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 The GRAYnomad Chronicles :: #056

Editorial

Three weeks at Blowering Reservoir, three weeks with friends, at this rate we'll never get back north. Still there's no real hurry, we planned to be in the top end in April, so now it's May, and next week it may be June. We might even turn left and go straight to West Australia.

Dusn madda.

If I wanted to be tied to a schedule I'd get a job.

And remember the mailing list I mentioned in the last editorial, let me know if you want to be on it.

 

Till next time then, and remember,

Don't Dream it, Be it!

Sun 31 Jan 2010

We drive back along the valley, through the pass to the locality of Shannons Flat then turn right towards Adaminaby and on into the higher parts of the mountains, finally camping in a gravel dump at Sawyers Hill. At 1450m this is the second highest point on the Snowy Mountains highway.

This area was badly hit by the 2003 bush fires and the trees have still not recovered.


Camped on Sawyers Hill.


The dead trees that never recovered from the 2003 fire.

Tue 3 Feb 2010

We pull into a rest area on the banks of the Blowering Reservoir, well a rest area that used to be on the banks of the Blowering Reservoir, it's now about 500m from the water due to the dry period most of Australia has been having.

With phone reception, TV reception, emus, seagulls, cormorants, kangaroos and many other species this is a good spot. I think we'll stay for a few days.

And speaking of TV, we haven't watched any since the 11th of November last year, nearly three months ago. No great loss but it will be nice to watch something for a change, for all we know there's been another war started somewhere.

Thu 4 Feb 2010

The lake is rising. we're a few metres closer to the water than we were yesterday. Presumably this is due to some form of water management as all these reservoirs up here are part of the Snowy Mountain Hydro-electric Scheme, plus they are used to regulate river levels for irrigation down stream.

We're camped about 100m from the water though so I'm not worried, plus it's quite obvious that there hasn't been any water this high for many years. (We were told a few days later that the level hasn't been up to the original boat ramp since 1985).


Water level today, you can easily walk out onto the point you see here covered with birds without getting your feet wet.


Water level a few days later, the point is gone, now there's just an island off to the left.

Fri 5 Feb 2010

2:30 AM, a howling gale wakes me and I get up to check that everything is battened down.

Later, just after sunrise, two fishermen park below us and head off. A few hours later a storm approaches and we see a wall of water approaching from the east, poor buggers will be in the middle of that.

The storm passes and the fishermen return, it soon becomes obvious though that their car is bogged down near the water line.

I go down to help and between the three of us we finally get the car and trailer on solid ground. The boat is still in the water however so the owner decides to take it to a proper boat ramp a couple of kilometres away while his mate drives the car around.


Nice sunset after all that.

Sun 8 Feb 2010

We thought that the place would be crawling with water skiers yesterday but not one turned up. Today however they are here and despite normally finding them to be very loud and annoying we in fact enjoy doing some people watching.


Typical setup for a day's water skiing.

Mon 9 Feb 2010

A bloke drives past with his boat and half dissapears over a slight mound between us and the lake.

We can't really see what he's up to but after an hour or so there's still no obvious activity as the vehicle and boat have not moved. Then we see him walking around well above our location, he looks to the west then ambles back in our direction.

We get chatting but before long he tells us that he's bogged so we go down to check it out.


That's about as bogged as you can get.

Man is he bogged. We unhitch the boat and try to push the car, it's a Holden Colorado which is quite a large vehicle and there's no chance so I decide to get the Suzuki and try out our recovery gear. We can't snatch him out because the Suzi doesn't have any hard recovery points, but it's a good way to see if we have what we need in the car in case we get bogged ourselves one day.

We get the winch out but there's no trees here so I also get one of the truck's ground anchors and four spikes plus a high-tensile chain.

We manage to pull the car about ten feet but we can't get it to ride up onto the crust, we're just pulling it through the mire.


After winching the car for about ten feet. It's just as bogged as when we started, albeit closer to solid ground.

I must say that I'm pretty impressed with the hand winch, it's hard work but it will eventually get the vehicle out of the mud, but there's a storm approaching so the fellow walks over to another camper to ask for help.

He returns with a huge 6-litre 4x4 Chevy, this should do the trick. We hook him up and he has a go but can't get traction and his wheels just spin.

Time to get my snatch strap from the truck.

We connect it between the two vehicles, the Chevy drives off and as the strap tightens the Holden leaps from the mud like a dog shot in the arse.

Every time I see those snatch straps work it blows me away, the energy unleashed is just amazing.

It starts to rain so we throw our gear into the back of the Suzi and leave him to it, I'll pack everything properly tomorrow.

Tue 10 Feb 2010

Before packing the ground anchors away I thought you'd like to see one.

They consist of a cast iron rack with eight holes along the length for spikes and one at each and for D-shackles.


A ground anchor with four spikes. Hand winch at the front of the anchor.

In the photo I've just lightly tapped the spikes into the ground, normally you would drive them all the way in. Note the spikes are hexagonal not round, and they have eyes at the top. This makes it easier to remove them as you can put something through the eye to twist the spike which in turn creates a round hole that is loose on the hexagonal shaft thus allowing it to be removed.

We have two of these racks and 16 spikes, heaven forbid that we ever need them to extract the truck.


I don't know what we'd do without the Suzuki.

Fri 12 Feb 2010

I must say the design of the truck is working out very well, we've been living in it for over a year now and would not change anything.

One aspect we like is the way things can be configured to allow for different weather. For example today it's raining but there's no wind and it's warm, so we're sitting here with the shutters wide open to get some air flow plus allow us a full panoramic view of the lake.

The other day it was hot but there was a howling gale, we had the shutters on the lee side of the truck wide open and those on the windward side open just a fraction, enough to temper the gale and produce a nice breeze across the lounge room.

On yet another recent day it was both wet and cold, so we had all shutters closed but the rear awning up so we could see through the lounge room window.

Sat 13 Feb 2010

The water skiers are back, but this time the weather is bad and they don't appear to be enjoying themselves as much as last week.


Water skiing in the rain.

It is constantly raining and most of them are out with shovels trying to channel the water around their tents. Us motorhomers don't concern ourselves with such mundane matters though.


Fellow campers relaxing under the awning.

Tue 16 Feb 2010

12:30 AM. "hello"..."HELLO".

I turn around and look through the lounge room window to see a torch being waved about in the darkness.

There's two guys outside, they've been out fishing but cannot find the boat ramp in the dark. I'm pretty sure it's about 1-2k along the shore so they head off.

The commotion woke Chris and we sit in the cab watching their torch scan the banks as they gingerly make their way along the shore.

Eventually they appear to reach the boat ramp.

Wed 17 Feb

Despite the openness of area and the number of people camping here at times, there's a lot of wildlife here.


Another interesting thing here is the weather and the light play on the lake.


Some general scenes from around the place.


This island is all that's left of the bird-covered point I photographed on the day we arrived.

Thu 18 Feb 2010

A few more happy snaps.


Again the island, it's even smaller now.


Nice light at the end of the day.

Fri 19 Feb 2010

We leave Blowering Reservoir and drive west until we hit the Hume highway then turn south. Last time we came this way we had to drive through the towns of Albury and Wodonga but now there's a new bypass so it's not long before we turn west again onto the Murray Highway.

We don't go far though as we're about to enter the fruit fly exclusion zone so we decide to camp for the night to finish off any fruit and veggies we have rather than bin them.

Sat 20 Feb 2010

We arrive at Steve and Jill's place, Peter and Marie are already here and I park next to Slineaway, their 4x4 motorhome.


Wothahellizat and Slineaway.

Sat 6 Mar 2010

A year ago we were on the verge of heading north when the entire state of Queensland flooded and we changed our mind, deciding to make the journey in a years time.

Well here we are in a years time, and the entire state of Queensland is flooded. Remind me again about Australia's worst drought in a 100 years.

Sun 14 Mar 2010

I fitted the new digital speedo today, can't test it yet because I don't want to move the truck but we'll be leaving in a day or two so we'll find out if it works then.

Tue 16 Mar 2010

Just doing a few small jobs on the truck, like charging the start batteries that for some reason have gone very flat.

Tomorrow we leave Tocumwal and drive up the Kidman Way. Finally we'll be heading north.

 

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