Thursday, 9 November 2017

A Solo Road Trip and Granny Time

Those of my friends who I see on Instagram and Facebook will be familiar with all of my Granny Spam that I posted while I was in Victoria with my daughter and little girls.
My road trip took me to Victoria via Coleraine, where I spent my first night out on my own in the Avan. The people in the only two caravans in the small caravan park would have been entertained with side splitting humor as they watched me reverse my little van into a spot not three times, but six times, before I eventually got it right.
Well, actually it wasn't all my fault!! Of course it was Brian's fault for not putting the extension electricity cord into the tool box! I could have parked anywhere, even part way up the street, if I had that extension, so I learned to reverse and get lined up in one tough, but necessary lesson.
However, I had previously practiced opening up the magic box, that is the Avan, and I pulled that off with panache. Surely the onlookers would have gasped in awe at my skill.

 Feeling empowered with my newly acquired skills, the next day of traveling took me to my sister's property out of Winchelsea.  After enjoying an evening in their company and an excellent meal with them, I unhitched the Avan, waved goodbye and ventured forth with just the car across the Queenscliff to Sorrento ferry to my family on the Mornington Peninsula; stopping off for a lunchtime visit to my brother, near Geelong, on the way.
Taking the Avan across on the ferry didn't make economical sense, as both places I was visiting have comfortable guest rooms, but their yards were too small to park the van.

Being Granny to these two is the most wonderful thing, and oh my goodness, they keep me on the move. There is no TV in their home and they see no screens at all, except for the very occasional DVD as a very special treat maybe once a week or month.
Their imaginative games, and the ability they have to entertain themselves, is a joy to be a part of and I applaud their parents for the way they are raising these girls.  Spending lots of time outside, they are certainly getting a good amount of Vitamin D.

 And the best news, soon there will be three.!!

I left them for a couple of days to drive further east to visit another sister at Drouin, in Gippsland. Obviously we were so busy, or so relaxed, that I forgot to take photos! As we age, we siblings seem to become closer, and each opportunity we get to spend together is so very special.
After another few days back with the grand daughters I set off back across the ferry for another couple of days with my sister and to reunite with the Avan.
No holiday would be complete if I didn't visit every op-shop in my path, and I made some very good purchases along the way.
My grand daughters were amused to see me rummaging in the hard rubbish while out walking with them to the playgrounds in their area. What treasures I found for the kitchen; beautiful bowls, casserole dishes and another jug. I have plenty of all these things but still couldn't resist.

Brian and I had fleetingly visited Daylesford six years ago, and I've been keen to return ever since, so after just a couple of hour's driving, I was backing the van into this tight little space unaided, ahem!!
Jubilee Lake Caravan Park made quite an impression on me last time, so I headed straight there again and chose a very quiet spot away from all the other vans.
Each to their own I guess, but I don't enjoy being squeezed in among other caravans, where I can hear my neighbor snoring (or worse).

Not a very good angle, but I was very pleased to have the camera in my hand when this parrot flew in to check me out and eat the crumbs from my biscuit. There's another reward for choosing a quiet spot.
I couldn't believe how fast each day sped past. There were walks to be had, and new places to explore. Far from the crowds.
The joys of traveling solo became apparent to me once again, and allowed me to be completely selfish with my time.

All around the area of Daylesford, Hepburn Springs, Trentham and beyond there are mineral springs, with signs pointing to them from the main roads.....

....with pumps for bringing the water up from the ground below to fill our containers.
Some springs were better tasting than others. This one was bubbly and delicious, with good keeping qualities, so if you're in the area, I can recommend the Lyonville Spring which can be reached by following the small sign on the road between Daylesford and Trentham.

Incidentally, "The Salvos" in Daylesford is the best op-shop I have ever been into (trust me, I'm the connoisseur of op-shops).
Stylishly merchandised with tasteful displays, funky music, polished timber floors, young volunteer attendants, subtle pleasantly fragrant boutique style space; my first thought on entering was "This will be pricey," but it certainly was not pricey at all and I bought a plain red t-shirt for $2.

Sad to leave lovely Daylesford, I packed up and began the return journey towards home, but with a slightly out of the way detour through the historic town of Maldon (near Castlemaine)...

...where I spent a delightful morning wandering about and snapping photos, chatting to locals, and generally enjoying the peace on that quiet week day.

I had been there on a weekend approximately thirty years ago (!!!) and the town was very busy with tourists, so I enjoyed the calmer pace while discovering that the town has not changed at all.
As someone who appreciates history, and feels comfort in being among old things, I could easily live in this town, with its beautiful community of dedicated people who are conserving its beauty.
Bravo to Maldon and to all who live there!!

Another overnight stop in Kaniva, to break the long drive home. The quiet Council owned caravan park has drive-through sites for over-nighters not wanting to unhitch their van from the car. This suited me fine, although I must say I had all that tricky stuff pretty much mastered by then.
Along the way, I met some lovely people, helpful and generous with their time. Being an older 'lady' solo traveler, I felt very safe with the knowledge and belief that most people are inherently good and kind.
Some folks thought I was 'gutsy' to be traveling alone. Although I didn't see any other single older women on this trip, I'm occasionally inspired by other older women travelers, and I hope to continue my travels for many years to come.
Traveling to new places thrills me, it sharpens my thought processes and improves my self confidence like nothing else can.
It's difficult for both Brian and I to get away together for more than a couple of days, at this time in our farming lives, so I'm grateful that he is happy for me to take short trips away.
The Avan certainly makes it possible to travel in this way, all it needs is an average amount of strength to lift the roof and the setting up takes me less than five minutes in total.
Although I'm happy and content to be home again, with new zest and energy after a lovely break, in the back of my mind I'm thinking about the next place I'll venture to.
I know that some folks don't enjoy traveling... do you?  and where do you go when you can get away?
Cheers for now, and thanks for visiting.


  1. wow what a trip, lovely photos! so glad you enjoyed yourself & that you feel energised again.
    i'm not a traveller & prefer to stay home but on occasion i do like to 'visit' other places or the family
    thanx for sharing

    1. Thanks Selina, one of my sisters is like you, loves to be at home and I understand that we are all different.

  2. I love traveling. The last 35 years, since we started our own business, have been limited to North America. We were road trip(car and hotel) travelers for all that time. Now we have older dogs that we don't like to leave for long periods so we bought a new to us travel trailer. A whole new experience for us!' Luckily we live in Colorado and the south west part of the US will be our new back yard. Lots of dry camping for us to try. Do you call it boondocking like it is called here? We took a 3 week trip for our maiden trip and did okay. State park and rv park to start. Loved your pictures and reading about your trip.

    1. Candace it's lovely to hear about your travels in USA. We also enjoy freedom camping as we call it here. I had to google boondocking :) We have done long trips in our previous caravan, into the remote Centre and Outback of Australia, most nights spent under the stars with no one else around. It's a truly wonderful experience. Can't beat that freedom, the camp fire, the birds, bucket showers outside under stars and the company of our dogs. For safety and for Brian's peace of mind, when alone I always camp in a quiet caravan park, or if free camping I make sure there are other caravaners nearby. Generally we try to free camp for three nights and then one night in a caravan park to fill up with water, have long showers and recharge our devices.

  3. Oh that sounds wonderful, I love traveling, and hubby, myself and the kids have done our fair share of it. We have a camper trailer, I once went camping alone with the kids while hubby went to Tamworth for the country music festival, we took two vehicles, he helped set us up for the week, and planned to meet us back there in a weeks time to pack us up and head home, however, after a couple of days it started raining heavily, and the river started rising (we were bush camping on private property, no facilities or people) I've had enough experience to know when to "get out" so the kids and I packed up the whole trailer by ourselves and left! I'd never done that in my life, Hubby usually does the boy stuff and I do the girl stuff, by I had to do the lot, including reversing the car and hitching up the trailer! The hiccup in the story came when I had to drive up a steep, wet, grassy hill to get out, the trailer was so heavy from the soaking wet canvas that I couldn't get up the hill, I tried to reverse back down and that started going badly, so I just stopped, half way up!! Fortunately I called up the farmer on the CB, and he came and drove us the rest of the way up. It was an adventure, but I was proud of myself and the kids for tackling it. As it turned out we could have stayed put, the river didn't come up to where we were, this time!!!

    1. What a wonderful memory to share Cheryl. Isn't it amazing what we are capable of when we need to be?

  4. Sounds like a wonderful little get-away. I saw the A-Van about 12 years ago and it's perfect for a single or couple.

    1. The Avan is a compomise Kathy, after owning a full size caravan with lots of storage and more space, but it wasn't economical to tow and was beyond my hitching up capabilities. This one is just right, a bit like baby bear's chair. :)


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