A Rocky New Year


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.


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.


  1. Julie & Peter Simcock Said,

    January 13, 2009 @ 6:21 pm

    Hi Jan & David
    Season’s Greetings to you both & a Happy & Safe 2009 Just logged into your site, amazing, we will keep checking on your progress and how you are travelling. We are all well as I hope this finds you.
    Louise has finished school, thankgod, having a year off before she decides what she wants to do. Working at a cafe at the local indoor pool centre for the time being. Adam is in his 3rd year of his plumbing apprenticeship. Peter is still at the local paper and Im still 3 days a week at Total Tools in the office. Wish we were there!!!! Take care Love Julie Peter & Kids xxxx ps Keep it up

  2. Mary Richardson Said,

    January 16, 2009 @ 6:45 pm

    Hi Jan & David,
    Great reading, this system is a great idea, able to keep up to date with what is going on. Life here is still going well, working every day at Mogo Ice Creamery, busy but good fun. We had a pleasant Christmas Day at a friends, prawns and salad, lovely wine and I didn’t have to drive. Quiet New Years Eve, didn’t feel like partying that night, but felt like it the next night! A friend of mine passed her truck licence test yesterday, tough going for 8 hours, but she passed. She is hoping to get work in the mines, don’t like to be pessimistic but the prospects don’t appear favourable. We have had enough rain to keep everyone happy (nowhere near the amount you have had), a couple of very hot days and then as I am writing this have jeans and long sleeve top on. The job prospects sound promising, hope you are successful.

    Love and best wishes for 2009.


Leave a Comment