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PopPop & Grandma's Travels

RIP Beau the Wonder Dog

Central West Wanderings 2013

In early October 2013 we plan to travel to McNamara Park in Broke, CAW 7 #210, for the October Long weekend and spend this break with our good friends, Bill & Ros, also Phil & Ann, maybe some of their friends too and possibly Doug Smith (maybe Ed & Ros will be back from the west by then and can be here with us as well. We are keeping our fingers crossed)

After the weekend we then plan to travel to Mendooran CAW 7 #411 and spend a few nights there and then to Binnaway CAW 7 #407 for a few nights. Then on to Premer Lions Park CAW 7 #361 for a couple of nights, then across to Wallabadah CAW 7 #183 for an overnighter and then head back home.

These are only preliminary plans and can change as we get to each spot, as we may stay at one place longer or shorter than we have planned at this time.

We plan to be gone for 2 weeks and will just have an easy and relaxing trip.

This is the link to the itinerary on Google Maps.

Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog

This is the proposed itinerary of our trip for 2 weeks

McNamara Park, Broke NSW

We left home around 11.30pm and travelled to Broke via the M1 to the roundabout at the end of the M1 at John Renshaw Drive and then up John Renshaw Drive to Kurri, Cessnock, Pokolbin and then Broke arriving at the park around 12.45pm.

Found a great camp spot that would fit us all in on the weekend so we pulled up nearby and settled in.

Tried the TV out and had no TV reception whatsoever there and I left my satellite dish at home this trip, thinking we wouldn’t need it as we should have TV reception at Broke. How wrong I was. Oh well so much for being able to watch the Grand Final on Sunday night, but our radios can pick up the local stations so we will have to listen to it on the radio.

Just sat back and relaxed for 2 days and then on Friday morning we moved to an open clearing across the track in an area that would accommodate all of us easily and set up camp and then parked the car to reserve the spots for the others.

Around 3.30pm Bill & Ros arrived and set their camp up and not long later Phil and Ann also arrived and set up their camp.

We had a great time just chatting and catching up with one another that evening and had a reasonably early night to bed.

Sat & Sun 5th & 6th October, 2013 - McNamara Park, Broke

We all just sat around chatting in the morning and Doug Smith arrived and began to setup camp. We headed off into Cessnock to go to Aldi to get some of their specials they had advertised for that particular day, as well as take our cassette with us and use the dump point at the showgrounds.

Headed off via Pokolbin and Oakey Creek Road and went past Doug & Dianne Matthews old place , where Marie & I were married, and to the showgrounds where we finally found the dump point. What a comedy of errors followed next.

The dump point is a standard one as supplied by the CMCA however someone had secured a fine plastic grate in the hole and anything that wasn’t liquid didn't go down the hole at all. So you had to stand there and hose it in, however the hose for the dump point ran inside the laundry and was connected to a washing machine which was running. So here we are with a dump point full of poop etc and no hose to water it in with. I had to disconnect the hose from the washing machine and then stood at the dump point for the next 15 mins chasing logs around trying to get them to wash down the grate. LOL

Finally got it all cleaned up, put the hose back onto the washing machine which was still running, and screaming out for water and closed and locked the lid on the dump point and headed off into town to Aldi.

We go what we needed as well as some other groceries etc and then went to the Plaza and got some other things for Phil and Ann and then headed back to Broke and when we arrived, Doug was fully set up and Gary and Denise Niass had arrived and were setting their camper trailer up.

Had a great afternoon and evening sitting around a small campfire chatting etc.

Sunday there were market on at another park so the girls went up and had a look and we all just sat around enjoying the sunshine and warm spring weather.

Listened to the Grand Final on the radios that evening and had a nice night again around a small campfire.

Day 6 – Monday 7th October, 2013 -

McNamara Park, Broke to Mendooran

Awoke to another beautiful morning, everyone commenced packing up.

Garbage truck came, took only the rubbish in the bin and left all the other stuff that was on the ground alongside of the bin. Couldn't be bothered picking up a few bags and boxes of rubbish. Even if he had put it in the bin and then emptied it again would've been fine but he didn't bother. Unreal how slack some people can be. Gary ended up going over and picking all the rubbish up and it filled the bin again so whenever any other campers brought rubbish over they had to put it on the ground alongside the bin again, 5 mins after being emptied, defeating the purpose of getting them emptied. So they are full for another week or so.

Doug was the 1st finished packing up and headed off as he was now going further west to Sandy Hollow for a few more days etc.

Gary and Denise packed their camper trailer up and also headed off as they had things to attend to and the remaining ones we just sat around took our time and we all chipped in and had some hot chips from the local store which we made chip sangas with for lunch and then headed off around 12.30pm west to Mendooran arriving at 3.30pm and set up in our usual spot and settled in for the evening.

Day 7 – Tuesday 8th October, 2013 - Mendooran

Nice cool night last night but we were warm inside. Watched some tv as we had been without for the past week and went to bed rather early.

Up nice and early this morning had breakfast and then went and filled the new 100 litre bladder I bought a few months back, and came back and filled the van tanks. Then filled the bladder again and Marie then did some washing in the small twin tub machine. It is so much better using this machine when away from Caravan Parks etc as they use very little water and we can run it from our inverter. Also using the bladder saves having to car bucket loads of water over all the time.

Grandma did 3 loads today and all up with rinsing etc only used about 30 to a max of about 40 litres of water which is great compared to the fully auto one which would use about 60 litres per load and take forever to do the washing. We had it all over and done with and hanging on the line inside an hour. With the rather strong SW wind blowing today we had them dry in no time.

A local couple we have met from all our visits here, Bob & Vivian called down this afternoon and we sat and chatted with them for a while and they asked us up tomorrow so we will go and have a cuppa etc with them for about an hour or so tomorrow.

We are having a great time and really relaxing.

Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog

Day 8 – Wednesday 9th October, 2013 – Mendooran

Had another relaxing evening watched a bit of TV and then had a reasonably early night.

Up nice and early to quite a cold morning had to put the diesel heater on and warm the van up.

Again just sat around taking things easy. Later in the morning we went down to Bob & Viv's place for a visit and had a cuppa with them and helped Viv out with her computer.

We then had a drive around the town and had a good look at different places etc and went back to the van where again e just sat back and relaxed. Bob & Viv called in again late in the afternoon and we had happy hour with them and had dinner came inside and Grandma watched some more TV and we again had an early night.

Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog

Day 9 – Thursday 10th October, 2013 – Mendooran to Binnaway

Had a great nights sleep and we both slept in for once.

Finally got up and slowly packed up. The forecast is for strong NW to NNW winds and high heat today so we are in 2 minds of whether we should leave or not.

We decided we would go to Binnaway, packed up, hooked the van on, went and filled it with water and then headed off the 47 K's to Binnaway arriving just after 10.30am and boy are we glad we did leave.

We have a powered site – there are 8 powered sites here - $2 for 3 hours of power, water on tap and there are hot showers in the amenities - $2 for 3 mins – which is plenty.

It is a great spot and the town is quite quaint as well. It is an old railway town and is just surviving by the looks of it but all in all it is a pretty town. They have a butcher shop, supermarket, couple of pubs, Thai cafe/restaurant/take away that has only just opened, Newsagency, servo, hairdressers etc. One of the pubs, The Royal Hotel, apparently only has counter lunches not dinners, but they are supposed to be very good and a reasonable price. There is also full service on both Telstra and Optus phones here as well.

We had a drive around the town and also went to the Thai cafe and got a menu as we are thinking we may have some tonight. Bought some meat at the Butchers and also some lunch from the Thai cafe and then came back, had lunch and put $2 in the slot for 3 hours of power and now have the aircon going as it is really HOT. Showing 51°C on our external thermometer which is on the wall of the van in the direct sun at present. And 28°C inside the van with the aircon going flat out. At least its a lot cooler in here then out there. The wind is really blowing as well so we are glad we made the choice to come here.

We have planned to stay here for the 3 nights and then move on to Premer and only spend one night there as well as Wallabadah.

Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog.

Day 9 – Friday 11th October, 2013 – Binnaway

Cooled down quite considerably last night and we were able to get a good nights sleep. The southerly blew in at 12.40am and that cooled it down even further.

Awoke to an overcast sky, which has now turned into a beautiful sunny day with clear skies and the wind is blowing from the SW and keeping things nice and cool. Supposed to only get to 25°C today.

The amenities block here is wonderful, nice and clean with a separate toilet cubicle and also a combined shower/toilet in both the mens and ladies. The shower cubicle is HUGE it would be about 10ft x 10ft square, absolutely massive. You could just about hold a party in there it is that big. Hot water for the showers is $2 for 5 mins not 3 mins as I thought yesterday.

We are going to have drive around later today and do a bit of sightseeing etc.

There are a few motorhomers coming in now and trying to take over the area. One of them is strutting around like a peacock giving out orders etc and is running around like he owns the place. Some of these people can be quite belligerent to say the least. There are about 6 in here at present and only one has had the temerity to say hello to us, the others seem to not want to even give us the time of day.

Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog.

Day 10 – Saturday 12th October, 2013 – Binnaway

Just sat back and relaxed all day – got very hot again so we fed the meter with some more $2 coins so we could run the rattly noisy aircon but at least it kept us cool.

Had an early night and clouds and strong wind blew up overnight buffeting us around a fair bit and it was quite a warm wind as well.

Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog.

Day 11 – Sunday 13th October, 2013 – Premer

Up reasonably early as it was too hot to sleep and the wind was buffeting us around a lot.

Slowly packed up and headed off at 9.15am for Premer.

Had to go along the Warrumbungles Way back towards Coolah and then up the Mullaley - Coolah Road as the other road across to Premer from Binnaway to Connemarra via Ropers Road has a lot of dirt sections and can be quite rough in places so we decided to come the long way round – it's only 20k's further the way we came and is a pleasant drive on the back roads with hardly any other vehicles on the road.

Arrived in Premer at 10.30am and had a quick look about the town, not much here and the place looks like a town out of the movie Deliverance. Some of the houses need to be seen to be believed full of junk and rubbish everywhere.

There is also a pub and post office and that's about it.

We came back to the camp ground and found a spot away from under the trees as the wind is still blowing pretty hard and would hate to have anything fall on us.

Have full phone service here for both phones, Optus & Telstra and also good TV reception.

There is power available, powered sites are $12 and non-powered $7 so we took a powered site as it is quite warm today and we may need the aircon later. The amenities are basic but very clean and well maintained. 2 separate male toilets as well as another for disabled in the shower recess. I think it is the same for females. CCTV cameras all around as well keeping an eye on the place. Place your money in an envelope that is supplied and place in the locked yellow box.

There are 2 other campers here with us at the moment, one in a rather large m/home and the others in a small whizzbang camper, but very friendly.

Have TV going and watching the big race at Bathurst today.

We head to Wallabadah via Quirindi tomorrow.

Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog.

Day 12 – Monday 14th October, 2013 – Wallabadah

Had a very wild and windy night with quite strong blustery southerly winds blowing. Some of the gusts really rocked the van quite severely and had us a bit worried at times.

Awoke to a bright sunny morning with the southerly still blowing but nowhere near as bad and strong as it was throughout the night.

Slowly packed up and headed off at 9.20am towards Quirindi.

Had a pleasant drive just plodding along, not much traffic and quite a scenic drive with some fabulous vistas etc.

Some of the townships along the way are quite quaint and if we had more time we would love to stop overnight in some of them and have a good look around. Spring Ridge looked quite nice as well as Caroona albeit there is not a great deal at Caroona. Maybe next time.

Made it into Quirindi where we had trouble finding a parking spot, finally stopped at the carpark at the railway station whilst Grandma went up to the shops to get some bread etc.

Left Quirindi and headed out towards Wallabadah and again just had a nice pleasant drive to the township arriving at the First Fleet Memorial Gardens Rest area CAW7 #183 at 11am and found a lovely spot right down on the creek. We are the only ones here at present, but that may change as the afternoon wears on. It's a $10.00 donation here which helps with the upkeep of the memorial etc.

Slight cool southerly wind blowing but not too bad at the moment.

We will stay here the night and then head for home in the morning.

Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog.

Day 13 – Tuesday 15th October, 2013 – Wallabadah to Home

DRAMAS for us with a capital 'D'

Had a great night at Wallabadah, awoke to a great morning, packed up and headed off for home.

Had a nice easy trip and when we got to Branxton I said to Marie we should go out through Cessnock and not down the highway as all the roadwork, 40KPH and 60 KPH zones with all the traffic make it a bugger of a trip.

So we headed off going down Wine Country Drive and no sooner had we gone through some roadworks where the new freeway is and was only travelling about 50KPH when all of a sudden the van was swerving all over the road.

Tried to get it to straighten using the manual control on the Tekonsha and it only appeared to get worse. Eased right back and finally was able to get it under control and come to a stop with a heavy pounding heart.

Found a spot to pull over where I could get under and have a look, checked everything on the van and nothing appeared out of sorts etc.

Decided to try and head off again and as soon as we got to about 30 KPH the sway started again. Pulled over checked it all again,including the hitch etc and again could find nothing, so thought would have one more try.

Again exactly the same thing happened so was able to find a spot to pull over and rang the NRMA for assistance.

Whilst waiting for the NRMA I again checked everything under the van and all seemed OK, checked the hitch and all fittings and again seemed fine.

I decided to rock the can to see if I could hear or see anything and again nothing. Went up to the front and grabbed a gas bottle and started to try and shake the van and car sideways and then I notice the back of the Cruiser swaying far too much.

Got underneath it and sure enough the bolt on the LH side Panhard rod was gone and causing the whole back end to move.

I only had new suspension put in a couple of weeks ago and looks like someone didn't do the bolt up properly !!!!!!

NRMA guy arrived and said he couldn't help as they won't touch suspension on the side of the road and only alternative was to tow into Cessnock.

I told him Lee my SIL maybe able to help out and rang him and with that the NRMA Guy left but organised a tow for us just in case.

Rang Lee who works at the place where they done the suspension and he has got hold of a bolt for me and is bringing it out and we will fix it on the side of the road.

So we are now camped on the side of the road awaiting the arrival of this bolt so we can put it in and head for home. AM only about 50mins max from home at moment.

Lucky we weren't going any faster or it had happened on the highway when we were travelling at around 95 KPH or I don't think we would be here now the way it was swaying.

Well we finally made it home OK.

Lee arrived and had a bolt with him which he thought would fit and was the only one he could get his hands on, but it was the wrong size, (off a different year model and didn't fit) so with a bit of ingenuity we jury rigged it using a steel drift which fitted into the hole perfectly.

I drove home slowly whilst Lee followed and we made it all in one piece.

Now need to get the new bolt and get it fitted back in.

It was one helluva scary ride when it 1st happened and I'm glad we were only going slow at the time otherwise the consequences would've been far worse I can assure you.

Cheers from 2 'very relieved and no longer shaking' travellers both with dirty undies as well.

Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog.

Map of Total Trip

Track of the total area we travelled