After a three week stay in eastern Missouri at my daughter's home we were preparing to leave. After unplugging the coach I started the generator. Just as it was switching the current over to the generator it died. The error code indicated an overheat condition. It was a very warm day but we could get by without the air conditioners running so I decided to let this ride for now and investigate at our next stop. While on the way to Independence, on the other side of the state, I pondered how
We are wrapping up a three week stay with our family in Missouri. We've had a chance to see all of our grandchildren and enjoy some time with each. Ryan is now a freshman in high school and a new member of the marching band. Spencer is in eighth grade and enjoys sports as only a young boy can. Kaitlyn started sixth grade in the middle school and is just getting involved in 4H and is picking out an instrument for the school band. Elaina is a fourth grader, a junior cheerleader and really enj
The next leg of our trip begins with an early wake-up. I was checking weather when it started to rain. It was a light rain but I had to unhook the utilities so I quickly went outdoors to unhook the water and sewer. The car had to be run before towing and I took care of that. I came in with a wet head and damp shirt. I dried my hair and hung the shirt to dry. Louise woke and I ate breakfast while she got ready to travel. Louise doesn't like to eat early in the morning but she does want her
Our first stop on our way north was in San Antonio. I had an appointment at Iron Horse RV to have a new set of house batteries installed. We've always had good service experiences with them. This time was different. The LIfeline batteries we specified weren't there, they hadn't been ordered. The person who took the order didn't realize that Lifeline batteries were not the brand they carry and hadn't said anything to the parts department. They arranged to get the batteries the next day and
After five weeks at home we packed the motor home and set out to touch base with our families. The motor home fix-it list needs some attention so we'll try to get some of those items taken care of on this trip as well.
Ten years of sun and wind have taken their toll on the awnings on the windows. The fabric is fraying and seams are disintegrating. My plan was to have them replaced locally on our way out of town. I contacted our local RV repair shop, listed as a dealer on the Carefree of Col
One of the questions that came up was whether we had our motor home in Australia. This is something that one might consider for an extended trip but it isn’t really feasible. There are numerous problems, the first is that the campgrounds aren’t set-up for our motor homes. The power cords we use don’t fit anything here. Current is 220V but the plug is unlike anything we use in the US. They don’t have sewer connections similar to ours, they use one inch hoses for grey water and toilets are a
Here is another question. In a recently posted picture the ground looked rather dry, not the lush green paradise that many imagine for New Zealand. Let me assure you there are many places that are lush and green. The North Island and indeed much of New Zealand has experienced a rather dry summer. They are quite a bit behind their normal rainfall. So farming areas are dry. The moist rainforests, protected by shade from trees holds moisture better and tree roots help the forest absorb almost
I’ve had several commenters ask questions so I’ll take a little time to answer one of them here. This was written in February and I’m posting it now that our trip has ended.
Regarding the nature of the night sky here in New Zealand. First let me say that you don’t have to go far outside the large cities to experience some of the best dark skies you can imagine. The population is spread thin outside the major cities. One in three people live in Auckland and 85% of New Zealanders live in citi
Suva is the capital city of Fiji. It is located on the southeast side of Viti Levu, the largest island in the Fiji Islands. Our cruise started when we departed the western side of the island from Lautoka. Suva is the largest city in Fiji. Within view of our ship at the dock we can see the downtown area of Suva. There is a huge bus station. Most of the inhabitants don’t own automobiles so they depend heavily on public transportation. There are three large sheds, each with a half dozen park
After two days at sea we arrived at Savusavu, Fiji. The city of Savusavu is located on Vanua Levu, one of two large islands in the island nation of Fiji. There are dozens of other islands in the group of islands that make up Fiji. At Savusavu, we had a tour to Wiasali Rainforest Reserve. Billed as a strenuous hike, this lived up to its billing. There were 15 people on this shore excursion. Eleven members of our group fit into a van and the remainder of us rode to the reserve by taxi. Loui
We had two sea days on our way from Noumea, New Caledonia to Fiji. Both Louise and I enjoy the enforced relaxation of the sea days. There is plenty to do on the ship not the least of which is to just relax. Louise enjoys playing cards and I enjoy relaxing in the sun or shade of the upper decks.
Our stateroom is on the lowest passenger level located mid-ship which is our preferred location. Being both low and in the center of the ship, we experience less movement than almost anyone else on
Noumea is the capital of New Caledonia. It is the largest city in these islands and has many multi story buildings in the business district and also condominiums and apartments in buildings up to ten stories high. Located on the island of New Caledonia is a large port with shipping facilities as well as docks for cruise ships. We were within walking distance of the city center. Within sight of our ship was the major portion of population and in the opposite direction a large nickel smelting
New Caledonia is a French colonial possession. The entire country remains under the control of the French. There is a pending election scheduled for 2018 which could result in the independence of the country. The Iles de Pins (French for Isle of Pines) was named by Captain Cook who was impressed by the tall pine trees on this island. Our ship, the m/s Paul Gauguin which operates out of Tahiti is a small cruise ship, 320 passengers plus a crew of about 200. Its small size and shallow draft a
By evening on Wednesday the seas had calmed somewhat and the ride to our next stop is much gentler than the previous days ride. Our route took us further west and south. The day was cool with light winds. The captain informed us that we were cruising at a relaxed 7 knots, down from the 12 knots of previous days. We had plenty of time to reach our next island paradise, Lifou, part of the Loyalty Island group.
On Lifou, we toured a botanical garden and vanilla farm. The botanical garden t
This is the cruise that started the whole trip to New Zealand and Australia. We signed on for the cruise and later decided to make it part of a longer trip. Now with our exploration of New Zealand and Australia behind us we are exploring another part of the world. Our cruise started in Fiji on Saturday, May 31 in Lautoka, Fiji. Leaving Lautoka at sunset we sail for a day and a half to the island nation of Vanuatu. Once known as the New Hebrides Islands, this group of many islands is sparsel
May 29, Thursday, we bid farewell to Australia. After three months our Australian adventure comes to a close. A van to the airport, check in with the airlines and proceed through security and we’re on our way. Of course it just doesn’t happen that quickly. We awoke at 5:00 a.m. to catch a shuttle at 5:30 to the airport. By the time we’ve checked our baggage, it is 6:30. We’re given an exit card to complete to clear customs and immigration as we leave Australia. We stopped for breakfast an
By Tuesday we had accomplished all our first priority activities for our stay in Sydney. The forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday was a chance of rain but the rain never materialized. We left the hotel and took a city bus downtown to Circular Key, the heart of the transportation hub in Sydney. The bus route terminates near the ferry terminal and the commuter train station. We went to the ferry terminal and located the Manly Fast Ferry, a ferry service for people traveling to and from destinati
Our third day in Sydney, Monday, May 26, is a big day. We start out with a second ride on the tour bus. We purchased a two-day ticket. There are two routes for the scenic drives, this one takes us south of the city to Bondi Beach and then back to the city. We remained in the urban area the whole trip but are away from the large buildings of city center. This trip was interesting as we traveled through many older parts of the city. Bondi Beach itself is a gorgeous wide beach with a nice sur
Our second day in Sydney we took a bus tour through the city. The bus was a double decker with an open upper deck so that is where we sat. I took photos as we drove along. We had earphones with commentary on the areas of the city as we rode along. The weather was perfect, sunny and warm. At stops I had a chance to stand up and get better pictures. My philosophy on taking pictures when moving is that you shoot lots of pictures knowing some will be blurred or will not be well framed. If I t
With this entry, we are clearly outside the realm of motor home experience but the remainder of our trip started with almost three months in the motor home so I'll finish off the last three weeks just to give the story an ending. We've flown to Sydney after turning in the campervan at Britz in Perth.
When we checked into our hotel they gave us some information about a festival starting in Sydney on Friday night, the night we arrived. It is a two-week festival of lights, sound and ideas. The
We’ve been touring Australia for almost three months now. Along the way we’ve collected some souvenirs for ourselves and for our friends and family. When we started this trip our bags were packed to the limit. We investigated shipping the souvenirs and some of the clothing we would not need on the cruise back to the US. Every query ended up with prices that were extreme for even a small package. Then in a discussion with a park ranger at Monkey Mia we found out about something different. S
We left Ledge Point after a drive through town to get a look at the community. The housing was upscale beach housing with beautiful homes with a second story that looked over the dunes to the sea. The dunes all along this coast are very well preserved. Walkways are provided at specific places and people seem to stay off the dunes other than through the walkways. This is nice to see and seldom seen in the US. Dune erosion can be quite serious. Once the plants have been disturbed, the dune i
Departing the Geraldton area we noticed a dramatic change from our travels over the last month. We have returned from the Great Australian Outback. Suddenly we were seeing fields of crops and farms. There were still many areas with native plants growing but the sudden change from no farmland to abundant farmland was quite surprising. Along with this, we no longer saw signs for domestic animals, cows and sheep, roaming on the road. This was the end to open range country. Traffic was light o
We left the Billabong Homestead early Saturday morning and drove on south toward Kilberri National Park. This would be a side trip off the North West Coastal Highway that we’ve been traveling. The road through the park takes us to Kalbarri, a small town on the coast. The National Park surrounds the park. The central feature of Kalbarri National Park is the Murchison River. Like many of the rivers in Western Australia (WA) the Murchison River is barely flowing or dry for much of the year. I
At 11:30 a.m. we left Monkey Mia on our way back south. Just 25 miles down the road is a beautiful little town, Denham. We stopped there to walk the main street along Denham Strait. Palm trees, green grass and brilliant green and blue ocean water provided a beautiful setting for this town. Louise was making one last attempt to find just the right pearl jewelry and found a necklace and earrings at a small shop on the waterfront. We enjoyed the walk, a cool breeze and bright sunshine made for