First Night – Happy Valley in the Grampians
Visited Langi Ghiran, to see if it would be a suitable camp location for Cup Weekend. Magnificent eucalypts, but pit toilets and no power or on-site vans. Moved on to Happy Valley on the West side of the Grampians to a small camping park where we stayed the night. The park is surrounded by bush and we had kangaroos eating around our site.
Our lovely neighbours, John and Janice, gave us a bottle of Chandon Sparkling Shiraz, which we heartily consumed, while we BBQ’d on an open fire.
Second night. Wyperfeld National Park.
I remembered the wonderful winding drive into Wyperfeld after 7-8 years and the large expanse of park (356,800 hectares). There must have been a massive blow through here recently – loads of large boughs down plus trees blown over roots and all – must have been almost cyclonic. We stayed at the Wonga camping ground. Loads of space between sites, although very few people here at this time of the year. A fireplace for each site and sign posted walks. The first night was freezing (we reckon -2 degrees). We woke to ice inside the van, above us and beside us. As the sun had an impact, and we were about to have drips on us from melting ice, Russ wiped everything down with a towel. We were both warm all night (extra blanket and a hot water bottle for my ribs!)
Outside was covered with white frost, which looked quite beautiful, and crackled when you walked on it. It reminded me of walking to school in the mornings, past Gardiners Creek. We had positioned the van so the morning sun would be on the stove side, making it marginally better for Russ to boil the kettle, cook toast, while I had the easy job of cooking eggs and bacon on the inside diesel stove. Spoiled rotten.
By 10:30, we had coats, scarves and hats off and Russ set to fixing the electric brakes on the van. We discovered they weren’t working yesterday and he’s tried everything – even rang the dealer for advice. No luck. We’ll have to go to Mildura, contact the RACV (where we have Total Care), and have the brakes repaired. The Prado is not allowed to tow over 750 kilos without electric brakes. MUMBLE, MUMBLE, TOIL AND TROUBLE – AGAIN, BLOODY KIMBERLEY.
Found a nice Caravan Park in Gol Gol on the Murray, slept in van on the day of arrival, then early start to get to to the repairer. Phone call told us the bad news that a complete replacement was necessary $1200 + freight and installation. Bake oil had leaked into the electrics and shorted out and damaged various components, and you cannot buy a replacement circuit board!
RACV total Car have put us up in a cabin for 3-4 nights – a part has to come from Sydney. We have a framed view of the river (between 2 cabins), we have heating, a TV, everything we need, so we can’t complain and Russ has just served me a glass of dry sherry with ice.