Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Worth the cache!

Celebrating our 100th find!
Since being introduced to the concept back in June 2010, we have become quite keen geocachers.  We go out caching for various reasons - and (as you can see) in all kinds of weather!

It is a great outing for us as a family (though the configuration varies) and something Nick and I enjoy also, sans offspring.  On some of our longer camping trips, we plan to do a cache (or several) at rest areas along the way to help break the journey and encourage us all to stretch our legs.

Although we didn't manage any camping expeditions during May and June we did enjoy a number of geocaching days, where we packed up a picnic and headed out exploring with Elmer Fudd for some memorable adventures!

For more geocaching information, click here

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Ironfest Endorsement

I cannot possibly show you everything we saw at Ironfest, there is far too much to describe. However, it is an annual festival, generally held April and well-worth braving the cold for - even if you can only manage a day-trip!  See you there?!

Surely you joust?

The lances are designed to break upon impact.
The St George's Day jousting tournament took place after lunch, with much pomp and ceremony.

There was plenty of excitement, with one knight being unhorsed (needing a ladder to remount) and another unluckily taking a lance to the groin!  Full Tilt Entertainment are responsible for both the jousting display and the quad bike battles. 

If you get a chance to see them in action - take it!  There is an event schedule on their website:-

Hot dog, we're good!

We returned to Elmer to assemble hot dogs for lunch, using our camping stove. There were a few envious glances/comments from passers-by!

I also put together curried sausages and rice to slow-cook in the thermal cooker for our dinner.

Although we had expected to have our evening meal en route, we didn't actually eat till around 8:30pm or so.

It was lovely to have everything ready to serve, moments after arriving home again!

The Knight Riders! )

"The world as we know it has changed. The walls that separate mankind from the Darkness have grown thin. Released from Hell, Death stalks the land. Harvesting the souls of the Innocent. The Reapers! Our only hope are the KnightRiders. Warriors of the Light. The battle for your souls has begun ..."
And that was just the introduction! We viewed the action from the grandstand, enjoying the theatrics (while sitting in the sun, out of the wind).

The opponents jousted first, then took up weapons while still mounted on their quad-bikes and eventually finished the battle on foot. Of course, good triumphed over evil! Hallelujah!

Layer upon layer!

Vaughan had traveled in jamies and dressing gown, so needed to change into thermal underwear and a few top layers when we arrived at Lithgow. He definitely had the right idea with his two hats - next time I will remember at least one item of headgear to keep my brain, face and ears warm!!

In spite of the low temperature and wind-chill factor, the rest of me was generally comfortable. I wore long johns, jeans, 2 pair of socks and snow boots on my lower half - then thermal underwear, skivvy and thick polar fleece jumper on the top half!

Nick is keen for us to dress in costume next year and we may well make our debut as a mob of medieval monks (with much insulation hidden under cassocks)!

Thermos porridge

Warm porridge but cold bowls!!
We arrived at Lithgow around 8:30am (after leaving home at 5:00am). It was barely 4 degrees at 9:00am when we were having our picnic breakfast outside, so the thermos porridge was definitely appreciated (as were gloves to hold the bowls)!

I put the oats in at 11:00pm on Friday night and they were still warm at 9:00am the next morning.  Nick has since been given a small soft-sided esky, emblazoned with the QR logo - which is just the right size to hold both wide-mouth thermoses, so they retain their heat even longer.

Thermos porridge: place one large cup of rolled oats, a quarter cup of dried fruit and two tablespoons of skimmed milk powder into a wide-mouthed thermos. Fill with boiling water, stir it and seal.

Where the heck?!

We had enjoyed Ironfest so much last year that we were determined to go again, even when staying overnight was not an option.  Nick suggested a day-trip and we all agreed, rather than miss out altogether.

Vaughan had been counting "sleeps" to Lithgow all week - as had the rest of us.  Such was the anticipation that when Nick was woken repeatedly with cramps through the Friday night, I kept waking too - ready to leave!

As it was, we got up at 4:00am and were ready to leave an hour later.  There were so many stars - and even more special, we had good views of the planets in their triangular alignment on the way South along the Freeway.


We left the Freeway at Berowra and took a lovely scenic route (with a ferry ride) through to Bilpin, where we made a brief comfort stop at a quaint rest area.  Vaughan had been soundly asleep and looked very lost when we woke him, muttering "where the heck am I?"!