09.11.2013 - 09.11.2013 27 °C
Firstly an apology for the delay in completing this blog. It was almost finished during the week but we have had several big thunderstorms, and it was particularly bad as I typed this day’s episode and we had to close everything down. Additionally the clean-up took a bit longer than planned and that had to come first.
The day dawns at last, in fact the one day that we were not really looking forward to and that was the final leg to home base. The weather was nice and sunny, in complete contrast to our departure day 264 days ago when we struck rain, rain and more rain!
The first thing to do was to load a bit more fuel to ensure that we did actually make it home. That being done at Cooroy and we soon reached the Bruce Highway and heading south. This portion of the road is reasonably new and is in quite good condition especially as it has a very heavy traffic load.
Mary had brewed us a coffee before departure so we were able to have a drink on the relatively brief trip. It didn’t seem long before we hit the northern outskirts of Brisbane and by then the traffic was steady and not too bad as it was a Saturday morning. Today I broke a long-term vow not to use any tollway system, based on the actuality that Australia’s fuels are already very heavily taxed and only a small proportion actually finds it’s way back into roadway construction and maintenance.
This one time I chose the Gateway Bridge (I think it is actually called something else now) and were soon on the southside of the Brisbane River and travelling well. That did not last as we soon heard on the CB that there had been an accident at the merge of the Gateway Motorway and Pacific Highway at Springwood. A notorious stretch of road normally.
Soon we were crawling along bumper to bumper – always a great deal of fun when towing as there is always a very small minority of other drivers insist on jumping into the safety space in front of you, especially with a heavy van in tow. After about twenty minutes we passed the real cause of the delay at that stage which was major road works at Springwood, so that was good news.
Following Tomtom (funny but we both had some mental blanks over how to get home, it being so long ago!) we finally passed through the suburbs and managed to find the security key to get access to our village. It seemed quite strange driving through the homes and not seeing any familiar faces there and then we turned the final corner and did at least recognise our house! That was a relief anyway.
Well, after 22,566 kilometers of travelling over every sort of road and track we have made it home at last. The 264 days away, less about 20 days (maximum) we had no rain on our trip. My gut feeling about not leaving it too late to leave the tropical north was spot on as we have had rain every day since! Some heavy rain episodes up in the far north of Queensland will go some way already to relieving the present 62% drought-declared areas in Queensland and provide vital relief for the farming community.
Today I (roughly) tallied up our respective photo count and was still surprised at the result.
Mary has about 5,589 photos (16.2Gb) of photos and I have about 6,258 (21.5Gb) of photos. Now all I have to do is whittle this massive total to less than 500 to provide a DVD as a summary!!
As I sign off there are two things on which I wish to comment.
1) Many times we have been asked the question about what one place left the greatest impression on us for this journey. The simple answer is that it is impossible to do that as the most memorable places each had unique aspects to them. However, my top (something) list would include: the massive flood rains when made it to Coffs Harbour; the scenery along the Sapphire Coast of NSW; the ferry trip from Sorrento to Queenscliffe; the Great Ocean Road (particularly Bimbi Park); Terowie SA; Hawker and the Wilpena Pound (possibly number one choice – thanks Rod H for the idea); Bunda Cliffs (on the Nullarbor) WA (our worst night); Stirling Range NP WA; Cape le Grande WA; Yanchep; Swan River cruise to Fremantle; New Norcia; Kalbarri (again, especially the NP; Denham(again); Cape Leveque; Windjana Gorge; Lake Argyle; Karumba Point QLD; Yeppoon.
2) Sincere thanks to all those who followed our journey and especially for those who faithfully kept us in their prayers. Apart from one or two minor stumbles all went well - especially with no punctures on the trip (that’s about 40,000 Kilometers for the two round Australia trips without a puncture). We trust that you have enjoyed this trip as much as we did while travelling. A special vote of thanks to the Beamer for the continuing encouragement and comments, you are a special friend.
Unless we can find a mystery aunt somewhere in the family tree this is probably our last trip Around the Block, however, the van is already being readied for a short local trip (weather permitting!).
Blessings one and all, and please don’t forget to view the small photo selection – still a few more to be uploaded.