FINALLY WE LEAVE
We drove out of our driveway on 27 September 2012. Our plan was ‘there was no plan’, other than to follow the seasons. Seeing it was now towards the end of Spring we decided to go clockwise initially and head south for the summer.
Our first stop however was only 5km from home. The local tip, which happens to have a weigh bridge. I thought it might be a good idea to check and see how much my wife managed to sneak on without me knowing. The gate operator looked at us in astonishment, as this big bus stopped on his weigh bridge. I asked him if there was anywhere I could do a U-Turn. While he looked at me as if I was an idiot, I was able to sneak a look at the scales. Our maximum GVM was 13.5 tonne, the scales read 11 tonne exactly. Heavier than I would have liked, but I was happy with that. We waved goodbye to old mate, made our U-Turn and headed off. We then made a simple rule, for everything that comes on, something has to go off in its place. What do you think the chances of sticking to that will be?
Our first night camping.
Although we decided to head south to begin with, our first camp spot was actually in a northerly direction. We decided we weren’t quite ready to brave it alone just yet, instead deciding to spend a few days camping with friends, not too far away from home, firstly for moral support, and secondly, just in case something should go wrong, after all, we built this thing ourselves.
We picked a private camp ground called Cobb & Co about 10km south of Gympie as our first destination. Our friends were already there by the time we got there so we got to make a grand and late entrance. They had set up a great camp site with a huge communal tarp. However our awning came in hand especially with our outdoor lighting.
It was not long before the camp fire was lit, the guitar came out and the kids were entertained. Dinner was being prepared by the head chef, and once that was done, six very excited kids were put to bed so the adults could sit in front of the fire and solve the problems of the world.
It was weird waking the next morning and realising we were in a new location. Jade was first up, eager to go out and play with her friends. It was then a leisurely breakfast before a walk down to the Billabong for a swim and play. This was all so new to us, and so far so good. Honky survived the first drive fully loaded, got us through dinner, our first shower, and our first night of contented sleep on the road. With all that done we could now settle into camping. We decided to try out the inflatable boat, which sounded like a good idea at the time. We found out they actually work better with air in them, but it was all fun, until we saw a water snake, way too close to the kids. It saw them too and started to follow, which soon put an end to water activities. We spent the next few days just lazing around and enjoying some of the local attractions.
More friends came to visit and and by the time everyone was there we had enough kids for a soccer team. They all had a ball playing in the billabong, especially Jade and Hannah who came out looking like Mud creatures.
They ended up being the main attraction as they walked through the camp site, with people stopping them to take photos.
Towards the end of the weekend it was to be Jades 6th birthday. Her first birthday on the road. She was over the moon and opened her presents before heading straight out to play with her friends.
We weren’t to see her for the rest of the morning. As kids do, they finally all turned up again when it was time to eat. A quick feed and a birthday cake later, they were off again. The outdoor life agreed with them all, we were just starting to relax and really enjoy this camping life, but then, it all came to a screaming holt with a shrill scream in the distance. The kids were about 50 metres away playing on some old cable reels. These things weigh a tonne, so when Jade managed to fall off one, then have it roll over her hand, it sort of hurt. She usually has a high pain tolerance, and put on a brave face, holding back tears. We thought she might be OK, until we saw her finger.
It had been crushed, it was black and swollen to about twice its size. Ice packs came out, but in the end it was off to the Hospital just to make sure it was not broken. So the poor birthday girl had to leave her own party. At least she was well looked after at the hospital, and after X-Rays it was confirmed her finger was just very badly bruised, mainly due to the grass under the reel instead of concrete. A couple of hours later we were back home with strapped fingers and it was off for an early night. A birthday she will not forget in too much of a hurry.
The following morning it was time to leave. We survived our first camping trial, everything was packed into the correct place, and it was a final farewell to our friends and the Sunshine Coast.
Where to next???[sc:Honky ]