Finally on our way after a few ordinary months and a busy couple of weeks. Friday saw as in Melbourne to see "we will rock you" at the Regent. Dash home early Sat morning pick up the van and we are off heading for Narrandera and points north.
We had a pretty good trip with Wendy following on her first major trip with the JPod.
As it turned out we met up with Gaz and Chaz at Finely for a bit of lunch.
The bakery has new owners and they were great and the food was pretty good,
including the snot blocks (vanilla slices)
Next stop was our Narrandera for the night. The caravan park was small but the owners were
great and accommodated us. A number of the sites had been closed due to the rain and
the wet conditions. The number of vans on the road is incredible and has surprised us a bit.
Sunday morning saw us leave Narrandera and head up the Newell Hwy for Dubbo.
The road conditions varied but its fair to say the rain has caused a bit of havoc.
Many of the dams, rivers and paddocks were under water or over their banks. The road
conditions had deteriorated with lots of areas down to one lane on the highway. We had
heard the highway between Narrandera and Parks had been closed with a 40km detour.
It seems luck was with us and the road was open albeit at reduced speeds.
We had intended to stay 2 nights in Dubbo, however, with the wet conditions and inclement weather we decided to continue on.
Next day we departed early as this was to be one of our longer days heading for Goondiwindi.
Wendy has been doing pretty well towing the pod for the first time on these longer trips and
seems to be settling in pretty well. Again road conditions weren't the best but I am very
happy with the van and its capabilities. It is travelling pretty nicely and is handling the rough
stuff well. Overnight Goondiwindi and a short hop to Kingaroy - or it should have been but
the roads went backwards a bit and was a winding narrow road for some of it so we slowed a
bit. Still made Kingaroy by mid afternoon. In the main, although a bit slower, it wasn't a bad trip
and getting in just after lunch allowed us to have a bit of look around. The weather again was
a bit “iffy” but we soldiered on regardless. Couple of highlights were the nut van and the biscuit
factory. The Peanut Van originally began its life under the name "Murrumba Star" in the late
1960s. It was a simple van outlet for a firm called Kingaroy Toasted Peanuts
(which no longer exists) and it operated on weekends at a Kingaroy service station.
A few months after it started operating, the van was shifted next to Lions Park at the main
entrance to Kingaroy (the site it's occupied ever since).
And when a decision was taken to extend it to a 5-day-a-week operation soon after that,
the founder Ruth Davis was hired on a 20% sales commission to staff it. She began working
in the van on the 28th December 1969.
The biscuit place has been going since around the early 1990's and was set up by the
Endeavour Foundation ( http://www.endeavour.com.au/) and is mainly staffed by intellectually
handicapped and was such a refreshing place. We were fortunate to have a personally
guided tour by one of the workers and to see the smiles, joy and enthusiasm of the people
involved who clearly enjoyed being involved. Funny note: they have an xray/metal detector
which all the product goes through and our guide was trying to get us to guess what it was.
Her explanation something something that men don't wear. Di “ a bra” wrong answer jewellery
apparently was the right answer but our guide cracked up.
With Kingaroy in the mirrors we headed off on a short hop to Hervey Bay, our base for
the next couple of days. It is our first chance to really have a break and relax for a couple
of days and we have nothing really planned other than just “chillin” before we head over to
Fraser Island for 3 nights. We have finally found somewhere new for Shaz as she has
never been there. We did however have a wonderful evening with Shaz's Sister Anne, brother
Craig and Anne's hubby Phil. An enormous seafood spread cooked by Craig which everyone
thoroughly enjoyed even me as Craig prepared and Gary cooked fillet mignon for me.