As you’ve probably gathered after reading last week’s entries, these two weeks at Airlie have been all about family (as well as enjoying the Whitsunday attractions, of course!) After a fun start on Maddy’s visit during the second half of last week, we started this week with a full day’s shopping with Grandma, Aunty Tracy and baby cousin Riley on Monday (Colour Me Crazy at Proserpine, lunch at the Sailing Club, shopping along the Airlie Beach stretch). Tuesday was lunch at Mangrove Jack’s with Grandma and Grandpa, followed by a trip to the hairdresser to get braids’n’beads.
Then… it was time to make a video for her to take back to remember her trip.
Making a Video
There are lots of options for making videos these days. Most camcorders come with some kind of software, and Windows itself has movie-making software (Windows DVD Maker) which lets you import photos and videos and burn them to a DVD.
I wanted to do a bit more editing on my videos, so even though I also own Adobe’s Premiere Elements, I used Camtasia: a program that I’m comfortable with since I’ve used it both at home and at work. I also used Snagit, a screen capture utility, to edit and enhance some of the photos that appear in the video.
Result: a 3-minute movie that Maddy can keep to remember her trip… and that we can share with the family or upload to YouTube.
Most of Wednesday was taken up with putting Maddy back on the plane at Hamilton, and then Rob and I went out to dinner at Banjo’s, at the Whitsunday Shopping Centre just down the road. On Thursday we drove 70 k’s to one of our favourite spots: Horseshoe Bay at Bowen, followed by lunch at the Bowen Yacht Club. And after that – being so close to the fishing co-op – what could we do but take home some fresh prawns to have with beer and wine at Happy Hour???
Friday we spent lounging around the pool and chatting to other caravanners: next door were Robyn and Mel, who were on their way back to Melbourne. While Rob picked Mel’s brains about caravan parks and towns that he and Robyn had visited, Robyn and I compared notes on knitting (we agreed that it’s entirely possible to knit in the car, and it helps the hours pass nicely on a long trip!). After seeing Robyn’s ‘Funky Boots’ for one of her grandchildren, I photocopied the pattern ready to go shopping at Spotlight again back in Mackay (we go back there next week to meet up with the crew from Caravan and Motorhome)
Other happy campers nearby were Audrey and Ian, who have been on the road since last March and are as happy as clams doing it, and Julie and Bob. Julie was wandering around trying to beat the midgies at the park by spraying herself liberally with a recipe she got from another traveller, so of course I got the recipe to try it myself! (Julie’s recipe for Beating the Bities: simply mix up equal quantities of Dettol and baby oil then spray! If you like, you can add a few drops of eucalyptus to override the smell of Dettol.)
An Extra ‘Grandma Fix’
We volunteered to give Derek and Tracy some time to themselves by babysitting Smiley Riley while they went out, so on Saturday they went to Bowen (as you can see, it’s a popular spot with locals and visitors alike) to catch a movie and have lunch, while we took on the mammoth task of looking after Riley. Since this is the most even-tempered kid on the planet, it was an absolute pleasure! We took him out to the Airlie Markets (he slept); had coffee in town (he slept some more); then went back home to feed and play with him until Mum and Dad got back. Soooooo easy! Then the three of them came back a few hours later for a roast pork dinner cooked in our turbo oven (the one we picked up at Aldi for $40). It turned out beautifully.
Sunday was cold (eeek! At Airlie Beach? What’s going on? We’re supposed to be in the tropics!) and we took advantage of it to give the van a good clean and tidy-up. Monday brought more chatting to our neighbours, and we caught up with Chez and Mel, whom we’d first encountered back at Mackay when we were there overnight. This is the first time we’d seen a mother and daughter travelling together (although I’m sure there are others out there!) and I was curious about how it came about.
The Girls Travel….
Chez found that business got a bit slow after the GFC, and decided that since she’d always wanted to travel around Australia, at 47 it seemed like a good time to do it! “Everything fell into place,” she told me. “I found a good car and a van within a month of each other, and the house sold 2 weeks after going on the market! It was like an omen.”
Then daughter Mel decided that 3 years going around Australia sounded like a pretty good gig (well, at least for a while) and opted to join Mum. They have their names on the back of “The Vansion”, and have had a new slogan printed as well: Cougar and Cub!
Chez and Mel spent 2 weeks at Airlie at same time as we did (and had a ball on Hamilton Island for 2 nights!) and are heading to Townsville for a month to catch up with family. Then it’s on to then Cairns and along up to Cooktown, where Chez has been hanging out for a long time to go fishing on the Cape. And then they’re off to the Birdsville Races… then Darwin… and wherever the mood takes them! What a life.
I asked Chez if she found any issues with towing, hitching etc (they tow a Roma 21 ft van and drive a Landcruiser Kakadu) and she shook her head vehemently. No, definitely not! “I can do anything a man could do!” she said. “I’ve been around cars all my life and I’ve got a fair idea of what might go wrong with one, even if I can’t fix it myself, since it’s all computerised these days. I can change tyres etc… and I used to take my turn towing a 16 ft van with my previous partner. No worries!” Daughter Mel is determined to learn how to do it just as well, since a back problem means that Chez can’t drive long distances without feeling the strain.
Dinner with family at Jubilee Tavern
The two weeks at Airlie seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. We went out for one last luncheon and then it was time to go home, pack up the van, and get ready to backtrack to Mackay to meet the crew. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 6 weeks already since we left home, after our shakedown trip. We’re so glad that months and months of fun and adventure lie ahead!