Thursday April 1st [more pictures]
Picked up Toyota Troopy from Trakka Pty. Ltd., Mt. Karingai, just north of Sydney. Purchased 3.5 year old Toyota Troopy, Landcruiser 78 used as Roselle's rescue ambulance, from Homebush City Motors for $40K in late February, after an NRMA inspection. Many aftermarket extras including Sunrasia rims, TJM bulbar and OX winch, Bulstien shocks and coils tinted windows and Stratos bucket seats. With a predetermined 5 week production slot with Trakka for March, they removed the roof to add the pop-up bed and solar panels, second battery, electrics, fridge, stove cupboards, hot and cold water stainless steel tanks and side and rear awnings. Used a smaller (75Ahr verses 100 Ahr) deep recycle battery because the winch narrowed the engine compartment space.
Friday - Sunday April 2nd - 4th [more pictures]
Tested out the Troopy at Soldiers Point near Nelson's Bay and Port Stephens (2.5 hours north of Sydney and 1 hour north of Newcastle). Soldiers Point Caravan Park, at the tip of the peninsula, looking west is protected from the NE winds. Excellent park but expensive @ $29/night. Soldiers Point marina, Rooftop restaurant - BYO, excellent. Box Beach best. Revisit Stockton Beach sand dunes, 32 kms long. Les and Steve's new $740K home chosen based on sea view (where the river meets the sea), tall established trees, extended area population > 30,000 in small townships, quality restaurants, protected from the strong onshore NE winds, quieter non touristy, lower cost residential aspect Lunched at Bev's at Buttaba on Sunday. Made suggestions to Trakka re fixing the rear awning, adding a splash guard to the rear door cooking area and water tank level indicators.
Monday - Tuesday April 5th - 6th [more pictures]
Fitted L-tray, between seat and dash consoles and 2 side pockets in front of the Troopy at Dept of Car Interior, Carlton, radio/CD at Strathfield Radio, Bondi and round Australia 4-WD check and 35K service with 4WD Service centre at Tarren Point in Sydney's suburbs. Ensure all floor holes plugged. On returning to Bombala the windscreen received both a star and running cracks.
Wednesday April 7th [more pictures]
Household goods arrived into Bombala from Sydney. Fixed NRMA and 4WD Sydney specialists identified mechanical problems at Cottrell Toyota, Bombala. Front differential gasket and real pinion seal replaced, RHS stub axle bolt added, wheel bearings balanced and mud flaps installed. Fixed earth on the driving lights.
Sunday April 25th [more pictures]
After the 6.15 a.m. dawn ANZAC service at the Bombala cenotaph and a hearty breakfast at the club, left Christine's parents which has been home for 2 months and headed north to Wollongong. This comes after making our decision July 18th, 2003 (9 months ago) and selling all our US stock and ranch in Colorado, reinvesting US assets and establishing residency in Australia. The roadways have greatly improved over the last 1.5 decades that we have lived overseas. The Commemorative Way (part of the now, 4-lane Hume Highway) between Canberra and Sydney, highlights the improvements with various vehicle rest stops named, with descriptions of the actions of valor, of many of those who received Australia's highest military decoration; the Victoria Cross. These rest stops feature new, clean toilets and shaded tables and seats. In addition, Australia has put together a nationwide campaign to reduce, compared to world standards, the very high road fatality rate/kilometer driven. Focus is on speeding with a combination of police and country road fixed position radar cameras. Great billboard signs showing a vehicle speedometer at 130 kilometers/hour (compared to the 100 kilometer/hour speed limit) read "You are now doing $587". The other focuses are drink driving and compulsory use of seat belts. Spent 2 nights with Auntie Una & Uncle Rob in Fairy Meadow. Dinner and a haircut at Pam and Jakes in Thirroule.
Monday April 26th Anzac Day holiday [more pictures]
Party at Lee and Kylies at Woonana with all the family cousins including Pam, Trent & Shellie, Toni, Steve Madeline & Isabella plus Kylie & Lee's kids Charlie, Georgia and Phoebe.
Tuesday April 27th [more pictures]
Picked up smaller aerial and Camps Australiawide book at Illawarra ARB. Headed south and walked the quaint township of Berry. Camped at Seven Mile Beach just south of Georra. Only one other person on the beach! Rained heavily at night and the Troopy did not leak. Shoalhaven area very green with backdrop of the southern highlands and pretty in autumn. Old dairy properties are getting expensive and weather perhaps too wet and cold for us.
Wednesday April 28th [more pictures]
Headed up Kangaroo Valley; outstanding area with beautiful forests, waterfalls, streams and views. Stayed with Tracy, John, James and Adam in Parmeston, a northern Canberra suburb. Toured the outstanding Australian War Memorial and plan to revisit to see the Lancaster "G for George" presentation (on the hour) and spend more time on the WW1 and WW2 exhibits.
Thursday April 29th [more pictures]
Toured the Australian Parliament House, disappointingly stark, but very informative about our parliamentary system. Toured the National Gallery, somewhat similar in style to Guggenheim galleries. Enjoyed the Sydney Nolan Ned Kelly series. Should only revisit if there is an interesting exhibition or the aboriginal art is on display. Checked out the autumn view of Canberra from Black Mountain. Visited a retired mass spectroscopist, Mike Lacy at CSIRO Entomology. Dinner for 6 at Vietnamese was $90 + $19 from byo reds. N.B. windshield replacement quoted @ $195.
Friday April 30th [more pictures]
Toured Australian Mint, 4th largest coin mint in the world. Walked the Aboriginal Plant Usage area of the Canberra Botanic Gardens - excellent. After a $66 fine for parking at the supermarket, headed to Tuena, 1.5 hours north of Goulburn for weekend 4WD training course. Goldfields Inn has a real backwaters pub. CC hit her head on Saturday night after skinning her leg on the previous Tuesday night - sore & bruised.