A Travellerspoint blog

May 2016

Melbourne to Jerilderie.

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Although we had some rain overnight, today was generally fine and mild with little wind for our trip of 326 km to Jerilderie.

We waited until about 9:30 am for the traffic to subside before heading off. Once we were on the road we heard on the radio that there had been a horrific crash on the Calder Freeway between the Western Ring Road and the Tullarmarine Freeway. A fully loaded TOLL B-Double fuel tanker carrying 60,000 litres of fuel had collided with 6 or 7 cars before coming to rest on top of one of the cars which was completely crushed. At least one person was killed and about 6 injured. The Freeway was closed in both directions for the rest of the day. This meant that there was traffic chaos on on the Western Ring Road between Ballarat Road and the Hume Freeway as already heavy traffic tried to find an alternate route into the City. Trucks, trucks and even more trucks!

As we were heading north we were eventually clear of the worst of the traffic, travelling on the Hume Freeway and the Goulburn Velley Highway. We stopped for fuel and a coffee at the Service Centre just before Seymour, and again for another coffee at the bakery in Finley. Tonight we are free camping at Billabong Creek near Jerilderie.

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Lunch stop at Finley

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Camped at Billabong Creek

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Billabong Creek

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Billabong Creek Free Camp area at Jerilderie.

Posted by TwoAces 01:12 Comments (0)

Station Pier to Braeside and back to Ashley Gardens

Monday 23 May 2016

Weather in Melbourne was forecast to be 16 degrees but it felt cooler with the breeze. Showers were forecast for later in the day.

We were eventually called to the vehicle deck and were off the ferry by about 7:00 am. From the ferry we headed along Beach Street and Beaconsfield Parade to Glenhuntly Road to reach the Napean Highway which would take us to Braeside, where we arrived at about 7:30 am. We decided to have breakfast at the nearby Red Pillar Cafe before meeting Phil at Trailblazers.

Most of the work on our van had been completed and we waited for one last job to be done before we could leave, We chatted to Phil while we waited and he told us that he now builds more slide-ons and truck campers than 5th wheelers. The fifth wheelers that he does build tend to be heavier off-road versions, and they have the first double axle chassis for a fiver being constructed. He expected the tare weight of a double axle fiver to be in the vicinity of 3.5 tonnes, so a truck or large American Ute would be needed to tow the van.

With the work completed we were hitched up and on our way by about 9:30 am, and headed for the Monash Freeway and the Burnley Tunnel for our trip back to Melbourne and out to Braybrook. The trip was uneventful and we arrived at the Caravan Park at about 10:00 am with Di only once putting on the brakes. We were allocated drive through site 52 which allowed us to stay hitched up as we are only in Melbourne for one night. We spent the next couple of hours transferring food and clothing to the van before visiting Woollies and BWS at the shopping centre next door to the caravan park.

Later in the afternoon we headed into the City to meet up with Kirrily and Ian for dinner at the Duke Hotel which is only a block away from their apartment in Flinders Street. It was good to catch up with them again and we will see then again in September on our way back home.

Posted by TwoAces 01:10 Comments (0)

Hobart to Devonport

Sunday 22 May 2016

Weather was fine and mild with a temperature of about 20 on the sunny eastern shore.

We spent Sunday morning doing a final tidy up around the house and packed the last of our things in the Navara. Unlike other trips where we have the fridge in the van for food, we had to pack food from the fridge and freezer at home into cold bags and put them into the back of the Ute and hope that they would survive the trip without thawing out too much. When we took the van to Melbourne in early April we packed a lot of our lighter clothes, but by the time we packed up again today we could not remember all that we had packed, so have probably brought too much in the way of clothes.

We eventually got away at 1:45 pm and headed for the tip to get rid of a bag of garbage, and collect a weigh-bridge ticket to give us a feel for the weight of the Navara. Our actual weight was 2.72 tonnes which included a lot of food as well as bins and bags full of clothing that will eventually end up in the van. The Nissan will probably end up at about 2.6 tonnes which is our usual travelling weight. This allows plenty of leeway for the pin-weight of the van which is now about 500 kgs, since David installed bins on the rear bumper of the van for all or our Annexe poles, clips and rafters. Transferring the the poles and rafters etc from the front lockers to the rear of the van decreased the pin weight by about 100 kgs. Our revised GVM for the Navara is 3.25 tonnes. The loaded weight of the caravan is about 2.9 tonnes, which together with the weight of the Navara at 2.6 tonnes is well with the GCM of the combination of 5.805 tonnes.

We stopped in Campbell Town for coffee and a toasted ham and cheese sandwich at Zeps, before re-fueling at Perth. We arrived at Devonport at about 5:45 pm and joined the check-in queue. There seemed to be many more caravans than usual (we heard later that there were over 100 vans). As we were a high top vehicle without a caravan in tow we were loaded early and sent down the ramp to Deck 2 - this meant the we would be near last off in Melbourne as Deck 3 would need to be clear to allow us to come back up the ramp. It was interesting to note that no trucks at all had been loaded on Deck 3 - they are usually loaded first in rows down each side. The ferry departed early at 7:10 pm.

For a change we had had a meal from the cafeteria and selected the Chefs Special - an excellently cooked Sirloin steak with crunchy green vegetables and a sliced potato stack. Perhaps the best meal that we have ever had on the Spirit of Tasmania ferries - helped down with some good wines - 42 Degrees South bubbles for Di and a Goaty Hill Pinot for David.

We were in bed by 10:00 pm for what was to be a very smooth crossing, winds from the North at 25 to 30 Knots in the middle of the night, which had no impact as we were heading straight into the winds and waves.

Posted by TwoAces 01:09 Comments (0)

Winter is Coming - time to head North

Wednesday 4 May 2016

On Wednesday morning we woke to see a snow covered Mt Wellington. A not so warm reminder that its nearly time to head north again. The snow had arrived with a front that crossed the State overnight and gave the Spirit of Tasmania a bit of a bashing in Bass Strait. Winds of 50 knots and 9 metre swells. The ferry was apparently approaching Devonport when the Captain decided to bail out and try again. The result was the ferry broached and rolled 45 degrees, throwing passengers around and also moving cars and a few trucks on the vehicle deck. Spirit of Tasmania hit by a large wave

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Posted by TwoAces 01:09 Comments (0)

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