Tuesday, February 4, 2014

5 February 2015 - Riverside Caravan Park, Bli Bli, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Tuesday morning saw us up early, long before the alarm clock went off; Chris had had very little sleep although his eye was looking a lot better, thank goodness. We packed lunch into the eski, and set off away from Bli Bli, west through the lush coastal valleys, back out onto the Bruce Highway and joined the heavy traffic heading south. We left the highway at Caboolture, now all too familiar, and called into the Pawn Shop we had managed to off load the very first of our discards. Alas, today was not as successful; we received about one third of what we had so very recently paid for the solar panel and accessories purchased with a view to storing the rig. Still, better than nothing, I suppose.

Back on the highway, we received a text from Gary from Darwin; his flight was delayed and he would not be in until midday. As we neared the north eastern outskirts of Brisbane, I recalled the existence of the Boondall Wetlands Park, a park we had visited on our last stay in Brisbane, part of the Mountain to Coast Greenway. We stopped by, not a grand detour at all, because even as one walks through the casurarinas and melaleucas, glimpses and sound of the traffic barreling through on the Gateway Motorway can be caught from the cycle path, a kilometre or so of which we walked to stretch our legs and to fill in time. Back in the car we ate half of our lunch and drained the thermos, still far short of midday but we could well imagine our meal routine would be shot if we did not attend to this now.

Resuming our route, we called by the hotel we are booked into for the last two nights before we fly out, the first of these nights really quite unnecessary the way things have panned out, but how were we to know? It looked alright despite the rather dismal reports I had since read on Trip Advisor, but it is in the middle of a light industrial zone, handy to the airport and more or less inaccessible to anyone but those who come by car or shuttle bus. We spied a big new shopping centre, Skygate, I think, but this too seems to be just as inaccessible to all but the motorist. God forbid that we will be limited to eating hotel food! Us, the self-caterers from way back!

We were still far too early to meet Gary but parked up in the Domestic Airport car park anyway, a mistake because we could have saved ourselves a whole lot of dosh if we had hung around the Boondall instead. Airport car parks are rip offs all over the world, are they not?

So we waited and waited for the delayed Jetstar flight from Darwin, and finally he came through, a “small chap aged fifty eight, wearing jeans”. We introduced ourselves then all set off to the rental car pick up area. I had booked this the previous day but not received the confirmation and detail in time by email, however a quick telephone call that morning had confirmed it was all on track. I had followed this up twice more when we were delayed, but at no time understood that we were to go in a shuttle back to their office to sign up and be sorted for the hire. This did not go down well, however I grabbed Chris’s Queensland licence, kissed him goodbye and jumped in the van, hoping it would all pan out.

Chris and Gary had to go via a place in Southbank to collect a draw fitting for the landcruiser which we all imagined would take them an hour or so. I had my water bottle, the newspaper and a book so was happy enough to fill in the time. However by the time I untangled the mess at Ace Rentals that I had made and set off across the river and west to Cooper Plains, without a navigational device, just a list of roads scribbled on a scrap of paper and the memory of the map, they were at the transport company waiting for me.

Farewell to our well travelled wagon
Paperwork all round was attended to efficiently and the cheque in the bank on the journey back into the city where we dropped Gary to do some shopping at David Jones for his city-shopping-starved wife. The whole business had been smooth and Gary had proved a delight to do business with. All was well in the world!

We headed back to the Sunshine Coast, stopping at a roadhouse for an ice-cream and a change of drivers; Chris slept the rest of the way home. Over a dinner of bacon, eggs and beans, complimented by a bottle of fine wine, we congratulated each other on having finally sold the rig, albeit at knockdown prices. And in case you are wondering what we eventually did sell it all for; we made a loss of about one third of the cost, and that is all I will say here.

This morning dawned with stormy skies, not at all promising for the last load of laundry planned. I hung it all out and we headed into Maroochydore to the Queensland Transport Authority to hand the landcruiser number plates in. Alas, Wednesday is a late opening for this office, unbeknown to the twenty or so other folk who had turned up for whatever reason. Finally we were served but were told the refund of registration and third party insurance would be mailed out by cheque. A fat lot of good that is!!! And that is what we said although Chris added a few other words. We have had to contact our niece on the Gold Coast to attend to the wind up of this matter. Unlike this stupid antiquated government department, our insurance company has been brilliant and so we are almost sorted as regards vehicle business.

The rest of the day, after dropping yet another load of stuff to the Lifeline shop, including boxes of tools, has been spent packing, weighing, discarding and repacking; all very upsetting although I am trying to think positively about having had to discard half my wardrobe. I will have to buy some new clothes! Actually that was something I had hoped I would not have to do for some years now I am no longer working.

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