WE LEAVE THE COAST.
After leaving Brooms Head we continued south along the coast stopping at Grafton, just at the right time of year to see the Jacarandas in full bloom. We had never made it at that time of year before and it was spectacular. It was a sea of purple with some yellow thrown in to mix it up. The kids had a ball playing in amongst the fallen flowers and didn’t want to leave.
Mechanical Problem No.1
We pushed onto Bellingen, then Thora but made that fatal mistake again; No sleep for Henry. A bit of a nightmare trip, it was raining and cold and he just wanted his bed. We made it to the camp site and settled in for the night. The next morning we awoke to what was to be the first sign of mechanical problems with Honky, and unfortunately, not the last. On the trip down, we could see the house batteries were not charging. A visit from the NRMA confirmed the Alternator had packed it in, and so the budget copped an unexpected hit early in the piece. Nothing major, and it was soon fixed while we got to spend the day exploring Bellingen. What a great little town.
We climb the mountain.
We were soon on our way, up the Dorrigo mountain. One hell of a steep bit of windy road that one, I had been anticipating it for quite some time, but felt ready to give it a go. We left Suzi unhitched and off we went. My fears were unfounded, and apart from two hairpins, it was a relatively easy drive up in such a big heavy rig. And, definitely well worth it.
Dorrigo Camp Site
Dorrigo was amazing with spectacular scenery and lots to explore. We stayed at a Low Cost camp just above Dangar Falls, with awesome views of the countryside.
Dangar Falls @ Dorrigo
Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival
We timed our visit well as we were in town just in time for the annual Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival. If you’re thinking along the lines of Tamworth Country Music Festival, then don’t! If you’re thinking Gympie Country Music Muster, don’t! It was its own very unique event. They come out of the mountains here once a year, and today was the day. It was a great day, with story telling for the kids, which sounds like fun, except the story teller failed to show up; so all the parents improvised. There was loads of Folk Music, and workshops scattered throughout the day. We waited around for the Ukulele workshop and when we were satisfied Jade knew how to play Duelling Banjos well enough to get us out of trouble, we headed back to our camp.
Learning to play the Ukulele
Mechanical Problems 2 & #3
Our next stop was Armidale. Probably about 20 mango seasons since I had been there, and I remembered why. Bloody freezing! I forgot how cold this place was, and this was Spring! We also encountered mechanical issue No 2, this time with Suzi!
Tip #152 For anyone towing a vehicle:
Leaving your lights on for such a long trip will flatten the battery.
We stayed with my old partner in crime Greg and his wife on 25 acres just out of town. It was great to see them and relive old times. The kids got to see a new born calf which was a bit of a highlight for them.
We stayed put for a few days, long enough to explore the area, and attempted to fix our smelly poo-pipe. We then made the trip via Uralla to Tamworth and showed the kids the Golden Guitar. How someone could play a guitar that big became our main topic of conversation on the way to Gunnedah.
Things were going well, then Mechanical issue No # 3. We were just about to head off to our camp spot when the air alarm went off. This thing has a piercing noise, and there is no way you can drive with it on. We ended up pulling into the local Show-grounds and stayed the night. Turns out that it was a simple fix as we weren’t loosing air; it was just a faulty switch on the air tank. Something that could be fixed at a later date, so we disconnected the buzzer and off we went. Unfortunately, we could not disconnect the ‘buzzer’ attached to our kids. Although they were better, having them seated so close to each other was still causing a few issues, so half way across to Dubbo we fixed it. Musical chairs. Mummy became Henrys new traveling companion, and Jade got to sit in the big seat, all to herself. Simple and easy, the most peaceful trip we had done so far, oh, except for the poo pipe. Repairs didn’t work, so it was back to putting the lid on. Not to worry, Dubbo Zoo here we come.