The Snail Trail

Travelling with my home on my back and in no hurry to get anywhere


Leave a comment

Tassie Solos Rally 2017

This rally is the main reason I have been so slack doing my blog since ….  forever! (October last year, actually). I was the Rally Manager and all my energies and efforts were channeled towards creating a fantastic experience for our CMCA Solos Network members when we met in Campbell Town, Tasmania from 28th February to 6th March this year.

For those of you who follow my blog I’d like to explain that our Solos group are motorhomers that travel by themselves – it is not a singles club in that most of us are quite happy travelling solo and not looking for a partner. It provides a safe group of travellers that we can link up with as we journey around our beautiful country.

IMG_7341CT Rally 2017 web

Thanks to George Gatenby, Show Society member, who took this photo with his drone

It was a wonderful experience for me and I loved every minute of the planning, preparation, putting together a week long program and then seeing it come to fruition with the help of my Rally Team, some of the local residents and businesses and of course my sister, Marion who lives nearby.

We had 205 motorhomes of all shapes and sizes in attendance and about 225 people (some couples joined us as they’d heard how much fun we have at our rallies!)

The Campbell Town Showground was a great venue with big buildings and plenty of room for us all to park. It was ‘rustic’ – our main building was a 75 metre long sheep pavilion – and the smell of the sheep never really left it even with all the doors open. Here’s how I first saw it when I arrived in Tasmania in June 2016 and the Campbell Town Show was on.

Not long before our rally started the Show Society held a working bee, so this is what the pavilion looked like without the sheep!

And then we filled it up with happy Solos ready to party!

IMG_7346CT Rally 2017 web

The theme of the rally was Life is Magic so we had witches and wizards, fairies and fortune tellers dressed up for our night of Magic and Mystery.

A spit roast dinner was provided and the night kicked off with our very own witches dance that our members had learned and practised with our member/instructor Karin Kirk.

This was just one of the many things on our program. Here’s an overview of what we got up to during the week…. Programxls – At a Glance

One afternoon we had an Op Shop Fashion Parade where members unwanted clothes plus those from the local Op Shop were ‘modelled’ by some of our group. What a funny day! So much laughter even the townspeople were talking about it!

Our Skit Night showcased our talented members – or those who thought they were talented – and it was another night of laughter and friendship. Here’s our Line Dancers and our First Timers performing.

Before the main crowd arrived on the Monday we had a special dinner to thank our Volunteers and welcome our First Timers. You can’t keep a Solo seated for long when there’s dance music playing.

The local Solos Chapter, The Tassie Shearwaters, organised a great Fun Day for us.  Some of the activities were quite challenging but I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

 

Info Elaine

 

There’s a huge age range among our members and 2 of them celebrated their 80th birthdays at Campbell Town – Nev, our chief bus driver and Miss Information (or was that misinformation?), Elaine. We even found a special booth for her.

 

The local towns people were delighted with the boost to their businesses while we were in Campbell Town. Our mini bus ferried us back and forth daily to the supermarket and coffee shops and we totalled up our shopper dockets at the end of the rally and we had spent over $65,000 in town during the rally. This is a huge amount for the economy of a small town of only 700 people.

 

You can see it was full on and wouldn’t have been at all possible without our hard working volunteers and everyone who came along to have a good time. You made it happen!

Acknowledgements: Thank you to the many members who posted some of these photos on our Facebook page and I have ‘borrowed’ them to illustrate this blog. Contributors include Rosanna Grifone, Jenny McLelland, Fay Byrnes and Shannon Lightfoot.

 

Advertisements


3 Comments

The Pontville Party

The theme was pink and purple 

In the Pontville Party tent

And we dressed for the occasion,

Looking good was our intent.

We decorated tables

In purple and in pink

And played with colouring our hair

Asking friends “What do you think?”

And when we turned up for the “do”

We had our nibbles on our plates,

And we also had a drink or two

To share with all our mates. 

The Baker Boys performed for us

And they played long and loud.

The dancers surged to the dance floor,

It was a happy party crowd.

I finally made my way back home

My wine bottle the worse for wear,

I danced my way through the pristine grass

I didn’t have a care!

That all changed when I reached my van

And bent to fix my solar light –

I forgot to stop when I leant down

And a dramatic face plant ended my night. 

I hope no one saw me-

It was not a pretty sight –

My pride was hurt more than my head

And all because of that stupid light!

To continue the colour theme of the night

My eye is turning purple, not pink

And like Pete and Trish, Rally Managers

I’m swearing off the drink!
Rosemary Robinson 

March 2017

Forbes New South Wales


1 Comment

Fun at the Forbes Solos Rally

You’re probably thinking it’s taken me a long time to recover from our Forbes Solos Rally as it happened nearly 6 weeks ago, but truth is I have been enjoying my travels with some of the Solos since leaving there and blogging wasn’t on my mind. However, I’m now feeling guilty that I haven’t kept up to date so once again I’m playing catch up…..

Here’s where Forbes sits in the big Australian picture. And where it is in relation to more local landmarks.

My last blog told of how hot the weather was and it certainly didn’t cool off for the first week or so in Forbes. The temperatures were consistently up in the mid-30 degrees Celsius which made for very hot days and uncomfortably warm nights. I was lucky to get a shady parking spot at the Rally Site which I was most grateful for.

Rally site

This was the biggest Solos Rally I had ever been to, and I think it is the biggest ever held. There were around 320 motorhomes including 72 First Timers. When we left Forbes and our shopping dockets had been added up, we had spent nearly $100,000 in town – a massive boost to the economy of this country town.

This quick slide show is of a town tour we did that included an ‘art park’, some of the old buildings in town, our visit to the biscuit factory and then out to a local business, woolerina. ….

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Most of the activties  though were back at the rally site, where Dave Applegate, the Rally Manager, and his intrepid team made sure we were on the go both day and night.

Our traditional Pet Parade saw pet owners vying for prizes in lots of different categories, although I thought Phil’s cat needed a special mention for Bravery.

 

Great performances at out concert with demonstrations from our dancing groups as well

The Poet’s Breakfast saw a program of talented Solos both writing and reciting their poetry. We also had a local gent perform a poem on horseback..

Market Day was well attended and our two crazy solos, Hilly and Ros, stirred up the crowd with their antics

And of course, our Dinner Dance ….. the theme at this rally was to dress as something starting with “F”……. look what we all came up with …..

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Forbes used to be known as a quiet country town famous as the final resting place of the notorious bushranger, Ben Hall.  I think the 330 odd Solos that were welcomed to Forbes in March 2017 have left an indelible mark on this friendly town and they will be talking about us for a while to come….. perhaps not as long as Ben Hall but in a much more positive way!

Blues at the Cidery, Bridgetown, Western Australia


Leave a comment

No Time to Feel Blue at Bridgetown

Thanks to Graham and Donna that I house sat for last year I was able to plan for the Bridgetown Blues Festival this year. Graham sends me information about events in WA that I might be interested in and the planets aligned this year to put me in the right area at the right time to enjoy this amazing weekend. And I was lucky enough to share it with some Solo friends…

Map of Bridgetown

There were a few of us exploring this beautiful part of Western Australia after leaving the CMCA Rally in Albany so I was joined at Bridgetown by Jolanta, Maggie, Shannon and Kerry – much more fun when you can share these wonderful experiences. And Bridgetown itself is a very pretty town and well worth a visit.

I’d only just arrived at the camping area at the showgrounds ($45 for 3 nights, showers and toilets provided) when I got a message from Janet, who was the caretaker at Salmon Gums when I stopped there earlier this year She saw me drive through Bridgetown and was keen to catch up. Well, that was easy, as it turned out I had camped right next to her! If you don’t remember Janet from my blogs I’m sure you’ll remember her dog, wee Jock, who was the subject of Max the Mad Rooter’s attention!

You could buy a ticket for all the events for the very reasonable price of around $180 but knowing I had some expenses coming up to keep Brutus on the road I opted to enjoy whatever was available for free in the street and pub venues over the weekend. There were plenty of venues and plenty of music to keep me busy! ( Should that be were or was?)

Blues map

The campground was friendly and the commuter bus that ran continually for only $2 a ride ferried us back and forth to town, as it was a bit of a hilly hike from the main street to the showgrounds. So we’d wander in for a few hours, come back to the camp for some rest and recovery, then hit the venues again for the evening sessions.

The following photos were taken on Friday night at the Freo (Freemason’s Hotel).  The first act, Jodie Boni, had a powerful voice and I enjoyed her music as one of the best of the weekend. And it was lovely to see her relaxing at the Cidery on Sunday with her friends and family – very natural.

Saturday was stinking hot so the air-conditioned pubs were the places to be. Steve who was camped opposite me kept me company for the first couple of hours until he went off to the paid venues to see Russell Morris and Diesel while I was happy to enjoy the cool outdoors – and even cooler music – at the Bridgetown Hotel. Mind you, I did cop a bit of flack from the other girls for ‘picking up’ a good looking fella! Later that night it started to rain so I headed home before I turned into a pumpkin and conserved my energy for another full on day on Sunday.

There was still a lot happening in town but we decided to head out to The Cidery for a casual lunch and some more great music – a perfect day. There were 2 different entertainers today but my favourite was definitely Andrew Winton. Loved his music and his friendly chat. We sat at a table right in front of the stage so got to enjoy it all up close and personal.

We didn’t have tickets for the wrap party so made our way back to camp, everyone heading in different directions when we left on Monday morning. What a fantastic weekend – good music, good friends and a great atmosphere.

 


1 Comment

Rain, Rain, Go Away….

This was a familiar refrain at the CMCA, (Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia), rally in Albany a couple of weeks ago! Despite the wet weather over 600 motorhomes and their occupants were there to enjoy themselves – and we did!  Here’s a photo of the Rally  Site posted to the CMCA Facebook page by a local photographer, Brad Harkup.

Albany aerial photo Brad Harkup

I had never been to a major rally before and thought Albany would be a good one to attend. I expected it to be smaller than those held on the east coast of Australia due to the travelling distance to the West and that proved to be true. But the organisers didn’t skimp on activities and there was plenty to do every day – if you had a rain coat or umbrella 🙂

As I was a ‘First Timer’ I entered the Rally on Friday, two days before most of the other attendees arrived. This gave us ‘newbies’ time to get to know the rally site, find out where things were, decide on what activities I wanted to participate in and set up camp.

The following day most of the Solos entered the site and on the Sunday the program started with a Trivia Night in the big white tent you can see on the oval in the photo above. That’s all I really want to say about that – We did not perform well!!

One of the activities I most enjoyed was a bus trip to see a couple of the aboriginal sites around  Albany. First we went to the Fish Traps which have existed for over 6000 years.

The National Trust has managed the Oyster Harbour Fish Traps since 1966 after they were threatened by development. It is thought the traps were once part of a Noongar camp site where people had gathered for at least 7,500 years.

The fish traps are designed in the shape of a crescent and only visible at low tide. They were first recorded by English explorer Captain George Vancouver in 1791. They consist of eight weirs made from thousands of stones. The traps caught huge numbers of fish as the Kalgan River rose and fell.

Our next stop was at Yorrl Park where long necked turtles are re-stablishing themselves and breeding in the nearby sand hills. It was interesting to note that the local schools were involved in the design of the interpretive signs, as they were for the fish trap signs above.

IMG_5584Community gardenWe finished out trip at The Old Strawberry Farm, the oldest farm in Western Australia. We didn’t have time to view the old home but harvested some lovely fresh herbs and vegetables from the community garden to take away with us. I thought it was rather special that the beautiful red poppies were flowering so close to Remembrance Day, 11th November.

I also decided to do some craft activities, much to the horror of the instructors after they had seen how hopelessly ‘uncrafty’ I am. My first attempt was at making a card – well I blew that and ended up with a very tatty looking dolphin.  I was given another one and all went well until I stuck it on the card and pressed hard to make it stick. All of a sudden my beautiful white dolphin had dirty fingermarks all over it! Here endeth my card making lesson!

I did make a bracelet using a weaving method called Kumihimo even though it was a very individual pattern – not good at following instructions! And I also made a Christmas decoration using folded ribbons which looked fantastic until I turned it up the right way and all the ribbons escaped my pins! Oh well, perhaps I’ll stick to poetry!

Every morning there was a Poet’s Breakfast and I was dedicated enough to front up each day at 7am to wait my turn to share a poem or two. Success at something at last!

Saturday night at the Rally was a ‘Ball’. A great band played, lots of people dressed to the theme of ‘ a touch of military’ and generally we had a ball!

Monday morning it was time to say goodbye to the Rally and Albany. I’m glad I’ve experienced a ‘big’ rally. I probably won’t rush to another one – perhaps Tassie in 2017 – but I’ve learned never to say never….

It’s time to have a break for a few days before I head to the Bridgetown Blues Festival. I’m certainly looking forward to that!

 

 

 

 

Big Merino Wagin WA


Leave a comment

We’ve Been Ragin’ in Wagin

Big Merino Wagin WA
This poem is a variation of the poem I wrote to promote our Solo Travellers Rally in Wagin this year. It was presented on the last night to close the rally and promote our next rally in Forbes, NSW in March 2016.

 

We’ve been ragin’ in Wagin
The Solos Rally in the west
Where Glenyce and her rally team
Have really done their best.

We’ve had the chance to learn some dancing
Or perhaps learned how to blog
Or you might have been quite happy
Walking Wagin with your dog

The morning teas have been superb,
Local ladies made the cakes,
And Glenyce and her rally team
Have coped with all the flakes!

I’m sure we’ve all enjoyed ourselves
There’s been lots to see and do
And we’ve caught up with our solo friends
Some known, and then some new.

Our journey to this rally
Has brought us from far and wide,
We’ve travelled here from everywhere
Across the countryside.

We arrived here to enjoy ourselves
And catch up with our friends
And the rally team made sure we could
So it’s sad when a rally ends.

Some of us are roving
Down to Albany for more,
And I’m looking forward to finding out
What the ‘grown ups’ have in store.

The next time when we all catch up
At Forbes, next March or so
A new rally team will have worked just as hard
To put on a fabulous show.

So write it in your calendar,
Enjoy your journey on the way,
Take good memories here from Wagin
Look out Forbes, we’re there to play!

Rosemary Robinson October 2015

Quinninup Eco Park WA


4 Comments

Taking The Long Way Around – Wagin to Albany.

Map Wagin to Albany WANineteen happy Solos left Wagin for our destination in Albany and the CMCA Rally. I had arranged a Roving Rally for us to experience some of the amazing countryside through the Southern Forest area of Western Australia. It was designed as a flexible rally so that participants could choose activities that interested them along the way and we met at each days destination for Happy Hour.

In preparation I had prepared a ‘show bag’ of information about the different places we were going to, and I had, in fact, done a ‘dry run’ to make sure all our planned destinations would be suitable for us. Having a campervan as small as Brutus I tend to forget that some of those big Winnebago’s and other rigs need more room than me!

Harvey Dickson's, Boyup Brook, WAOn our first night we gathered at Harvey Dickson’s Country Music Centre at Boyup Brook. Harvey, his wife Rose, and offsider Ken joined us for Happy Hour around the camp fire. Harvey stayed on when the others left and our main aim then became stopping him from falling into the campfire every time he stood up! He was definitely wearing his wobbly boots! Several of us booked the tour of his centre the next day. Wow! Words can’t describe his incredible collection of memorabilia that was scattered around the grounds and filled his entertainment venues. I’ll let the pictures tell the story!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Camping fees at Harvey Dickson’s were $5per person per night and his tour was $10per person, and well worth every cent.

We left mid morning to travel to Bridgetown, most of us hanging out for a good coffee. When we arrived the water was cut off in the main street and all the coffee shops could offer were cold drinks – NO coffee – oh no! We wandered the street lined by cherry blossom trees and all agreed Bridgetown was worth another visit – perhaps at the Blues in Bridgetown Festival in mid-November. Some of the group travelled to our next destination via Greenbushes while others chose the more direct route. The drive from Greenbushes to Maranup  wound around the hills and had the prettiest scenery – and what a photo opportunity as I approached our destination!

Maranup Ford Farm Stay was our next stopover and what a difference from last night. A lovely green, peaceful setting with beautiful gardens, lots of birds,( particularly bright blue wrens) and great amenities. We all made use of the barbeque in the camp kitchen to cook our dinner and then once again gathered around the campfire that Laurie Baxter kept going to share our journey that day.

On Wednesday we journeyed to Quinninup via Pemberton to experience the Pemberton Tramway journey through the Karri forest.

We were met at Quinninup by the resident kangaroos and emus just in time to set up for happy hour.

As the camp kitchen had a pizza oven Sue Seaward and Kaye Page cooked up the pizzas we’d bought which wiped out the need for most of us to cook dinner! There is a small gnome village at the entry to the Quinnninup Eco Tourist Park and everyone contributed to the purchase of a gnome, the Solo Traveller, that we all signed then placed in the village as we left.

Quinninup Eco Park WA

Solo Traveller – but not a grey gnome-ad!

Our last destination was a free camp arranged by local Shire Councillor, Dave Tapley, behind the Walpole Hotel. As seven First Timers (to a CMCA Rally) were leaving the group to enter the Albany Rally the next day we decided to have a group dinner that night to support the pub on it’s initiative to offer an alternative camping venue in Walpole. It was time to say goodbye to our happy band as I made my way to Albany on Friday morning as one of the Newbies!.

Walpole Hotel WA

Free camping behind the pub at Walpole

What a great way to get to know fellow Solos, sharing this special journey and enjoying each others company along the way.