumn weather here in Central Queensland – its very similar to a south coast NSW summer.

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Guess Who ?

dl-on-bike-at-capella-2103092

Who is the the rider in the photo above. Read on to find out more.

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Finally I think we have sorted the problem of shelters collapsing during Emerald storms. As previously reported on, we had dramas with the main caravan awning just after Christmas. Then we had problems with the shelter I had bought for Suzi. Both units are a faulty design as once water starts to pool a collapse is imminent, as the weight of the pooling water gets heavier and heavier. Designed to fail and yes they do!

I picked up this new shelter in Rockhampton and left one bay out of it as its is long enough to cover Suzi and if a put it all up it would be out in the middle of the road. I’ve ordered some shademesh sides but won’t get them till after easter.

Outside of work, on a lazy Sunday morning.

Outside of work, on a lazy Sunday morning.

Work

Work has kept David busy. He has now done all his necessary training to be allowed on site at 5 of the coal mines in a 150km radius from Emerald. He also has just done his working at heights training so he can now do jobs on mining sites above 1.8M off the ground. So far he has worked at Curragh (at Blackwater, 75km east), Kestrel and Oaky (30km and 100km NE of Emerald), Blair Athol (120km north) and at Rolleston (140km south).

Jan has been looking for suitable work but with no success as yet. She is still doing volunteer work a Vinnies when she can.

Play

We  spent a weekend at Rockhampton about a month ago. A bit of shopping for things you just can’t get in Emerald. We also had a few drinks with Linda & Ivan who we befriended when they occupied the site next to ours over January.

We went out for tea last weekend to the “best” Emerald  restaurant – The Capricornican – for our 28th anniversary. Where have those 28 years gone. We both reckon we’ve got  a few good years left in us yet – watch this space.

David’s new toy

With a boss who has a motorbike and 3 of his workers also, it was just a matter of time before David revisited his past. Wasn’t meant to happen as quickly as it did, but hey, the right machine at the right price just happened to be sitting in front of the local Honda shop. So yesterday a 2006 Honda VFR800 joined our vehicle fleet, with Jan’s full approval. She is itching to go for a trip with David. During our courting days we both enjoyed riding around on David’s Honda XL185.

He went for a ride with his boss, Les, yesterday. Up to Capella and back. The Guess Who photo at the start of this post was taken outside the Capella Railway station (north of Emerald). Today a pack of 5 went for a trip to Anakie (west of Emerald) and back.

David's new toy - a 2006 Honda VFR800, 64Kkm but as new, V4 16 valve motor, 12,000rpm redline.

David's new toy - a 2006 Honda VFR800, 64,000km but as new, V4 16 valve motor, 12,000rpm redline.

Five big boys and their toys - from left - Brendan, David, Les, Marc, a bystander with no taste (he was admiring the Suzuki, not the Hondas) and Wayne. Jake took the shot

Five big boys and their toys - from left - Brendan, David, Les, Marc, a bystander with no taste (he was admiring the Suzuki, not the Hondas) and Wayne. Jake took the shot. Brendan, David, Marc and Jake all work for Les at Blue iQ. Wayne is Brendan's father.

Just for now, David has a broad smile most of the time. He is a bit rusty with his riding but plenty of saddle time will soon fix that.

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New Beginnings

New Directions

As expected, there is good news on the job front. I say as expected, because there has been many jobs that suited David, it was just a matter of deciding what was best for us. The only delay was that many businesses in this area shut down for 2 or 3 weeks over Christmas.

After an interview on their first day back (Jan 5th) it was suggested that David shadow the boss for the rest of the week, which he did. After a bit of negotiation over the wage (try doing that on the south coast of NSW) we agreed first thing on Monday 12th, shook hands and as they say, the rest is history. Even got paid for the week before, which I thought was just a getting to know one another exercise.

David is now working full-time for a local telecommunications contractor Blue iQ (www.blueiq.com.au). He is heading up their telephones section and busily learning all about LG PABXs. About half the work is in the mines within a 200km radius of Emerald and the other half is in shops, businesses and contractors in the same area. For the first time in 17 years I’m about to enjoy a paid public holiday.

Jan’s doing a bit too

Jan has started doing volunteer work at the local Vinnies, just a short walk from the caravan park. She is also locked into a couple of classes of aqua aerobics each week at the town pool which is conveniently right next door to the caravan park.

David goes for an early walk at least 4 times each week and Jan sometimes tags along – I walk too fast she says. On the other side of the ledger is a Cascade Light or three after work – I reckon I’ve earned 1 or 2 (or 3), especially on the hot days!

Home base – Emerald, for a year or so

So, Emerald will be our base for the foreseeable future. At least a year, maybe longer. We will still be wandering around on long weekends, holidays, etc.  Just don’t expect updates on this blog as often as they have been till now.

Congratulations Kellie and Nick

If our information source is to be trusted (if you can’t trust you own son, who can you trust), our congratulations go to Kellie and Nick. Our 6th great niece or nephew is due later in the year. Can’t wait till Christmas to see you all – Jan has already got the knitting needles out, so watch out. Great news!

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A Rocky New Year

Christmas

We had Christmas lunch here in the Caravan Park. Come as you were and bring a plate to share – there was about 30 of us there and a good time was had by all, with the usual Aussie tradition of way too much food. After Christmas I did a few little jobs I had been putting off in the back of the truck and then we decided to head for the coast for a few days.

We copped a storm on the Saturday night with over 3 inches of rain (75mm). The awning and Suzi’s shelter both handled the downpour so we felt safe leaving Emerald for a few days, with a neighbour keeping an eye on things in our absence.

A loop through Biloela to Gladstone

Packing a few things into Suzi, we headed east. Took a slight diversion at Blackwater to have a look at Bedford Weir. The 3 inches of rain 36 hours back sure made the river run.

Bedford Weir, Blackwater - after 3 inches of rain.

Bedford Weir, Blackwater - after 3 inches of rain.

Water was 3ft over the top of the weir

Approx 90km from Rockhampton we turned due south and headed to Biloela. The locals pronounce this as “billo-wheel-a”.  We had a bit of a look around before heading due east again, hitting the coast at Gladstone.

We stayed 3 nights in Gladstone, including New Years Eve. Gladstone is a mix of a working port with a big tourist trade as well. In the area there is also a big power station and an aluminium smelter. We both liked the town, it is a good example of how industry and tourism can co-exist. The foreshore area is very well maintained, with a recreational marina set amongst a large working port.

Looking north over Gladstone

Jan waiting for her boat to come in - Gladstone marina

Coal Loader Wharf, just behind the marina

Coal Loader Wharf, just behind the marina

A short drive north up the coast on New Years Day had us in Rockhampton for 2 days.

Rockhampton

The area copped another downpour that afternoon and night. We had  a good look around Rocky, did a bit of shopping and also had a run up the coast to Yeppoon. Sorry, no photos as it was wet and very humid. Plus we promised ourselves to spend more time there one day.

We set Suzi on a due west course for the 290km trip back to Emerald last Saturday morning.

Rocky return to Emerald.

We both got one hell of a shock to see our awning down and looking very sick. The roller had a bend of at least a foot in the middle.The storm the night before had dumped 60mm in a short time. Somehow the rain pooled in the awning and got to be over 2ft deep in the awning, Neighbours released the water and then dropped the awning the next morning when they got up.

Thankfully the only visible damage was to the awning roller. People  commented to use that they have seen the whole side of a caravan pulled off in similar circumstances. Often the awning will tear. Once we got over the intitial shock we, with the help of our neighbours – Ivan, Linda and their 18yr old son Brad, had a go at straightening the roller. We managed to get it straightened a little but it still looked like as write-off.

Without too many exceptions, all awnings around here have curved ribs fitted. These stop the water from pooling. I had even tried to buy some in Rocky, but the caravan parts business was closed till Jan 27th!

After a lousy nights sleep I decided to have another go at straightening the roller – it’s 4inches in diameter and made of reasonably solid aluminium. Lo and behold, us 3 ‘solidish’ males managed to get it as good as new – much to everyones amazement. Seemed like a good cause for a celebration so Ivan and I demolished a slab of VB in the arvo. Nothing like turning up for a job interview the next morning with a bit of a hangover !

Awning and Caravan Manufacturers need to lift their game.

When the actual manufacturer of the awning said we should have at least 2 curved ribs and one tension bar installed when I made an inquiry before Christmas (I have this in writing) I am a bit pissed of that no one suggested that I needed these items when we purchased the caravan. Why are they allowing such big awning (ours is 21ft long) to be installed without these items? I am going to follow this up. From what I can see, we are very lucky that we do not have to replace anything.

I have used some expanding tent poles to brace our awning till I can get the parts I want – our awning is going to get 4 curved ribs plus a tension bar as soon as I can get them. (Most wholesalers are shut for another 2 weeks.)

Can’t work out why the awning handled 75mm the week before but then pooled the 60mm downpour. Can’t help but think they are a flawed design, although the second storm did come from a different direction. Should have taken a few telltale photos of all this but didn’t think of it till after the drama died down.

Good News

The interview with a local telecommunications company went well. I also have 4 other options open at present. Jan and I are currently working through all the options and will choose the jobs that best suits us. Gee its nice to have 5 options to choose from. My guess is our next post will be good news on the job hunt front.

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