“ON THE ROAD AGAIN”

It is here. Today is the day.
Vincent and I are leaving for our trip to Tasmania.

So many unknowns.

I’m excited, but also scared. It’s so much easier to just stay put in my comfort zone. I have been staying in the spare bedroom at my son’s house and it is very comfortable with my own entrance and ensuite. I could just stay here.

 

Travelling sounds exciting but when you think about it, it is full of unknowns.

 

I don’t know what is going to happen as I drive. I don’t know what I am going to do when I get to Tasmania. My only plan is to see Tasmania. I have seven weeks and it seems like a small place, so my plan is very simply to drive a circle around.

How will I know where to stay each night, and what there is to see? Some people do a detailed itinerary, but I don’t want this to be a whirl wind tour. I want to take in the ambience of a place and stay longer if I want to, or if something is not fun, then I can get up and leave.

What happens if there are more lockdowns? Our three-day lockdown in Brisbane triggered a two-week border restriction into Victoria. Will I be able to drive through the state borders and not get stopped?

There was so much to do before I left.

The lead up to today has been a flurry of activity. Son number 1 decided that my van needed checking over before I left, and Apollo decided it was time that they did the work they promised when I bought it back in September. It has been sitting around for over a month while I have been packing up and selling my house and NOW everyone wants to do things.

This week I had the bike rack added, and the bathroom vent replaced. I have had the curtains in the bedroom changed to roller blinds to help with keeping the room dark at 4am when the sun thinks it is morning. One of the new safety features my son added was a gas leakage monitor. I have bought a new fold down table outside and I bought myself a small gas cylinder stove to put on the table plus some mosquito coils so I can cook and eat outside.

My son wants to add solar panels as well, but if I wait for a few more days I am going to run out of time. I think there will always be things that I can add or change but that is it for this trip, I am as ready as I am going to be.

It is hard to leave the comforts of the known to head into the unknown.

It sounds crazy but it is hard to leave. I think that it is hard to leave the comforts of the known to venture into the unknown. I am not really trekking across the wild west, but it sort of feels like it.

 

 

There are so many questions running around in my mind.

 

 

Will I have any breakdowns? Will I find good places to camp? Will I meet nice people, or will I be by myself the whole time?

Am I going to get to Melbourne in time to meet my booking on the ferry? Will I get lost trying to find my way through Melbourne to pick up my daughter and then get to the ferry?

How am I going to cope with living in the motorhome full time? Am I going to get lonely or bored?

These are the real questions, and I guess I don’t really know the answers. It is a case of suck it and see. I think it is going to be OK, and the short trips I have done so far have been good, but the only way I will know if this is a lifestyle that will work for me, is to go and see.

 

I hate being bored, but maybe I have gone overboard.

 

 

I have an amazing array of activities onboard, including a small sewing machine I just bought. Why did I buy a sewing machine, you ask? Well, right now I am not sure of the answer. It made sense when I saw it in Spotlight. It was small and light and there was material all around me that was making me want to sew, so I bought the machine. I have given my old machine to my oldest granddaughter to finish a quilt that we had started together. So now I have bought myself a new machine and packed it away with no clear idea of what I am going to do with it. And that is OK, because this is all part of the new life and I don’t have to know everything. It doesn’t all have to make sense.

I also have a paint by numbers kit I bought back in August and have only done once. The TV is fixed, and I have some DVD’s to watch. I have lots of books to read, luckily on kindle, or I would be very overweight. And I have promised everyone that I will finish writing my book that I started back in March 2020.

I have goals like going for walks each day, eating healthy and staying away from foods that don’t agree with my body. I have plans that I am going to send postcards to all of my grandchildren as I thought that would be something fun for them and for me. So, boredom should not be one of my issues.

 

 

One important piece of advice. Make a plan for the time and day to leave and stick to it.

 

 

There always seems to be a reason to stay another day. More things I could do to the motorhome, more things I need to organize but if I don’t leave now, I am worried that I am not leaving myself enough time to drive the 1,700kms to Melbourne and the ferry.

I’ve not been well for the past few days and my son, who I was staying with wanted me to be stronger before I left, but the worry and stress of not going was making me feel worse. I set a day and a time and told everyone that this was it.

 

Saturday at 11AM

It’s Saturday and there is still so much to do

Pack the fridge, put away the things I decided I don’t need. Clean out my car and park it out of the way so it is OK while I am away. Clean up the room I have been staying in and put my last-minute clothes in the van. It was done. I had my two youngest grandsons come to say goodbye and finally, just a fraction late at 11:30 Vincent and I rolled down the driveway on our way

And then 10 mins down the road… I was hit with the realisation that the formal dress I promised my daughter I’d bring to Melbourne was still hanging in my son’s closet!
What should I do? I had already said goodbye, but I had promised, and it would be ages before I would see her or drive to Melbourne again. I phoned my son and he agreed to meet me out on the street with the dress. It worked and I was now only an hour later than I had planned to leave.

I am hot and tired. I am still not feeling very well from a cold that had been hanging around for the week. But I am getting stressed about the short time I have to drive. The ferry booking is only 6 days away

As the only driver (Vincent is great company, but never offers to drive) I need to look after myself and my energy. When I did the trip to Alice Springs in November, I found that 500kms was as much as I could manage in a day. I figured that dividing the drive into four days would be about 400 – 500 per day. But I wanted to leave some leeway for the unexpected.

 

 

The hardest part of any trip is the starting and that is exactly what happened with this trip.

 

 

Leaving is hard. Driving through Brisbane is hard all the way to Ipswich I was still not feeling it. Then as I started to drive the highways through the countryside, I could feel myself relax. I am on the road again. I am starting my new adventure. It is actually happening.

Because of the late start and feeling so stressed and tired I decided not to drive too far on the first leg. I stopped at a lovely little town called Millmerran at the perfect free camp just on the edge of town. This is perfect.

Due to the flurry of last minute activity before I left I had not filled up the water tank or planned my food for the night. Luckily this stopping spot had water and an IGA around the corner.

 

 

Finally, I set up my chair, pulled down my new outdoor table and enjoyed the evening sunset in Millmerran.