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 Café, 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”…


Fun on two wheels…

It’s not over yet, but I wanted to share a few photos from our trip.

The main purpose of the trip was to go down to northern New South Wales to the annual rally of our motorbike touring club, OzSTOC (Australian ST Owner’s Club).  Along the way, we’ve stayed in airbnbs good and bad, eaten great food, caught up with friends and family, endured lashing rain and howling winds in a tent and days glittering with warm, bright sunshine on the road. When I get home I’ll probably post in more detail, but for now, I’d like to leave you with a whole group of happy, smiling motorbike riders, Aussie style, and some fabulous scenery.

This is the club rally photo, and everyone who made the trip is here, although there are also many members who couldn’t make the long journey, spare the annual leave or afford the cost of the fuel and accommodation if they were coming from thousands of kilometres away. A quarter of those shown here are women, so it’s not like many other motorbike clubs with almost exclusively male members

Today, Monday, the Husband and I and the friends we are currently staying with rode our bikes an hour and a half down the coast to South West Rocks, which has been a popular NSW holiday destination for generations. We visited the Smoky Cape Lighthouse, which overlooks the migration routes of Humpback and Southern Right Whales, and from the top of the cliff saw them spouting and breaching. Sadly, despite numerous attempts I didn’t manage to capture a single example, but I promise you, they were there! The scenery is breath-taking, the view is magnificent and the colours are extraordinary. We followed it up with a ride into town for a lavish lunch overlooking the beach and the extraordinary turquoise of the ocean under a bright blue spring sky.

Smoky Cape Lighthouse

The lighthouse keeper’s cottage, available as a holiday let. What a view!

Looking southwards down the coast. Yes, the sea really is that colour…

The beach at South West Rocks. Nice view for our lunch, eh?

Tonight, we’re getting freshly caught snapper for dinner, sitting outside on the verandah in the scent of jasmine with the cicadas and tree frogs providing the entertainment.

It’s a hard life, but someone has to do it.