Teething Troubles

It was pouring with rain overnight and during the morning at our hosts’. I had trouble reversing up a wet, gravel-covered hump of a slope in a 3500kg Busby II. I apologized for gouging up the drive. On the next attempt I broke a branch off a shrub. I apologized for that, too. Busby II has no reversing camera and my mirror usage clearly lacked something. Maybe if the ground would just open up and swallow me …

I’d tried turning on the gas but discovered that the fridge doesn’t seem to work on gas and that the hot water system ONLY works on gas, not electricity. Bloody brilliant! Hot water not on electricity is OK ‘cos there’s always gas but if you go off grid without an Electric Hook Up I presume you have no fridge. How is this sensible in Australia? I tried phoning the on-road helpline but that just rings waiting for an operative. Why am I not surprised?

With wi-fi “at home” we investigated setting up a toll tag account but that was going to grab A$25 which we probably would not use so discounted that. There’s a number to call within 3 days to pay if you DO hit a toll so we’ll go with that but programmed the satnav to avoid tolls. There shouldn’t be many on our route through outback New South Wales and Victoria.

After my two embarrassments we eventually loaded the van, bad fond farewells, and set sail for Toowoomba some 90-minutes distant. There is a Toowoomba bypass which IS a toll road but we clambered off before the toll section.

Francine had booked the campsite and had a confirmation email but did they have any record of our booking? No! Brilliant again.Happily they weren’t full and we got a pitch. The campsite is best described as utilitarian – it’s not one you’d sit on for the fun of it.

We plugged in and the aircon came on. Great, we had power. We started flipping switches on for other facilities: water pump, hot water, lights, reading lights. Nothing came on – no water flowed, the toilet didn’t flush.

Clearly we had 240V ‘cos the aircon was working. Either a master fuse/circuit breaker was broken or a master switch wasn’t on. A helpful video showed it to be the latter; there was a master switch which we managed to locate and which proved to be off. Wouldn’t it have been nice if we’d been told or, better, if we’d been given the van with it on? We turned it to “on” and life became bmuch better.

Pseudagrion aureofrons, ToowoombaThis campsite was probably my best chance of odos on the road, being next to a series of ponds linked by a stream. We wandered off on an odo hunt. There had been heavy rain a day or two before and a bridge was strewn with aquatic vegetation. Happily the waters had now receded and the bridge waw usable again. I’d looked on iNaturalist before arriving and had a target species, the utterly delightful Gold-fronted Riverdamsel (Pseudagrion aureofrons). I could not believe my luck when I spotted one perching on a stick close to the bridge. I’d seen this species once before but not with such good access. I was a very happy camper.

We were having a pre-prandial when swarms of parrakeets began roosting in the trees on the campsite, chattering constantly. It was like a parrot murmuration. It that wasn’t enough, a stream of Fruit Bats began flying by the campsite. An unbroken stream of them passed for maybe 15 minutes. The numbers were incredible, there must have been 10s of thousands. A few broke away from the stream to fly over us, A lady on another pitch saw us staring up and asked if we were worried. “Not at all”, we said, “just in awe of the spectacle”. How friendly of her.

We debated doing dinner on the campsite communal area but it looked a bit busy so, being our usual unsociable selves we chose to do steak and salad in Busby II. Our rump steak was very good, tasty and tender.

Time to clear up. The bloody sink plug doesn’t fit. How v=can they g=ve us a van with a sink plug that doesn’t fit? Now we can’t wash up in Busby II. We’re saving the washing up to use the camp facilities in the morning.

Someone will not be getting a very favourable review.

Posted in 2024-01 Australia