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 The GRAYnomad Chronicles :: #066

Editorial

As many will have noticed I've added a new comment facility that allows you to add a brief comment at the bottom of a chronicle. I've done this because I figure that there may be readers you would like to add a quick one-liner or ask a question but who would not write an email.

Time will tell.

I originally planned to use Google or other products but could not see any way to integrate them into the existing page format. So I wrote my own.

So far it seems to be working OK.

You cannot edit a post once they have been posted, I would like to add that feature but it complicates the software by a factor of 10 because then I have to have login accounts etc.

Anyway the comments on a Google blog can't be edited, so I can live with that.

I can change stuff though, so if you enter the same comment twice or royally screw up I will fix it.

The other thing to consider is spam. I have mechanisms in place to catch that sort of thing, for example don't bother trying to use the word "viagra" no matter how innocent the context. I have a list of naughty words the existence of which will stop the comment from being posted. It will however still be emailed to me so if the post is not spam I'll reinstate it.

This feature has already caught me once, I had the word "business" in the naughty-word list because I've had spam with that word a lot in the past. However I just tried to use that word in a comment and got knocked back. I've since cleaned the list of words that I can see would be used in the context of comments on these chronicles.

Another thing you can't do is use formatting characters like <, >, [, ], & or %, this stops ner do wells entering actual HTML or other code into a comment. I might relax this as well because it may be nice to use % for example.

Once again we'll see how it pans out.

 

Till next time then, and remember,

Don't Dream it, Be it!

 

Wed 28 Sep 2011

We drive to Bea Bea rest area, it's a nice spot on what I assume is a river or at least a creek at times. We camped here a few years ago in the Cruiser and remembered it fondly and as it's about the right distance for a day's drive this is where we'll stay.

I find that I'm quite happy to continue but Chris says she's falling asleep at the wheel so it's time to make camp.


Our campsite at Bea Bea rest area and the local scenary.

Thu 29 Sep 2011

We drive to Newman getting there at about 2PM. I start filling the truck with water at the visitors centre and leave Chris to monitor that while I duck into town to get our mail.

I return to find that we are still nowhere near full so we stand around.

I get chatting to two people nearby who are running some kind of outback help service (I forget the name now, if you're reading guys please let me know) for people with disabilities.The girl is an Occupational Therapist and she appears interested that I was an electronics engineer.

When I mention that I worked on a prototype for a gadget that you hook over a cup to tell a blind person when the water is at the right level her eyes really light up.

"You mean the ??" she says, "we use them all the time". I don't know, I did a prototype design 30 years ago, handed it over to the person with the cheque book (no Paypal then) and forgot about it.

I'm sure there were 20 other people working on the same idea at the time so the chances of my design becoming something that is "used all the time" 30 years later are pretty slim, but she has decided she's met the inventor and she takes a photo of me holding the gadget, presumably so she can claim some bragging rights back at the office.

The tanks are now full, so I drive the truck and my inflated ego to a spot we know just out of town.

Sat 1 Oct 2011

The ranger drops by today. He's very polite and informs us that the maximum stay anywhere in WA is 24 hours unless signposted otherwise. He's happy that we stay another day or so though and walks back to his car.

Then we remember that we started a home brew yesterday. That needs to sit still for 4-5 days.

I rush out to explain our predicament before he leaves. That's OK we can stay longer.

Tue 4 Oct 2011

Fours days now we've been near a large town with TV reception, and we haven't even turned it on. We keep meaning to, at least to catch up with the news. But we keep forgetting because we're so out of the habit, I don't think we've seen TV since May when we were near Geraldton.

No loss, as a friend of mine says about the news, the verbs are all the same, it's just the nouns that change. Anyway we'll watch it tonight.

Wed 5 Oct 2011

Dang, forgot again.

We leave Newman and head south, our goal is Lake Nallan just this side of Cue, but that's about 500k away so it will take a couple of days to get there. The wide-load traffic is unbelievable, we pull over for one wide load after another, mostly dongas (portable housing) heading north to feed the mining boom's hunger for accommodation.

After 220k we pull into an area along the banks of the Gascoyne river.

Thu 6 Oct 2011

Driving again, I plan to get to a spot we used before about 13k south of Meekathara but Chris remembers some rocky outcrops on the northern side of town. When we reach them we pull in, it's not a bad spot about 20k from Meekathara, this will do.


Our campsite next to a rock outcrop 20k north of Meekathara.

Fri 7 Oct 2011

For some reason I've always though of Meekathara (Meeka) as being a typical outback dump, but it's actually quite a nice and clean town. So I apologize if I've said bad things about Meeka in the past.

It's not nice enough to stay though and we continue down the road, pulling into lake Nallan a couple of hours later.

The first thing I see are a swag of new signs, great big "No fires", "Camping 48 hours only", "No camping past this point".

I have to say that I'm pretty sick of the camping restrictions in this state, in the year or so we've been in WA this time we've been hassled more than our preceding nine years on the road.

I still like it over here but it's certainly time to head back east.

We have no sooner set to camp when Bob and Debbie (from Yule River) turn up, they are already camped on the other side of the lake and saw us drive in.

They've been here four days now so maybe they don't enforce the 48-hour limit. We'll see.

Sat 8 Oct 2011

I walk over to be sociable with Bob and Deb, I notice that Bob has a few rocks lined up on the mudguard of his trailer. I ask about them and it seems they are his "prospecting samples".

More about that later.

Wed 12 Oct 2011

I know we tend to hang around and become part of the scenery, and I love it when we're accepted as such by the wildlife which we often are. But the local zebra-tailed finches are taking things to the extreme, they're building nests in the truck and also in some nooks on the car.

We have to keep pulling the grass out before the constructions get too advanced because if they start laying eggs I won't have the heart to move and we'll be here for ever.

Mon 16 Oct 2011

We leave Lake Nallan today, we meant to leave yesterday but remembered we have to pick up some mail at Mount Magnet and of course yesterday was a Sunday so the post office was closed.

After 100k we pull into the truckstop at Mount Magnet and fill up with fuel. We need water as well but a fuel tanker is filling the underground tanks and he's blocking the tap, so I park the truck and we drive into town to get the mail.


Mount Magnet main street and post office.

While here we join the mining fraternity and spend $25 each to get a "Miner's right", this will allow us to prospect in WA.

Now neither of us have the slightest interest in mining or prospecting, but there's a clause in the "What can I do when prospecting" section of the online brochure we read the other day that caught our eye. Most of the section details that you can use a metal detector and remove up to 20kg of samples etc etc, but it's the last clause we spent $50 on.

  • Camp for the purposes of prospecting.

So as long as we're prospecting and on crown land that is not already a mining lease we can camp. The word is that the first thing you do is pick up a few "samples" (rocks to you and me, remember Bob's samples on the trailer mudguard?) and arrange them in a prominent location so that they are obviously samples and not some random collection of rocks. Having done that you are prospecting not camping.

Now we'll be leaving WA soon so you may ask why bother, we bothered because at present in WA these rights are for a lifetime, in other states they are for one or two years (or even 3 days I've heard) and that's going to happen here as well, we'll be back one day so we see it as an investment in our camping future because next time we enter WA I fully expect a huge "NO CAMPING ANYWHERE" sign at the border.

Tue 17 Oct 2011

We have no real goal today except to get past the town of Leinster and maybe a few k south so we have a short drive tomorrow to get to Leonora and Malcolm Dam, a spot we've heard is nice.

We eventually settle in the bush near a rest area just south of Leinster.

Some time ago I signed up with Facebook because a friend said it's a good way to find — and be found by — people you have lost touch with.

To be fair that has happened, but in general I find the entire thing to be a total waste of space with a non-intuative user interface.

For example, I have to "like" someone before I can comment on their wall. Well maybe I don't want to like them, maybe the only reason I want to comment on their wall is to say what a dickhead they are.

And this crap whereby they think that because A is friends with B and B is friends with C then A wants to be friends with C as well. I don't, not on Facebook anyway. If you took that a couple of more levels you'd be "friends" with everyone on earth.

And then there's the total mangling of the English language, here's and example from an English-speaking 40 or even 50-something year old who should know better.

 
well im not lng home from workin at th golf club in nambucca.. im kinda jus hangin in here cruisin, kids r grown up an one has left home an th younger one skips between me an th dad.. i live at valla beach bought as house here 20 yrs ago. its pretty laid back place very pretty place about half hr sth of coffs, fb is amazin so great 2 conect wth people.. i am on my own an wel mmmmmmm u get that ,, haha mis th sth sumtimes,,, lol

Bugger me if I can decipher that without a lot of work and a lobotomy. We don't need 128-bit public key encryption, just get everyone to write like that.

Wed 19 Oct 2011

We drive to Leonora and then another 13k east out to Malcolm dam where we find a good spot on the dam wall overlooking the water. The weather is nice, there are plenty of birds, the scenery is worth looking at. Yep this will do for a while.


Campsite on the Malcom dam wall.

Later in the afternoon we discover that the TV works, so I get on the web to download a program. What a waste of space, apart from the news (read "90% sport") there's absolutely nothing worth watching on the three channels we can get.


A gaggle of motorhomes arrives and sets up on the far side of the dam.

Fri 21 Oct 2011

It's really nice here but the wind just won't stop. Normally that doesn't worry us much because we leave the shutters on the windy side closed and open those on the lee side.

Unfortunately in this location the wind is coming from the lake so that means opening the shutters with a view if the car park.

I think we'll move on to Niagara dam, it will probably still be windy but maybe the layout will allow us to park in a spot with a view.

Sat 22 Oct 2011

Storms all around us but we only get a few drops.

Mon 24 Oct 2011

We planned to leave here today, even set a time of 10:05 for the off. But at 9:44 we decided we can't be bothered.

With regard to driving and camping I seem to be suffering from a really bad case of inertia lately, once I've started I don't want to stop, and once I've stopped I don't want to start.

Debbie (who we camped with at Yule River) turns up today, after a quick hello she heads around the other side of the dam and set up camp amongst the trees.

Tue 25 Oct 2011

I just read that the world was supposed to end four days ago. Actually it was supposed to end on the 21st of May but that day came and went with nothing untoward happening to 99.99999% of the world's population.

At first I didn't recall anything particularly bad happening on that day, but on reflection I think that was the day I had some trouble with my laptop. It was looking like I may need to reinstall Vista and that certainly seemed like the end of the world at the time, but I think it was just a computer virus.

Whatever, AVG seems to have fixed it.

So when nothing happened the "rapture" morons decided that it had actually happened, we just didn't notice and the physical manifestation of both Armageddon and the rapture was delayed by five months for reasons known to God but not shared with with us.

And four days ago time was up.

I guess I missed it, still I have been sleeping in a lot lately, I am likely to miss anything that happens before about 9AM.

Wed 26 Oct 2011

What was that I said about the end of the world? We get the mother of all storms here tonight. It doesn't affect us much in the truck on the dam wall but Debbie is camped lower down in a small campervan with an awning, mats, chairs etc all outside.

Presumably she has places to put all this stuff in bad weather but what she doesn't have is some floaties for the camper.

At about 10 o'clock there's a knock on the door, it's Debbie and it seems her campsite has been upgraded to waterfront status.

We walk over to investigate. Sure enough there are two new creeks flowing past her camper, one on each side. We decide to walk the 200 metres down to the lake edge and see if we can get a feel for what it's doing. The lightning has gone so it's pitch black and we navigate with torches.

Before long we reach the lake edge and the walk is nowhere near 200 meters, no matter let's look at the water.

We have a close look and can definitely see it moving, the land surrounding the lake is essentially totally flat so even a small amount of water vertically will make a huge change horizontally.

We retreat to the camper.

Ideally I would like to move it now, not only could it get worse but as things are Debbie will not get any sleep tonight.

However just walking is difficult enough in the mud, her 2WD camper won't have a chance, especially as she'll have to do a 5-point turn to get it facing the in right direction to get out.

She rang a friend in Mount Magnet earlier and he said the storm had passed and there had been no more rain. As that's the direction the weather is coming from we reason that that is probably the end of the rain. There could still be a lot of water coming in from the catchment but I see no alternative but to tough it out for the night.

Thu 27 Oct 2011

Before I get around to walking over to see if Debbie needs any help she drives passed and sets up camp on the dam wall.


The dam level has risen, this is where those motorhomes were a few days ago.

Tue 1 Nov 2011

We finally leave Malcolm dam. It's been a good spot although the weather has ruined it to a large degree.

Wed 2 Nov 2011

Just driving, we pull over and park in a gravel pit at the turn off to Niagara Dam. We had planned to camp at Niagara but spent too long back at Malcolm dam so we'll stay here for the night.


Gravel pit at the Niagara dam turn off.

We do drive down to the dam though to check it out, quite a nice spot so we'll remember that for next time.

Thu 3 Nov 2011

We arrive in the city of Kalgoorlie. How do I know it's a city? Because it has something I've not seen for maybe eight months, traffic lights.

First thing we need to do is drop my chair off at an upholsterer. One arm came adrift a week or two back and you need to undo some of the upholstery to access the screw. I could do it but this is a new chair so we'll let the warrantee handle it.

I rang the upholsterer the other day and he said they were booked up for three weeks. After explaining the job though he said to bring it in and he'll have a look. At that point I knew he would do the job, it's only small and he can inflate the job size because the chair company is paying. It's a win win situation.

We get to the upholsterer's, he looks at the chair, asks how long we'll be in town ("Until tomorrow" I say) and next thing we're carrying it into the workshop.

Then we do some shopping. The supermarket is freezing, I know much of the food has to be kept cold but the shoppers don't, I don't know how people can stand it. I spend a large part of the time standing next to the heat-radiating roast chicken display.

There's a free camp right in the middle of town so we spend the night there.

Fri 4 Nov 2011

First thing this morning we go back to the upholsterer's to pick up my chair. Then into town to fuel up and back out the same road again. After 10k we pull off onto the Lake Douglas track and a few k later set up camp overlooking the lake. Nice spot.


Campsite at Lake Douglas.

Note the uneven aluminium panel on the bedroom shutter. This was one of the last panels we did and the final 2 or 3 sheets of checker plate were quite bowed.

Wed 9 Nov 2011

We've had a leak in the plumbing for some time and today I decide it's time to look at the problem. It turns out to be a leaking pump so I isolate it, pull the thing out and strip it down.

There is some gunk in it but not enough to cause a leak I think so I clean it up and put it back in place.

Fri 11 Nov 2011

The pump is still leaking, albeit not as bad as before. I pull it out again and also get my spare out. The spare is one that leaked a couple of years ago, I think I fixed it at the time but never tested it so I combine the best parts of both and put the result back in.

It works and doesn't leak, however now the other working pump (I run two in parallel) has a leak. It's a different type so I just isolate it, I'll fix it one day, meanwhile we can run just fine with one.

Mon 14 Nov 2011

We leave Lake Douglas and head south towards Norseman, eventually camping somewhere on the side of the road.

Wed 16 Nov 2011

Getting into Norseman we fill up with water at the visitor's centre, at least that's the plan however due to a cock up on my part we realise that we are only filling the tanks on one side.

By now there are quite a few people waiting so we pull the plug and head out to a rest area a six kilometres out of town.


Campsite at rest area 6k from Norseman.

I walk up to the top of a nearby hill and explore the rocky outcrops for a while.


View fom the top of the hill.

Mon 21 Nov 2011

I guess we've been here long enough, it's time to hit the Nullarbor but first we have to return to Norseman to finish the water filling we started the other day.

Having done so we turn east again. Finally we are on what is colloquially known as "the Nullarbor", the area between Norseman and Ceduna, technically though the actual Nullarbor plain is the 26-kilometre flat area that surrounds the Nullarbor roadhouse.

Apart from that roadhouse and maybe 4 others we won't see any habitation for about 1200k.

We get to a nice spot called Newman Rocks. There's an old dam here, nice views over the scrub and it's quite some distance from the road so it's nice and quiet.


Campsite at Newman rocks.

Tue 22 Nov 2011

We drive for a few hours and pull into a gravel pit about 20k west of the Ciaguna roadhouse.


Campsite in gravel pit near Ciaguna.

Wed 23 Nov 2011

Today we make it to the Majura lookout. I remember it from the last time we passed this way the decided I'd like to camp here one day. So I guess today is the day.

There's a lovely view across the plains that reminds me of Africa, the trees almost look like thorn trees as well. What a shame we'll never go back to the dark continent, it's a fantastic place, plenty of problems but camping in a place where you're not at the top of the food chain is definitely a great experience.


Low loader struggles up the escarpment.


Wothahellizat and the view.

Thu 24 Nov 2011

Another long drive, this time we pull into the bush behind a rest area 35k to the west of Eucla.


Tucked in amongst the trees.

Last time we came this way we had to submit to a search for vegetables etc at Ceduna which is still a long way from here but just to be sure I get on the web to see if there's any checking station at the boarder about 40k east of where we are camped.

It seems that there is which I find a little strange but anyway that means we'll stay here a while and eat all the vegetables and fruit.

Fri 2 Dec 2011

There are mice everywhere, we've caught a few in the truck but that doesn't seem to help. Chris often sits on the landing to have a smoke and the mice just walk up the steps right next to her.

At night we go out with a torch and the little things are everywhere. I like all animals, mice included, but I wish they wouldn't come inside and gnaw on our food and wiring.

We do find a hole that allows them access from the cab through into the house, once I plug that up we don't get any more inside although I think we still have a few that are now trapped.

Sun 4 Dec 2011

OK, all fruit and veges are gone, we can cross the border now.

It's 35k to Eucla and a further 12k to Border Village where there is a quarantine station alright, but it's only for west-bound traffic and so doesn't affect us.

Why didn't we remember that?

A few kilometres down the road I see a bird explode from the bushes and fly right in front of Chris's car. It doesn't appear out the other side and there's no way it would survive hitting a car at 65kph so there's no point stopping, I guess we'll be extracting a dead bird from the grill later on.

After 13k we find a track heading off towards the cliff and follow it, sure enough there's a great campsite overlooking the ocean.


Campsite overlooking the ocean.


A pano of the view.

After setting up we remember the bird, it's stuck in the grill but as I try to remove it the little fella starts struggling. Bugger me if it is not only still alive but quite vigorous in it's attempts to escape.

It breaks free and makes a bee line for the bushes at high speed. Hopefully it will be alright. Lucky for him he hit a modern car, they are all built from plastic and staples, if we still had the Cruiser that would be one dead bird by now.

Mon 5 Dec 2011

We catch another mouse in our live trap, I'll let him out tomorrow just as we leave so he can't run right back into the truck.

Meanwhile I take some photos from the cliff.


Looking back at the truck.


The cliffs.


Sunset.

Tue 6 Dec 2011

Today we finally get to the actual Nullabor Plain, we stop at the turnoff to Head of Bight, a famous whale-spotting attraction. There's a strange structure here that is not new but seems to have some recent additions.


Building at the Head of Bight turnoff.

Also there is a large hard-stand area and a new fence. Maybe it's going to be a visitor's centre for the whale watching setup further down the road. Given that it is just a few 100 metres from the highway and people won't normally drive 13k or whatever it is to see if something is worth the effort that would make sense.

Thu 8 Dec 2011

We've got no idea what time it is. We passed a sign the other day that told us to put our clocks forward 45 minutes, since when did we have time zones on 1/4-hour boundaries?

Last night/evening we still hadn't had dinner and it was 8:30 according to the clock we normally use.

Today at 2:55 (or is it 5:29) Chris says "I don't recall having an afternoon coffee", well I did make a coffee, whether or not it was morning or afternoon I have no idea.

Forget jet lag, we've got time zone lag.

Mon 12 Dec 2011

We are as good as done with the long drive back east now. We camp in a rest area 29k west of Pt Augusta. It's right on the busy Lincoln Highway and so is not the quietest spot but it will be OK for one night.

Tue 13 Dec 2011

We enter the outskirts of Pt Augusta and cross the Stuart Highway intersection, now officially back east. We continue to the other side of town and fuel up at the BP truckstop. Then park at the back of the parking area and go into town to do some shopping. Chris is gagging for some vegetables and me for M&Ms and beer nuts, the three basic food groups.

There is a a weighbridge just to the east of Port Augusta and last time we were here we took great pains to avoid it. So while I was getting fuel Chris drives down to see if it was open. It wasn't but that doesn't matter anyway because there's no way to get into it when travelling west to east so it doesn't affect us.

Either they have changed the layout or our memory is fading or something. No matter we can continue

These days we are well under weight so weighbridges don't really worry us, nevertheless I don't like to give any official a reason to look into my affairs so I still try to avoid them.

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Comments

Date  ::   03 Nov 2011
Name  ::   Dusty
Location  ::   New Zealand
Comment  ::   "Then we remember that we started a home brew yesterday. That needs to sit still for 4-5 days".

How to park up for a week where you are not supposed to LOL !! I love it.

Thanks for adding the comments section.
Regards
Dusty
   
Date  ::   03 Nov 2011
Name  ::   Kevin Keldson
Location  ::   Kona, Hawaii
Comment  ::   Aloha Rob, That pic of you with the winch cable and workin up a sweat, kind of threw me off, then I read the "must stay, brew in progress" and I knew the aliens were not using a clone zombie Rob. By the way, Vi$^ra, @iag^#, )iagr),
did I get thru the V-wall ? Yep, South America os out, Hawaii is in.
Cheers, Kevin.
   
Date  ::   03 Nov 2011
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   Vi$^ra
@iag^#
)iagr)

Dang, I don't know why I never thought of those variations. I've added them to the naughty list :)

Rob
   
Date  ::   04 Nov 2011
Name  ::   Mark
Location  ::   Sunshine
Comment  ::   Aloha Rob, That pic of you with the winch cable and working up a sweat, kind of threw me off, then I read that you're a photoshop pro, so I relaxed.
   
Date  ::   04 Nov 2011
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   "sweat", hang on I'll have to look that up.
   
Date  ::   07 Nov 2011
Name  ::   Mr. Sharkey
Location  ::   Minerva, Oregon, USA
Comment  ::   Hey Dusty! Nice new chat feature that Rob has kindly put in for us, eh?
   
Date  ::   09 Nov 2011
Name  ::   Tony G
Location  ::   Liverpool NSW Australia.
Comment  ::   Hi Rob,
Can I throw a question or two at you here?
What is the longest period you and Chris have remotely camped and had a special part of our beautiful country to yourself in WOT II? The Prospecting Licenses, can you get them BEFORE you go prospecting. As in from another state?
Cheers, thanks again Rob.
   
Date  ::   09 Nov 2011
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   I think we were about 6 weeks at Albert Tongalini lookout and the same at Yule River, not entirely to ourselves but close enough and could have been if we wanted. Without too much trouble though we should be good for 2 months + before we need water and longer for food.

As for the Miners Right, this is from the brochure

"A Miner’s Right may be obtained for a fee of $25.00 at the Department of Mines and Petroleum, Mineral House, 100 Plain Street, East Perth, or at any Mining Registrar’s Office."

So maybe you can't get them remotely. Here's their contact details

Mineral Titles Division of the Department of Mines and Petroleum
08 9222 3333
www.dmp.wa.gov.au

Give them a ring.

We haven't tried the camping bit yet, so can't confirm that works as we hope. Also, if there's two of you get one each if you have a detector, if you break a leg and the missus carries the detector back to the vehicle for you she can get done for prospecting without a license. Pretty unlikely I suppose but for $25 why not.

Rob
   
Date  ::   14 Nov 2011
Name  ::   Jorge Ramirez
Comment  ::   Thanks for the comments section.

Okay many time you say "Chris and I went to get the mail in town." Um, forgive my ignorance, but how does the mail know where you will be. Seems like you might go left at the next intersection or camp at the nearest beautiful spot you find. Then you inform us that you went into town to get the mail. Or by "mail" do you mean the paper, magazine? I know you can let the post service know where you will be at any given date but how do you contact them when out in the great unknown.
Even if you get an "el cheap-o" metal detector you might get lucky.

Another question and possibly a dumb one at that, is there anything to hunt and eat out there? Have you ever needed to supplement any food stores with locally sourced protein? Sorry for the long post. Good Luck from USA
   
Date  ::   14 Nov 2011
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   Hi Jorge,

Yes you can have mail redirected but it costs every time and personally I wouldn't trust the post office to get it right with a change every couple of months. We have a permanent redirection in place so all our mail goes to a friend's place.

Every 2-3 months we ring our friends and tell them where we will be in say 1-2 weeks time. They package the mail and send it to us C/o the PO in the town we nominate. This does of course require us to have phone connection to make the arrangements and then we have a commitment to go to the town soon after.

There are commercial companies that will do this for you as well.

We have so little mail it hardly matters, we get a few motorhome club magazines and such but I think the only things we really need are the registration stickers for the vehicles every year. Everything else is done electronically. I believe the rego stickers will be phased out soon to, in which case we won't really need the mail at all.

--- is there anything to hunt and eat out there?
Yes, we met people who fish and hunt, I didn't take that much notice but I don't think they buy meat very often if at all. When we camped with them they had too much fish and offloaded a whole lot to us. They also had roo stakes and I think even camel in the freezer

---Thanks for the comments section.
No problems, these are just the sort of questions I thought people might like to ask if an informal method was provided.

Rob
   
Date  ::   01 Dec 2011
Name  ::   Tony Ridler
Comment  ::   I am so glad that there is at least one other person who thinks Facebook is a waste of space. The use of "like" and "friend" gets right up my nose, like you I have minimal use for it and usually respond via email rather than the wall. Keep on trucking it keeps me feeling jealous.
   
Date  ::   01 Dec 2011
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   Yep, 1 billion people CAN be wrong :)
   
Date  ::   03 Dec 2011
Name  ::   Rodger Morris
Comment  ::   I came by your website for a look; first time in months. It's great to see you both doing well!!

I am still a civilian desk jockey for the United States Navy, but I have been doing a bit off off-road traveling aboard Schooner Bill of Rights. This included a two week trip this summer as a crewman to sail Wounded Warriors and participate in two tall ship festivals.

I'll be going out as a crewman for a week towards the end of December to cruise around Santa Cruz Island, which is part of "The Galapagos Islands of North America". We will be taking about two dozen high school age youth from the Naval Sea Cadet Corps on the trip.

Schooner Bill of Rights is operated by the American Tall Ship Institute (ATSI), a private, not for profit charity that sails children and Wounded Warriors. For a photo of her sailing and some information about ATSI. see:

http://www.americanscoutship.com/index.php/what-to-expect
http://www.americantallship.org

You are partly responsible for my becoming a seafaring bloke, as counterintuitive as that might seem, given the fact that you built and operate a custom WORT and this website about your travels. But reading your website (amongst others) stirred in me a desire to get out and travel around a bit, instead of infesting an office cubicle until I died.

That said, I am surprised at the form in which my wanderlust manifested itself. Now, if I can only inveigle our skipper into doing a triangle voyage from southern California to Baja California to Hawaii, and then back to southern California...

Thanks for the good times over the years!!!

Best,
Rodger
   
Date  ::   01 Jan 2012
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   Sorry Rodger, I should have responded ages ago.

I love those tall ships (who doesn't I suppose?), I like the idea of doing the same but a bloke can only do so many things I guess.

You know that motorhomes were originally called "land yatchs" probably because much of the construction techniques are similar.

I'm happy to see I'm partly responsible for something :), there is a lot to do out there and while we all have to work at some point the trick is to arrive at a balance. I doubt there has been anyone in history who has wished they worked more at the end, except maybe those with a mission in life to save the poor or something. Most of us work away at stuff that would not be missed by anyone.

Good luck with convincing yout skipper to detour to Hawaii, maybe you can sabotage the compass.

Rob
   
Date  ::   06 Dec 2011
Name  ::   Tony G
Location  ::   Liverpool NSW Australia.
Comment  ::   Hell Rob, I hope all is well for you. I see your somewhere across the Nullabour. I understand internet access might be difficult but it's been some months since we heard from you. Eager to hear what you have been up to, and where to next.
   
Date  ::   11 Dec 2011
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   Sorry, phone has been a bit dodgy across the Nullarbor but I've also been slack. I'll post some stuff when we stop somewhere for a few days (soon).

Rob
   
Date  ::   14 Dec 2011
Name  ::   Jesper Hansen
Location  ::   Denmark, Scandinavia
Comment  ::   Hello Rob! I am finishing the drivers license for big vehicles just before Christmas. The wife finally saw the light (or gave up protesting...), after me reading to her from your website 2-3 hours every evening in two weeks! We have bought a 12 meter long '92 Setra touristbus and are starting to rebuilt it for camping soon. Our apartment is handed over in June '12, and we will be fulltiming from then on. I'm 43, the kids are 23 and 21 and selfsufficient. So we're going, and the wife is almost even more thrilled than I am, after she realized what it was all about. Cheers Jesper
   
Date  ::   16 Dec 2011
Name  ::   cees Beers
Location  ::   dronten Netherlands
Comment  ::   Hi Jesper you are lucky !
And Rob hi i miss the photographs of the place's you have been i guess you also stayed with the whales at Nullabor!
Als the trees before you get to the plains of Nullabor is great! , well its almost about zero degrees here i guess you have it much better then we have here
God i wish we where there

Greetings Cees
   
Date  ::   29 Dec 2011
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   @Jesper
Good on you, please let me know how it goes as I am thinking of spending some time in Europe and I'm still not convinced I can live cheaply over there.

@Cees
No whales I'm afraid, wrong time of year. 35C here yesterday, better than zero :)
   
Date  ::   29 Dec 2011
Name  ::   Jesper
Comment  ::   Hi Rob,

Maybe I can prove you wrong about living cheap in Europe! Let me know where you like to land, as I have friends all over Europe from my motorcycle touring club, so I might be able to help you out with some cheap accomodation. They are all family fathers/mothers and working.
I'm starting a blog about our trip. You're already on the face of it, actually... just to explain why we do what we do, and where we got the inspiration. Will forward the link as soon as I air it.
But actually bureaucrati (wrong spelling, I know) is piling up in front of our project, and is making it more expensive by the day. But it will not stop us in the end...
This year Christmas have been very relaxed. No new things have been bought, as they won't fit in the bus. GREAT! No spending or shopping things nobody needs. GREAT! Just some good food and pleasant company. New Years eve will be the same, as we are saving as much money as possible.
Happy New Year to you! ;o)
J
   
Date  ::   31 Dec 2011
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   Hi Jesper,

If we come over it may not be for a couple of years. My main concern is the practicality of free camping in Europe, we haven't stayed in a caravan park for 10 years and can't afford to start now.

I would expect to buy a small camper, stay for a year or so then sell it.

I guess bureaucracy is no better over there, it's hard to avoid I'm afraid although we do a pretty good job of doing so.

Please send the link when you have your site up and running.

Rob

PS, sorry about the spam message, I think I've fixed the code.
   
Date  ::   01 Jan 2012
Name  ::   cees
Location  ::   Netherlands
Comment  ::   Well i wish all of you a free and healty new year , enyou life and see the earth we living on.
Rob i never seen a camping in Europe nor in Usa or Australia, and in evry part there rule against free camping i gues but i never seen a camping place inside for real

Any photo's Rob?
   
Date  ::   01 Jan 2012
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   Hi Cees,

Does that mean you think free camping is OK or the opposite?

While technically I suppose you can't really camp in most places it's often easy to do so, especially with a small vehicle. For example we used to camp right under the Eiffel tower (I bet you can't do that now). As long as you get there late and leave early it's often OK. We also used to camp in the suburbs, nobody knows who the van belongs to and you're gone the next morning. If we can still do that sort of thing we can probably afford to come over.

I'm working on new photos and diary now.

Rob
   
Date  ::   01 Jan 2012
Name  ::   Pete
Comment  ::   Hi rob
I travel in a modified delivery van with no windows or other exterior giveaways.
In 2010 I first toured the Spanish & Portuguese coasts ,the french Atlantic coast , true Germany & Denmark, up the coast of Sweden true Finland to the Nordkape & back down the Norwegian coast: 26000 km in 97 days, all free camping without any problem. If you don't advertise yourself as a camper nobody bothers you. I only avoid big city's because the local 'youth' gangs are curious about the content of foreign delivery vans! The van has no heating so I only travel march till October. This year I toured France & Spain 21000 km in 92 days.
My biggest expense is Diesel: 8 liters/100 km @ 1.3 to 1.6 euro/liter.
Regards,
Pete
   
Date  ::   01 Jan 2012
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   @Rodger (03 Dec 2011) I just responded mate (above), sorry for the delay.

@Pete, thanks for that info, very encouraging. How do you do 21000k in France and Spain, did you get stuck on the Arc de Triumph roundabout? I would have to think about mileage because that's a large fuel expense. Still we would probably do less.

What sort of places did you camp? Rest areas, bush, outer suburbs?

Rob
   
Date  ::   01 Jan 2012
Name  ::   Pete
Comment  ::   Rob,

I am only a part time traveler and last year had to return to base a couple of times , ±2500 km round-trips add up! Outside transit mode I do ± 100 km a day.
In general free camping is not allowed in Europe, although frequently tolerated outside the summer season. The van is 5 m. long & fits in a standard parking space. So wherever its allowed to park, I can camp. Don't disturb the locals & everything is fine.

Thanks for the inspiration & Happy New Year.

Pete,
   
Date  ::   03 Jan 2012
Name  ::   Dave Bennett
Location  ::   Brisbane
Comment  ::   Hi Rob,
I'm reading your website after an email from Peter Hyndman who tells me you want some info on campervan touring in Europe. We had a camper in the UK and toured Europe from 2,000 to 2,008, for about six months each year. We free camped 95% or more of the time, from Portugal to Poland. France is campervan heaven, the rest of Europe varies. We now have a canal boat in Europe. We spent 6 weeks in hired campers in the Netherlands in 2011 looking for the boat, and free camped all the time there too.
In 2011 our impression of costs in the Netherlands & Belgium for (supermarket) food is that it is half the cost of food in Australia, diesel is around E1.40 per litre, "camping" generally free, when you know how, and have the large database of suitable places we have accumulated, and a highly accurate large scale mapping system with GPS. We use OziExplorer, better than any of the other types for what you will need.
There is lots to know, and if Peter has passed on my email to you, contact me and I am sure we can give you lots of tips.
I love your website. I was a late starter and didn't "retire" until I was 51, so we understand exactly where you are comming from. I look forward to hearing from you.
Best regards,
Dave & Sharon. (Brisbane Oz)
   
Date  ::   04 Jan 2012
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   Hi Dave, thanks for that, I've got your email, I'll be in touch.

Rob
   
Date  ::   12 Jan 2012
Name  ::   Rodger Morris
Location  ::   Camarillo, California
Comment  ::   Hi Rob,

I survived the trip around Santa Cruz Island, despite the main throat halyard belaying pin that snapped whilst we were doing about six knots, and despite having to drop sail in the dark during a storm that night. The Navy Sea Cadets were terrific!!! Historically, about half of them subsequently join the U.S. Navy, so it is not too surprising that they are eager to work on a tall ship.

Should you ever get to southern California, look me up, and I'll get both of you out sailing on Schooner Bill of Rights as my guests. She is home ported in Oxnard, California. Oxnard is about 80 kilometers (50 mles) west of the city of Los Angeles. Yes, west, not north; check a map...

Camping for free is often called "boondocking" in the USA. This comes from a World War II slang word for jungle, the "boondocks", or "boonies" for short. Thus, jungle boots became "boondockers", hiking in the jungle became "boonie stomping", and camping in the jungle became "boondocking". Here is an on-line resource about boondocking in the USA:

http://www.rv-links.com/boondocking.htm

Our federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) allows free camping on most BLM land, subject to a 14 day limit at any given spot, followed by a shift of at least 40 kilometers (25 miles). The BLM also has designated Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVAs). You can buy a LTVA pass good for all LTVAs from 15 SEP to 15 APR of a given year for $180. LTVAs have access to water and sewage disposal as part of the $180 price.

The U.S. Corps of Engineers also has lots of campgrounds. Also the U.S. Forest Service has yearly camping passes for $30 (not good for some campgrounds).

For these and others, see:

http://www.recreation.gov/

Bottom line, there are people who RV all over the USA and seldom pay to stay anywhere...


Best,


Rodger
   
Date  ::   14 Jan 2012
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   Hi Roger,

Sounds like great fun, I'd love to have a go on a tall ship. I also have ideas of returning to the US one day as well. Maybe you can sneak me on board :) Chris won't come though, she is not keen on boats.

I had heard of camping on "BLM land" but didn't know what it meant. Thanks.

I'll check out those links, who knows maybe we'll get to the 'States one day, I was there in 1978 and liked the the parts I saw.

Rob
   
Date  ::   16 Mar 2012
Name  ::   corona express
Location  ::   Perth
Comment  ::   Hey great site, will have to place a link on ours www.coronaexpressproject.blogspot.com.au keep up the great work, we'll be reading abit more often now.
   
Date  ::   11 Apr 2012
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   Hi CE, you certainly seem to have your work cut out for you, I don't think I could face that again having now done it twice.

Rob
   

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