Mouse’s holiday, part 4: this smells familiar…

Not that we’re home yet, but we’re getting there.

Our last day in Nambucca Heads was Friday, and we left on Saturday morning. We gave Mouse a final long walk on the beautiful Swimming Creek beach, which he greatly enjoyed. Just as we were turning off the beach, what should we see but another greyhound! He was a big boy called Bennett, a tan brindle, and at least 3 inches taller and a good bit older than Mouse, and had a thicker coat, probably due to living in a cooler climate. There was a lot of dancing about and sniffing and big greyhound grins. The greyhound parents exchanged notes…. and agreed that greys are the best doggos in the world.

We had planned an extra day and overnight stay in Tweed Heads; I thought it might be possible to catch up with a friend nearby, but she was involved in a big family weekend. I’d also hoped to pay a visit to Fifi’s Fabricology, a wondrous quilt fabric emporium just up the coast road in Burleigh Heads, but I’d failed to factor in the fact that we were staying in a different time zone, across the border, and it was Saturday afternoon, and the store closed at 4pm… never mind. I really, really don’t need more fabric. And there will be other times, and other trips. But next time, it’s fair to say that we will never, ever stay in that caravan park again. It’s directly under the take-off flight path from Gold Coast airport, it’s run down, the bathrooms are horrendous, and despite the claim of being dog-friendly, they don’t allow you to walk your dog around the park, you have to tie them up very short, failure to comply or allowing your dog to bark will get you thrown out, etc.

From Tweed Heads, we stopped en route in Beerwah to let his lordship out in the local dog park (which is lovely, by the way, lots of long grass and shade and water and seats). We were thrilled to see a group of really old cars draw up beside the people park next door, and unload a lavish picnic. There were two Model T Fords, a De Dion Bouton and a couple of really lovely old cabriolets which weren’t badged. All were sparkling, with perfect paintwork and highly polished brass and chrome.

Our route passed the Glasshouse Mountains, the main peaks of which are a group of three volcanic plugs set in an otherwise fairly flat landscape. One is slightly domed with a pointed top,  one is a sharply pointed cone, and one is a wonky pyramid. I only managed a shot of the first, which I think you’ll agree looks a bit strange all by itself.

Next stop was back to Landsborough Pines, and this time, we asked for the spot next to the one we had before. This time, there was no gentle rain of gumnuts onto the roof, but we did have a real life thunderstorm and rain, which the poor Mouse did not enjoy one bit, to the point where he wouldn’t eat. Gasp! Thankfully it passed over in half an hour, after which he remembered his tummy was empty. In the morning we discovered that a Purple Swamp Hen had her nest in a clump of lomandra right beside our caravan. She sat on it like a rock all through the storm and our comings and goings. You can’t really see her in the photo, but she’s that patch of darkness in the centre of the leaves. We also had a visit from friends and from the Husband’s brother and other half. We sat in the barbecue hut overlooking the duck pond, drank wine and ate cheese and crackers. It was surprisingly civilised and lots of fun 🙂

On to Tannum Sands again. This time we have a spot backing onto woodland, and a joyful doggo spent a long time revisiting all the interesting smells.  Forewarned by our previous stay, we lashed on the mozzie repellent and appear to have escaped becoming dinner for the sandflies. Another rainshower here, but no thunder or lightning, so there was no missing dinner this time.

Tomorrow is our longest leg of the journey, and the last. We’ll be home tomorrow night and can all relax. We were afraid at the start that we’d miss out on lots of things because we had Mouse with us. It hasn’t been the case. We were also afraid he wouldn’t enjoy travelling, and again, we needn’t have worried. He hops into the car without any encouragement, settles down and goes to sleep. We’re delighted to have him along as our furry companion and he’s enjoyed the adventure (but I suspect will enjoy getting home to his usual routine even more). We’ll be back this way in February/March next year, and next time, I promise to remember my camera.

Roll on, 470km home. 

Miz Lizzie Adventures: Boyne River and Miriam Vale

This is going to work.

By which I mean bringing doggo along on Adventures in Miz Lizzie. Friday was a day of high stress for all of us, but Saturday went like a dream. He’s getting used to living in the caravan and back of the car, and we’re getting used to the need for one of us to be with him at all times. It takes a bit more planning, but it’s not hard.

Anyway, back to the story. We’re staying at the Boyne River Tourist Park. I’m not giving it a recommendation, because to be honest it’s a bit tired and run-down. However, it’s cheap, and perfectly placed for today’s meet up. Plus, and this is a big plus, the view is brilliant. Our site was at the top of a steep grassed bank which led down to the river bank. The Boyne is tidal, so the water level changed at different times of day. It was quiet, the scene was tranquil and apart from distant traffic sounds all you could hear was the lap of water and birdsong.

Into the car at a civilised hour on Saturday morning after a few domestic chores, and his lordship promptly went to sleep in his back seat hammock. Down the road an hour, Miriam Vale is a pretty little town which on this particular day was full of people on motorbikes, either out in the sunshine for a ride, or recent participants in the Far Ride which terminated nearby. It turns out that our friends Peter and Marion actually lived and met here many moons ago, so it had fond memories for them. In any case, it was a fun get-together in the courtyard of the Miriam Vale CafĂ©, where dogs are cherished customers and there’s a stack of water bowls waiting for them. Mouse was wearing the bespoke OzSTOC club bandanna I’d made for him, and you can see how well colour co-ordinated he is! Unfortunately, Peter was wearing his famous ‘hair’ hat, perhaps to compensate for the solar panel he wears underneath!

When we’d waved goodbye to the two of them, we were thrilled to see another familiar face (or perhaps that should be familiar motorbike – he was wearing his crash helmet) at the side of the road. Bill (aka Biggles) had been participating in the Far Ride and had just pulled over to let his missus know all was well.

Back at base, Mouse insisted on a nice long walk along the riverbank before settling down to some serious snoozing. I must admit, I wasn’t averse to a tiny toes-up either, I’d had a rather poor night due to a painful back, despite the comfiness of the bed. Still, it was steak for dinner and an early night so we could leave in good order in the morning and be home mid afternoon.

It’s been a good learning experience for all three of us. Lesson 1) do not tie Mouse up to anything. If he gets spooked, he’s very strong and will break out of harness, lead and collar and disappear into the distance, causing heart attacks all round. Leave him in the car if you can’t hang onto him. Lesson 2) Take no nonsense from him about the caravan steps or height of the car seat being too high for him. If he does it, give him lots of praise and a treat. If he won’t and has to be manhandled, no praise and no treat. Lesson 3) The caravan door is not opened unless he’s wearing harness and lead and/or someone has hold of him. Lesson 4) The caravan steps are the perfect height for his food dishes. Lesson 5) Make sure he drinks throughout the day, not just when he gets home, or you’ll be up and down all night taking him out for a pee. Lesson 6) Do NOT allow him on your bunk. It’s the thin end of the wedge, he will take over, you’ll have nowhere to sleep, and he has a perfectly good one of his own. Lesson 7) All edibles locked away.

So now we can look forward to October’s much longer trip with a degree of optimism. Mouse is a gentle, (mostly) calm and pretty accommodating dog. Given enough food, water and comfy places to sleep he’ll do fine. Just no nasty noisy surprises, please.

Oh, and keep those treats coming…

After-note: Mouse would like to tell the Husband “Happy Father’s Day, dad”…