The Parking Roundabout

I wrote this poem a few years ago in a caravan park in Denmark, Western Australia. Nothing much has changed in the last 4 years as caravans, even with drive through sites, are still struggling to get it right. And the tempers …. Well, …

Watch this video and you’ll see there’s nothing to it as a caravan parks itself! Simple see – got it right first go !😬

And this my take on The Parking Roundabout

Wakey, Wakey, I’m in Waikerie

The cockatoos decided there would be NO sleeping in this morning as they shrieked their wake up call so I was up early for my day of domestic duties.

Photo by Anne Atkinson of cockatoo
Good morning! Are you up yet?

(My niece Anne shared this photo on Facebook today and it fits perfectly with this morning’s experience. Thanks Anne)

Anyhow, that early start gave me plenty of time to visit the local painted silos. They are quite different to the ones on the Victorian Silo Art Trail that I’ve shared with you previously.

Painted Silos at Waikerie South Australia

Their surroundings are far more industrial and they are fenced off from the public.

Painted Silos at Waikerie South Australia Painted Silos at Waikerie South Australia

Love the yabby! I’ve been promised a yabby laksa this weekend when I catch up with friends so I’m getting in the zone already 😉

Just around the corner the Nippy’s Juice Factory was loading a few oranges – a few thousand!

A load of oranges at Nippy’s factory in Waikerie

We are in the Riverland after all and the roads are lined with citrus orchards (and grapevines).

Bet those noisy birds will be back tomorrow morning squarking their heads off. Aaah! The sweet sounds of nature 😬

Cockatoos

Image from abc.net.au

PS: You’ve got to love the internet. I just discovered that a flock of cockatoos is called a ‘crackle’

PPS: I’ve just found some fabulous photos and discovered I only saw one half of the silos – I’ll have to go back for another look. Click this link and scroll below the text to see all the views of the Waikerie Silos.

Happy Camper

Every so often I have to leave idyllic camp sites like this ….

…. bite the bullet and book into a caravan park. Why?

Main Reason: It’s time to change the bedding and it’s too big for me to wash in a bucket!

Next Reason: My body wants to stand under a shower and feel the water all over me rather than my daily flannel wash down or plunge in a river ….

….. and I want to wash my hair under a shower and not use a bucket of water and a jug.

Third reason: All my power packs, tablet, phone, computer, fan and everything else that operates on 12 volt or helps me stay off the grid needs a really good charge up.

Very important reason but not necessarily a good excuse for a caravan park: My portaloo is screaming at me to empty it before it is too heavy for me to lift. (There are black water dump points available in most towns and very often caravan parks don’t have them!)

If I’m in a caravan park I also take the opportunity to top up my water tanks but this can be done at other locations such as Information Centres, Service Stations and some parks.

And every now and then a good deal comes along like at the Waikerie Holiday Park

Instead of the normal $34 a night it works out at $22.70 – and that’s a pretty good price for a caravan park only a couple of years old with lovely modern amenities, good laundry, recreation room, camp kitchen, swimming pool, grassy sites,

on the banks of the Murray River and just a walk into town.

Who’s a happy camper then?

Apps That Keep Me On Track

Yesterday I talked about mapping apps that kept me on the right track to my destination. These apps today help me keep tabs on my spending so I stay within my budget.

One of my favourites is Fuel Map, a free app that relies on user input to keep up to date. It shows me where the fuel stops are nearby and how much each is charging.

Fuel Map Australia

At a glance at the map on the left you can quickly see the choices for fuel in the area, the middle illustration shows those locations sorted by price and on the right you have the opportunity to update prices and buy fuel.

The best thing about this app, as long as you fill in the info every time you buy fuel, is it gives you a profile of your vehicle. Here’s mine for Brutus:

To keep tabs on my total spend I use ASIC’s TrackMySPEND free app.

You have to be fairly disciplined to make this app worthwhile. Everything you spend needs to be entered and the middle frame above shows you how to do this. The frame on the right shows your total daily spend.

At the end of an income period – mine is set for my fortnightly pension – you can produce a summary of each category of expenses.

Ooops! I’ve overspent this fortnight! That was Brutus needing some serious mechanical work.

You can break each of these categories down even further to see just where your money has gone. There’s those repairs!

And it’s surprising how much over the year I spend on buying coffees, lunches etc – that’s one area I could definitely cut back on to save money. Last year around $3,500.

This next app is a recent addition but once again it’s all about budgeting. I’ve downloaded a Shopping List app and I build my shopping list in my phone now rather than a piece of paper. I always left the list behind and bought loads of things I didn’t need but as my phone is always with me so is my shopping list.

This is what I’m using but there’s several available if you search your App Store. It certainly saves having 5 cans of crushed tomatoes in the pantry and no coconut milk when you need it!

As someone who never budgeted throughout their whole life I only wish I’d started this discipline sooner. I don’t miss out on things I want to do, or buy, but I do think twice about them now. And some I decide aren’t worth it!

I’m often asked how I survive on only the pension as my income. These are some of the things I do to live the fabulous, but simple, lifestyle I have.

Maps and Apps

Remember when you pulled out a paper map to plot your route to your destination.

 Camps Australia Wide

Well, I still do that to see the ‘big picture’, then I go straight to an App for the finer details. My App of choice is WikiCamps (costs around $8 and worth every cent!)

WikiCamps Australia App

I can search for sites close to me

WikiCamps Australia App

View them on a map … this is the map of my trip around the Silo Art Trail. The red line shows where I’ve been, the green line where I’m planning to go.

WikiCamps Australia App

I can also read the comments left by other campers to help me decide if this place is somewhere I’d enjoy.

WikiCamps Australia App

So, I’ve chosen my camp site but I’ve driven along the river bank for a couple of kilometres so I don’t know exactly where I am. Here’s where Google Maps comes in …..

Google Maps App

It pinpoints exactly where I am!

Then inRoute, another free app (free for basic usage), will tell me how far it is from one point to another. For example, in April I have to leave The Man From Snowy River Festival to travel to Melbourne for a medical appointment. inRoute tells me what I need to know.

inRoute app

Hmm! I’m going to have to leave on the Sunday or I’ll never make my early Monday appointment 😬

Love my Apps! So easy to cross reference one to the other and after looking at my map book they’re all in one place – on my phone 📱

Banrock Station

You’ll be waiting a long time for a train at Banrock Station but if it’s wine you’re after then you’re in the right place.

Banrock Station Winery, South Australia

A dusty drive beside the vines led me to the cellar door and cafe with a great outlook over the Wetlands walking track.

Banrock Station Winery, South Australia Banrock Station Winery, South Australia

Banrock Station Winery, South Australia

A perfect place to relax with a cup of coffee and the newspaper. If it had been mid afternoon instead of mid morning I would have been tempted to taste the wines but Banrock Station wines are not unknown to me as I find them excellent value for money.

Banrock Station Winery, South Australia Banrock Station Winery, South Australia Banrock Station Winery, South Australia

I rattled back down the long corrugated drive as I had dislodged the new muffler on my van so it’s back to Waikerie for some minor repairs.

I’m glad I went back as I was told about a lovely spot on the river to camp. Life’s good with a view like this 😎 ( and the rattle was fixed!)

Maize Island Conservation Park

Here’s where you can find out more about Banrock Station.