We Segals are known for our love of going from one extreme to the other. In 1987 we moved from Bronte in the Eastern Suburbs of the great metropolis of Sydney to a 100 acre property in tiny hamlet of Maryvale, rural Queensland. In December 2014 we bought a Toyota Prius; fuel consumption 4.5 L per 100 km, 10 months later we bought the Beast; fuel consumption 4.5 km per litre. We certainly don’t do things by halves.
In May this year we drove to Melbourne and back in our Prius, travelling about 4,000 km and spent about $345 in fuel. A few days ago we returned from a 5 week journey in the Beast along the east coast to Lakes Entrance in Victoria before turning North and traversing the Great Alpine Way, winding up to 1820 m above sea level to Mount Hotham before descending the other side towards our destination – Cobram, where we spent 3 nights at the very delightful RACV Cobram Resort with our elder son, his wife and our two perfect grandchildren. We returned via the Western Plains of NSW. All up we probably covered a similar distance but the fuel bill was slightly higher. I think the first time we filled the tank we spent more than the entire journey in the Prius.
30 odd years ago hubby had to get a truck licence as part of his job and after having religiously renewed it over the years has finally found a valid use for it. The Beast is an 8 gear, 12 tonne, 4x4 MAN truck that requires a truck driver’s licence to operate. After we return from a trip to South America and a cruise to Antactica early 2016, I will be sitting for my test sometime in March. Then I'll be a real truckie. The Beast has seen a few conversions in its 8 year existence. It was initially fitted out as a tour bus for camping tours across the top end of Australia. Later is was bought and converted into a fully-fledged motor home and now we have bought it and are making changes to suit our travelling lifestyle.
We have encountered various obstacles along our recent journey, from cascading diesel from our fuel tank in Grafton to a broken down freezer in Port Macquarie, conveniently fully stocked at the time, and then half way through our trip, after descending from Mount Hotham, out of the blue, a Bogan in a black Pajero decided to bump into the Beast. After having stopped for the night at a free camp along the banks of the Ovens River, next morning, we were half way to Wangaratta, travelling along the highway and as we passed the Happy Valley turn off she came out of the small country road without stopping to give way to us. It was one of those seconds that seem to last for ages, we could see her but there was nothing we could do but hold our collective breaths and wait for the impact. She collided with us on the driver’s side right into the compartment that houses our 400 litre diesel tank Luckily not a drop was spilled and no one was hurt. Although we were certainly shaken by the event, and the Beast suffered severe bruising, we were able to continue on our way to rendezvous with our family in Cobram.
Australia is known as a land of extremes and the weather on our trip did not fail to live up to the reputation. As we were approaching Cobram, on the border between Victoria and NSW, the weather had been pleasantly mild, but all that was soon to change. For the following week the temperatures fluctuated between bloody hot and Hell on Earth at which time our brand new generator died leaving us without the option of air-con while bush camping in the hottest parts of the country. Most days wavered around 38-39° C and then the day we arrived in Dubbo it mercury plummeted to 22°C and rain fell for a few says. A welcome relief.
Our dear friends from Brisbane, John and Jana and their children, Oliver and Josie were driving south to spend the holidays with family and met us at the Dubbo City Holiday Park. It has been lovely having the opportunity to meet friends along the way and in the 5 weeks we were away we managed to meet up with quite a few old friends, some of whom we only get to see once in a blue moon.
During the last leg of our trip we spent 25 and 26 December in Boonoo Boonoo National Park, one of the highlights of our trip, thanks to a great tip from my lovely artist friend Kay, who turns 93 years young tomorrow. Happy Birthday Kay.
But now we must return to the rigors of retirement living and have a month at home before flying to Chile to start another adventure. So as the clock tick over and we slip silently into 2016 I wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year.