Paws for thought: Where has my water area gone?

I am currently snuggled up in my car – with full seat – enjoying the cool comforts of cold air boasting my face after an eternity in the hottest place ever! 

This place didn’t even have a water area for four leggeds. Well it did but only stooped humans could jump in there and not four legs. Most of the time the humans just sat around the edge talking to each other and not splashing in there. What a waste to a water area if you ask me!
My humans found some cool spots for me though and I was able to play with the stick in the shade. I don’t know what it is about those sticks….they are amazing fun! 

Though chasing them leaves me a little pooped now… Being a senior an all….

Although, the Crazy One and Tall Man human took me on a bus ride to different places which was okay. I had to sit with this old man with a stick for a time while they disappeared down a tunnel…fine leave me with a stranger…didn’t anyone every tell them about stranger danger?? Stoopid humans….
But all was forgiven when we hopped back onto the cool cool bus and went for a bit more driving. I like the driving with cool air thing! Then we stopped at this making place with soooooo many sniffs I didn’t know what to do!

There were other four legged there as well – little ones, big ones, ones that were fetching their own sticks – weird – but it was so cool! Literally, it was so cool and calm.
My tall man human was walking and walking in circles to reach a piles of rocks in the centre. He was looking like a real goose. Sometimes I think he is just as crazy as the red haired one because all he needed to do was jump over them. Much quicker…

My humans were good to me tonight. 

They made sure I was cool, had lots of pee stops, gave me treats, patted me, rubbed me down with non-biting stuff and then put me to bed.
I kind of love them some days. They are super cool. Now, only if they would take me to another water area!!!



Days 5,6 & 7: Lightning Ridge

Well…..I have to say that this place is as hot as Hades and apparently it’s not even the summer heat yet!!! Why are you people living in this town!!!!You seriously are crazy!!!
We cruised on in to Lighting Ridge on Friday and right away we got the heat vibe. Even the birds were hanging off the branches all weepy but we thought, its only for today. How wrong we were!

The only thing I will say about lightning ridge is that the landscape had been totally destroyed by the mining. I know that’s an obvious thing to say but it’s not just the mining but the amount of old junks just left to rot – cars, yes, trucks, buses, trains, aeroplanes, fridges, toilets, cement trucks- all just left.

When you are a money you don’t even have to fill in the hole you created. All you have to do by law is put up for posts, done fencing and walk away. It’s pretty ugly I think and Phil said, it’s a reflection of greed and laziness.
Then there are pearls like Amigos House and our awesome tour guide Harry who gave us all insights into the local mobs history and contribution to Lightning Ridge that are awesome.

We went underground which was sooooo much cooler than being up!!!

There were little gems like this mural in the street…

If you come out this way, make sure you take a Black opal Tour because not only do they give you both perspectives to the history but they also let dogs onto the tour bus!!! Chessie was stoked!!

We also visited Stanley who I will refer to as Dhinawan ( because that’s what he should be called) who is a huge sculpture that sits on the outskirts of town and was built to acknowledge the emu…which I thought was deadly until I looked at the signage which had huge amounts of errors. But… was done and stated and created in partnership with the community which was great.

If you come to Lighting Ridge, make sure you pop into the Bush garden which was created by community as is a great insight into bush medicine and history of the local area. What I thought was  interesting was that the ‘settled history’ reflected on how much the settlers relied on the Aboriginal community and their role in making it what it is today. That is a good thing.

I continued my fight with the flies of the world by buying this great net which i lost by the end of the day. The fashion spirits must have looked down on me because it was great while it lasted!

We also did the Car Door Tours which address self guided drives and walks around and about. Go to the information centre and pay $1 for the brochure and do it! They are great ways funding out a little bit about the people and places.

We saved the Green Car Door Tour for last and finished our time in Lightning Ridge with a glorious sunset….pretty speccy.

Phil completed the maze!!! Chessie just jumped over the rocks and beat him to the punch!

Actually, we then ducked downtown for Chinese for a whopping $$52 and then headed home, ate, washed and crawled into a hot hot bed which happily cooled down overnight.
Then it was off to…..


Day 4 & 5: Leaving Lee’s Reserve to Collarenebri

Today was a hard day and I am sure it won’t be the last but it was definitely a hard one.
We started the day by packing up our relaxing campsite at Lees Reserve and headed over the border to the land of the cockroach!! Alas, we still didn’t see any State of Origin trophies in sight so the drought must still be happening…hehehe

Across the border and we were just going to do a free overnight outside of Collarenebri. 

We found the campsite and that’s when it got hard.

Now, most of you know that Phil and I have had a tough few months leading up to this adventure. It has been probably been the toughest of times for us and while we have managed to get on the road, there are still some hard lessons and trials for us ahead.

We put ourselves under so much pressure to get everything right the first time, we don’t give ourselves credit and we end up being not very nice to each other. It’s all about relationships in the end because at the end of the day, we have each other’s company every day and every night for our trip. We have to accept that we will fail, we will stumble and not get everything right.

Setting up camp was incredibly hard because we stopped talking to each other and did our own things and didn’t work as a team. For things to happen, we need to be a team so it was a good lesson for us. It took such a long time to set up and it was like a sauna, the flies are steadily punching you in the face and well, it was shit really.

Afterwards, we walked chessie down by the river and took some time out.

I am incredibly thankful for the amount of time and love Phil and given me in this whole adventure. I wouldn’t be able to do this without him and today was a reminder of why we even thought of doing this crazy thing in the first place. We wouldn’t be able to do this without each other and while it has been and is an incredibly hard change for us, we are determined to get through it together.

Flies…I hate them…

and I am sure they hate me….How to beat them?


Confuse them with the backwards look…


Build a fire and smoke the little buggers out…


and when all elee fails, kill them. Now if only the dog would step up and earn her keep!


Wait? What? Where are we going?

So, this morning I wake up with my humans and they started putting things into those blue things. I don’t know what it is with them and those blue things. They are always putting stuff in, pulling stuff out, hopping in them and going and then coming back with all these new and crazy smells. Sometimes, they let me sit in the back seat – the whole back seat which is freaking awesome!!!

Something feels weird today. The red hair human keeps crying but then she is all happy. She is very strange. I’ve always thought she is the crazy one of the two and today, she is all kinds of crazy!

The Tall Man Human is walking out the front then walking around the back, walking into that big water area and not taking me in there and then coming back out to the blue things at the front again. I hope he knows what he is doing and I seriously hope he lets me play in that big water area because I am desperate for a swim!!!

Hey – he just walked past me with my water area toy????? Where are you taking that!!! Human!!! Human!!!

Hey, the red haired human is getting my seat ready……jump? Yay!!! Finally, I jump up and…….WAIT? WHAT? Where did all my seat go? How come I only got half of it? What’s this thing here??? Come on… am I supposed to be the cool dog in the blue thing if I only have half a seat? Don’t you know the best smells are always on the other side?

Stoopid humans….

We stopped off to see the other little humans – the ones that always yell my name and play with me heaps and heaps in that water area – wait – where did that water area go? What if I never see that again!!!

Then into my seat – half seat – and off on the long and winding smelly track. Good lord, the things you can smell at 100kms an hour!!!

Little way down the winding smelly track, we stopped at this grassy area which had great smells! So many paws have been here before me I had to get my nose busy and leave some pee-mails (!) for them to read later! There were some paws already there and then – OMFG THERES A WATER AREA!!!!! OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG WATER WATER!!!


Let me be free to swim and splash in the waternniixhfvvi;puehrgjsbnft….oh crap, that’s high. How come they built the water area so low??? Pfft…..chuck me a ball instead Tall Man Human!!!!!

My humans, eventually stopped playing with the blue things and sat down to scratch me. Phew – what a day!

SO many new smells…so many new things…so any new walks even though I don’t have my full seat this thing seemssssssssssssszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz



Paws for thought: OMG this place is awesome!

Wow! I just don’t know what to even WOW! This place is awesome! I don’t even know what it is called but I don’t care because it is awesome!


The water area here is like a gazillion times bigger than the one the humans have for me at home. When we get back, I am going to ask for an upgrade because I am seriously getting ripped off! This place even has its own washer running fast thing which I haven’t been allowed to swim in yet. The crazy one  won’t let me and gets all jittery if I get too close. She has to calm her farm a bit!

I have been sniffing so much that I have to have a rest every so often because my sniffer gets all tired.

There are these things on the other side of the water area that are a little bit bigger than my other four legged mates but smaller than those big  rat things we see at home. They make this funny screaming noise to. I don’t like them. I growl at them all the time but I think they don’t hear me because they don’t move. They just stand there looking at me screaming. Stoopid furry screamy things.

Maybe they are screaming because they can’t jump into the water area like me.  I would be jealous of me too if I couldn’t do that.

My Tall Man Human spent the afternoon chucking an invisible stick into the water area. I just think that is bad manners considering there are so many sticks he could have thrown for me instead. Nothing bought his invisible stick back with anything on it so why even bother? The Crazy Red Haired Human kept calling me back. Chessie! Chessie! Yes – I know my name. If you are not going to three me a stick then stop saying my name.

Finally though, she let me free!!! OMG WATER OMG OMG STICK OMG OMG WATER ouch ouch…that pebbling part is a little bit hard on my feet but WATER!!! OMG I LOVE YOU SO MUCH CHUCK IT CHUCK IT CHUCK ggurgllllebuayrefhjdhhgfywwefhjgse oops that water tastes weird but I don’t care!

I had a good day. I had a great day! My humans love me. They play with me, take me on trips, pat me, let me play in the water area and give me heaps of patting time. I think I might just keep them. Tonight, I had my dinner and headed off early to bed while I let my two humans stay up a little late by the red glowing thing. That’s too hot for me. I prefer the comfort of my bed inside.



Day 3#: Lee’s Reserve

After a peaceful night’s sleep, we were again up at a sparrows to the delightful calls of thousands of birds! Who needs an alarm when these little babies start? First the kookaburras, then the Butcher Birds, then the Galahs and finishing off with the loudest Cockatoos I have heard in ages!

I forgot we are in dry country so while the days can get up to high heats, the nights are surprising cool and last night got chilly in the early morning with the coldest being just before the sun rose. The stillness, the cold and then the sun!

We got up and walked down to the river’s edge before taking a short stroll along the river, checking out the fishing spots, bush tracks and rough road where we won’t be venturing for the time being. The trees here are amazing…I am sure they would have many stories to tell and they seem to just hang and relax by the river so splendidly – like old people just hanging out…shooting the breeze…catching up on things!

Chessie seems to be really getting into the swing of this gap year.  I would love to know what goes on inside that head of hers because sometimes, she just looks at me like I am crazy!!


Afternoon of fixing some things with the trailer, oiling the zips, re-packing some goods and figuring out what else we need to get in order to be liveable for the trip. I think the next month will be about discovering things that work, don’t work, the good, the bad and ugly about living on the road. There are the practical things like where to store food, where to place toiletries, how to erect canopies so they give the best cover and breeze.  And then there are the complicated things like how much water do we chew by using the shower or washing or how much gas do we consume over 3 days? All these things are important because the longer you stay on the road self-contained, the better you have to be at being resourceful.

Why use gas when you can build a fire?

Why be eaten alive by flies when you can sit inside, drape some eucalypt branches outside and fend them off?

Eat more fresh fruit and drink more water!

I also had to do some washing which was going well until the wind swept up and blew it over into the fire ash pit which was bloody great!

Afternoon came and Phil had the urge to go fishing! Heaps of people have pulled up and gone fishing just down the way so he thought, why not! Let’s see what all the whoha is about! Now Chessie doesn’t understand that when you go fishing, you can’t go splashing in the same spot so trying to coerce her back onto the shore to sit, was hard. Fisherman Phil got a couple of bites, a couple of snags and lost his bait a couple of times so all in all, it was a successful attempt!

THINGS TO BUY: sharp knife for fishing and a handline for Nadine.

We finished off the afternoon with a Chessie swim!!!

And then decided we should build a fire so as the night got cooler, the flies got less we were able to sit down under the stars and soak it all in. Besides, nothing beats going to sleep with the smell of bushfire in your hair!!!!

Day four beckons and it will be our last one here before we move onto Lightning Ridge via Collarenebri.

#philandnadinegapyear #philandnadinegapyear2016


Day 2#: From Yarramalong to Yelarbon

Morning all! It seems when the sunrises, so do we! Falling asleep was like camping out under the stars last night. Crystal clear and nothing but sparkles as far as the eye could see!

The free campsite (you can stay up to 3 days for free) is a great stop. Clean, tidy, quiet and a super clean toilet block! Rubbish bins close by and leave it as you found it – clean.

So we packed up early and hit the frog and toad!


Today’s destination is some more free camping just outside Yelarbon called Lees Reserve. Found this one on wikicmaps and its all self-contained so we thought we could stay here a couple of days, get tings sorted, plan the next 10 days and then rest…relax and breathe after what has been a topsy turvy six months of emotions.

Millmerran was out first stop though as there were some things I hadn’t packed. I am sure I had but needless to say, they didn’t make it into the van or the trailer so I have no idea where they are! Probably under the stairs!! A trip to a small country town is not complete without a morning tea at the local bakery. Dunno….our Wynnum Bakery is awesome and certainly a lot cheaper that Rosie’s at Millmerran. Popped into IGA and Bottlemart and off we went!!!

EMUS! I nearly caused an accident when I saw them! I don’t know why I have the urge to scream when I see an animal. It’s not like Phil is 1000kms away from me. He is just beside me in the car but I get super excited! Especially when I see so many fat and healthy emus just doing their biz! OMG they are way super cute. Last time we travelled out this way, we saw nothing so it was good to see plenty of them this time around.

Yelarbon apparently means ‘Large Lagoon’ but I have yet to have that confirmed! Anyone know if that’s right? Will have to check my language AP and see. There are heaps of blue signs heading out this way that have the placenames and their Aboriginal meanings but doesn’t reference what language? Would it be Gungari??

Lee’s Reserve sits on the Dumaresq River which separates the Queensland and New South Wales borders. One of those places where if you wanted a mad New Years celebration, this would be the spot! It’s great to see so many free camping spots like this available.

We found a great little site beside the river’s edge and with great access to a flatter area where there are rapids and a dog swimming area, of course! Having a few days at a place like this also allowed us the chance to put our complete campsite up. We have only managed to do bits and pieces before so it was great to put all the walls up, the annexes, the ensuite and the floors down. We even managed to get the loo and shower functioning!

Then it was time for a swim…for the four-legged that is!!!

A beautiful sunset and first camp cook up and we were done and dusted. An early night….seeing 9pm is late now! Tomorrow, we explore the river a little more and see what there is to see…or we do nothing but sit and rest. Really, the choice is ours and well, maybe that’s what is intended by Closing the Gap J

#philandnadinegapyear #philandnadinegapyear2016

Day 1# Sunday 13th November 2016

After a slow crawl to the finish, today we woke up at 4.30am and started the final pack for the road. We had crossed off stuff on our list of things to do – that always kept getting bigger and bigger by the day – and then all of a sudden realised it was 7.30am!!

Lesson 1#: Do not dawdle as time will creep up on you and bite you on the bum quick fast!

So…with some tears (from me anyway) we did a final walk around the house and yard and bid a farewell to Leadale Street for a whole year!!!
Our plan was to try and make it to Yelarbon and camp a couple of days by the Dumaresq River but we hadn’t planned on a bit of hiccup installing the server at the kids place so a quick stop into Toowoomba for a tech thingy, a wikicamps check, Camps Australia check and we found out first location: Yarramalong Weir

Yarramalong Weir sits outside of Toowoomba via the Gore Highway. Driving out here, am not sure what it is you would actually do out here to keep yourself sane but am thinking cattle, farming, cattle, trucking, roads, council and ummmmm….farming.

When we pulled up, it seemed like to locals has escaped the heat and were enjoying some paddling and swimming in the weir. Looks like the place to be in Summer! Chessie seemed to enjoy the water but it was too steep for her to get in and out of and I didn’t really want to fight the reeds and potential eels roaming freely in the glorious murky brown! Not that I saw any but I know they are in there….I can sense them!
Overnight camp set up in under 30 minutes so we were happy. Now, I am probably going to say this allot over the coming months as we travel around this country but FLIES FLIES FLIES! Yes, it’s the bush. Yes, its summer and yes, Imma say it again – FLIES!

Flies are not my friend and make for crunchy Happy Hour drinks – eeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

We had just sat down to toast our first sunset when this fella comes along and asks us to help assist some young ones who got a bit stuck in their car. At first, Phil said we hadn’t bought anything with us and then we remembered the winch! That big, heavy, bulky bloody thing on the front of the Navara that we thought, “ We’ll never use that!” Well – we did and on day one!

So Poppa Phil and the Navara to the rescue!

Hopefully a bit of travel karma will come our way!!!
Sunset on day one for our adventure and while I know there will be many sunsets and sunrises to come, there was something really sweet about this one.