After leaving Frederickton, we wanted to reach a certain pub further north but in the end we ended up hitting a huge traffic jam just south of South Grafton.
There was a huge traffic delay due to a major car accident which had occurred many hours earlier in the day. We had to wait over 90 minutes. Apparently the traffic backed up some 25km.

In the end we decided to find the nearest free camp which was in South Grafton. We couldn't find anything and asked at the local petrol station for directions, She didn't know of one but there is a block on the northern side of the station where some people stop. We were told NOT to use the truck stop on the southern side.

I don't think it is worthy a stop over normally but we didn't want to travel any further that day. We were the first to stop there, but we were soon joined by 3 other RVs though everyone kept to themselves.

We can't recommend it as a stop over as it is very noisy obviously with the trucks pulling in and out of the station all night plus the busy highway right next door. However the chips were very nice and crisp that we bought at the all night diner to go with our dinner that night!

Sorry guys but no photos this time.

Free camping at Frederickton Golf Club

On our way north, we decided to call into an Auny's place in Port Macquarie, since we've had very little contact over the years. She invited us to come for lunch which we happily did. It was the first time I had the opportunity to really get to talk to her husband, Chris and start to get to know him too.

A time of reminiscing and finding commonalities ensued and a very pleasant afternoon was enjoyed. My uncle, her brother was able to join us for a short time too!

All too soon it was time to move on, though we weren't going far. Just inland from Port Macquarie a little golf club was offering free camping in their large grassy carpark.

It is a good level park with lots of room for large rigs. It is a sharp right turn into the gate. We found it easier to take the towed car off the motorhome, though Rob reckons we could have done it. (We'd already taken the car off just beforehand as we went too far and needed to turn around.)

The club was happy to accomodate us. We returned the favour happily by buying some drinks and a pub meal later on. Prices were quite reasonable with a beer and ginger beer $9 and wedges with dressings $12.

The next morning was Sunday and we were blessed to find that there was a church right next door to the club, The Christian New Life Centre. What a wonderfully friendly church it was. For such a small community, it was a delight to see a wide cross section of ages and a decent number of people. Some of the people live in Port Macquarie and love this church community so much that they are willing to make the weekly trek.

Though we were thinking of staying 2 nights, we decided to leave as the weather was turning and we believed the grounds would become very boggy and we didn't want to take the risk.

Have you heard of MSO?

The Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA) is the largest RV Club in the Southern Hemisphere. One of the great benefits of the CMCA is the Member Stop Overs (MSO). This relatively new initiative is where some members voluntarily open their private yards or properties for fellow members to stop over on private property for a night or several nights. All members using an MSO are expected to be fully self contained. There are no fees involved. Occasionally some other services such as power may be available but it is at the owners discretion and is not to be expected.

One popular MSO property not far out of the Sunshine Coast are willing to take several vans at once
Each place is different. Some have only the room for one small RV at their place, maybe in their driveway and others might be able to fit in half a dozen or more on a small acreage

This is at our own place. It can fit 2 or 3 depending on the size of the rigs
These private properties are scattered all around Australia. Some are in cities and towns, some are on small farms or properties. There are certain conditions that must be met, such as a courtesy phone call asking if the property is available at the time you hope to roll up. Some allow you to stay more than one night, some allow dogs.

Sometimes it is just at the side of a house
As stated right at the beginning, to make use of the wonderful MSOs that are available right across Australia, you must join the CMCA. There is a one off joining fee of $16.50 plus a yearly membership of $44. There are a lot more advantages of CMCA membership than just the MSO but maybe that can be the topic of a future blog post or you can suss it out at the CMCA website yourself right now.

A disclaimer:
This is just my opinion and from my own personal experiences, which have all been positive. It in no way reflects the official views nor has any permission or payment been sought or given in the making of this blog post. Please regards any mistakes and inaccuracies as my own and then please accept my humble apologies.

Heading north to warmth

Once again we head north for winter to where it is not only warm but we get to catch up with family and many friends we have made on the road. I do feel that we didn't spend as long at home as I would have liked as with a broken wrist and the recovery of  movement in that hand restricted the catch up of gardening etc around the home.

However we packed as much into our brief 4 weeks at home as we could. Catching up with our kids including a family camp at Port Stephens and then welcoming of a new baby, our first grandson were our top priorities.

Various health checks as comes with older age and health issues are par for the course. We were also blessed with catching up with various friends on a one to one basis. Closes family and friends are the fabric that holds as together. De-cobwebing and dusting type housework and the gardening especially weeding are always crying for attention too.

Robbiebago II also had to have various 'health' issues fixed up. The springs were noisy, some part of the gears needed replacing and there's always a few bits and pieces that we think of to make life on the road more comfortable.

Finally we set a date and though it comes too soon for me as I still hadn't caught up with the weeding with my bad hand slowing me down, we were happy to be heading north once again. It has been a mild autumn but the nights were well and truly getting cooler. So the bus is fuelled up and stocked, bits and pieces are packed away and we are off!

First off we visited dear friends in Toronto near Newcastle, who we worked together with on many BCA projects on earlier trips. They invited us to camp overnight to continue the fellowship which we happily did.

Friends from back in 2010
We then went via Port Macquarie and met up with an Aunty whom I have only briefly seen once in about 45 years. It was good to really catch up with her and an uncle who popped by who also lives in Port Mac. Our time all together was very pleasant. We certainly can't let it go so long again. I have cousins I should become reacquainted with too! This is a photo of my self with my aunts and uncle, far too many years ago!

From there we went to Frederickton where they have a very friendly little golf club in the foothills behind Kempsey that welcomes self contained campers. We were thrilled to find out that right next door to the club is a church, the Christian New Life church where we attended on Sunday morning. It is a very welcoming church of all ages with a large musical leadership. Fabulous! It is very similar to our own 10 o'clock services back home without the volume. They were having a meal afterwards and pressed us to stay for lunch which we happily did. There was a lot of encouragement to stay for the monthly evening service too which we had to decline. Not only we had to move on but it had started to rain very early in the morning and we were concerned about getting bogged in the grassy campsite if it got too wet.

Pretty garden at the entry to the Golf Club

Our next campsite was originally going to be very close to the border, but with the later start after church lunch and then a traffic accident just south of Grafton which held us up for more than an hour, we decided to camp at South Grafton. We arrived quite late and left early so no photo.

So we pushed our driving a bit further and drove just across the border to Beenleigh. We are grateful for this campsite which is basically a gravel carpark next to a little grassed park that also borders a little creek. It is also between the highway and the Beenleigh Shopping Centre. It is not the first time we've stayed here as it is quite convenient for us. One time, I'd like to stick around long enough to take the train into Brisbane and do some sight seeing.

Hugh Muntz Park, Beenleigh

From here we will stay with friends in Beerburrum tonight. They are fellow travellers who also have a 1 acre block that welcomes travellers within the CMCA club. We were thrilled to catch up with both sets of friends whom we met here the last time we stayed. Patricia and Rod and Vickie and Rod. The eight of us made great use of happy hours in the foothills of  the Glasshouse Mountains.

Happy Hours with friends in Beerburrum

We are well and truly in Queensland now and that is just where we want to be over winter.

Thai Yellow Curry Fish

Just because one is camping  there is no need to skimp on flavours esp with all the wonderful curry pastes that make simple fast dinners a pleasure to cook as well as to eat. Here is one of my favourite recipes  for 2generous serves that is just perfect for cooking fish, prawns, yabbies etc in your RV. Going fishing anyone?

Thai Yellow Curry Fish

1 Tablespoon oil
1 onion chopped
1 stick celery
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons Thai Yellow Curry Paste
2 carrot julianne strips
½  zucchini sliced
pinch salt
400ml coconut cream
2 pieces fish fillets eg blue grenadier or basa
¾ cup rice

Heat oil and gently fry onion garlic and celery for 5 minutes.
Add curry paste.
Add cream to curry mix.
Start cooking rice.
Simmer curry gently for 10 minutes
Add fish & vegetables and cook 10 minutes.
No seasoning required!
Rinse and drain rice.
Serve fish in top of rice, scoop vegetables and sauce over fish.
Garnish with coriander leaves

Can substitute with prawns, yabbies
Also can substitute with curry powder

Free camping at SawPit

This free camp is just 15km from Portland which is one of the western most towns on coastal Victoria.

The actual historic Saw Pit on site

It’s a busy campground, and you can see why, barely off the main road and you feel like you’re miles from everything.

Plenty of room

It is well serviced with a ranger coming past to clean up fire pits etc. We did have any fires whilst here since the fire warnings were a little ambiguous and we though we'd err on caution.

Relaxing beside the Robbiebago II

Birds such as kookaburras and the colourful rosellas are plentiful and they come looking for some food, obviously having been fed this way plenty of times before, as did some rather shy wallabies, even a wallaby with a joey in the pouch.

Mamma Wallaby not that you can see the joey very well

We spent a few restful days here. We enjoyed meeting with other RVers and even met up with Hans & his wife who are also members of the Highway Wanderers, which we joined just last year.

A Whaler's  Lookout with Portland on the extreme right side.

A pleasant hour was taken going for a little walk along one of the many bike trails to a whalers’ lookout. There had been a bushfire in the area a few years ago and the black trees standing out against the green of the bracken ferns was just striking.

My recipe organiser

I have had been looking for a while for an efficient way to organise all my tried and true recipes as well as those found in magazines, recipe books an online.

After trying a few, I love using Paprika Recipe Manager (available for Android, iPad & iPhone) It is not free but at just $7.99 I believe it is an excellent way to organize my personal digital recipe is book. Paprika's built in web browser lets you easily search the internet for your favorite recipes and save recipes from many different websites. You can also clip found recipes and save it into your own Paprika file.

My Dutch Pea Soup
I have my own family recipes that have been handed down over the years. I also have a huge pile of recipes that I have collected from various magazines or ear marked in various recipe books, let alone the ones I see on the Internet.

With Paprika, it is simple. The new recipes I find online are so simple to save. It is done for me, no typing other than to delegate what catergories  I want them to have. The older recipes, I can manually type them in and edit these or any of your save recipes in-app. I love the ability to make my own tweaks & adjustments to recipes collected, including those collected off the internet.
Once you've loaded in recipes, you can organize them into various categories of your own choosing, even if you wanted one called Grandma's Recipes.

A screen shot of my own recipe files

There are so many features I love. You can tap on an ingredient after adding it to cross it off the list so no more forgotten ingredients. You can tap on a step in the directions to highlight it. Cook times are automatically highlighted with built-in timers that are easy to adjust if needed. There is even a simple conversion calculator that can be quickly accessed when you are in a recipe. And one of my favorite and most-used features is the automatic recipe scaling, which makes quick work of even awkward calculations like 2/3 or 1/6.I love how the app also detects cooking times, providing built-in timers that you can trigger with a tap as you cook. You can even scale ingredients based on your desired serving size, which is great as many recipes are for families and now there's just my hubby and myself most of the time.

Actually you have an electronic timer built in - I'm just showing off a clock my hubby made!

Some other features I haven't gotten around to using yet (and may never) include a grocery list, meal planners, a pantry log and more are among the many features of this excellent cooking app.

I use Paprika at least 4-5 times a week, and consider it an indispensable tool in my kitchen, both at home and on the road in my motorhome. I still haven't copied all my own recipes into but bit by bit I do. I certainly have been trying out a new recipe almost weekly that I have collected and thus my cooking has improved greatly as well as it has broadened & tantalised my tastes.

My Massaman Prawn and Pumpkin Soup
Food presentation is not my forte and thus has a low profile for me but with the saving of recipe photos, my presentation skills have improved too which is nice when having friends over for dinner.

My pride and joy: the wedding cake I made for my daughter

About the only thing I wish it could do is allow me to search by ingredient. Maybe it will come in a future update!