Is that Cluck Norris …

It was a relatively easy drive today from Coober Pedy, across the border into Northern Territory, stopping at Kulgera before calling it quits at Erldunda. A drive of 487 kilometres.

There was a lot of traffic turning into the Lassetter Highway on their way to Yulara. The closure of the Ayers Rock climb has increased the amount of tourists headed out to the Rock. Even the Erldunda Roadhouse campground was packed.

This is due to all accommodation and camping at Yulara being totally booked and a prohibition at the moment for roadside camping.

Another drawcard at Erldunda is “Cluck Norris“, the infamous rooster who starts crowing each day at 3am. I was lucky enough to get a campsite at the opposite end of the park to his coop so it should be quiet for me.

The Campground has a sunset viewing platform and it provides a good chance to chat with fellow travellers from around Australia and the World.

Tomorrow it is a quick drive into Alice Springs.

Posted in Holidays, Out and About | Leave a comment

When in Coober Pedy …

It has taken a couple of days but I have made it from the Bend to Coober Pedy. There is not a lot to do in Coober Pedy when you are just travelling through but having a local pizza is one of the highlights here.

There are 2 places to get pizza. The first is John’s Pizza Bar and the other is Nostimo Pizza Coober Pedy. This time through I chose a Nostimo Pizza, mainly as it was located in the Big4 Caravan Park where I was camped for the night.

As usual it was a good feed before getting some rest for another big drive tomorrow.

Posted in Holidays, Motorsport, Out and About | Leave a comment

That’s it for the Supersprint …

Well that was a relatively quiet weekend at the Bend for the Supersprint. Once again, my role was the Emergency Coordinator in Race Control. If there is an on track incident, the coordination of the fire, medical and recovery vehicles is my responsibility.

Over the three days we only had 25 on track incidents but nothing of any note.

There was good opportunities at night for some crew bonding in the Officials Campground, even if it was very cold. Lucky we had a fire to keep us warm.

Tomorrow is my third week of holidays and my travels will take me to Alice Springs for the Red Centrenats.

At least it will be warmer.

Posted in Holidays, Motorsport, Out and About | Leave a comment

Time for some Supercars …

My time down the south east had come to an end and although I didn’t achieve all the geocache finds I had planned, it certainly made a dent in the available caches. I am sure there will be a lot more caches placed around the area prior to the GeoVenture 2020 so another trip will be in order to get them.

My next week of holidays will be a bit closer to home. This coming weekend is the Supersprint at the Bend Motorsport Park. I will be taking up residence in the Big 4 Caravan Park at the track from tomorrow, catching up with Garry and Deb.

It is only for a couple of days before moving into the temporary Officials Campground located in the East Circuit Pit Area. By being already on site, we will be able to get the pick of the campsites before everyone else moves in on Thursday afternoon.

Posted in Geocaching, Holidays, Motorsport, Out and About | Leave a comment

Not too cold for a Sinkhole …

There was some heavy rain and strong winds overnight, but it started to break up as I headed out to find some geocaches around Millicent. It was short lived with continual heavy showers hitting me every 10 minutes or so. It was not much fun caching. Combine that with a few DNF’s (Did Not Find), I decided to go back to the caravan for an early lunch, put on some dry clothes then made tracks for Mount Gambier.

There was a few more geocaches along the way but the wind was getting stronger and the rain heavier, so I gave up on the geocaching and went straight to Kilsby’s Sinkhole.

This is one of many sinkholes that are located on properties around the south-east but there is a difference. The owners have made this a commercial venture where you can go swimming, snorkelling and diving, depending on your qualifications.

I was already saturated so why not get completely wet. It was down to 8C outside and the sinkhole was 15C so that was a plus. They also supplied wet suit, boots, hood, gloves, mask, snorkel and fins. There was some instruction at the start after signing the waivers (making sure it is all our fault and wont sue) then it was down to the sinkhole.

They can handle 8 people at a time but I guess the weather has scared others off as there were only 5 in our group today. We were told that most people only last around 30 minutes in the water and the other 4 in the group proved that. I stayed in for 1.25 hours. They only reason I got out is that our minder, Jen, had to stand on the deck and she was getting cold.

The best bit was with all the wet suit material you are wearing, you become neutral buoyant so there is no effort to keep yourself up in the water. By laying forward, arms stretched to the side over the deepest point at 30 metres, it is the closest thing you could get to feeling weightless. An added bonus today was the 2 divers down on the bottom. It was fascinating floating above them in their air bubble stream coming to the surface.And the big question is, how much for this experience. For a 2 hour session with all the gear included is $49 per person. I think it was well worth it.

The weather actually abated during the time we were in the sinkhole but as soon as I left the property, it all started up again. Hopefully it clears up a bit tomorrow as I leave Millicent and return home for a least one day.

Posted in Geocaching, Holidays, Out and About | Leave a comment

Caching into the Forests …

It doesn’t look like I am supposed to sleep in during my holidays. At 830am (some might call that a sleep-in) there was some strange noise coming from my laptop, phone and tablet. It was Bradley calling from Chicago for a Family chat using Messenger. Bradley had just got home from work (Friday afternoon his time) whereas the rest of us were still in bed or just up.

After a 30 minute catch up on his movements, loves, work and his new apartment, I might as well get up for the day.

It was another glorious day with no clouds and plenty of sunshine but it was only around 14C. Today I was going to leave the farming areas around Millicent and move onto the pine forests and caves of Tantanoola.

I had a list of around 45 caches for the day but as I would find, that caching in the forests was not going to be too easy with a lot trees having been blown down in our many storms and fallen down over tracks blocking any access to the caches.

I did get to do a couple of earthcaches, both in disused quarries. The first was a sandstone quarry that was used to carve out the Mount Gambier Limestone which was used in a lot of building from the 1870’s. The other quarry was the Mount Watch volcano dome which was used as a source of scoria.

A lot of todays caches were at many of the limestone cave entrances scattered around the south-east. All of those visited today were filled with water which can be explored using scuba gear (provided you have the right credentials), but it has been about 20 years since I have donned scuba gear so no cave diving for me today.

At the back of Tantanoola, I had one of those empty buildings filled with stuff moment. It was the old Tantanoola Butter, Cheese, and Produce Company Factory. Each year since 1960 on Christmas Day, there is a group of people that meet up and there is an honour board on the front of the building of all the attendees, life members and those that have passed on.

But there is even more. The front door has seen better days so I had a look inside and there were old model cars (spotted some old Holdens and Chryslers), motors and who knows what stacked up all through the factory. If this place ever goes up for sale, I am sure there will be some amazing stuff to be found.

The weather for tomorrow doesn’t look too good so have a list of geocaches to find in the morning if the weather is right, but in the afternoon I am going into a sinkhole where I am going to get wet anyway.

Posted in Geocaching, Holidays, Out and About | Leave a comment

Another Geocaching Milestone … 22000 Finds

I think they didn’t get the memo at work that I had started holidays or maybe they just wanted to see if I was enjoying my time off. Either way there was an early morning call from work.

There was some wild weather overnight with strong winds buffering the van as well as some heavy downpours. By the time I headed out there was sunshine and broken clouds but no rain.

Today was another day of geocaching going for the caches to the north of Millicent. I had picked out 90 for the day but some took a bit longer so I only managed to get 60 before it was getting too dark to spot them.

A highlight was getting another milestone with 22000 geocaches finds at no particularly special spot. It was GC6X0ZA – Commurra Bus run # 6 McEwens, on the side of the Princes Highway.

Tomorrow I will go south of Millicent into the pine forests around Tantanoola.

Posted in Geocaching, Holidays, Out and About | Leave a comment

Time for some Puzzle Caches …

I awoke to the sound of rain on the roof. That was not the best for a day of geocaching. Combine that with a splitting headache, there was no rush to get out there.

The rain finally relented around 11am, so the plan was to pick on the 90 solved puzzle caches for the day. They were all close to Millicent in farming area which didn’t look too bad but I didn’t take into account the drains that criss-cross the area.

It started out OK with most caches attached to fences or in trees but then the trees and fences started to be on the other side of full open water drains. Time to lose the joggers and gain the knee high rubber boots. They worked out OK for most of the traverses but nearing the end the water was over the top of the boots. So wet jeans and full boots to finish up the last half hour was in order.

It took a little bit longer than I thought with 92 cache finds and one DNF. With a bit more information I will attempt the DNF again tomorrow.

The rain started up again around 830pm but not too heavy at the moment. I have picked another 90 odd caches for tomorrow north of Millicent.

Posted in Geocaching, Holidays, Out and About | Leave a comment

Heading to the Deep South …

Well it is now a couple of days into my Recreation Leave, the sun is out and there is no wind. Everything is right to head away in the Thommo Taj.

Unfortunately Jenny still has to work so I will be batching for the next month. After stocking up with provisions it was time to start heading down to the south-east.

Millicent is the site for the GeoVenture2020 Mega Event during Easter 2020 but as we have just booked our flights to the US for March and April next year, we will not be able to attend the Mega.

There is already a couple of hundred geocaches that have been put out for the Event so I was headed down for a few days to try and find them all.

90 of the geocaches were puzzles and the last few weeks was mad puzzle solving time.It was a good drive down south, catching up on missed phone calls, a big list of un-listened podcasts and a few geocaches as well.

At Tintinara, I stopped in to fill up at Liberty when pounced upon by the car wax guys. The usual thing they picked a few spots to use it then did a couple of tricks then came the sell. I just said to the guy does it look like I wash my car and he left me and I was on my way again. It was lucky I had done some dirt driving a couple of days ago and the car was a mixture of red and ochre instead of silver.

It has been some time since I have been to Millicent and it surprised me with traffic lights and even a Jaguar Dealership. Pulled into the Hillview Caravan Park to have the pick of the sites with only 3 other caravans here. I picked a site with views over the paddocks to Mount Burr. The sun was setting and a full moon was rising, just right for a couple of photos.

Posted in Geocaching, Holidays, Out and About | Leave a comment

Goodbye Japan …

There were a number of hotel shuttles (coach size) and they were well patronised. We missed the 8am and 815am and were guaranteed a seat on the 830am but the hotel concierge figured we had waited long enough and shouted us a taxi to the airport getting dropped off at Terminal 1. It was then time to check in and see who won the heaviest suitcase award. Mine was first and weighed in at 28.5kg, only 1.5kg under the 30kg limit. Surely that was the winner but then Jenny’s weighed in at 29.5kg. Rachael and Justin were lightweights in the 24’s. Jenny and I had extra gear from Bradley’s backpack s they will be lighter on the final flight.

We were sitting at our gate busily wifi using and charging when Jenny was called up. There was an issue with our checked baggage and it ended up being mine. They said that a battery was x-rayed. Sure enough I left a power pack in the bag. Apparently it is OK in cabin baggage but not checked. Must be something to do with pressurisation of the cabin. After going through my bag and giving me the battery pack, the plane was loaded and we were on our way.

I finally got a peek at Mt Fuji out the right side of the plane. The summit was peeking out through the cloud layer and looked to be a cloud itself but the pilot reassured us it was Mt Fuji. We then encountered turbulence for the next hour which delayed cabin service but we all got drinks and food eventually. It was a 7 hour flight. Got a few movies and some zzzz’s in and arrived early into Singapore.

It was then catching up with Bradley before grabbing some cash from the ATM, finding the number 24 bus to our Air BnB and settling in for the night. Not sure the bus driver understood us too well as we ended up with 5 tickets for $10 for a one hour bus ride.

A short walk from Changi Road to our penthouse apartment to find beds for 4 people not 5 people as requested. After some back and forward messaging to the owner, a mattress was brought up for Bradley. While I was sorting the bed issue, Jenny and the kids headed out to Changi Road to find us some tea and came back with some street food that was just like I used to get at Singapore Noodles in the Central Market.

Spending a day on a plane doesn’t help with steps but walking around Changi Airport does, finishing with 4868 steps.

Posted in Family Life, Holidays, Japan 2019 | Leave a comment