The Snail Trail

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


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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


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I Travel in the Slow Lane

I Travel in the Slow Lane

Sept 2013

I travel in the slow lane
To make the most of every day
And notice all the little things
That come to pass my way.

Now Brutus, my old campervan,
Travels at an old boy’s pace
And he’s taught me to appreciate
Life’s not a flat out race.

We take our time and look around
And stop and look and feel
Each place we go we get to know,
They all become more real.

Now I note the changing landscape,
I marvel at the trees,
I hear the varied birdsongs,
I feel the cooling breeze.

I used to travel in the fast lane
Always rushing everywhere,
I went to a lot of places
But saw nothing when I was there.

So now I travel in the slow lane
And life gives me so much more,
And I look at those in the fast lane
And wonder what they’re rushing for.

There are a lot of great experiences
That you’ll miss as you fly by
If you’re rushing in the fast lane
Stop and ask the question, Why?

Come and join me in the slow lane
And get to know life’s simple pleasures,
And discover sights and sounds of life
As you uncover nature’s treasures.

Rosemary Robinson
December 2013


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Hot! Damn hot! And flies! Damn flies – Crossing the Nullabor

I wonder if it’s like what they say about child birth – once it’s over you forget the pain…..

The heat and the flies made my journey across the Nullabor painful. I have been shut up in my little campervan before because of wind and rain and now I can add to that – FLIES! They drove me insane! So looking my glamorous best I bought a fly net and took a ‘selfie’ to share with you. It was impossible to be outside without it – the flies got in your eyes, ears and nose, and mouth if you opened it at the wrong time!
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So here’s my trip across the Nullabor.

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I was so lucky that Grahame & Judy travelled about the same pace as me so even though we hadn’t planned it we spent most nights at the same camping spot. I left Koonibba on March 31 and stopped at Nundroo that night and then the 10km Peg camp just before the WA border. Like everyone else there we were cooking up our vegetables so we didn’t have to declare them at the border.
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I did some of the ‘must see’ things and gladly paid my $7 to use the walkways at the Head of the Bight.

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It was so hot this day that I had rivers of perspiration running down my face – and every other part of my body – and used my air-con for about the 3rd time since I had owned Brutus. About an hour later though there was a cooler change and it made travelling a lot more pleasant.
I also drove out to the Bunda Cliffs – blowing a gale off the sea but at least it blew the flies away!
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This is the view from Madura Pass and is a perfect illustration of the Nullabor being a ‘vast, treeless plain’.
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On April 2, I finally crossed the border into Western Australia and camped the night near Cocklebiddy. Grahame and Judy were going to stay on at the 10km peg camp for another couple of days so we bid a fond farewell. Their company had been so appreciated on this trip.

Here’s a couple more pics of sights along the way.
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I felt like I had finally ‘arrived’ when I got to Norseman on April 3, yet I know there is still a long way to go before I reach Secret Harbour at the end of April – and I want to see as much as I can of the South-East corner of WA while I am here.

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Welcome to Norseman

 


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Destination Deloraine – Silk Art and Smashed Steps

We were off to a rally in Bridport with Auswide – at the invitation of fellow motorhomers, Richard and Janis. It was held at a private property and Mick, the owner, had everything set up for a comfortable weekend. I loved his Happy Hour Shed, and couldn’t help but be impressed with his woodpile!  I know it’s cold in Tasmania, but I’m hoping this stack of wood will see him through a few winters!

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Jose and I stayed 2 nights and then decided to move on to make sure we saw as much of Tasmania as we could in the time we had available. We headed back to Scottsdale, and while Jose did some shopping I found the black water dump point. While there I noticed some public toilets and thought I’d take advantage of them, so I started Brutus up and drove up the hill. As I was leaving I saw this lump of red & white plastic near the dump point – and as I got closer I realised it was MY STEP. I had tried to leave it behind, unintentionally, on sooo many occasions and now I had finally demolished it totally! No longer would fellow campers have to call out “You’ve left your step behind!”  I dragged out a broken, not totally demolished one, that I carried for emergencies and trod very carefully on it until that, too, became unusable. The first Rays Outdoors I came to I upgraded to a ‘grown up’ grey Fiamma step, and now that I have it I don’t know why I didn’t get one of those in the first place!

We had planned to stay at Myrtle Park on the way to Launceston but although it looked like a great spot to camp it was jammed pack with a rally group and heaps of children, being school holidays. So we motored on, through Launceston and up the western side of the Tamar River to a free camp called Paper Beach.

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When we left the next day we treated ourselves to a visit to the Ninth Island Winery, had a few tastings, admired the view, and yes, came away with some lovely wine. One of my favourites is the Ninth Island Pinot Noir which my friend Carol had introduced me to many years ago, so what better place to buy it than at the Cellar Door.

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The view from their function centre was beautiful.

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And I loved this poster on their wall!

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This is the route we took from Bridport to Deloraine.

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I know, you’re looking at the map and wondering why we went such a round about way. Well, Jose decided to lead the way when we left Paper Beach and for some reason, known only to her, she turned east when we got to Launceston instead of west – and she kept saying she didn’t need a GPS!  When she realised we were heading in the wrong direction she used the excuse that she’d never been to Evandale, so off we went. Instead of turning back to the highway we drove through Evandale – and kept driving. ( My fault – I looked at the map and thought the road came back on to the highway pretty quick). About 90kms of dirt road later, and having skirted around the base of Ben Lomond, we came out south east of Evandale and pointed towards Launceston again. Finally we are going in the right direction.

Destination Deloraine! Finally we arrive! We stayed at the free Deloraine East Overnight Park, glad to stop driving, have a drink and unwind. The next day we set off to the Information Centre and I was absolutely blown away by their Art in Silk Display. It’s a must see if you are in the area! Here’s a few photos I took of the massive silk panels, but if your’e interested in this sort of thing click on the link above, which gives you the story of the fantastic community cooperation over  many hundreds of hours, to put create this. Jose took my photo in front of one of the panels to give you an idea of the size of them. There were 4 panels representing the four seasons.

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We were definitely having an ‘arty’ day because as we wandered down the street we came across an artist’s co-op called Deloraine Creative Studios, strolled in, and met one of the artists, Steve Howells. He has some striking street scenes of Deloraine on display, vibrantly coloured, and done in water colours. If you’d like to see some his work his website is just a click away, Steve Howells.

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You’ve probably guessed by now I loved Deloraine!

Ooops! Correction needed!
Before I begin on the next stage of my journey I need to get my Tassie towns in the correct order! In my blog The Trail of the Tin Dragon, our stop at Weldborough was before we got to Derby, not after, and the miners blockade to stop the Chinese miners occurred at Branxholm, not Weldborough as I said. Ooops, should write these blogs with a map in front of me. Or perhaps if I wrote them as I went, rather than on reflection, my short term memory would be closer to reality!


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Destination Orange – friends, fun and wine festival

From a rally in Bingara to a wine festival in Orange – how good is this life. A trip of about 550 kms took me to my next destination, which was broken with a stay at Coolah Home Base.

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After the Bingara Rally, fellow Solo June and I went back for a quiet couple of days on the Gwydir River before heading south to meet my sister Marion at a farm at Cudal, about 50kms from Orange. We stopped for a couple of nights at Coolah Home Base, a great place owned by a couple of ex Solos, so they have a great camp kitchen and Happy Hour room. It was good to catch up with the washing, too. Some of the other Solos had also gone to Coolah before heading off to the Narrabri Rally – or in whatever direction they were going. The morning we were leaving I was chatting to Pauline who decided to join June and I and spend some time in Orange too. So our 3 vans set off!

IMG_0691We travelled through some pretty country but I couldn’t resist stopping to take a photo of The Rock which we passed not long after leaving Coolah.

I was looking forward to seeing my sister Marion. The last time we were together was December 2012 and she had planned this trip for some time. She had bought a tent and was going to join me camping at her friend’s farm. Anyhow, my blogs got the better of her and 3 days before leaving Tasmania she bought herself a campervan and left the tent at home! This was going to be a lot more fun!

Marion’s friend Brian welcomed us to the farm at Cudal and it soon resembled a camping ground with Marion, Pauline, June and I setting up camp. We had arrived on the Saturday, spent the day settling in, and on the Sunday Brian did the tourist thing and took us to our first event for the Orange Wine Festival – a fabulous choral afternoon at one of the wineries. The Orange Male Choir performed with a female group called Canta, who also provided the most amazing afternoon tea of home cooked goodies – a perfect afternoon of good music, food and friends.

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After the concert Brian took us for a drive to Mt Conobolas.

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June, Pauline and I

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Marion and I

Another day he took us for a drive over the farm – beautiful countryside.

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Apart from Marion and I going to a few local wineries for tastings the other major event we went to was the Night Markets in Orange on Friday night. There were 40 sIMG_0710talls of lovely wine and food and the markets were held in a central park with beautiful old trees. The atmosphere was great – lots of families and everyone there to enjoy themselves, just like we were. We sampled some local food and wines before heading back to the farm at Cudal, where our stay was coming to an end. I have to show you this photo of an amazing rooster that we saw the day we went to an Iris farm near Molong.

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Monday morning we said our farewells and headed south…… but more about that later.


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Beautiful Bingara – on the banks of the Gwydir River

After a month on the Gold Coast I finally I headed off (minus my gall bladder) on 28 September to attend a Solos Rally in Bingara, New South Wales, that started on 7 October.

Gold Coast to BingaraIt was only about 600kms away so I knew I would have time to explore some of the local area when I got there. Well, that was what I planned to do! When I arrived in Bingara I found this wonderful campsite on the Gwydir River about 7kms out of town and it was soooo relaxing I didn’t want to go anywhere else. As you can see I had a great spot right on the banks of the river.

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Camping on the Gwydir River, Bingara

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Gwydir River, Bingara

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Visiting wildlife – ducks and water hens

As I had volunteered to help with the Merchandising Stall I entered the Rally early to do a stock take so I was lucky to get a great location only a short walk to the showers, halls, and, most importantly, Happy Hour venues.

The Rally started on the Monday and about 290 campervans and motorhomes descended on the little town of Bingara. The program was full on! There were bus trips organised nearly every day to local points of interest, and of course there were Line Dancing, Rock n Roll, Country Dancing and Belly Dancing lessons every day too.

A cocktail party was held one evening at the most amazing Art Deco theatre called the Roxy. It has been restored in the last few years and they also showed a short film about the history, restoration and re-launch of this beautiful building. I hope these photos do justice to the amazing detail on the walls.

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From  man-made to natural wonders, one of my other outings was to a place called Sawn Rocks. These rocks were formed when Mt Kaputar was a volcano and after it erupted the lava cooled slowly and created pentagonal shapes.

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On the walk in to the rocks from the car park there were also some different plants that I hadn’t seen before.

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Hop Bush

Hop Bush

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Pink Stars

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Cough Bush

Back at the Rally site there were still a lot of activities happening. There was a Pet Show organised for the Sunday afternoon and more than 50 pets were on display, mostly dogs but also a couple of cats. A lot of Solos travel with dogs, mostly for company but they are also an added protection for people travelling alone.

IMG_0688 IMG_0689The ‘horse’ races and Fashions on the Field were also held on Sunday afternoon.

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At the Starting Post

Sunday night was Concert Night. There were some fantastic items prepared by different groups at the rally and an opportunity for the dancers to show off what they had learned during the week. I had written the words for a song about Solo Travelling that the choir sang and the audience joined in as I had put the words on a Power Point Presentation. It is sung to the tune of My Favourite Things from The Sound of Music.

Solo Travelling

(sung to the tune of My Favourite Things)

Fresh water, hot showers, connecting to power
Making new friends, and of course Happy Hour
Sitting round campfires when everyone sings
These are a few of my favourite things.

Staying a few weeks instead of a day
Meeting new travellers who are going your way
Sharing a camp oven meal fit for kings
These are a few of my favourite things.

Sunrises, sunsets, night skies filled with stars
Driving for hours and seeing no cars
Living a lifestyle on freedom’s strong wings
These are a few of my favourite things.

Chorus 1

When it’s raining, when it’s muddy
When the roads are bad
I simply remember my favourite things
And then I don’t feel so sad.

Gravel pits, campgrounds and staying odd places
Where you meet new folks, catch up with old faces
Sharing a drink or a meal at a site
It’s always the start of another great night.

Clean public toilets, good dump points and power
Access to Telstra – did I mention a shower!
Good info centres and country pub bars
Camping out solo beneath the bright stars.

Other grey nomads enjoying their travel
Contacting friends while at home they unravel
Enjoying life’s pleasures, simple as they can be
This nomadic lifestyle is all right by me.

Chorus 2

Solo travelling, sometimes lonely
Wondering what it’s for
I simply pull into the next roadside stop
And then I’m alone no more


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Pentland, Power and a shower…Luxury!

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As you can see I didn’t travel far when I left Fletcher’s Creek – a mere 100kms down the road! Amazing who you meet when you are emptying your loo at the local dump point – none other than fellow Solo, Tony, with his van Lost in the Woods. We had time for a quick coffee and catch up before he headed off to the Laundromat and I headed off to Pentland. It’s been 7 days since I stayed in the caravan park at Anakie and the thought of a real shower is sooo appealing.

The caravan park was pretty basic, but so were the fees so I wasn’t complaining. The showers and toilets were clean, the washing machines worked, and the little shop at reception made the best sausage sanga I have ever eaten. I needed to wash just about everything so resorted to the sarong until my clothes dried, which was just in time to go to Happy Hour which I’d been invited to at a van nearby.

With everything plugged in and powering up I was certainly getting my money’s worth from my camp site. I wanted an early start to go to Hughenden the next day.

Well, that was wishful thinking. I was late leaving and got sidetracked at White Mountains National Park lookout which was on the Flinders Highway. Starkly beautiful rock formations and a view forever.

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I finally arrived in Hughenden early afternoon – just in time for a late lunch at the FJ Holden cafe (owned by Frank & Jan Holden).

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What a fascinating place, crammed with not just Holden memorabilia but Elvis stuff as well.

I didn’t spend enough time in Hughenden and it was only later that day when I was reading my tourist brochure about the place I realised what I’d missed. This place definitely deserves another visit.

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Main Street of Hughenden

At the end of Brodie Street, the main street for shops, is the Federation Rotunda – look closely and you’ll see that it incorporates two 20-foot windmills, which certainly makes a statement to the streetscape.

Look in the other direction and your view is dominated by another huge windmill.

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But it’s not windmills that Hughenden is famous for. Millions of years ago Hughenden was part of a giant inland sea that went from the Gulf of Carpentaria to South Australia, before Australia was the shape we know it now.

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As the sea receded it left behind a legacy of pre-historic marine animals, which I had a closer look at when I got to Richmond, so more about that later.

My camp tonight is at Marathon Roadside Stop. There were already a few vans there when I arrived so I settled in for a quiet night ….. well ….. except for the road trains. This is a small one – there is usually a 3rd trailer on it and sometimes even a 4th.

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Tomorrow is another day, but tonight is another magic sunset.

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