Archive for October, 2013

honey, we’re home … update

I goofed and posted my leave travels blog way before completing it … especially with pics.
Here’s the link: https://dmacgreg1.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/honey-were-home

Cheers,
David

honey, we’re home!

Well,

We’re back at our Oxley home, having driven this morning from Coffs Harbour, where we enjoyed some nice accommodation right on the beach – chance to unwind for a few days.

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We got back just before 2 this afternoon, the Apollo motorhome having travelled close on 16 000 km since 26 September.  Our share in that was the last 4000+.  I can tell you, it felt like 4000+.

With some sadness, we farewelled, Diana, Tom, Dan and BJ about 6.30 Monday morning, Dan pleasingly getting the ‘battleship’ up to street level in inner-city Sydney.  From there, with the help of the trusty Navman GPS unit and Dale, we managed to get out of Sydney unscathed.  A few hours into our northward travels we decided to press on (600 km in the day) to Coffs Harbour, a place where we’ve holidayed in the past and enjoyed.  It proved a good choice.

The battleship/motorhome is no easy vehicle to drive.  The wheel alignment/balancing is out (sorry, I don’t know the difference, so hedging my bets!) and it starts to shudder when it approaches 100 kph. Anyhow we made it, though it required  really firm hands on the wheel throughout, especially in windy conditions.  Bill Lawry’s “soft hands” might work with a cricket bat with not with this VW motorhome monster.

In tandem Dale (in Yaris) and I drove to the Apollo depot at Nudgee … there by 3.40.

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Didn’t leave the place until almost 4.40, anyway … it was nice to drive, the small, comfortable, quiet, smooth-riding Yaris home to Oxley.

Spending the better part of a week with some family has definitely helped me get to know them better … what makes them tick and what challenges them. Mind you, I’m sure it gave them a deeper insight into yours truly.  I hope I came out OK!!

It also helped me know and appreciate the vastness and beauty of this country of mine, Australia.  I’ve been privileged to have travelled extensively overseas – USA (umpteen times), Canada, Mexico, Singapore, England, Scotland, Bali, Spain, New  Zealand, Israel, Palestine, Jordan.  However, something was missing in my travels.  While I had driven much of east-coast Australia and inland Australia, I had never gone to the likes of Uluru.  This final part of our long service leave travels kind of started balancing the travels ledger a bit.

I also gained a fresh love of Australia’s rivers – from the dried up Todd in the Alice, to the beautiful Murray and Murrumbidgee to the wide rivers of NSW like the Clarence, Richmond and Tweed.

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So … five days time I’m back on deck at Oxley-Darra UC. I was last in ‘active duty’ there on 25 August – seems a long time ago. It is.  Interesting times lie ahead, for I officially finish up there in just over 3 months, commencing at Wellers-Hill Tarragindi UC here in Brisbane in February.

I’ll be heading back into ministry refreshed, and I thank God for that!!

Of course, just to spice up the times ahead, Dale’s brother Dan and wife BJ will be with us for about 5 days from this coming Tuesday.  It will be great having some more time with them, before they head back to the States.

So … to kind of sum up the last two months, I thought I’d highlight this extended time of leave like this:

most amazing sights
… dead heat between Uluru, Australia and Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska
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most peaceful time
sitting by the Murray River at Renmark on a Friday morning
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most enriching time

… the Charleville/Frontier Services connect mission trip

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most satisfying time
… Sydney Harbour walk & cruise with Dale’s folks

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most privileged time
… officiating at Mark & Maria’s wedding in Pennsylvania

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most inspirational times
everything to do with John Flynn, Frontier Services & the Royal Flying Doctor Service

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most pampered time
… everything about the cruise … including time with Glenn & Jan
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most needed time
… a time during our Gold Coast week when wonderful friends prayed for us and our family

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most poignant time
… driving back to Alice from Standley Chasm and listening to John Williamson sing Eric Bogle’s Shelter

most unusual time
… everything about Coober Pedy

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most important time
… the 11 days with “Dad” (Herb) Butrick
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most disappointing time
… not writing any new song over this period … but that’s another story … and anyhow, who knows what God has in store around the next corner!

Cheers,
David

on to Wagga Wagga and Sydney

G’day.
I”my typing this from the 36th flood lounge of a really, really nice hotel in George St, Sydney … Dale’s brother Dan was able to arrange two rooms for the 3 couples. Not sure how the bedding/sleeping arrangements will pan out, but we’re thankful to Dan for organizing this.

Mind you, we ended up parking the 3.5 m high (& 3 m wide) Motorhome in a loading bay deep in the bowels of the basement. Getting it back to street level tomorrow morning is a challenge I don’t even want to think about!

Anyhow, there have been two highlights from the last two days.

The first is driving through the river land and Mallee country of eastern South Australia & NW Victoria and taking in the Murray River especially, but also the Murrumbidgee. Our caravan parks at Renmark and Wagga Wagga were right on the river. Lovely van parks and great river views.

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The second was just a few hours ago as the six of us took the train to Circular Quay and then had a really enjoyable return trip on the Manly Ferry to Manly Beach. After the obligatory walk along the Corso to the beach we sat enjoyed fish and chips with Tom and Diana al fresco style.

I never really tire of this Manly Ferry trip. It’s so refreshing and a reminder of what a gift Sydney Harbour is to the city. Couple it with the Sydney Harbour Bridge and opera house and you have a marvelous threesome. Our return docking at the Quay coincided with a special 40th birthday concert open-air at the opera house.

Tomorrow we all head off really early – our family from the U.S. head across the Tasman, while Dale and I motorhome our way north. Back home on Wednesday. It hasn’t been without its interesting moments, but it’s been a rare and much-appreciated experience, Absolutely!

Cheers,
David

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from mullock heaps to Murray

Hi
What days the last two have been! Close on 1700 km travelled!

Tuesday morning and we’re on the road from Yulara near Uluru – destination: Coober Pedy. What a trip through arid Australia this was. Fuel stops at Ebenezer Roadhouse & Kulgera … complete with strutting peacock & shoes hanging all over the tree that greets you on entry.

As we neared opal mining ‘Central’ – Coober Pedy it was astonishing to see the extent of the mining – mullock heaps as far as the eye could see. In fact our accommodation for the night was at Riba’s Caravan Park … the site of a disused opal mine. Dale & I were able to arrange her siblings& spouses to each have an underground bedroom for the night – like sleeping in an underground cave. They appreciated it- apart from anything they had spent the previous 4 weeks ( yes, that’s right ) in the confines of the Motorhome. Prior to that I enjoyed the best pizza at a local restaurant before we all took a so – worthwhile mine tour. Soinformative!

Next morning., early start and we ‘re off on the big 950 k or so trip to Renmark on the banks of the Murray in S.A. It was a longday with the sense we were chasing the clock all day. The landscape as we drove south toward Port Augusta continued to be so arid.

However , after a few more hours we were driving through beautiful wheat and grape- growing country NE of Adelaide … wineries galore. My behind and legs had got quite uncomfortably numb by then, so it was nice to drive the final stretch through Riverland country hugging the iconic Murray river. We got into a quite-stunning Big 4 park right on the Murray around 7.30 pm.

We had been on the road for about 13 hours. Next stop Wagga Wagga.
Cheers,
David

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Uluru – Kata Tjuta – day 2

Day two here at Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park.

I’m typing this at 5 pm, and shortly we’ll have an early dinner … or will we(?) … before heading off to a different viewing area to check out the sunset – last night’s was staggering.

By 8 this morning we were all embarking on the guided Mala walk. “Mala” is the local ananguword for ‘rufous hare-wallaby’.
So glad we did this, as we checked out aboriginal cave artwork, waterholes (dried- up) and a magnificent rock-face. Amazing getting thatclose to Uluru itself. You don’t spend time out here without being soaware of the sacredness of these places.

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Morning tea break at the Uluru Cultural Centre. … and after a but if gentle persuasion (because it hadn’t been on their sightseeing radar) we drove the 50 km Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) – the place meaning ‘many heads’. An apt description. Anyone travelling to Uluru must … must visit Kata Tjuta. So glad we did. Some great pics.

Dan cooked some sausages for a quick sausage sizzle lunch; then we headed back to Yulara … on an empty tank of fuel. Good news – we made it.

Back in the campground , Dan negotiated a new camp spot for us. Other campers had somehow parked in ours . No dramas … and not too many dramas as first time ever, I manoeuvred the Motorhome really well into spot #30. Phew!

Mid-afternoon Dale and I and later Dan are cooling off in the pool. Nice and refreshing.

A great day …. as things turned out

David</

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