December 2010

  • Cover Page
  • Map of Trip-2006.
  • Map of Trip-2008.
  • Map of Trip-2009.
  • Map of Trip-2010.

  • As I said in the November update we finished heaps of jobs in Bundy, had a few weeks in Brisbane and we then headed for the Sunshine Coast and back to one of our favorite caravan parks, Cotton Tree. We again had a month there which bought us up to the very beginning of the new year.  The usual crowd were there (which is most of the reason we keep going back) and it was good to catch up on what they have all been up to over the year.

    Wet, wet, wet is probably the best way to describe December 2010. I think by now we can safely say the drought has broken. This has been by far our wettest month at Cotton Tree in over 10 years. No complaints from us, we certainly needed it, but it was a bit painful at times. The worst part of that much rain is the dirt and rubbish that is flushed out the river and into the ocean. For most of our stay the river was too revolting to swim in, with the ocean not much better. Besides the fact it didn't look appealing, there was then the risk of sewerage (there were reports of sewerage systems overflowing and possibly ending up in the waterways) and other muck in the water plus the increased risk of bull sharks that love to hang around the murky foreshores. So beach cricket became the new number one pastime. We all got involved and there was some fierce competition. The fast pace certainly took it's toll on Chris and me. Making 30 runs in the sand is tough work. Chris wanted to employ a runner, but we decided that was against the rules. She was not happy!!!!

    The constant and at times very heavy rain caused a huge number of issues for a lot of campers. Gazebos fell like flies; Jim has proven they can hold a lot of water. That ball of water (below) had actually hung down to his number plate before he stabbed a hole in it). Nearly everyday there was a gazebo twisted and broken at the bins. Vans leaked, pegs constantly pulled out and gear got wet. Even the mighty Grandtourer sprung a leak through the airconditioner that I smartly fixed. Unfortunately for some it all became too hard and many left before their time, with others not coming at all. There were more empty sites this year than we have ever seen before. This year really sorted out the men from the boys. I am not sure how I would have coped had we been in a tent, so I do take my hat off to all of them who survived and continued to enjoy their holiday. It certainly would have tested their resilience.

    Rain Oops
                    No more rain - Oops, what is that thing Jim??

    It seemed that the first few weeks were dominated by shopping and of course setting up all the lights. Unfortunately as it rained so much there were only a handful of nights that we were able to turn them on. Park numbers also seemed down so the number of walk-by sightseers was very low. Never-the-less we all had fun getting them all up, again with Harry the master light technican directing the proceedings. Again ours was the 'stand out' street in the park. It's great that everyone around us makes such an effort. Bruce grumbled constantly that this would be the last year for their lights, but we know who wears the pants in that family, don't we Michelle, so I know for sure the lights will be back.

    Our Lights Bruce and Michelle Coombes Coopers
                                             Our street lights - very pretty!

    I continued to potter along getting a few more jobs finished on the caravan and had a few things done to the car. A new straight-through exhaust, inlet manifold removed and cleaned and some changes to the turbo, all of which have combined to make the car run even better, with more power and lower exhaust temperatures. Chris continued to get the inside of the van in order. Because we have been spending most of our time in the camper over the past few years and only a few weeks a year in the caravan, it really has been a bit neglected. Now was the time to get it all sorted as it will be our home for close on 6 months this year. Being back in the van touring again is very exciting. As much as we love the camper, the van is so much easier and has an added level of comfort that will be great in Tassie where the temperature can be slightly unpredictable. It takes us back to 2006 where the whole adventure began. Oh the memories!

    Back to December. My family all got together the week before Christmas and this year both my brothers were able to make it. Grant did a surprise flight up from Adelaide which was great, as we have not all been together at the one time for many years. Mum was over the moon. We also had all of Shane's kids there (they always make the effort) and Kirsty's new baby, Harry. The last photo below is big and little Harry. That makes my youngest brother a grandfather. This year instead of having our lunch at mum's place we went to the Maroochydore Surf Club. Great venue, good food and no dishes. It was a really nice day and hopefully one that will be repeated in the future.

    The Family The Family The Family Harry and Harry
                                        The Parfitt Family Christmas Bash

    Chris's mother was having Christmas down in Tassie this year (with Chris's sister, Anne, her husband, Tony and youngest son, Nic) so Christmas day was just us and my mum who came up for lunch. Later that day our nephew Zac and his girlfriend Laana came and stayed a few nights. It was great having them and the boys had a ball with their big cousin.

    Christmas day was excellent. A fairly early awakening by Harry had us all up and opening presents when one should still be asleep. Christmas and kids has to one of the best times of the year. I had the bright idea of getting something completely different for Alex this year. In 2008 he got a skateboard (4 wheels), in 2009 a Ripstik (2 wheels) so this year, a unicycle - clearly with one wheel. What will he get next year?? I am sure the poor boy thinks I am completely mad, but if anyone will be able to master it, it will be Alex.  Now he has a unicycle, juggling balls, devil sticks and a diablo. He thinks we are grooming him for a travelling circus. Maybe he could make some money at the markets as we travel around??? Now I'm thinking!!!!

    Christmas Day- 2010 Christmas Day- 2010 Christmas Day- 2010 Christmas Day- 2010
                                                Christmas Day - 2010

    What?? What the???
    Your joking, right???
                                          What has my crazy father bought me now???

    As with Cotton Tree tradition we spent a lot of time sitting in the street telling tales and discussing any number of world changing issues. These street parties are always fun, noisy and usually end up with me doing something embarrassing. Why is that??

    The crew 
    An intellectual gathering.
    I have a great deal of trouble working out where the month went, but went it did and before we knew it, it was New Year's Eve. I sat back as I do each year and reflected on the year that was. No New Year's resolution except to enjoy and live life to its fullest, to be a family and to take time every day to 'smell the roses' and to remember what living is really all about.

    2010 has been yet another fun-filled year, most of which was again spent in the Kimberleys, and of course our trip to Vietnam, the trip back to Qld and Daydream Island. At this stage we think that will pretty much be it for the Kimberleys as we have so many other places to explore. The 2 years we spent up there was all new and exciting and we have seen some amazing places. Ones that stand out are Mitchell Falls, Kalumburu, the Horizontal Waterfall, The Gibb River Road and all there is to see along the way, and of course one of our favourites, One Arm Point and the entire Dampier Penninsular. Not many can say they have spent that amount of time exploring one of the great wilderness areas of this country. We have made some great friends along the way, people I am sure we will continue to be in touch with.

    In true New Year's Eve tradition, I was in bed by 10-00pm and only woke briefly to hear the fireworks. Chris was feeling unwell with a gut-ache, so it was a real hoot in our household.

    December update, short and sweet. January will have us back to Bundy, down to Burrum Heads and then off to Melbourne, hopefully with an overnight hike at Wilson's Prom and to South Point, the most southern point of mainland Australia, (weather permitting) with us arriving in Tasmania on the last day of January. Bring it on!

    We hope you all had a great Christmas and an even better new year. We have been very slack this year and have not sent out one Christmas Card. Where does the time go. We might try and get one out for Easter.

    We hope 2011 brings to you everything you dream of. If you make the effort, dreams do come true. Ours sure have.

    Until next month

    Cousin Zac Cousin Zac
                Zac up to visit- The boys and their big cousin.

    A question was posed to the Dalai Lama:  What thing about humanity surprises you the most?”  His response was:  “Man.”

    Because he sacrifices his health to make money
    Then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health
    And then he is so anxious about the future that he doesn’t enjoy the present
    And as a result he doesn’t live in the present or the future
    And he lives as if he’s never going to die, and then dies having never really lived ...