The Travels of Mouse: an unexpected bath, and other adventures

Well, it was a full day yesterday, and no mistake.

We waved goodbye to Uncle Johnny in the morning, he’s heading south again. And then it was time for the day’s adventures. Mum said she thought it would be a good idea to investigate all the other Townsville off-leash dog parks, because although Sanctum is really, really nice, it’s the other side of the city. So we set off with Google and the SatNav to investigate some of them. First on the list was Murray Paw Dog Park in Annandale. It’s nice, not really big and not much shade, but there’s dog agility stuff if that’s your thing. Second was Riverside Dog Park in Cranbrook, which is lovely! Lots of trees and shade, and the river runs beside it to a weir. There are birds, and it’s very quiet and scenic. And here I had my unexpected bath.The ground slopes down to the water. I trotted down to sniff. Mum and Dad said “no, Mouse”. I waded forward a little and they shouted. I leaped out into the water and Mum screamed: I had submerged because there was no bottom, as I’d expected! My legs are a bit slender and I was having to paddle quite hard to stay afloat, but my hero Dad came and grabbed my collar and hauled me forward and then helped me back up onto the bank. It was a relief to be back on dry land. Mum made a big fuss of me! I was nice and cool, if a bit drippy, because it was already a very hot day. So I generously shared by having a good shake of water all over both of them. I was slightly surprised this was not better received, but there you go… After that, we looked at a couple of other places, but I’d sort of lost my enthusiasm for the project and preferred to stay in the air conditioning of the car back seat.

Wet, but nice and cool

So the Staff decided it’d be fun to pay a visit to Mount Stuart, which is not only completely dry, but has some spectacular views over the whole of Townsville. It’s 584m high, or 1,916ft, and you can see a huge distance from the top. From one side, there are 180° views over Townsville from the Rotary Lookout up there, and you can look across the bay to Magnetic Island.

From the other side, you can see the Ross River Dam, which supplies water to the city. It’s looking a bit low, Dad says… Unlike last year, when the city was badly flooded due to the Dam reaching 200+% capacity and the floodgates had to be opened to release water or it would have given way and the city would have drowned completely.

There are some really good views to be had all around Townsville, and if you want an idea of what’s there, Mum says you should click on this link for a idea of what you can see and do.

We were all a bit zorsted in the afternoon. The Staff had stayed up late for Uncle Johnny’s visit, and I’d had a rather too ’citing adventure, so we all had a nice afternoon snooze and a quiet evening.

Today, Wednesday, we’re catching up with another friend, but more on that tomorrow.

The Travels of Mouse: Spring break #1

Humans are funny old creatures.

I tend to leave the arrangements to Mum, on the basis that if she does it all, I don’t have to lift a paw. So far this policy has worked very well. I watch her ‘anxiously’ while she loads up the caravan, wiggling my eyebrows and looking as pathetic as I can manage. This generally results in extra pats, frozen chicken necks, meaty treats and extended belly-tickling privileges. But sometimes, it can be a bit hit and miss.

Yesterday was fine. We got away on time and reached Bowen at early lunchtime, so that Dad didn’t have to stand too long in the queue at Jochheim’s Pies. We got to our usual bench in the shade at the beach, and my offers to quality test both pies were accepted – I do like to make sure my humans are being properly fed and there’s nothing nasty in their lunches. On from Bowen to Townsville, and this time we’re staying at a different holiday park, closer to the centre of town and a bit smaller. Mum says she thinks it’s OK, not too noisy or cramped, and Dad feels the water pressure in the showers is acceptable, if not quite as good as our normal place.

The plan was to have a lazy start, a bit of lunch for the humans and then head up Hervey’s Range to the Heritage Tearooms for a Devonshire tea. Dogs are welcome, humans attendants may also visit. Trouble was, this Covid-thingy had changed the opening hours and when we got there, it was shut already. Pity. I was looking forward to my puppacino. Never mind, it seems we’ll try again tomorrow, and book this time to make sure.

Then, we thought we’d drop in at GAP, where I was adopted, so I could say hello to Miss Gail and the other doggos. But somehow we missed the turning off the highway. So that was a washout too. See what I mean about human arrangements? I’m sure I’d have managed better if I’d been in charge. Still, Mum got some good shots of the view from the top of the range (709 metres, or 2,300 feet, Mum says). She also says she’ll take photos of the Devonshire tea tomorrow… if we ever get there, of course.

Left, Magnetic Island; Centre, Castle Hill with Cape Bowling Green beyond it; Right, Mt Stuart. From Hervey’s Range. Click to enlarge

Oh, and I did get a really excellent run in Sanctum dog park off leash area. I got to play with Ruby the golden retriever and Athena the Rough Collie puppy, who is going to grow up into a Lassie look-alike. Of course, I was faster than both, but Athena especially was lots of fun, she was only 17 weeks old and still very rolypoly, with her puppy coat and huge paws.

Right now, I’m zorsted, and Mum says as soon as I’ve finished dictation, she’ll prepare my dinner so I can snooze the evening away while she and Dad sew and read and watch a movie. It’s nice that we (by which I mean they, naturally) don’t have to pack up for another whole day.

I am looking forward to getting to Cairns, though. My most favourite caravan park!

The Travels of Mouse: north to the sun #1

It’s happening again.

The Staff are taking liberties with my possessions and schedule. It’s an Outrage. For the past day, they have been bustling about with stuff in their paws, scarcely taking a moment to give me strokies or a treat. I grant you that meals and walkies arrived on time and up to standard, but it’s upsetting to have this stuff going on behind my back.

Later: Well, all is explained. They are loading my fence into the back of the car, my travel water bowl and a large bag of kibble are sitting on the bench, the Quartermaster (Mum) has put all my stuff into either the car or the caravan, and only my bed (currently occupied by Me) has not been whipped out from under my nose and taken away. Dad says he has bought extra fencing so my yard is now twice the size, which will be nice.

A solitary lead still hangs from the hook, so I expect there’ll be walkies before we go… Mum says we’re going north, even further north than Townsville, where I was adopted, but that we’ll be taking time out to visit friends at GAP Queensland in Townsville so I can say hello to Miss Nikki and the other greyhounds at the kennels. After that, we’ll go up to Cairns for just over a week, then home again.

I like Miz Lizzie the caravan. My bed is comfy, meals arrive at the usual time, Dad’s bunk is perfectly placed beside my bed for strokies whenever I want them, and there are fascinating new walks and smells to enjoy when we go out. Mum and Dad find fun places for me to run around like a maniac and stretch my legs along the way, and we all enjoy trying out all the dog-friendly things to do when we get there. Mum has printed out a list of cafés in Cairns where dogs are welcome and people can come along too. She says there will be beaches too, in case I should feel like a spot of cautious paddling (well, jellyfish, saltwater crocodiles and sharks permitting, of course, this is Far North Queensland, after all). I’ll have to think about that one…

Now, if only the Staff would hurry up and finish packing stuff, we can be on our way.

Miz Lizzie Adventures: Paluma and Crystal Creek Falls

Day 2 of the Miz Lizzie Inaugural Adventure.

Our first night in the van was fine 🙂 The aircon worked very well, the bunks were comfortable, we got the site we wanted and virtually no neighbours. I’ve given the kitchen a serious workout, and it’s all good.

However, on waking, we discovered a few plumbing issues had materialised. Miz Lizzie is 18 years old, things have worn and perished, and now that we have her stretching her legs, problems are appearing. Nothing we can’t fix, so far. We spent the morning in the DIY store buying hose, joiners and connectors, plumbers’ Teflon tape and other fascinating bits and pieces.

After that, it was time for FUN!  We drove north for an hour, to make a visit to the Paluma Range National Park, a trip we’ve been promising ourselves for a while. It’s a World Heritage Listed Site, and having reached the top up an 18km intensely narrow and winding road, I can tell you it’s utterly worth the occasionally terrifying drive. For quite considerable parts of the journey the road is barely wide enough for two vehicles, and in many places, only wide enough for one. The drop off the edge is immediate and vertical, and there are no wussy safety barriers, either! However, in spite of all these drawbacks, the views are stunning, the lush wet tropical rainforest is dense and vivid, and for me, the highlight of the drive was stopping at the bridge over the Little Crystal Creek Falls. I’ll let the photos explain (click on them to enlarge, it’s worth it!).

little-crystal-creek-mt-speccrystal-creek-falls-2There were at least a dozen people swimming at all levels of the falls (I’ve carefully framed the photos so you don’t see the towels, sandals and snacks!), and I’m impressed at their fortitude, as despite the heat, the water’s cold. The top of the range is at 883 metres/2,900 ft above sea level, and it freezes up there in winter, tropics or no tropics.

After that, we tootled down the road a bit further to the famous Frosty Mango, a café serving ice cream made from a wide variety of tropical fruits grown on the premises. The flavours included guava, passionfruit, mango, sapodilla, soursop, jakfruit, black sapote, custard apple, Brazilian cherry, monstera, pineapple, carambola, jaboticaba and a handful more I can’t bring to mind. Mostly, these fruits never reach the mainstream market as they ripen quickly, don’t travel well and aren’t familiar to consumers, but they do produce delicious ice cream!

And then home, for a bit of a tinker with Miz Lizzie’s waterworks, a bottle of the golden throat-charmer for the Husband and a cider for me, and a relaxing evening. Tomorrow we pack up here in Townsville and head north again for Atherton, on the Tablelands above Cairns. We have a spot reserved in one of the most beautiful campsites I’ve ever stayed at, in a rainforest glade. Can’t wait!

So, a lot to do in the morning. An early night is called for….

On the road again, part 1

So, Day 1 was 410kms/255 miles of solid highway riding with a few breaks to unkink.

That night, we rolled into our campsite at 5pm and were set up by 6pm, just in time to sit down to a well-deserved drink.

townsville-camp

Next day, we’d arranged to meet up in the morning with another Kate, of Manic Mumdays blogging fame. I really enjoy meeting fellow bloggers, and Kate was no exception. She’s the 5th blogging friend I’ve met in person, and I find the experience is just as rewarding each time. Half the fun is in meeting people life would never turn up otherwise 🙂

with-manic-mum-kate

Townsville was scorching hot that day, as you can see from the photos below. The first is an image I’ve stitched together from two photos. Townsville is on Rose Bay, and the city is dominated by Castle Hill, a volcanic plug nearly 300m/984ft high. You reach it by a winding road which is bliss to all motorbike riders, and the view from the top is spectacular. Out there in the bay is Magnetic Island, so called because it sends all compasses wild; they point to it, instead of magnetic north.

magnetic-island-from-castle-hill

After Castle Hill, we headed out of town to Mt Stuart, another mini mountain 0f nearly 600m/1,960ft high, reached by a wonderful winding road. This one has TV and radio transmitters on the top, and provides very much the same view as Castle Hill, but higher, wilder and further inland. In the foreground, you see Laverack Barracks, then the Bruce Highway heading north, then the city, then Castle Hill and finally, Rose Bay and Magnetic Island.

rose-bay-from-mt-stuart

The next morning, we were up early, packed up and were away by 9am. But that’s a story for another day!