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An upsetting day.

The medical centre is chasing me to make a non-urgent appointment as a follow up to a blood test recently done but this AR reg is a total overkill, I think it cost $11.25 to send it, with the result that I think I'll change to the other medical centre since they think this wasteful practice is OK.
At least the receptionist seemed quite happy about me changing doctor but I just hope the other place can email, this letter is just waste.
Stress like this is no good for my health, I don't seek a fancy health care path that many indulge in, just the basics will do me.


Olivia has a birthday.

25th of June is a good day to have a birthday, about as far from xmas as can be done. Olivia treated herself to painting a layer of varnish on our cute coffee table.
The birthday cake she baked later was superb too.


Blue sky at last.

At long last this winter the cold damp weather has finally given way to the lovely clear blue sky we expect to have, pity I'm still cold. The sugar crushing season will kick off tomorrow after being delayed for a while due to the ground being too damp and soft.


Poor man's climate control.

My latest tinkering experiment is a kludge for Cubby to control the air conditioner via a thermostat.
Perusing the circuit diagram indicated the thermistor shut-off on the evaporator would be a good place to insert this little unit, with the bonus of easy access.
The thermostat is a W1701 unit I grabbed from ebay for under $5, the switches set the temperature control.
In this case the power from the A/C switch is provided via the orange wire, and if the temperature is high enough then it's passed back via the red wire, enabling the A/C compressor to kick in.
If it works OK I should put the icing thermistor back in circuit in a series manner, but for now I'm in the tinkering phase.


Defrost timer.

Ken asked so the replacement for this defrost timer was the slow delivery item.
This is from the new fridge I bought and had become unreliable, only noticeable if its motor stalled whilst in the defrost stage but that stirs the panic button. I had put the old big fridge back into service after that happened, then diagnosed this as the villain. They're cheaply available on-line but usually with different timings so I ordered a one with switches that allows a setting close to it, and it's working fine again, well so far at least.
Now I have to try and persuade Olivia to change fridges again but that can wait.


Slow boat from China.

This arrived today Friday the 13th, nearly two months to arrive, I'd given up hope.

Fitting a A/C compressor meant for a 1.6l Lavita into my 1.8l.

Eventually I found that the old compressor had leakage where the housing halves join, oh dear. Searching on-line the compressor appeared the same as the one meant for the 1.6 litre variant though it wasn't indicated for it nor shares the same genuine part number but since it's also way cheaper than the correct one I decided to give it a go and ordered one.
I soon found the difference, the mounts are a different length but happily the bolt holes line up.
What I did was knock out the top two aluminium spacers shown here and used them in the new compressor. Also the clutch socket mount almost shown on left here is different and I sure wished I'd changed that before fitting the compressor as it would have made the job easier.
On the bottom it needed two 8 mm thick spacers, these 10 mm thread nuts I got from the hardware a few weeks solved that problem simply. Not a great shot as the compressor is mounted here and I was flat on my back.


Last photo, Charters Towers.

This was really the last photo we took on the trip, here I am about to quaff some sody pop bought way back in St George where it was on special. Having a fridge in the car meant a good supply of budget priced refreshments all journey.
Poor Olive wasn't well at this stage, the broken A/C didn't help despite it not being hot, so we didn't do the photo thing this day.
On this leg I ran from Emerald to Townsville on a tank of fuel, worked out about 7.5l/100km, which is quite fair for a car this age and size, helped no doubt by a lack of A/C.

Last day of the trip.

We stopped at Capella for our last night but oddly never took a photo, the motel was easily the most expensive of our journey at $110 but it was late so my right to moan was limited. It was much larger than is needed so I suppose that explained the cost but what I regret is not taking a photo of the fridge which was hidden inside a large cupboard, it reminded me of early USA TVs that had shutters over the screen lest it upset the decor of the room, I suppose they soon tweaked that a TV would seldom be unused so the shutters vanished, in my experience a fridge has the same use.
Here's a road train on the long Gregory Developmental road, these things go fast enough now there's little point overtaking them.

Carnavon Range.

Very pretty, this was about 85km south of Rolleston.

QLD border near Hebel.

Still a long way from home but the last state border crossing.

Bore baths at Lightning Ridge.

This was the reason for the early drive, I've used these a few times, and early on a cold morning is the best time to enjoy one of the rare free treats in Australia.
Here's proof that Olivia was here too.
 Here I am showing off a roll of fatty loose skin that's an aftermath of the weight I've lost over recent years.
I was cold before plunging into the hot baths and I was expecting to be cold upon getting out but oddly I never felt cold again on the trip.
A couple of hours later I realised Cubby's AC wasn't working, D'OH! originally I suspected a hose failure but now it seems it might be a compressor seal but since the pulley bearing is also in poor shape I've ordered a new compressor, wait and see if that cures it. Because we're not in the land of the free, there's little I can say or do about it.

Early start.

Blurry photo but it shows one of the kangaroos we encountered between Carinda and Walgett. I was expecting to see plenty so drove very slowly but it was astonishing how many there were, I lost count after 10,000.


The view from the front of my parent's place, what it doesn't show is the 1000 flies to the cubic metre, nor the prickly grass.
We created a high degree of nuclear angst by leaving early the next morning before my parents returned, but I knew if they didn't arrive that night they wouldn't arrive until late the next day and Olivia was very depressed about things.
This town will become a ghost town before too long, there's no reason for it to remain now, plus it like many that are also doomed to disappear lack a decent internet service. The last time I was here I read of the ruling clique in the town intending to waste a big taxpayer handout on restoring their tennis courts, I'd really doubt if they could find enough players to have a game. They do have a good swimming pool which naturally is locked up, perhaps if they opened it and allowed or even encouraged campers to stop near it then travelers may have spent some money and kept some life in the town, but the general store closed recently so it's too late.

The Dish.

I told Olivia to look out for a big dish in the distance, neither of us saw it from here but her camera captured it, it's over the white roadside post.
I covered the dish a month ago but here I have my hand on Australia on their globe outside.


They have a lovely lake at Parkes where we had a comfort stop.
This would have been be taking that photo.
I suppose the cold water they dip their beaks into encourages the quackers to cover their noses to warm them a bit.

Heading north 5th May.

A terrific comfort stop at Gooloogong, this place sets an example to other towns, I think one key is making good use of whatever taxpayer handouts they receive, much of the work is done using volunteers, they have reason to be proud, my thoughts are that most communities now only have $$ signs in their eyes to see how handouts can be apportioned to themselves.
Another great but very unusual thing is there's a shower in the lavatory shown in the background here.
Meanwhile just outside Gooloogong is a bridge that shocked Olivia as our wealthy country has a main road bridge worse than any she has seen in the Philippines. At least a new one is being built but if it's like anything else that has been done with taxpayer money the contractor would have been sure to add an extra zero to the right hand side of their price.
We were heading to my Parent's place this day and I put my full faith in the GPS, it did a good job, one I wouldn't have thought of.

End of the day.

Blue Metal Motel in Boorowa, Stopped here due to word of mouth from my Mother, not the fanciest motel but only slightly overpriced and the host had some charm. This paint job in the lavatory was done pretty well as I would have done it, many people would be appalled but really it has no bearing on a place's comfort, and the unit was pretty good.


Another pretty spot for a comfort stop.
We were on the lookout for a filling station since we entered the ACT, incredibly we didn't see one at all until here, My fault for following the GPS directions, but it got me through the place pretty well, also I usually leave a lot of leeway when refueling, running with a low fuel level is quite bad for in tank fuel pumps as they use it for cooling and a lack will shorten their service life.


They have a lovely river and walking path here, just be careful of the river's edge. Too high and too cold for my health but I can see myself visiting here again.
A Popeye theme behind the lavatory at Bombala, hidden on the right is Olive Oyl, my Olivia got her short name of Olive from her.


A shot of the flags at the hospital where I was born. The Victorian one on the left makes use of the Southern Cross, fair enough, it means a lot to them, for us in Queensland it's not such a big deal, and is often under our horizon, the rest of the flag is a colonial relic.
Middle one is the Aussie flag, the seven pointed star is a reasonable idea but even that is a colonial relic since they represent the states and territories that we may well be better off scrapping altogether. In this age the flag is all wrong, time to move on.
The flag on the right is the Aboriginal flag which, strangely makes us a country under two flags and keeps us divided, I'd be very happy if we adopted the Aboriginal flag and scrapped the colonial relic, it'd be nice to have one identity.
A cow paddock opposite the Orbost Hospital, I'd say it was there when I was born but like most of rural Australia growth just doesn't exist, meanwhile the major cities moan about overcrowding.


Originally my plan was to head back home via Mt Hotham but the weather the previous night stopped that idea and we headed the other way. I love Buchan and would almost love to live here but it's yet another town in Australia that lacks an ADSL internet service, and with the satellite service oversubscribed only dial-up is available, so it's almost a doomed town with only it's beauty to save it.
 Another tragedy to strike Buchan was the Club Hotel burning down in April, but here in May it seemed reconstruction was already underway.

More trip photos, 4th May.

A very windy night saw us hit the road a day early just in case things got worse, also the gathering didn't have any sense of direction. Here I am with my parents sheltering from the bleak conditions outside. My mother has an amazing knack of covering her face whenever a camera shutter is activated.
A quick stop at Uncle Nigel's farm to say goodbye, This is the new farmhouse which my Grandfather built in 1960, pity he didn't put any insulation in it as it's a real icebox. He also swore blind that it's aligned exactly north-south, I'd say he determined N-S by throwing a stick on the ground and trusting whichever direction it pointed.

I must have scared the birds.

The house has three dishes, I'd say one for Foxtel, one for freeTV (same satellite), and one for internet (the white one), where they can enjoy plans that offer a generous 500 Mb of data traffic per month. Meanwhile our overcrowded major cities get even more people where for the same sort of money they can get internet plans that offer 1000 times more data traffic for about the same price.

3rd May on the trip.

The day was cold and grey, plus with a little beer it wasn't a day for playing cameras.
Here I take a shot at ggggrandfather's grave.
What my camera saw.

Black Mountain.

I was loving the smooth surface and as per usual never noticed there was a drop on the side of the road, happily because we were going uphill Olivia hardly noticed either.


I'll bet this poor German tourist wasn't smiling later, he picked one of the worst places to break down. I'd love to know how he got on.

Suggan Buggan.

The schoolhouse my kinfolk used a million years ago. I believe my Uncle Nigel may have made the reconstructed fence as well as a lot of the other work to restore this old building.

The border at Willis.

Here was an example supporting the scrapping of the states, the road changed from a goat track to a fairly decent surface from here on.

High country.

I should have posted this a few posts earlier, this was the end of the bitumen at an area known as Grosses Plain. I think the mountain far away on the left may be Cobberas in Victoria.

Relief for Olivia.

The bottom of Jacobs Ladder, now she could be calmer but Jimmy still had a fair stretch of potholes and washouts interspersed with a bit of smooth road.

Wrong side.

The road on the NSW section of the Barry way has degraded to goat track status, here I use the wrong side to avoid another washout, it was a slow drive but mainly to calm Olivia who was rather terrified. I'm quite used to these sort of roads so it took me a while to understand her terror.

Wallace Craigie lookout.

Olivia checking out where we're heading, very soon she would be fairly terrified as she isn't used to roads with a precipitous drop over the side.

A mystery

Someone has welded up a nice big ball near the Snowy Mountains airport.

Another day from our trip, 2nd May.

We tried not to start too early but we were still way too early for Aldi to be open, shops open late in these parts. Cooma has given Olivia a taste of the cold that was to come, but we had stocked up on warm gear.


Patay last night.

We had a whole mass of emergency vehicles whizz past our place last night, the tree here 1100 metres up the road from us bears the scars of the incident. A vehicle whacked the tree, killed the driver and wounded his passenger.
I suppose because it happened in a regional area and outside the hours of 10:00-15:00 Mon-Fri it can't be considered newsworthy but it still adds a number to our yearly toll, it may even lift us into the blackspot zone as more deaths have happened on our road.
Patay is Philippine for dead, the first word of their language I've learned.