Thursday, 25 October 2018

Slow slide to civilisation!

We came home from Roma with more modification ideas.  Although we bought our Engels in October 2010 they'd never been set up on fridge slides.

Nick built a shelf before our 2014 Yowah trip and one Engel sat on a basic wooden slide on top.  That set-up was in use for a little under two years.  It worked well for Innamincka and at Mortlake.

In late 2015 we bought a commercial drawer system with a fridge slide incorporated on one side.  Those drawers were re-fitted to Elmer the Gold in 2017.  To access the fridge, we needed to stand on the towbar and hold the lid open with one hand while rummaging for items with the other.

It was definitely awkward to access, hence fitting fridge slides to the trailer was high on our wishlist.  The cost of ready-built fridge slides was still more than we wanted to spend - but Nick sourced components via eBay and constructed two custom slides for the trailer.  He did brilliant work!

Two different mounting systems were used.  One fridge slides out front-first (which is the side we'll access for roadside stops).  The second fridge slides sideways, from the other side of the trailer box. It won't be accessed as often, so may operate more regularly as a freezer.

A second battery and solar panel were fitted around the same time as the slides.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Chillin' out at Chinchilla ...

Di had sent pics of Chinchilla Weir when she stayed overnight a couple of weeks ago.  It looked a lovely place and I was pleased we would get to see it.

Soon after arrival we were all relaxing, enjoying the late afternoon light.  Nick and Vaughan played Magic.  Erin knitted and I sipped tea (from our Ace Drapers pot!) while catching up on my journaling, watching various birds by the water and in the nearby trees.  It was very pleasant.

When the light faded, Vaughan lit a small fire - and we used it along with our Cobb Cookers to chef sausages, baked potatoes and some frozen vegetables.

Our neighbour, Earl (a cheerful chap travelling around with his fat sausage dog, filling in time till he died), donated one of his small logs to feed our fire - and we returned more than half of it the next morning!

Everything was so still when we woke.  There were lots of reflections. Very pretty. I would have been quite happy to stay longer, had time allowed.  Perhaps another trip.

When first awake, Nick and I took a short drive back toward Chinchilla.

We bought milk for our morning cups of tea/coffee.  I was also able to get some cash, so as to leave a donation at the tourist info office (for our stay).

I'd pre-mixed pikelet ingredients before leaving home so we had a fine breakfast, keenly supervised by several blue-faced honeyeaters!

Apostle birds had also visited but they were more fond of bread.  As we sat around eating brekkie Erin and I spotted a new-to-us bird, which she later identified as a Striped Honeyeater - and we're fairly sure we saw a Little Friarbird, too.

We left Chinchilla right on 9:00am, after handing our donation to one of the staff members at the tourist office. (It was 270km to home and we encountered more roadworks along the way, before driving through our gate in the early afternoon).

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Livin' it up - lunch at the Lagoon!

It certainly felt like lunchtime when we rolled out of Roma.

We made a quick stop to look at the fantastic "Pinkin-jinn-ee" painted boulder tortoise - which we'd seen from the road the previous day.

After that, I checked our Camps Australia Wide 7 book for a possible lunch place.  One site seemed familiar.  I then remembered someone had recently put pics of it on a Facebook group I follow.  Decision made, we headed for Judd's Lagoon.  Much of the lagoon was dry but we pulled up beside some water and enjoyed a very flash cheese platter lunch while watching a few tortoises and many birds.

It is possible to camp at the lagoon and several vans pulled in while we lunched.  We wanted to get closer to home though, before setting up for the night (to lessen our driving the next morning) - so pressed onward to Chinchilla.

We had an Ace time!

I belong to a few groups on FaceBook and had read some great reports of Ace Drapers in Roma - so definitely wanted to visit!

We rolled out of Ups n Downs and made our way back into Roma.  Erin had gone ahead so after parking Elmer and the trailer next to some nice bottle trees, we met her at Ace Drapers.

Nick waited outside with Bandit and the rest of us walked inside.  Wow!  What a place!  So much - everything!

Given so many references to my infamous stash, you will be pleased to hear that I did not succumb to the temptation of purchasing any more fabric!

Erin found some wool and buttons for her crafty creations.  Given all the range of choice, she did well to buy just two skeins and half a dozen buttons.

Vaughan requested a hat and hopefully will wear it often.

And me?  I try to buy practical souvenirs (our Ironfest fire poker, candle spike and toasting fork from Maldon as well as a shoe brush from Thargomindah).

I spotted a lidded enamel mixing bowl (similar to the one used by Jase from All4Adventure!) - and then Nick found a 6-cup Baccarat stainless steel teapot on special.  We were well pleased with our splendid finds, so paid up and headed back to the cars.

Roma Saleyards ...

We were on a tight schedule for our Roma visit, due to limited overlap between Nick's roster and school holidays.  We didn't expect there would be much open on Monday's public holiday, so weren't sure we'd fit in all we wanted to do.

Everything clicked into place really well though and we ticked off our top three missions!

When I read about the free sale yard tours, I definitely wanted to go.   

We met on Tuesday at 8:15am for an 8:30am start - and after a quick introduction began a really interesting look at both levels of the facility. 

Vaughan elected to stay in the car with Bandit, so he missed out but the rest of us really enjoyed the tour.  There was so much to see!

Usually 6,000 to 6,500 cows are sold at each sale - and there are two sales each week.  (Cattle in transit are also spelled in the yards). We saw the early stages of the sale and seemingly it would continue to around 7:00pm.

Our guide answered our many questions and we easily spent an hour with him, before heading back to finish packing.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Celebratory bottle (tree)!

I turned 50 this year!  I always enjoy my birthdays but felt this one warranted more significant recognition.  Not a party - a tree!

Nissa promised funding and even found a local-ish supplier but when Plan A fizzled out, I schemed for a Roma trip to visit another bottle tree grower.

I made contact with Elizabeth of Bindaroo Bottle Trees ("Grow your own bulge!") about a week before our planned departure.

I rang Elizabeth on Monday and we visited later in the day.  It was a bit of adventure.  Vaughan spotted two bustards along the way!

I had spoken to Elizabeth about my plan for a potted bottle tree (till we have a permanent abode) and she'd selected two lovely trees for me to choose from.

We chatted at length about her early bottle-tree growing days and current operation - with trees being delivered to all states of Australia!  (A truck-load had just left for Western Australia)!

Some of Elizabeth's bottle trees are in Peter Maccallum Cancer Centre's rooftop garden, which is not far from Nissa's uni.

I received lots of tips for looking after my new tree and really enjoyed spending time in Elizabeth's nursery oasis - standing in the shade listening to little birds flitting about. What a beautiful place to work!

We had visited Roma's largest bottle tree in the morning.  It has a girth of 9.51 metres.  My tree is currently almost my height (including crown - the tree's not mine)!  Let's not discuss girths!  I plan to measure the two of us each birthday and see how wonderfully we age together!

Ups n Downs!

We booked in for two nights at Ups n Downs Farmstay, just outside Roma - a very good choice!

It was around 6:00pm when we rolled in on Sunday night, a bit over seven hours since leaving home.  We'd had a few breaks along the way but the going had been slow due to lots of  road works.

Everyone was very pleased to get out of the cars and set up camp.  I used the camp kitchen to chef our dinner - and we sat around the big fire chatting with our camp host for quite a while before heading to bed.

We woke the next morning, to scolding apostle birds and wandering geese (with goslings)!

After breakfast, we explored a bit and walked down to the dam to see the small cows, donkeys and horses.  Vaughan's new friend really liked nibbling leg hair, which was funny!  (Later in the afternoon, sheep and lambs in the adjoining paddock were fed and it was fun watching their antics diving into the food trough)!