Andy here. I try to pick reasonable pictures for the blog but this is a sign from Green Patch which has amused me over the years. It's for the baby change room apparently but it normally gives me a giggle and I couldn't resist sharing.
Sydney came and went, as did Scone, and we're currently at the delightful Seal Rocks, soaking up the sun and the xxxx gold listening to the first test against the saffers from the WACA.
The stop in Sydney was a necessary evil (the troopie needed a $1500 of tlc) and I went into work for a couple of days. In the knowledge that some of my co-workers will read this and use in evidence at their discretion I have to say that the trip into the office was a great reminder of how important this trip is. Maintaining any relationship with the working world was not in our initial trip plans as I was really expecting I'd have to resign when I first broached the subject with my boss. Jen surprised me with the flexibility of one day a week (on average) remote working but it was always a trade off. Everything in life is though. It was great to see everyone in the office and catch up with how people were feeling about the GFC and by the afternoon of the second day I'd been sucked completely back in to it all. It was a reminder of how much I do actually get out of my work despite it's apparent worthlessness compared with the great things my social ecology buddies are doing in their respective fields. Challenger (generally) is a fairly cerebral exercise which stimulates me, and I feel recognised (and missed) for what I do there, but there is more to life, and that's what this year is all about. Enough said probably.
Being slap bang in the middle of Silly Season the stop also gave us a chance to drink about a month's worth of our current grog consumption in three nights - a good reminder of how toxic our lives were there and how different things will be when we're stationed on Dangar Island rather than 100m from King Street.
Between Sydney and Scone we stopped at Mogo Creek in Yengo National Park. This was supposed to be the destination of our last trial trek but the weather intervened. It did again this time but being on tour now we can't let the small matter of bad weather spoil our fun. It's a great little spot and it have me the first opportunity to try out my new wind up radio. It even has short wave but I've not managed to get hold of Radio Moscow which I used to listen to secretly as a child - very corrupting it turned out to be.
The trip to see the Johnston's was interrupted by Jean having to take herself to hospital for a couple of nights of urgent intravenous antibiotic action which thankfully quickly resolved the problem. The good thing is it's less than a week before we all reconvene at Dangar for Christmas so we can get another look at the photos from their European adventure and spend some proper time together. Millie is clearly loving her time in the country and I'm looking forward to hanging out with her some more over the Christmas break.
The rain continued the whole time we were in Scone but it did brighten on the Saturday and we set off into the Barrington Tops. To be truthful I was probably keener than Ness to head off as she knew the terrain better than me and the radar was still pretty dodgy, but anyhow we headed off up on the climb in the mid afternoon after restocking with enough food and booze to see us through the last week before Christmas.
We stopped the first night at Polblue camp ground in the National Park and dutifully paid our $10 per head for what are really fairly limited facilities. I don't mind paying for the sites, but it so disappointing that NSW charges so much relative to the other states and territories. The NSW joke of a Government may be bankrupt, morally as well as financially, but blaming the importance of maintaining "competitive neutrality" with private facilities for the increases is a crock. While we really don't like using caravan parks, for the same price you get a powered site and better cleaner facilities. Rant over, but I will write a letter when I have access to a printer.
My tickly moe in close up.
The weather was very kind to us in the Barringtons and after our night at Polblue and a lovely bush walk we relocated to into the adjacent State Forest for some free camping right on the banks of the Manning River. Not normally a great call to camp by a creek after heavy rain, but given we were so close to it's source I figured we would be safe, and so it proved.
While fine, it was pretty cold, due to us being almost as high as we were in Mt Buller where we'd had the snow just a few weeks ago. I'm hoping I won't need the beanie again until mid 2010!
This is the view from Thunderbolt look out - absolutely sensational.
Our spot by the Manning River was perfect, apart from about a 15% lean on the Troope which corresponded with a 15% lean on the tent. Heavy feet when we woke up each morning.
We stopped for two nights, and had a couple of sensational fires to keep the cold at bay.
A cheesy shot by one of the look outs.
We managed to squeeze in some lovely walks too and found some interesting rocks on our travels.
Me gathering some wood to sustain our fire.
On Tuesday I had to head back towards civilisation to get some coverage so I could do a few things for work so we headed to Booti Booti NP via Gloucester for one night. The whole drive down from the Barringtons was so different to the arid landscapes we've become used to. The density of cattle here and the lusciousness of the pastures is amazing.
Once I'd gotten over the camping fees ($14 each per night), Booti Booti turned out to be a top little spot, biting green ants aside. Booti Booti is at the south end of Seven Mile beach, seven sweet miles of Australian beach perfection.
We set the alarm early to get up for sunrise over sea which was a real treat after a pretty frustrating evening of trying to work in the dark with poor coverage and failing batteries (which led to a frank discussion about the impact of work on our experience). After sunrise and another cup of joe we headed off on the walk/climb over Booti Booti and then back around on the flatter lakeside. What a start to the day!
We then made the fairly short journey down to Seal Rocks for a look around and decided we liked it so much we'd stay the night. We've had some time on the beach (sunny, 27C), some swimming, and a walk up to the lighthouse.
I'll save some of the pictures for later, but this has to be one of the nicest spots I've been to in NSW. Even beats Jervis for my money.
After our swims we set up camp and have been enjoying (mainly) listening to the first test against the saffers, interrupted only by me having to wind the radio up occassionally and the odd trip to the fridge to get another cold beer. While I'm sure there is more to life than this, I reckon you could spend a long time looking.
We'll be heading slowly south down to Sydney for the weekend so maybe catch some of you at Candi's Crazy Christmas party on Saturday, and then up to Dangar through until New Year. En route we'll pull in for some Scuba at Nelson Bay which Ness is really looking forward to (and I was amazed our gear all fitted in perfectly in the Troopie with only minor rearrangements and purging when we picked it up from Scone).
Merry Christmas to all and safe times if you're travelling. I think a lot of people will be looking forward to putting 2008 behind them so let's hope our new man in the White House is as good as he says he is and Roy and HG's dream of the ASX hitting 10,000 and gold hitting $1000 come good for all our sakes.
Regardless, we'll be back with more reports on our all aussie adventures in the new year!!! Hopefully even my twin brother Dave will have mastered the internet sufficiently on his first laptop to see how we're travelling.