Wings clipped in Monto

Well things are progressing really well with our repairs. Yesterday morning a boilermaker come out to the Van park at Cania Gorge and welded up some of the cracks to make the hitch strong enough to be towed to their yard in Monto. We were hoping not to move the van but upon closer inspection we found the main beam was totally split through and totally warped so that had to be replaced and it was going to be a major job, too big and also to noisy for that beautiful place of serenity.

Campers woken by the sweet sound of a grinder…

We were super anxious towing it the 26 kms to town, of course we drove Very Very slowly with our hazard lights on, it’s not a busy stretch of road anyway so we weren’t too much of a bother for other motorists. We still felt every bump, even at 30 km/h, it seemed to take forever to get here.

Nice and snug at DJ’s

We are now parked in DJ’s Steel and Concrete yard, on concrete with power and water connected and even have the Catmax enclosure out so Chloe is happy. The guys here are really super helpful and are happy for us to totally expose all the beams and stringers which took us almost 5 hours, quite a big job but we did really well. We couldn’t budge our front wardrobe floor so Anthony bought a jigsaw and cut it out but now we will turn the floor into a inspection hatch…..keep an eye on those frames.

The broken front support beam

We also managed to pivot the whole nose cone (the bit with the eagle on it) out about 2 feet and wedged it open with timber chocks so the boilermaker can get to that pesky front beam.

Time to modify our front wardrobe

We woke this morning at 4 am to drizzle, quickly realised we had some joins etc open on the roof so quickly dragged our big tarp over the front roof, thank god we had that….and it’s pretty much rained all day, how typical is that. But this hasn’t stopped the progress as it’s nice and dry under the front and we think they might have their job done today so tomorrow, hopefully it’s dry so we can have the task of painting all the new steel, and putting back the giant jigsaw puzzle we have created. We took photos of all the wiring , we had to disconnect a lot of things, luckily there is a great electrical shop here as well so it really has been a great place to break down.

And it rained all day

We can’t say enough good things about the workers here at DJ’s…..they are so super busy with mining and farming jobs so we are extremely grateful they could just squeeze us in.

Well we have plenty of photos so please…..anyone else with a fifth wheeler……have a good look at all this hidden framework, it’s a real disaster waiting to happen. A bit like having your house eaten away by termites before you even realise.

Out with the old
In with the re-enforced new

Will get more photos when everything’s tickity boo again.

Bye for now, Steph and Anthony.

Cania Gorge, Queensland – pt.1

Greetings from Cania Gorge National Park . What an amazingly beautiful peaceful place this is. We are camped right at the entrance to the hiking tracks, at Cania Gorge Tourist Retreat . We have been here a few times before when there was no communication reception. Recently the owners of the Retreat have splashed out and got themselves a Telstra tower installed so Halleluja, we now have phone and internet which is great.

The trip here from Pomona was very lacklustre. Typical Queensland inland roads, very bumpy, even jarring in places, of course we can’t go real fast as we don’t like bouncing all our nice things around in our (house on wheels). It was a very long day, with a lunch stop in Gayndah and catching up with some friends. We didn’t arrive here at the Gorge till round 4.30 pm.

Here’s where this story turns nasty…….

Last Light : Laughing Kookaburra at Cania
Glasswing Butterfly bedding down for the night, looks so comfy …. not
Rainbow Lorikeets enjoying a morning bath

When we unhitched the van, it made some really horrible creaking noises and actually seemed to be sitting way to low on the back of the truck.

We did manage to unhitch and started to look around the King Pin Box (hitch) with a torch and to our absolute horror, saw two very big cracks in the framework behind the hitch. We also noticed that the hitch had hit underneath the front of the van, as there was a chunk of fibreglass missing……which means that it was flexing a hell of a lot to do that.

After setting up we googled to see who on earth around here could possibly help us.

 

Cania Gorge Dam

 

Some more pics from Cania

(Click or press on image for larger view)


We are 26 kms from the nearest town, (Monto) and luckily found a large engineering firm there, we rang them and they are coming out tomorrow for a look and fingers crossed, can help us out of our predicament.

Oh that’s not all, it gets even worse……we really wanted to see if there were cracks anywhere else, so we had to cut the lining away and take a lot of the trim off, take out the insulation etc to even be able to see the main beam and framework that the hitch is attached to and guess what????? We found 7 cracks, the biggest is over 3 inches in the main beam.

 

Wow, I was so lucky to grab this Great Egret Flyby
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Then it landed and stood tall and proud for me to capture this shot.
We spent a good hour or so being mesmerised by this Azure Kingfisher fishing at very close range.

 


So now we are wondering how on earth we managed to get here without losing our van on the highway, talk about an absolute ship stopper, we ain’t going anywhere for a while till all this is fixed somehow. Our house is broken and unable to be towed. Of course we are devastated but after doing some massive googling find that this does happen a lot over time with 5 th wheelers and we have been travelling in ours now for 11 years.

We will certainly be keeping a close eye on this area once fixed.

 

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This stunning male Striated Pardalote put on quite a display.

 


 

Blue-faced Honeyeater

This family of Blue-faced Honeyeaters just kept on following us around, they’re so funny to watch

 


 

Adult Pied Butcherbird
Adult Pied Butcherbird

 

 

Stephanie ready for immediate action

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Cania Gorge Video

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Cania Dam Video

In between all this happening we have been out and about, so don’t worry…..it’s not all doom and gloom. We have been walking our socks off, seen lots of birds.

We drove to the reservoir today and Anthony got some really wow photos as you will see.

Since we will be stuck here for a while we may have to blog Cania Gorge in a series form so hang on to your hats….there’s plenty more photos and video coming, plus keep you all posted on our repair progress.

Cheers Steph and Anthony.

 

One of the 7 (ship stopping) cracks in the frame supporting the king pin box (hitch)

Noosa Botanical Gardens and Lake Cootharaba

Hello again from the Pomona Showgrounds…..yes we are still here and having a gypsy good time. Things went well on Monday. A hydraulic hose doctor come and made up a new fitting for the end of the steering pump hose, he seemed to think the fitting we had was a disaster just waiting to happen as it was a type of swivel fitting with an o-ring in it which is what blew out…..he has put a fixed fitting there without an o-ring so shouldn’t have any more problems. We have been driving around here the last two days and all has been well. This is a great base with lots of natural attractions around, being north of the busy Sunshine Coast there’s not much happening with development so we are just loving being around all these beautiful trees and lakes.

I think this image captures the peace and serenity of Lake Cootharaba
And so does this 😀

Yesterday we had a family picnic at Boreen Point, what a beautiful place, so peaceful, we got some great reflection photos just before the wind picked up enough to ripple the water. There was an Osprey cruising around and some other critters, but we have noticed there doesn’t seem to be many birds around this time of year. I guess it is winter so hopefully as we travel north things will improve on the wildlife front.

 

Can you spot what I was taking a Photo of ?
Of course it had to be a bird !! An Eastern Osprey

 

More pics from around Lake Cootharaba 

(press or click on image for larger view)

 

 

Only a couple of birds to share here

(press or click on image for larger view)


Today we visited the Noosa Botanical Gardens , also just beautiful there. The kookaburras were very noisy and quite a few Eastern Whipbirds and I can tell you they are extremely hard to get photos or video off, I did manage to get a couple of snippets but every time they do their whip call, they quickly find a higher perch (I guess so their call travels further) and because the foliage is so thick it’s really easy to lose sight of them. What a fantastic call they have though, we just love hearing them.

We stopped in Cooroy on the way to the Gardens, we just had to visit one of our favourite cafes whenever we pass through this way. We don’t really like posting photos of food but this French cafe ‘Maison de Province’ has absolutely amazing food and the best cuppachinos do they definitely deserve a mention.

 

A view of the Amphitheater at Noosa Botanical Gardens, which looks over Lake MacDonald
This sign is fabulous to see, if only all public parks would follow suit.

 

Just a couple of critters captured here

(click or press on image for larger view)

 

 

A couple more pics of the gardens and lake

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Press or click play to view a short video of the Gardens


Well tomorrow we are hitching up again and heading inland to another one of our favourite stops, Cania Gorge. We have seen lots of birds there in the past but have never been there this early in winter so see how we go. It’s still a beautiful place to spend a few days, some great walks in nature are always enjoyable. It’s about 4 hours drive so we hope Chloe the Cat is ok with that as her longest run so far has only been 2 hours. I’m getting a video together of her quirky ways so will post it soon, she’s got quite a character now that we are getting to know her. We won’t have internet at the Gorge so it might be a few days till we post something so bye for now and chat soon.

Cheers Steph and Anthony.

 

A big shout out to Maison de Province, Cooroy.