Tuesday 15 March 2016

We've Started

That is just the beginning.  There is plenty more to go in here.

Mick has had a huge day moving boxes.  We had a room affectionately known as "The Box Room", which was an average size bedroom, full of boxes, nearly to the ceiling.  In over twelve months, we haven't missed very much at all.  What you see above is only a small portion of them.

We (mainly Mick) have now moved all of those boxes to the new house.  We will have a big job going through them and having a huge cull.  Mick reckons sorting through things will be a good winter job.

We have another room known as "The Jungle".  It is full of furniture.  Yep, that will be culled too.

There is still plenty more to pack.  We will get there.

Monday 14 March 2016

No More Sleeps

Today we became the proud owners of our new home.

It has been a long process, with contracts exchanging back in November, but finally the day has come.

Unfortunately, it was not good timing for GDITC at Nundle, so I had to cancel the weekend........next year.

We took the first few boxes over this afternoon and Mick will have many more loads.  At least it is only a few kilometres each way this time, not a 56km round trip, like last time. He has taken the next two weeks off work. The removalists are coming next Monday to move the big stuff and we have to be completely moved before Easter.

It was funny seeing the new house empty for the first time.  

I'm just a tad excited about this...

Let's see what is behind those doors... which can be closed to hide what lays beyond....

The "Ta Da" moment:

A blank canvas.  It will never look like this again.

It is huge, at 6m x 4m, with great light and a door onto a side verandah......and all mine.  I've never had my own sewing room before.

I've no idea where I'm going to put things, but I will have fun figuring it all out.  I reckon all my bits and pieces will fill it up.

Things will probably be a bit chaotic around here for the next little while, so I will be back when life calms down a bit and I have things sorted enough for me to have a play in my new space.

Tuesday 8 March 2016

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

We had a smooth sailing from Tasmania to Melbourne.  We treated ourselves to a cabin each way this holiday and it really was worth it to be able to have a shower in your own bathroom and a real bed, after a week camping.

We disembarked early on Sunday morning, so it didn't take long to leave Melbourne behind us.

We knew it was going to be a hot day, so planned to ride as far as we could before it got too hot and then get a motel with air con and a pool for the rest of the day.  We would then leave in the cool of the morning on Monday and get home before it was too hot.

We were surprised to start out riding in low cloudy fog and be quite cool.

Once the fog burnt off it quickly warmed up, reaching 30 degrees by 9.00am and we set in for the long straight roads.  Quite different from what we had been on for the previous two weeks.

Then it got cloudy and cooled down a bit for most of Victoria.  We even had a couple of spots of rain.

We stopped at Albury for fuel and after that it once again quickly heated up, as we left the cloud behind.

From then on the temperature hovered at 38 - 39 degrees for most of the day.

Our next stop was Junee for lunch and fuel.  We had considered this to be a destination for the day, but Mick still felt fine so we kept going, stopping occasionally for a drink of water and stretch.

After Cowra, at about 4.30pm we reached our highest temperature of 41 degrees.  Not very comfortable in bike gear.

We had some relief at cold old Blayney, when the temperature dipped briefly to 35 degrees.

What we did notice all the way home was how dry it has become in the short time we have been away.  There has been no rain and the temperature has been in the 30s every day, with at least another week of the same ahead of us. At first I thought some poplar trees were starting to turn for autumn, but no, the leaves were just burning off in the heat.

We arrived home just before 6pm.  Not a bad effort for nearly 900kms.  We did a total of 3,220kms on the trip.

So now we are back home.  Yesterday was a day of unpacking and many loads of washing along with all those other bits and bobs that need attending to after a holiday.  I think Joey was glad to be back home again from the kennels.  Today I was back at work.

Our holiday was wonderful.  We visited new places and revisited others.  We are finding we are now taking more guided tours than we used to and think they are worth every cent they cost.  What we saved by camping more than paid for them.  I'm also pleased we camped every night.  We didn't do much cooking, but hey, it's a holiday.

The Ulysses AGM Rally was great.  Yes, most people were disappointed in the way it was organised, but despite the amenities being minimal, we never had a cold shower and they were always clean.  The weather was ideal, which makes the world of difference.  Most of all, we met some wonderful people, who we will continue to catch up with every now and then.  That is what it is all about.

Monday 7 March 2016

Tassie - Day 14

Saturday was our last day in Tasmania.  We didn't sail out of Devonport until 7.30pm, so we had a whole day to fill in.  No rushing, which was nice.

We waited until the dew had dried on our camper before packing it up, which meant we didn't leave the camp ground until about 10 o'clock.

Our first stop on our way to the ferry was at the markets at the lovely town of Deloraine.  No purchases, but we met "Miss Marigold" the Morgan and her elderly owner.

The street was lined with quirky sculptures.

As we continued on our way, we started to notice the rich, fertile soil and the number of crops.

It really was a picture, with the Western Tiers in the background.

After lunch we made our way back to Don, just on the outskirts of Devonport.  If you remember, on our first day we saw the Don Railway Museum, but we were too early to visit.  At the time, we thought it would be good to visit on our last day.

Unfortunately, in recent wet weather part of the track was damaged and it wasn't quite ready to have passenger trains go over it as yet.  

Therefore, we just had a very short ride on a rail motor.

It dates from 1944 and is a diesel.  It was shipped out from England at the same time as the last of the steam trains.  It really was just like a bus on tracks.  Saturday was its first day back in action after a complete overhaul.

The Don Railway Society was created in the 1970s.  The line they are on was to a quarry and when it was closed in the 60s the entire infrastructure was removed.  

What is there now has been completely built since then.

They used to run excursions all over the state, but since public liability insurance has become harder to obtain they only run trains on their own, short, private track.

The museum is run entirely by volunteers.  They were really interesting to listen to, telling us all about the history of the engines.  I wish I could remember it all. It was really hands on too.  I got to sit in the drivers seat of the green one on the left of the above photo.  It originally was from New South Wales.

There were some lovely carriages.

I couldn't believe the size of the workshop.

While were there a little boy and his dad were also looking around.  The little fellow was dressed for the part and was having a fantastic time.

After our hour or so wandering around we thought we had better get on our way and have a bit of a look at Devonport.

I wonder how many town there are where you look down the main street to see a passenger ferry in harbour?

As it was a beautiful day we had a look around the foreshore.  We saw the lighthouse again, from a different angle.

We also found "The Spirit of the Sea" at the entrance to the Mersey River.

Some lovely craft came in.

A couple of rather large ships went out.

And one pretty coloured fishing boat went by.

Meanwhile, our ferry sat waiting to be loaded.

Finally, it was our turn to board.

Bye bye Tassie.

Sunday 6 March 2016

Tassie Day 13 - Jacobs Ladder

Over the years Mick has heard of a rather challenging road in Tasmania called Jacobs Ladder.  As it isn't too far from Launceston, he was keen to ride up it.  It is something that you would only do in fine weather due to the altitude and today looked promising.

It was a lovely morning for riding, nice and cool, but sunny.  The clouds were fascinating to watch.

We travelled along yet another scenic route.

It got a bit cooler so we pulled over to add a layer.  Upstream looked like this.

Downstream was a little different.  Mick wished he had a fishing rod, as it looked like an ideal trout stream.

Meanwhile, our destination could be seen in the distance.

Our first dirt road on this trip.  We had about 40kms ahead of us. (20km each way)

We started off in nice, flat forest. The corrugates were a bit bad, but it is too dry for the grader to get in and fix it.

Once we entered the National Park that changed a bit.

Those hills were getting closer.

Before long we left the trees and the ground changed to this.

At last.  Jacobs Ladder.  Lots of warning notices.  We weren't too worried, as an elderly couple we know rode a large BMW road bike, two up, to the top yesterday. By the way, you can see here just how big the rocks are in that jumble down the side of the hill.

Jacobs Ladder as such doesn't go for too long.  If you look closely at the above pic you can see it zig zagging up the hillside.  OK.  let's go!

It isn't too steep.  The road is quite gravelly and there are some water ruts from recent rain. Not too bad. Vehicles going up have to give way to those descending.  It is fairly wide and there are guards at the sharp corners.  I admire the couple who came up yesterday as I would have been a bit nervous on the back of a solo bike.

Before we knew it we were at the top, on an alpine plateau.  Ben Lomond is the second highest point in Tasmania at over 1,500 metres above seal level.

There is a ski village up there that was closed for the summer.

As always, I love looking at the alpine plants.

It was quite colourful, with lots of red and coral flowers dotted over the hills.  They are Mountain Rocket.

Meanwhile, as I'm examining plants, Mick has gone off playing mountain goat to have a look over the edge.

If he'd just walked a bit further he would have arrived at the lookout.  That is what we had come up.  Rather spectacular. It looks more like something you would see in Europe.  See the tiny speck of a car at the very bottom.  

Mick decided that he wanted a photo of him one road, so he abandoned me and went back down a couple of turns.

There he is.  Another speck.

I found more pretty flowers and white lichen.  It really was surprising how much colour was up there.  Some of the plants would look great in my garden, if they could handle the heat.

OK?  Time to head back down.  The sidecar handled it well.

The views were stunning.

We even spotted a wedge tailed eagle soaring above the cliffs.

Back past the rock scree.

Once back in the timbered country we saw several old tree trunks bearing scars from the early timber getters.  There aren't many old growth trees left, but the forest still looks good.

Mick was really happy to have ridden up Jacobs Ladder.  I think it made his day and was a hilight of the trip.

As we still had plenty of the day left we rode up the Tamar.  I loved this sculpture in Georgetown.

The estuary was looking good.

We kept on our way up to Low Head, which we have visited on each of our visits to Tassie.

The sky looked amazing behind the lighthouse.

The sea was sparkling in the sunshine.  We certainly had picked a nice day to visit.

Back in Georgetown I made a quick visit to Sarah at Patchwork Plus.  A couple of charm packs may have jumped into my bag.  You can always fit them in.  This is the only patchwork  shop I've seen on our trip.  I know they are about, but I've just missed them, which doesn't matter.

And that finished our ride for today.  We then went back to our camp and I finished all the stitching that I brought with me.  I'm happy about that.

Tonight is our last night in Tasmania on this trip, so we treated ourselves to dinner at the same seafood restaurant that we ate at last time we were here.  The meal was delicious once again.

Tomorrow there is a big parade through town and the actual AGM meeting takes place.  We will miss those and just pack ourselves up once the dew has dried off the camper and take a liesurely day back to Devonport to catch the ferry home.