Pulled up camp at the Big 4 Golden River caravan park after around seven hours in the car (including stops) from Melbourne. The little RAV4 didn’t like some of the bigger hills and I’ve already resigned myself to a grey-nomad cruise speed of around 90km/h for the trip.
The kids were pretty happy – especially Miss6 as the park had a solar heated pool (though she was disappointed that Mum only swims in pools once it’s over 30 degrees outside), playground and a funky camp kitchen fashioned out of a shipping container with a TV and couch so I could get in a few desperate episodes of Home and Away (yes I am a River Boy tragic).
We were hoping to avoid as much of the well known cold and wet winter on this trip but alas, the rains came and it poured for around 24 hours while we were there. We didn’t let it deter us though and took to a paddle steamer on the Murray for the day (we were the only passengers under 50) where the kids got to have a go at driving and earned their Skippers Certificate – I’m sure Miss6 thinks this is her ticket to driving some serious boats as we get further along the road!
In an ironic twist while trying to have an afternoon nanna nap I was woken by the ukulele playing nanna from down the road who popped in to show us how to play Rummy. The friendly game of her teaching the three of us how to play quickly turned competitive as she got a bit serious after the kids got on a bit of a roll :). Lesson #1 don’t take on a nanna at Rummy!
After three lovely nights in Mildura it was time to hit the road. I thought I’d get a head start on the morning pack-up by pulling down the kitchen awning the day before. Having completely forgotten about the rain from the day before I lowered the poles only to have a bucket load of ice cold water drop onto my head and down my back!
It seems that the kids and I aren’t the only ones that aren’t morning people – in our attempt to pack up and be out of here by around 9am, the camper decided it didn’t want to play along. While trying to wind up the front two stabiliser legs it became apparent that the winding bolt was bent and wasn’t going to budge. We were stuck…
After some hard work, sweat, tears (all mine of course!) and a minor tantrum involving tools thrown on the ground and some F-bombs that may have shocked the grey nomads, I googled the local Jayco caravan stockist to find out they were open for another 90 minutes and possibly had some replacement parts for me.
It was at this point I had one of those moments where my good self had to be polite to the gentlemen that decided to pop past and offer their ‘help’ (after I’d already done all the hard work and figured out what was wrong of course) knowing that their offer to ‘take a look for me’ was only going to take up precious time I didn’t have and prove fruitless as both men that turned up soon realised what I already knew that the parts were broken and needed replacing… The impatient, independent part of me desperately wanted to yell “just get out of the bloody way and let me get out of here!”.
After removing the old parts and replacing them with new ones at Jayco, I was covered in sweat and grease and running around three hours late for our drive to Broken Hill. I decided five more minutes wasn’t going to change anything so I stopped at Macca’s for two iced chocolates for the kids and an iced mocha for me for the drive.
Then it was on the road again to Broken Hill and Silverton.