The Muddy Coffee Run

Apparently nothing goes to plan on these trips but we certainly didn’t expect to get bogged going for coffee before we left Brisbane!! Now a certain member of this family will tell you this never happened – because there is no photographic evidence (wish I had thought to grab that shot!!) So you can choose to treat this post as fact or fiction, but I was there…

Having said final goodbyes and driven away feeling that the adventure was actually beginning we made it about 1/2 hour down the road before passing a Zarraffas coffee and deciding that caffeine was required to make it through the day.

This required a detour down a side road to turn around and back track – also entailed going off the road onto the verge, not something you think twice about in a Toyota Prado that’s lifted, fitted with diff locks and huge tires – right ? You would be wrong I’m afraid !!

Now a combination of things went wrong here all at once – we were still in ‘town’ mode so no 4WD tricks were in operation, Brisbane has had enough rain lately to warrant building an ark and we were actually in a drainage ditch filled with the stickiest mud a pig could ever fantasize about.

So there we were, still in greater Brisbane, half an hour from home and firmly bogged !! I’m not sure the language being used is suitable for a family blog site and if it was me I would have been still hysterically waiting for rescue but to Craig’s credit he calmly let air out of all the tyres, engaged the lockers and slid us out of the ditch – car and camper liberally coated in mud. Must have looked like we had been doing some hard core off road action to everyone at the car wash (if only they knew).

When we said let the adventures begin not sure that’s what we had in mind but in retrospect it was a pretty funny way to launch the trip – although Craig may deny everything without that photo dammit!!!

Locked and Loaded

This is it – goodbye Brisbane, jobs, friends and home and hello to wandering aimlessly around the countryside . Well not completely aimlessly, husband type would never cope without some kind of structure but for the time being its limited to a planned route and a ferry booking!

Everything is packed (god knows how that was achieved) farewells have been very sadly completed with much good food, wine and a bottle of Mo√ęt and all that’s left to do is haul ass out of here in the morning.

It’s the strangest feeling just walking away from everything in your life for such a long time but once we are free from every day routines I’m sure it will be liberating rather than daunting (that could of course just be my natural risk aversion showing through – but less Wolf Creek jokes would help !!)

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Pain of Packing

Moving house is one of the least fun things about organizing a trip around Australia, luckily for me the husband type member of the family has done most of it – I voted for a moving company but apparently he’s cheaper by far. Will miss the beautiful location of our Queenslander rental by the park.

So now almost all our earthly possessions have been stacked into a 12×3 Metre storage shed for the next six months – minus the incredibly large pile of things we absolutely can’t live without. I’m not great at visualizing mass and dimensions (yes there is a joke in that one) but even I’m admitting some of it may need to be recategorised as non-essential to support life. The camper and car are still going to be one great game of Tetris however ….

After approximately 30 moves over my life time I think next time I’ll become a Buddhist and go live on a mountain with no earthly possessions, never to have to move house again…

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Lessons Learned

Camping in wet weather really tests your commitment to the cause, once everything you own is damp, your camper floor resembles the ground outside and the inside of your camping abode looks like a domestic explosion that holiday house starts looking really attractive. Having said that, good wine, good company and great food can make all the difference and there is never a shortage of those key ingredients when we camp – even during a deluge. So what did we find out on the wet dry run:

* The wife needs to become ‘more useful’ during setup
* The husband needs to learn more about women and how to motivate them
* If we ever get divorced it will be because of setting up our camper – maybe I do need to become more useful
* We need smaller wine glasses, those buckets we have currently just set me up for trouble
* When there are a bunch of small kids with you going to the amenities is a team sport
* Our camper is actually water proof – provided you zip up the windows and close the air vent!
* Small children and wet weather make for a lot of noise – remember to pack ear plugs
* Don’t sit in your camp chair if it’s been left under the awning on a rainy night, nothing like walking around in soggy shorts
* Kids love muddy puddles more than iPads, thank goodness.

So nothing terribly useful about our actual camp setup, other than we are water proof and may need marriage counselling after setting up a billion times in six months – next dry run is occurring in our drive way, with the sun shining!

The Very Wet Dry Run

So the dry run for the trip has turned into a very, very wet run – although that hasn’t stopped the feral pack of kids having a good time in the mud! There’s been some discussion around our living arrangements for the six months so here’s a sneak preview:

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Setting up is still being fine tuned, to quote my apparently much more organized other half “it will be quicker as you become more useful”. Hmmm – you think he’d know better after 11 years of marriage.

We may be homeless soon but there are a few necessities coming with:
Coffee Machine (husband)
.

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Juicer (wife)

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Pizza in the Weber Q (kids) but not the beer!

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There is probably a distinct food theme developing here, wait until the Thermomix makes an appearance..

Bull Ants & Bottoms

We haven’t left yet, however this weekend is our last ‘dry run’ before departure and so is technically part of our preparation. I did promise to faithfully chronicle all misadventures on this trip (and preparation for it), I just can’t believe I have one to report on already – or that it involves me!

Looking forward to a last weekend away at Mooloolaba with some of our best camping buddies, strike one, pouring with rain. Never mind, last time we were supposed to go away there was a cyclone, so a bit of rain is no biggie.

So in pouring rain, in peak motorway traffic nowhere near an exit or any form of amenities we get the statement that all parents dread – “mummy I need a poo”. Every parent has been there but to date we’ve only had to deal with the road side wee so this is a little more challenging.

After 10 minutes of pleading with her to “just hang on a bit longer” and getting constant status reports it became evident from her seat gymnastics that our time was up. I will spare all readers the details that followed (particular the childless among us who may not have the same level of casual discussion around bodily functions!!)

Attempting to protect my four year olds modesty on the side of the Sunshine Motorway was tricky but with two doors open and me in front of her in a long summer dress that acted a bit like a tent I think we spared her and passing motorists too much embarrassment.

Once we had all recovered from the indignity of the whole experience we rejoined the motorway car park for the final stretch to Mooloolaba – ordeal over or so I thought. Two minutes after hitting the road something bit my foot and I flicked a massive black ant off my foot with a bit of controlled child friendly expletives- but it didn’t stop there. Next there was a bite on my leg which hurt quite a bit, then my back and final insult inner thigh.

By now I’m lifting my entire dress up to my ears attempting to find the offending insects (apologies to passing truck drivers!) using less child friendly expletives and performing my own version of seat gymnastic

It dawned on me as I got out of the car at the caravan park and shook three more aggressive little black creatures from my dress that as I protected my child’s cute little bottom from passing traffic that the ants must have climbed up the hem of my dress (aka modesty screen) and been carried back into the car where they made their displeasure with their new accommodations clearly known!!

Finally with the camper setup (that’s a whole other blog post!!!!) and a very large wine in my hand I can laugh at the indignity of the whole experience but sincerely hope the next few blog posts are a lot less eventful – and a lot less painful !!!!!!!