While flipping through some photos I came upon a file marked “OUR TRAVELS.
It was like a trip down memory lane, and I thought I’d share some with you in the next few weeks. I hope you enjoy them.
Here is the first.
DALLYING with DOGS
Life on the road is fun. Two people, a caravan, a car, the open road. No worries, no commitments, just follow the sun and your own inclinations.
As novice caravanners, we had just made the big decision to retire and take to the road. We left Sydney and headed north along the Pacific Highway with a 7.3metre van, setting out on our big adventure; to see Australia with a large van and two small dogs.
Mimi was a 14-year-old miniature poodle. She had been our good mate for ten years, since we rescued her from the pound. The day we brought her home she was frightened, in need of a bath, and had a red and green ball clamped in her mouth. Her “security blanket”
I decided to nurse her on the trip home. She looked at me with trust in her eyes, put her head on my shoulder and cuddled up to me. She won my heart then, and was able to wrap me around her little paw from then on. “Saved from death row,” said my friend Maria, “to live a life of luxury.
Lucy was a four year old Maltese-Shizu whom we inherited when she was two and had grown to love equally with Mimi. The two were good pals but Mimi never left any doubt as to who was top dog, a fact reluctantly accepted by Lucy.
On our second day out of Sydney we approached the White Albatross Caravan Park at Nambucca Heads. It had been a fast learning curve; travelling with a large and unfamiliar rig on one of the busiest highways in Australia. Now we looked forward to a few quiet days in this peaceful spot.
The entrance to the caravan park is not well marked. Peter mistook the turn off and went straight onto the fishing area next door; a narrow wharf with sea ahead, fence on the left and a row of cars parked on the right. No room to turn. No option but to reverse 500 metres. Not an easy task with only two days experience at maneuvering this leviathan!
With me, rookie navigator, trying to guide him in a straight line while two dogs barked encouragement from the back seat he finally extricated us from the dead end.
When we reached our site and unhitched the van, he mopped his brow. “Well, I guess the locals enjoyed watching that and had a good laugh.”
A little later, Peter was chatting to another vanner, who remarked, “By the way, I must thank you for winning me $10.”
“Really? How come?”
“A group of us were watching from the tavern upstairs when you came in, and took the wrong road. It was obvious you were fairly new to backing a van. There was a lot of banter as to whether you’d be able to back up and turn or not. I bet $10 you’d make it. Thanks for that.”
Well, the only thing dented was Peter’s pride.
After our eventful day we both looked forward to a good night’s sleep. We settled down happily. But. Lucy decided in the wee hours that she needed to go outside.
Peter took her out and, after she had attended to her needs, he was shepherding her back inside when disaster struck. In the next van lived a fox terrier that chose just that moment to also heed the call of nature. He came past to our van, a situation not to be tolerated by Lucy.
With a loud bark, she decided to chase him away. Away they both went. How those dogs could run! We hadn’t nicknamed Lucy ‘the pocket rocket’ for nothing. Through the park those two dogs tore, calls from their masters totally ignored. In and out between the vans. What fun!
Finally two angry and flustered men collared their dogs and shoved them inside. Lucy happily settled down to sleep away the rest of the night, but we heard that foxie barking for the next hour.
I told you life on the road is fun!