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 The GRAYnomad Chronicles :: #073


This month is something of a milestone, twenty years ago in July I started writing this blog, yes I have had some long periods with no posts, and even when I do have the muse I don't write every day. But never the less the first entry was in July 1997 and now it's July 2017. Even with my failing cognizance that's twenty years, a bloody long time and almost 1/3rd of my life.

So I thought I'd take a small trip down memory lane, here's an excerpt from the first entry.

It all started around June '97. Chris and I are camping at Fraser Island and Carnarvon Gorge in Queensland. Several days of sitting around watching the kangaroos, shooing away the possums, bushwalking, a little photography and plenty of cider. Life could be a lot worse.

Fig 1. The troopie (75 series Landscruiser) at Carnarvon Gorge.

Chris says, "Why don't we retire"

That was the fateful comment that started us off on two decades (and counting) of alternate living. I was 43 at the time, Chris was a year older (she still is) and we had both had enough of running on the treadmill.

There followed a brief search for a vehicle to turn into a motorhome, and then three years of construction diaries for Wothahellizat Mk1

Then in the October edition of "Deals on Wheels" I saw it.

What a beauty. I can't believe my luck, it's in Marulan, only an hour or so from Canberra. Better still, it's owned by a fire brigade. Many of these old trucks have been hammered around farms etc. This one has spent much of it's life being pampered by fire brigade blokes who not only have time to keep the truck in good condition but also have the incentive. When you're fighting a fire you simply cannot afford to have an unreliable vehicle.

It's November now, will it still be available after being advertised for nearly a month? I ring the fire brigade and am told that the truck is still there but another person is interested. He's coming up from Wollongong this afternoon.

"I'll be there in an hour" I said and threw the phone to it's cradle as I raced out the door.

Seventy minutes later (I lied, there's no way to make Marulan in an hour) we pull up at the Marulan Country Fire Brigade shed to find that they have had a callout to an accident on the highway. We wait.

Eventually they return and the roller door opens to reveal the orangest thing I have ever seen.

... we say yes on the spot.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Did we do the right thing? Heck yeah.

I do occasionally look at the prices of real estate in the area we used to live and wonder what if we had kept our three houses and maybe even bought more? What if we had stayed at work earning the big bucks? What if we'd done all that and now had a million bucks in the bank? What if, what if?

But what if I'd worked another 20 years and dropped dead from a heart attack before retiring? It happens you know, it happens a lot.

Better the what ifs I'm asking myself now than being 85 and asking the big one...


                                                "What if I'd got a life?"



Till next time then, and remember,

Mon 19 Jun 2017

I've been working on a camper trailer for a neighbour, got to the stage of adding some windows and they have radiused corners.

I started doing the corners as I've always done, IE drill a 100 holes, break out the pieces and smooth over with a grinder.

Cutting my old way, straight cuts with the grinder then muck around drilling holes.

But while finishing off with the grinder I had an epiphany, if I angle the grinder I can make a circular cut.

The new way, just use the grinder.

How many years have I been doing this sort of work? And I only just figured this out?

After that's done I Sikaflex the window in. I use paper towel to clean up and the result looks like a rest area on the highway.

What a mess, looks like toilet paper.

If you've ever spent much time in these rest areas you'll know what I mean.

Tue 27 Jun 2017

I've been cleaning out the C3 container with a view to getting things organized. I found four NIB (New In Box) external double power points I didn't know I had, I was about to buy some.

A heap of junk on the ground, most will go back into the container but we need to purge as well.

This is only half the junk, the rest is under cover elsewhere.

I've nearly finished a set of shelves and after a cull much of this will go back, hopefully in a manner that will allow me to find stuff.

Thu 13 Jul 2017

More shelves. This time I've added some next to the lathe, in time they will be just for machining tools and stock etc, but for now I'm putting anything on them in an attempt to get things tidied up in the workshop.

New shelves.

Wed 19 jul 2017

I have a room for reloading and it too is full of junk. The other day I moved one of the shelving units over the the C3 container and this freed up some space for another bench (left in this photo).

The new workbench in the BCF room.

This bench will be for general-purpose use but mostly for cleaning and tinkering with guns.

I'm in the process of clearing out the other shelves as well and in time this room will be for Backpacks, Cameras and Firearms...or my take on the BCF acronym (for my non-Aussie readers BCF is a large outdoor goods chain here in Oz, they reckon it stands for Boating Camping and Fishing, but what do they know.

Another project I have on the go right now is the building of a new gun safe.

The basic box for my new gun safe.

It's all 3mm steel which is not a requirement in Queensland at present but it may be one day so I may as well use thick steel now eh?


Date  ::   14 Jul 2017
Name  ::   Cees
Location  ::   Dronten
Comment  ::   Yes times fly
We doing our 5th tour of North of europe since we met Rob
We getting old
Still dreaming of round trip China and Australia
Meaby some day
Date  ::   16 Jul 2017
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   I always wanted to go overland to Europe, it'll never happen now. We will do more traveling in Oz though.

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PO Box 450, Gin Gin, QLD, Australia.