Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day 207- Adelaide

Picked the truck up. Fixed, apparently. ?

Mum and Dad bought a new caravan?!??!?! What The?!?! That was fast! So we called past to have a look. Noice! Kitchen a bit small for me but then i make a mess when i cook so....

Then time to pack my bag for tomorrow's flight and Tim got things somewhat tidied up to travel.

Still raining, raining so not much else to do. Hired a buggy to ride around on for an hour. Wind Chill Factor -5'C ! LOL! But Jordy thought it was fun so probably worth it.

Happy Birthday Ray and Al!!!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Day 206- Adelaide

Nothing much interesting happened today. Tim took the truck out to get fixed. Loooong story. GPS units suck!

I took the bus into the city with the boys to get some banking done. Tim met me in there, we had some lunch, wandered in the rain!

Wet, wet, wet day.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day 205- Adelaide

We were going to ride the bikes along the coast up to Semaphore or The Grange but the weather was a bit iffy so we drove up instead.

Called into a beach-side carnival sort of setup that looked fun. It's almost like a fun park (cos it's a permanent setup) but set up like a carnival with a ferris wheel, kids merry-go-rounds, jumping castle, clown ball side stall things. And i think it would be a heap of fun except it's $5 a go for every ride even for the little kids' stuff. And there was totally no carnival atmosphere seeing as we were totally the only people in the whole place!?!? Anyway, Jordy had a ride on the Flying Bee and grinned the whole time. Darcy slept unawares in the pram.
Had a wander along the jetty and the mini-train line (only runs in summer). Darcy finally woke up and they played in a great playground for a bit.
Headed out to Harbourtown which is just a big outlet shopping centre, nothing special. Jordy wanted to stay in Toyworld all afternoon.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Day 204- Adelaide

Decided to head into the city for the day. The bus stops right out the front here so we figured it would be easier to catch that rather than drive and have to find a park. Funnily enough the kids really enjoyed the bus ride. Darcy was hilarious- every time it stopped at a bus stop Darcy would day (and sign) 'finished'... and then we'd start moving again and he'd say 'more', he did it every single stop (and there were a LOT of stops!)
The city was really nice. Had a nice feel to it. Not country-town like Darwin by any means but not as crazy bleugh city-fied as Sydney. Went for a wander through the mall area and then headed for the food court! LOL! We couldn't sit for long cos Jordy was keen to get to the museum. :) On the way we stumbled across some neat street sculpture, including some pigs. The sign for pig is to push the tip of your nose up with one finger... this is Darcy signing 'pig' except he has to stick his finger right UP his nose when he does it. So funny to watch.
The museum was quite good and we spent a few hours wandering around there. Had a great display of animals from around the world that was surprisingly interesting! From there we had another bit of a wander through the shops.

Stumbled across a street performing magician that was funny to watch so we joined the crowd and watched his show.

Found a Borders bookstore. I could have spent all day there! It was one of those massive ones with a Gloria Jeans inside like down in Sydney where i have spent many many many a great day. Only enough time for a quick browse before Jordy was off wanting a donut. So back to the food court for a delicious afternoon tea before heading home.

Tim and Jordy discovered a frisbee while playing in a toy store so as soon as we got back the boys had a throw and kicked a ball around for a bit before dinner.
So it sounds rather boring but it was actually a nice low-key laid back kinda day.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Day 203- Victor Harbor to Adelaide

A bit sunnier this morning so we had an easy packup with no rain. We were not in a rush this morning cos we only had about 80km to travel so we had a few stops planned on the way to check out more of the Fleurieu Coast.

First stop though was back to Basham Beach to see the whales again. Darcy was asleep last time so we made sure he stayed awake to see them this morning. Jordy was more interested in picking the flowers.
There were about eight whales in the bay that we could see. A few in nice and close. But there were no rolls or fin-flaps for us today. We watched the mother whale and her calf for a while before heading off along the scenic route north.
Mum and Dad had seen some seals at Second Valley yesterday and we had heard from other travellers we were chatting to a few days back that the whole area around Second Valley was lovely so that's where we figured we'd head to for morning tea.

The truck had other ideas. About 20km past Victor Harbor there was a big whooosing noise and then a pfuuf pfuuf pfuuf hissing noise that sounded like it was not good news. We pulled over and Tim had a look at the engine bits and the hose from the intercooler into the turbo had come off (please ignore any technical jargon! i might be giving things the wrong names so if you actually care about the mechanical side of things please talk to someone other than me!!!!). Much cursing and headshaking and Tim stuck a couple of cable ties around to keep it on and we crossed our fingers for a town or service station.
We got a few km along through more winding hills and she went again. So we pulled over the only place we could which was right on the bend of the road amongst the rolling hills and green green farmland. We called the AAT guys (NRMA sort of people) and then we sat and had apple pie and a cup of tea while the boys played in the grass. It was actually a lovely spot on the side of the road as far as side of the road spots go, and the kids fed millipedes, poked at snails, and chased ladybugs for the best part of an hour before they decided they wanted a blankie to go nigh-nights in the grass :) The car-guy turned up and didn't actually do a whole lot. Tim had told them on the phone what we needed (a clamp thing) and he turned up without one, poked around in the engine for a bit, said he could not guarantee that his jury-rig would work but there was a spare parts shop and a servo about 20 or 30km away. Thanks....

So off we went with fingers still crossed. Got about 5km this time before it blew again. hhhmmmm.... made it to Yankalilla, had lunch while Tim bought some hose clamps and fixed the connection. Decided to bypass Second Valley and just head to Adelaide cos it was getting late and had taken us four hours to do 40km, even though the scenery was incredibly beautiful.

But the saga does not end there. I have no idea how much further we got... maybe another 10km but the hose blow off again but in a different spot so there was obviously a pressure problem somewhere and it was more than just a loose hose clamp. This time we were on the main road so nowhere safe for the kids to play while we waited for someone to sort shit out. Two unhappy kids, a heap of phone calls, and waiting around and in the end Mum and Dad drove down to meet us from Adelaide. They towed the van for us and Tim just had to drive the truck to a repair shop cos it was impossible to arrange a tow. Got there right on close time (Friday Beer O'Clock) but they had a look, patched things up for now and we can take it in on Monday.

We were glad the day was over when we arrived at the van park. Really nice park. Great amenities. Ordered pizza cos we could not be half-arsed to cook. Jordy and Darcy made friends with some other boys that were about 8 and 10 and they threw glow-sticks, kicked a ball, and ran around in the dark playing hide and seek until late. No idea where their parents were. The eldest boy said they were "just cruisin" which i guess means hanging out. But they came into the van to watch tv for a bit and i was hoping their parents had some idea where they were! ???

Day 202- Victor Harbor

Another rainy, cold, and windy day.

We decided to hide inside for most of the day, which was actually quite relaxing. Rode our bikes down town and the boys had a big play at a great playground for an hour but that was about the highlight of the day.

Not a single photo to be had!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Day 201- Victor Harbor

Cold and blustery rainy day today. Rugged up in some warm clothes and headed off into town. First stop to buy more cold and flu medicine! LOL! Then we had lunch at a cafe in town. Had a quick look through the Whale Centre where the kids had a ball in the "bone house" and doing some fishy jigsaw puzzles and looking at sea creatures through the microscope. Then it was time to go see the penguins.
We took the horse drawn tram across the causeway for the 1.3km trip to Granite Island. There are eight horses in total that work a three hour shift for four days of the week. In their time off they gallop around 100acres of farmland just in from the coast or enjoy a morning swim in the ocean. Must be nice for them! :)
The Penguin Centre on the island is like a little rehabilitation and research centre. The volunteer staff were super nice and really generous with their time and stories and we watched them being fed and heard all about how each of the penguins came to be at the centre. Then we saw some "baby" penguins. They were 9 weeks old and were almost as big as a full-grown penguin they just still had a heap of that fluffy fur around their necks instead of proper penguin-skin. Aparently they are born the same size as a chicken chick but between 3weeks and 9weeks they just shoot up in size until they are ready to fend for themselves at 10weeks, so these fellas were about ready to be kicked out of home. They were wild pengiuns and not part of the centre but their mum and dad chose to nest in one of the nesting boxes attached to the centre so we got to peek at them!
Had a bit of a fight to get the boys out of the penguin centre. Jordy wanted to read the books and Darcy wanted to draw. Fair enough too, i guess, but we wanted to have a quick look around and there was only one more horse tram back to the mainland that evening and we did not want to miss it!
Darcy adopted a randon grandmother on the tram on the way back and held her hand and sat next to her and pointed at all the birds and rocks.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day 200- Victor Harbor

Victor Harbor is lovely. The scenery is beautiful, the town is lovely, the people are super friendly. If we were still looking for a place to settle i reckon it would be hard to look too far past here.... except for the cold!! Holy shit! Have i mentioned how cold it is?!?!?!

Went into town to try and get Jordy a haircut. He is once again being mistaken for a girl! LOL! And his hair is a shambles. I actually hacked three big handfuls off the other day- he fought and screamed the whole time so it was seriously a grab and cut effort but it got out the worst of the dreads that were forming and the locks that he kept compaining about being in his eyes.... we've been trying to talk up the whole haircut experience for him cos he used to love them. But not anymore. And we could not get him into the salon chair today so have had to abandon the idea once again.

And Darcy has a serious mullet! But i want to keep a lock from his first haircut the same as i did for Jordy so will wait til i get to town for that.

There is lots to see and do in the area and because we are here for a big relax and have lots of time we just scoped the place out today. Drove to Basham's Beach were the whales are. They are soooooo close! Was amazing. I only had my little point-and-shoot camera so could not get any decent photos but we intend to go back again so i will get some later. They rolled in the water and jumped and rode the waves.

The kids are loving the grass. You don't realise how nice grass is until you live without it for so long.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Day 199- Kapunda to Victor Harbor

Today felt lazy too. Just drove a few miles from Kapunda to Angaston for a look around. Soooo many little wineries out here and so many familiar names- Penfold and Seppelts and a dozen other favourites. I think it would be a wonderful place to come back to and stay in a B&B and hire a car and just cruise the wineries and cafes for a week (note to self- win lotto soon.)

Instead of wineries we called into a yummo cafe (Blond Coffee) for a super good brunch, a wander through the town, a mini cheese tasting, a browse through an old book shop, a play in the playground, and then a mouthwatering look through the Angas Park fruit company shop.

Between us all we bought some yummo looking dried fruit, choc covered cashews, choc nut clusters, tropical sugared fruit bits, yoghurt covered sultanas... yummmmmm!!

Then we cruised through the Barossa and meandered our way down to the Fleurieu Peninsula past fat dairy cows, woolly sheep, and adorable alpacas. Windy here too! And the wind seriously is coming straight off Antarctica! To go all of a sudden from mid-thirties during the day and mid-twenties at night to the cold cold cold of down south is really hard to take.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

the price of fuel

Diesel prices have dropped 25c a litre in the space of a day! We were paying around 1.47 to 1.55 a litre and now every station has a constant 1.23. Nice!

Over the course of our travels the most we ever paid was 1.75 at Kulgera which was right on the NT-SA border.

Tim wants to know what the price is at home... Dave???

Day 198- Port Germein to Kapunda

Had a stroll along the jetty at Port Germein this morning. The longest wooden jetty in Australia! It was really long.

Then time for a lovely leisurely drive through the Clare Valley. The landscape finally changed from dry saltbush to green valleys!! yay!!! We all loved the experience of the territory and the desert has an appeal in its own way, but to be back to green hills and valleys is such a relief!

I know Mum took some photos as we were driving through vine covered hills and fields of bright yellow canola (or something pretty!) but the only shot i got was this dodgy-arse one that does nothing for the beauty of the area. Sorry! I wondered a few times if the farmers would mind if i sent the kids into the flower covered hills to run and frolic so i could take a photo... but i decided they might have issues so we just kept driving.
The towns are gorgeous. Old stone buildings and tree lined streets. Everything seems built with stone here. Almost every field has an old crumbling barn or cottage from generations ago sitting on a hill. Lovely to look at.

We debated doing some wine tasting but to be honest we don't need more wine!! And i still have a cold and am totally not in the mood to taste wine so we did not bother.

Arrived nice and early at Kapunda which is on the edge of the boundary between the Clare and the Barossa Valleys. They had a medieval festival and a bit of a market on in town so made a quick camp and then wandered off for a look. It's really cold and windy and just bloody chilling here! If you can manage to get out of the wind it's ok, but jeepers! the wind just aches to the bone. This poor medieval guy had a hell of a time keeping his flag pole under control and i was worried he'd blow away! There was apparently an archery display on later in the afternoon but we did not stay for it. I can't imagine how anyone could shoot any kind of target with the wind howling the way it is.
There was a rather excellant playground on the walk home and the kids stopped for a big play before we came back to the van and did blog updates and hid from the wind. Tim finally managed to catch a footy game that evening!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Day 197- Lake Hart to Port Germein

Called in to Woomera this morning to see the rocket and aeroplane display. The boys thought they were all pretty exciting. We spent a good hour wandering around all the displays. It probably would have been quicker if we were not fighting to stand upright against the wind that was blowing. No idea why anyone would built a rocket launching base some place where the wind would blow any rocket 5mile sideways before it managed to get anywhere near outer space... anyway....

Oh, we called into the tourist information centre and they had a ten pin bowling alley in there. My god! Did Jordy put up a fight. The bowling alley is just like the game on Lala's phone and he wanted in there for a game and was not taking no for an answer. Have to plan a day bowling when we get back to Port!

We had thought we'd stop at Port Augusta but we made good time and, to be honest, there was nothing really in Port Augusta. Amazing how dry it is. It's on the coast but it is totally desert sand dry. We drove over a little bridge and the river was amazingly salty with a huge froth all over the road that looked just like snow.

Down the coast a little further and we picked Port Germein. Quite a cute little village with Australia's longest wooden jetty. The van park was right across the road from the water. It was still crazy-windy but i imagine when it wasn't windy it would be quite lovely.

Made camp and then went to the local pub for lunch. Ordered a schooner and got a middy. Apparently in SA pints are schooners, schooners are middies... no idea what you get if you ordered a middy, a little seven perhaps?

Day 196- Marla to Lake Hart

Another massive day today, about 570km or something. HUGE! The road is as boring as bat$hit. Seriously. We thought the road from the QLD border to Tennant Creek was boring. We were wrong. That was a barrel of laughs compared to this. Miles and miles and miles and miles of nothing but red dirt and saltbush scrub.

So it was with a great deal of excitment that we greeted the big piles of coloured dirt outside of Coober Pedy from the opal mines. For 30 odd km out of town there are all these huge piles of dirt from all the holes they have dug looking for opals (and finding them from all reports! Lots of opal out there!).

We called in for lunch and to have a look around. WINDY! My gosh. The kids were a little freaked by it and Darcy kept whimpering and burying his head into me to avoid the dust that was whipping around in the air. I can't imagine living there. The sky was all grey and the sun obscured from the amount of dust in the air. There are even mines being dug right in the middle of town- this is the street just straight off the main road.
And imagine playing footy on this field-
Had a great lunch at an underground cafe and then had a look around the displays on the history of the town and how they mine the opal. Went to an underground church which was pretty cool (literally- it was heaps cooler in there than it was outside).
Then it was back in the truck to see how far we could push through. We were planning to just grab a camp by the side of the road and there were a few listed in the Camps4 that we were aiming for and as Jordy kept sleeping we kept driving. He had a massive sleep! YAY! And we ended up a good 100km past where we thought we'd get to.

We assumed Lake Hart was an actual lake and it looked quite nice from the lookout that was our stop for the night. Turns out it is a big salt pan. No water at all! Just shimmering white salt.