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2009 Trip with Lionel
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Day 51 - July 1st
I thought I said to come back in three weeks unless something remarkable happened!

Day 56 - July 6

Today something of note did happen - a branch dropped from a tree in the night and damaged a neighbours annexe. She wasn't hurt but had a nasty shock. It emphasises the old advice of not camping under trees.


Day 57 - July 7

You may - or may not - like to look at a video of me holding forth at the Brisbane Caravan Show. If you do go to: and look under videos.

Day 59 - July 9

Here's the new ACC Wheel Cover - the newest
thing on the poor old Scenic!

Day 60 - July 10

I drove into Mackay this morning to look for a new charger for my mobile phone. The old one would only charge if you doubled the cord up in the right manner - it must have had an internal break that only contacted sometimes if you held your mouth right.

It's a ZTE Telstra phone and would you believe that was the last one I came to amongst the dozens of chargers on display! Now it shouldn't wake me in the night with its insistant low charge signal.

While in Mackay I called on friends and enjoyed lunch with them. After lunch I went down to the Mackay harbour and breakwater. The wind was strong and spray from breaking waves gave Trixie a salt coating as we drove along the breakwater. There are hundreds of small boats tied up in the harbour and several large freighters loading sugar.

While in town I decided to get a haircut and beard trim. I just knew you'd want to know that!

Day 61 - July 11

Not a lot happened today - did a bit of walking but I'm sure I'll never reach the 10,000 steps a day decreed by my doctor. I emailed her and told her so = described myself as exercisephobic!

The Editor of Caravan World asked for some 'choofer' pics for a reader who read about them in my column but I couldn't get any straight away and took a picture of a very similar empty gas bottle adaptation.

Day 62 - July 12

I went to the Seaforth market today but there was very little there - it gets smaller every year I come here.

After that I went to Cape Hillsborough and walked a long way on the beach. It's a lovely firm and flat sandy beach with tens of thousands of little crabs who make endless patterns on the sand as they excavate their tiny burrows at low tide.

We held a Board meeting at night courtesy MSN Messenger and unlike last year my internet connection held for the whole meeting. It's remarkable that with Directors scattered all over Australia we can still operate as a cohesive Board. The meeting tonight had the secretary in WA south of Perth, one Director in New England in Northern NSW, the Treasurer and another Director were in Melbourne while I'm up here near Mackay in northern Queensland.

Day 63 - July 13

Hooray - the choofer pictures have arrived and I've sent them off to Caravan World. Here they are:

Days 64 - 69  July 14 - 18

I've been a bit busy these last few days and the diary was neglected - sorry.

On the Wednesday I packed up and regretfully left Smalleys Beach where I spent 21 very relazing days and enjoyed the company of old friends Aub and Betty. Happy hour stretched from 4pm daily and we discussed everything under the sun.

I headed for Bluewater about 20km north of Townsville and the free Rest Area was chokka. I shared a fire with a couple from Adelaide who had a campervan they had bought from Appollo with 300,000km on the clock and now many km later it's still going strong after another 6 years travelling.

Next moring I was off early but there was a long delay while emergency crews cleared up after a lady driver hit a horse and horse and lady suffered bad injuries.

I was the first of 'our gang' to arrive at Walkamin and the park is just as nice as I remembered. This is the ACC Troppo Trekkers first Muster.

We've had a great weekend - nine of us sat down for a sumptious 'Christmas in July' feast on Saturday night after a lovely day taking in features of the local area. It was cold at night so the duck down doonah came out again.

There was a film night on Friday using something I'd never seen before - a blow up screen.

Graham - a member of the ACC Southern Nomads has been here with wife Ann and he's taken heaps of pics. I'll see if I can put a link on here to them.

To see Graham's photo shoot click here       And here he is with Ann at Granite Gorge.

Day 70 - July 19

Graham and I went to a couple of museums today - one was a collection of wartime vehicles and historical items. Very extensive but not in any way restored - most items were very rusty and damaged but a great collection just the same,

The other was called WARBIRDS and although not as extensive was in much better shape. While we were there a beautifully restored Kittyhawk started up and took off. It made a number of passes over the airfield and was most impressive.

A number of members and prospective members dropped in during Saturday and Sunday and I'm sure the future of the Trekkers Branch will be steady and sure growth and lots of Southern visitors during the winter.

Day 71 - July 20

The remaining two vans left this morning and now there's just me again. They have been such good company and it's a little sad it's over.......but there's always something else happening that's interesting and good.

Take tonight. As I was coming back from the loo a chap called , "You are Lionel aren't you?" It was a regular Caravan World reader who recognised me and later tonight in 'The Shed', a lovely area with an open fire, I discovered other regular readers with one lady delighted when I signed my column in the current CW for her.

Poor Trixie was looking most neglected with dust from three weeks travelling the unsealed road into Smalleys Beach, so today I took her to the car wash in Athertom and gave her a good shampoo. She looks a lot better now.

I've been selling a few books lately so went into Mareeba this morning to buy some more pre-paid envelopes and do some grocery shopping
. The timing was spot on as another order came through when I got back to the van and I could post it without needing to go the the Post Office.

Day 72 - July 21

This was the day I went for a drive around the park with Miss Billie - resident park manager aka the dog.
In case you are wondering - it is a 1929 Willeys. And Murphy came along for the ride as well - I ran out of petrol after about 100metres!
Day 73 - July 22
A day for spending money! I went into Atherton in the morning and bought a new Dustbuster as the old one objected to hitting the floor hard a few times when I forgot to take it off the wall! I also bought a smoke alarm that was on special at Homewares as I havn't had one in the van before. I bought a fire blanket a couple of years back and I have a fire extinguisher near the door.
Day 74 - July 23

Today I did the washing in the morning and then went out to Tinaroo Dam where I took these pictures. I still remember my Mothers fright years ago when we saw a huge amathystine python slowly slithering across the track. It upset her stomach! I wasn't too rapt at seeing a 12foot blake but it had nice markings.

Watch out for rats eating your plug leads! This was at one of the Tinaroo campsites.

Day 75 - July 24

My friends Lazo and Deirdre are over in the West where the weather has been atrocious and they had 3 inches of water in the annexe  - he sent me this pic of the site before they moved to (slightly) higher ground!

He said that they didn't mind the torrential rain or the gale force winds but the hail was a bit much!

At happy hour (or three!) last night there was a discussion about steaks and a lady called Liz was describing how she liked hers cooked - ruined I call that way. It got me so much longing for a juicy rare steak that I went to the Mareeba RSL and had a huge rare rump smothered with spicy pepper sauce. It was delicious - thanks for bringing it up Liz!

Day 76 - July 25

I left the park all bright and early to go to the Youngaburra Market. After about 5km I remembered I hadn't picked up the camera. I've done that a few times but this time I did a u-turn and went back for it. You've probably guessed it - the day turned dark and wet so it wasn't a day for pics. Maybe toworrow if I remember the camera.

It was a big and varied market and I bought a pineapple with rough leaves - there always the sweetest. I got some radishes as well and the lady threw in an extra bunch as the rain was getting harder and people were going home.

Rabbits seem to have disappeared from the supermarkets and I have been longing for a good old-fashioned rabbit stew like the ones I was brought up on in the UK. My dad was a poacher and always came home on Sunday morning with a bunny or three in his specially made inner pockets of his jacket.

I mentioned this to some people in the park and they said they had frozen rabbits in the IGA at Atherton. Right I thought - I'm having one. In I went and couldn't find them at first but the meat dept manager handed me one from a place I hadn't looked. Great - I didn't even look at the price tag until I got back to the van and then had a shock when I saw $39.45! Ah well the stew will last a few nights and it will be worth the price. Apparently they get them from Tasmania.

Day 77 - July 26

Today I remembered the camera and went to Karanda. I always get mixed up between Karumba up on the Gulf of Carpentatia and Karanda here near Cairns. There's also Karatha over on the west coast but I seem to remember that OK. Today I realised that Karanda is on the Atherton Tableland so it's the one with an a. Problem solved for now.

Here are a few pics I took this morning at the Barron Falls - it can be a raging torrent in the wet season but today was just a trickle.

There were quite a few interesting signs at the Falls including this one describing our unique Wet Tropics and rainforest. Click for a larger clearer picture. When done click your 'back' button.

Here's an old plane at the Mareeba airport with an old Chesney caravan in the background. There are a number of planes in various stages of restoration here although I have a feeling we won't be seeing this one overhead in the near future.

Boy that rabbit stew is smelling good!

Day 78 - July 27
This place grows on you and although I'm due out on Thursday I'll book in for another week. It's only $105 a week here and the park has everything you need. I thought I'd better put the shade cloth up as the sun is a bit strong some days as the awning faces north.

I've had a certain amount of trouble opening documents sent by people using very modern PCs - they use a format called docx. Today I lashed out and bought an OEM copy of Word Mac 2008 - that's the latest for Macs. It took an hour and a half to download but now I'm up to date.

More of the rabbit stew tonight! Lovely grub!

Day 79 - July 28

This was a day for pictures. In the morning I took some photos for the Caravan World feature 'Readers Rigs'. Noel and Liz own a lovely custom built Evernew caravan with everything needed for travelling in comfort and style.


Then in the afternoon I went out to Hasties Swamp where there is a two-storey hide to view the thousands of waterbirds that call the swamp home. Here are a few pics of whistling ducks and some posters:

There's still some rabbit stew left - I'll be hopping like a bunny soon!

Day 80 - July 29

Today dawned very windy - in fact I nearly got up in the night to put the awning in but the fact I'd put guy ropes and ashade cloth on it made that too hard. However as I'd decided to go for a long drive today I did roll it up this morning before leaving.

I went up through the rain forest to Cape Tribulation adter crossing the Daintree River on the ferry.





These last two were from a lookout between Port Douglas and Cairns during one of the most beautiful coastal drives in Australia       

Day  81 - July 30

Poor Trixie felt neglected today. She wasn't even unlocked all day - a bit different to yesterday when she carried me about 350 km including two steep and twisty climbs from sea level up to the Tableland.

I did spend my time usefully though. I wrote and sent Caravan World my monthly column, 'On the Wallaby' for October. The year finishes early when you have to write 2 months ahead of distribution. I also sent them some suggestions for on-the-way-home stops for people returning home after wintering up north.

Then another Caravan World feature 'Readers Rigs' claimed my attention and I took pictures of Arthur and Liz and their Roadstar with the fully customised Toyota Landcruiser that is used either as a tow vehicle or as a self-contained camping unit.

Tonight the huge 'blow-up' screen was back and quite a crowd gathered to watch:'The Man from Snowy River'.

Day 82 - July 31

Murphy had been reasonably well behaved lately until last night when I tried to put the events of Day 81 on here. Jumba who host this website sent an email saying they had been 'hacked' and were changing passwords of accounts that had been affected. I couldn't connect no matter what I did and this morning was just the same. I rang them and the message said they were very busy but would ring back when my call reached the head of the queue. They did and changed the password. I still couldn't get in so another long call and it was fixed. For then! I forgot I'd emailed for help the previous night so they changed the password again tonight and it was so faint I couldn't read it so emailed it to Sue and her sharp eyes made out the letters. If you are reading this you will realise it's now OK.

CLICK for August