• Departed Creswick Regional Park on Friday

  • Drove to Daylesford

  • Visited Judy's friends - Raquel and Julio

  • Caravan brake wiring repaired at Castlemaine

  • Passed through Bendigo

  • Echuca area

  • Storms near Murray River

  • Crossed the Murray River - very hot and sticky

  • Tocumwal

  • Finley

  • More storms to the west near Deniliquin moving east

  • Drove to Jerilderie

  • Camped overnight at Jerilderie at Roadhouse on Friday



Day 45


Friday 1st January 2010

Click on the pictures for larger versions


 We slept really well in the cool night after the storm.

I was up early to clean up any wet camping gear and then pack up.

The tent campers hadn't stirred as we left.

It was a really pleasant drive to our next stop, Daylesford, where we were to have brunch with Judy's Argentine friends, Raquel and Julio.

Raquel was Judy's roommate when she was doing her nurse's training at the British Hospital in Buenos Aires in Argentina.

Judy was born in Argentina at the British Hospital. Her family, who were British, left in
the Peron era in 1955, as it was getting too dangerous to live there, as they were "foreigners".
After moving to England and USA for a few years, they were transferred by the company her father worked for - Lister Blackstone - to Colombia.
Judy then moved back to Argentina to do her nursing studies. That is when she met Raquel.

knew Colombian Spanish but had to learn Argentinean Spanish to enable her to study at the British Hospital.
She had to have a tutor but she tells me that Raquel later tutored her as well, in a lot of the "naughty" Argentinean words. :)

The aftermath of the storms was all along the road.
Everything was soaked, including the animals. The road was wet and cool - so much different to most of our recent driving.

  Midland Highway - Victoria  
8.34am 8.35am 8.35am
Midland Highway - Victoria Midland Highway - Victoria Midland Highway - Victoria
8.39am   8.40am
Midland Highway - Victoria   Midland Highway - Victoria
8.51am   8.51am
Midland Highway - Victoria   Midland Highway - Victoria
We found ourselves lost finding where Judy's friends were in Daylesford and ended up having fun, trying to turn the van and caravan around, on a rural road on the edge of town.
After a phone call to them, we soon found our way back and we were greeted as long lost friends.
They are really lovely people.
They treated us to lunch, an Italian style lunch, which was really tasty.
11.15am 11.15am 11.15am
Judy Daft's friends stayed at Daylesford VIC Judy Daft's friends stayed at Daylesford VIC Judy Daft's friends stayed at Daylesford VIC
Raquel Lorena and Raquel Other family members
 of Raquel and Julio
Judy Daft's friends stayed at Daylesford VIC  
  Before we left the Creswick area, I had studied the Camps Australia book to see possibilities for our next camping spot.
I hoped we could stay near the Murray River but there didn't seem to be many suitable overnight stops.
I decided to use the "suck it and see" approach but that meant maybe many hours till we stopped.

Therefore we had to get on the move.

Around midday we said our goodbyes to Raquel, Julio and their lovely family and friends and headed north again.
The sky had cleared while we were in Daylesford.
e headed towards Castlemaine chatting about the visit with Raquel and Julio.
I braked gently at some stage and wondered if it was my imagination or real - the caravan seemed to brake more on one side than the other.
The brakes were electric and controlled by a unit beside the steering wheel. All seemed normal there, so I pulled over to see if there was anything noticeable that may cause it to pull to one side.
Nothing seemed out of place.
It made me aware though, so I was careful when braking.
I wondered if one of the brake linings may have worn down.

It was time to refuel when we arrived in Castlemaine.
I found a small shopping centre with a service station.
The dogs needed a drink and we needed a pee so I pulled up at a small park with toilets.
While I was waiting for
Judy I noticed something hanging under the axle of the caravan.
It turned out to be the cable supplying the brake solenoid on the passenger side brake.

I managed to get to the ground with my back killing me and my knees being cut by the gravelly ground and saw that not only had the cable ties that held the cable to the axle fallen off, but then, from the swaying of the cable, one of the pair of wires supplying the brake solenoid had broken away.
Hence the lopsided braking earlier!!

Then began the process of rejoining the broken wire.
Not only was it broken, but the idiot that had wired it, left only about 2 inches of cable on the solenoid.

I had to get back out again, find something to lie on, so I still had my back in one piece and not lacerated all over from the gravel, get back down with my knees and back in pain, slide back under again and start the repair.

Being an
Electrician, I made sure I carried a heap of 12 volt type gear in case of repairs on the road.

After losing a lot of bark off my knuckles, getting into the small space where the joint was, I redid both cable joints and
MADE SURE IT WAS ANCHORED at both wheels, soas not to put pressure on the joints again.
Then I fitted new cable ties to the cable supplying the brake from the other wheel.
Only one cable tie had been fitted to hold all of the cable.
Nothing was fitted at the ends to stop the movement of the cable as the caravan swayed.

I couldn't believe anyone could leave such a potentially dangerous situation.

Covered in black filth and sweating, I crawled back out and straightened my back.

I tested everything and we headed over to the Service Station where we filled our water bottles, filled the Daihatsu and bought ice creams.

We had lost a lot of time, probably 90 minutes, which meant no chance of tourist activities.

Next town/city was Bendigo. I would have loved looking around but we had to keep moving as there were no free camping spots there.

The sun was fast disappearing to our left as we headed further north to the border.

I considered trying to find a spot in Echuca but decided to keep driving.
I was still nice and fresh and inspired by the feeling of crossing into NSW and closer to home.
 Home was looking really good.

I was over the holiday!!

After looking at the map I decided to follow the Murray River on the Victorian side and cross at Tocumwal.

I took the pictures below looking north towards Deniliquin.
We were between Echuca and Cobram.

As the front that passed over us at Creswick was moving North East, I assumed we were catching up to it in NSW.


7.43pm 7.43pm 7.43pm
A storm brewing north of the Murray River - Murray Valley Highway A storm brewing north of the Murray River - Murray Valley Highway A storm brewing north of the Murray River - Murray Valley Highway
We travelled along the Murray Valley Highway, as the sun set behind us.
It was dark when we passed through Strathmerton.
I was looking forward to seeing the intersection at the Goulburn Valley Highway.
When we did turn at the intersection we saw a Service Station, but it was very dimly lit, so we continued on and over what was supposed to be a high point of the trip, the crossing of the mighty Murray River.
It came and went in the darkness as we entered Tocumwal.
was dozing and I only saw glimpses of lights reflecting in the water as I had to concentrate on the road ahead.

Tocumwal was asleep - no place for a drink etc - so we passed through.
It was New Years Day after all and late at night.

As we had no air conditioning in the Daihatsu, I noticed the air becoming very humid as we drove on into the night.
We passed through Finley, with lightning very active in the west towards Deniliquin.

Only half an hour or so to Jeriderie !!

I was definitely getting weary and
Judy was asleep, so I made sure I was very aware.
There was very little traffic to contend with.

The storms to the west seemed to be closing in on us. I hoped we'd get a cool shower from them to help keep me alert.

Finally, we arrived out of the blackness, broken by lightning flashes, at the
BP Roadhouse at Jerilderie, to bright green and white colours.
This was to be our overnight stop.

It had been a long day.

Awake since around 6.00am - 18hours
Around 6 hours driving.
It felt good though that we were well into
NSW and a lot closer to home.

It was just after midnight when we turned into the
Service Station.
The old
Daihatsu pulling a caravan, is a lot slower than a sedan.

I pulled off to the perimeter of an area obviously used by truckies and went into the
24 hour restaurant and made enquiries about staying there overnight.
The console operator was really friendly and told us that would be no problems. He told us the showers were $2.00 and we took him up on that with delight.
He showed us where to park and asked if we needed a feed. We said we'd love one, so he said, go setup, have a shower and he'd see us after that for a feed.

It seemed surreal, sitting in bright lights at
1.00am eating Bacon & Eggs etc ( great food too ) , watching a large screen TV with 3 or 4 truckies at other tables and people intermittently buying drinks and paying for fuel.

We met a girl who told us she was towing a float with a horse in it to
She came from
Dalby in Queensland, where I had spent a couple of years.
She was concerned about the road south because of the storms.
We told her we hadn't passed through any, but they certainly were over near

After we had our fill, we headed back towards the caravan, just as the rain started.
The lightning had petered out.

We saw the
Dalby girl again. She said she had decided to keep going. We wished her well.

Our only problem was keeping the
Honda Alternator dry, as it had to run all night to provide power for Judy's CPAP machine. (Sleep Apnoea)

Feeling very clean from our showers, plus the soft rain falling on the aluminium roof of the caravan, we were lulled off to sleep in the cool air, as the showers passed over us.



Last Updated : 05/04/2015 04:05 PM +1000