About Blue Snoopy

Blue Snoopy is a 2012 Nova Vita Caravan pulled by a 2012 Nissan Navara ST Dual Cab Ute.

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Australian Caravan Club – National Muster 2016 at Shepparton VIC (13 – 23 October 2016)

13 October 2016 – Sydney to Gundagai NSW

Our caravan has been parked in our drive for the past six weeks after we arrived home from our major adventure.  Over the past couple of days, we have repacked the caravan and made it ready for another adventure.  Our new tyres held their pressure and recent rain had given the caravan a wash that it desperately needed.

Planning to leave at 9:00am, we were ready to depart at 8:30am.  Our original plan for today was to travel to the small southern NSW town of Jugiong and free camp at the showground.  Recent rain in the area made us decide to travel to Gundagai and stay in a caravan park.  When booking the caravan park, we were told that their grass site were unusable due to the flooding and we were booked onto a concrete site.

We had a very early lunch at Sutton Forest, refuelled at Yass and then continued without any further breaks to Gundagai.

Passing Jugiong we did see several vehicles in the free camp at the showground and we assumed that any residual water was gone or was at a minimum.

The trip south was uneventful, fuel consumption was reasonable and we travelled somewhere between 90 to 100kph.

Once again, the Nissan Navara performed as expected and now appears to be far happier when towing the caravan.

The site allocated to us at Gundagai was undercover and on a hard surface.  We had no issues in getting the van level and we were able to leave the van attached to the car.

After attaching both our fresh water and grey water hoses, we walked into town and purchased chicken for our evening meal as well as some other grocery items that we needed.

We had a relaxing evening and were in bed early.

 

14 October 2016 – Gundagai NSW to Shepparton VIC

With just on 370k’s to drive, we were up early and away from the caravan park just after 8:30am.

As we departed Gundagai, we noted that the Murrumbidgee River was very high and there was still evidence of the recent flooding.

Our run south to Albury was only interrupted by our frustration with our rearview camera which had failed once again just over 100klm’s out of Sydney.  We had hoped that the problem had been rectified a couple of weeks ago when a part was replaced.

We stopped at Albury and called the Sydney distributor of the rearview system to see if they had an agent in Albury who could address the issue.

Unfortunately we were told that the local agent could not fix the issue and once again, we will have to look at another fix when we return home.  Short of replacing the entire unit including our in-dash unit, there is only one other part to replace.  Fingers crossed, replacement of this part will resolve the problem.

We refuelled at Glenrowan and departed the Hume Highway at Benalla for the short cross country run into Shepparton.

We arrived at the site for the Australian Caravan Club’s national muster at 1:15pm and were surprised to see the showground covered with caravans.   We thought we were arriving early but that was not the case.

It didn’t take long for us to be located onto our site for the next week and we were very happy with the way the entire site has been laid out and we were happy with the space allocated to each site.

Planning to make a quick visit into Shepparton to buy groceries to last for our visit, “He” was soon doing our setup procedure.  That came to an abrupt stop when one of the pins on our power lead broke off.  It could have been worse with the pin breaking inside the power box.

A quick trip was made to a local electrical retailer and 30 minutes later, the lead was repaired and our setup was well underway.

We eventually made it into town where we purchase only a small supply of groceries as we had to return for happy hour at 4:30pm.

Happy hour finished well after 6:00pm and after returning to our caravan, we had microwave meals.

We were again in bed early.

 

15 October 2016 – Shepparton VIC

Today was a free day at the muster and we started the day with a visit to the Shepparton Visitor Information Centre where we overloaded on local information and also Melbourne as we intend to visit there early next year.

Next stop was Aldi after which we returned to our caravan with the perishables that we had purchased.

Knowing that we intended to visit Echuca whilst in the area, we decided to go there now rather than to defer the visit until later in the week.

Shepparton to Echuca is only a short drive and we were there just under an hour after leaving Shepparton.  The road between Shepparton and Echuca showed evidence of the recent rain with significant damage to the edge of the road visible.  There were many potholes that fortunately we were able to avoid.

Arriving at Echuca we found a parking spot adjacent to the wharf and then noted with interest that the steamship, Pevensey, was at the same level as the road.  Assuming that the vessel was out of the water, we headed to St Anne’s Winery where we purchased a 10 litre barrel and bulk port to fill the barrel.

Leaving the winery we found another parking spot that would allow us to walk along the river bank.  It was then that we discovered that the Pevensey was not out of the water but that the river level was at the same height as the road.  In fact, Echuca had been saved from flooding by the levy bank.

We took photographs of the river was were fortunately to see a couple of the paddle wheelers operating.

We returned to Shepparton just in time for happy hour.

 

16 October 2016 – Shepparton VIC

As far as the ACC muster was concerned, today was another free day.

The highlight of the day (must say not for both of us) was a visit to the SPA Factory Outlet.  This is a large supermarket that sells relatively cheap groceries and also the produce from the Ardmona SPA factory that is located in Shepparton.

Late in the afternoon we attended a combined happy hour that was attended by many of those attending the muster.  We had the opportunity to meet new people including several members of the ACC from Western Australia.

Just after happy hour, threatening weather resulted in us taking the decision to drop our awning.  Whilst this decision was precautionary, the storm that we observed in the distance did not come to fruition.  We did however experience rain during the evening.

The weather in Shepparton is not what we expected.  Fortunately we have packed some warm clothing, it will be needed!

 

17 October 2016 – Shepparton VIC

Today was the first official day of the muster and it started with the Opening Ceremony.

Immediately following the Opening Ceremony, we headed to Bunnings to purchase several LED lights which we need to place near ropes holing our awning and also at the front of the caravan.

We then travelled about 12 kilometers out of Shepparton and caught up with friends we had met several years ago whilst attending a Winnebago RV Club safari.

We returned in time for another communal happy hour with those attending the muster and then had a quiet evening in the caravan.

 

18 October 2016 – Shepparton VIC

We awoke to grey skies and intermittent light rain showers.  We had booked one of several bus tours that were offered to those attending the muster and our destination today was the Puckapunyal army base and the Tank Museum.

It was raining when we boarded the coach and the rain only got heavier as we headed south from Shepparton.  By the time we joined the Hume Motorway, the rain had been replaced by sunshine with the weather now clearing to the east.

We had to provide identification before entering the army base and driver’s licence information for those on the bus had been collected before we departed.  We were given visitor’s passes at the gate and then allowed to enter the base.

Stopping at the Tank Museum, we were presented with a remarkable collection of tanks used by the Australian army.  There were who also some examples from the US army.  Whilst we were allowed to take photographs inside the museum, we were informed that it was a Federal offence to take photographs outside of the museum.

After concluding our tour of the museum, we paid a visit to the Vietnam memorial in Seymour.  The memorial is magnificent (it is free!) and “He” was able to see the name of a school mate who was killed in Vietnam.

We enjoyed lunch at the Royal Hotel at Seymour before commencing our journey home.  We stopped in Nagambie where we were able to photograph the statue of the famous race house, Makybe Diva.

“He” attended a meeting in the afternoon.  We then enjoyed a special happy hour with the ACC Board members who volunteer for specific roles within the organisation.

After our evening meal, “She” went line dancing but did not enjoy the experience. “He” had a quiet night catching up on email and this blog.

 

19 October 2016 – Shepparton VIC

We were presented with another cool and windy day in Shepparton.  Those attending the muster were able to be involved with craft activities, play golf or attend some trade seminars.

We decided to pay a visit to Tatura and the Tatura Hot Bread Shop that is famous for its vanilla slices.  And that is what we did.

For the record, we enjoyed the vanilla slices but were more impressed with the variety of meat pies the bakery had to offer.  “He” enjoyed a beef and caramelised onion pie whilst “She” enjoyed a chicken, brie and cranberry pie.

We returned to the muster site where “He” had to attend another meeting.

We returned to the caravan for our evening meal and a quiet night.

 

20 October 2016 – Shepparton VIC

Today we had a free morning.  Many of those attending the muster went on bus tours to local wineries, we decided to have a look around the town.

Our major goal today was to photograph many of the cows involved with the Moooving Art Exhibition.  This exhibition displays over 90 fibreglass cows scattered throughout the city and the adjacent township of Mooroopna.  The cows are all unique and represent different aspects of life.

We also paid a visit to the Shepparton Art Museum and the sculpture “Mother and Child”.  The sculpture is so life-like that it could easily be confused with the “real thing” except it does not move.  The sculpture is the main attraction in the gallery which also displays a lot of other artistic items.

We returned to the muster site to play finska but unfortunately were eliminated in the first game.  “He” was far from happy with the way the event had been organised as it appeared that the organisers wanted the event out of the way as quick as possible.  Rather than playing another couple which is far fairer, eight couple played off against each other.  This certainly gave an advantage to the people throwing last.

With all of the other members of our branch who attended the muster, we had our evening meal in one of the local hotels.  The staff of the Terminus Hotel made us very welcome and provided us with an entire room to have our meal and a few drinks.  All in all, a good night.

 

21 October 2016 – Shepparton VIC

“He” was up early to attend a meeting of branch and other selected members to look at the future of the club over the next 2 years.  With other activities planned for attendees during the morning, the meeting ran to a strict timetable and “He” was back in the caravan just after 9:00am.

As we were not involved in any of the morning activities, we decided to visit the neighbouring township of Mooroopna and enjoy morning tea.  What we found in Mooroopna was Billy’s Bakehouse who was a winner in 2012 for the best Vanilla Slice in Victoria.

We ordered coffee and vanilla slices and enjoyed both.  We were undecided if the vanilla slices were better than what we enjoyed at Tatura a couple of days ago.

We returned to Shepparton and “He” purchased a video light from Camera House.  Whilst out we also went to a Rays Outdoor shop where we found large egg rings similar to what we had purchased in Western Australia.  They were a fraction of the cost we paid in western Australia and appear to be the same egg ring.

We also stopping at Bunnings and obtained brochures for various paints as we have to paint our external stairs when we return home.  The trip to Bunnings  also yielded an inflatable Christmas tree that we will place underneath our external stairs.

We attended several seminars during the afternoon.  “He” was involved with shooting some video late in the afternoon.  The video was to be used during the AGM.

After shooting the video, “He” edited what had been shot and the final product was delivered to the people responsible for the audio visual components of the muster.

We decided to purchase our evening meal and on the way to the nearby Woolworths, we passed a fish and chip shop and purchased our meal.

It was raining but the forecast was for the weather to clear.

Later in the evening “He” was informed that there was an issue reading the files so the files had to be redone in a different format.

 

22 October 2016 – Shepparton VIC

We were up early to attend breakfast provided by one of the ACC special interest groups, KIT (Kids-in-Tow).  Breakfast consisted of pancakes.

As we started to head back to the caravan, “He” was informed that sound was only coming from one track on the video files.  This meant that the sound would only come from speakers on one side of the room where the AGM was being held.

“He” headed back to the caravan and with help from Google, “He” was able to manipulate the video file and add sound to both tracks.  The AGM was due to start at 9:30am, “He” finished the revised video file at 9:10am.  Far too close for comfort.

The AGM went without a hitch and the video file played at the AGM was perfect.

Following the AGM we were privileged to hear from the owner of Jayco, Gerry Ryan OAM.  He told us about his life story and the rise of Jayco from its first day in a small shed on a Victorian rural property.  Gerry Ryan is another example of someone who was not strong at school but through vision and persistence, has evolved to the position he is in today.

At the conclusion of the presentation we headed into the Shepparton CBD where “He” stopped into a Telstra shop and had his Samsung phone replaced with the latest iPhone.  The Samsung had not performed up to its expectation when we were in the Flinders Ranges and Telstra offers, for a small fee, the ability to change phones after 12 months.

We had our evening meal with our Winnebago friends at the RSL club.  The food was really good.  Later we returned to our caravan with our friends and shared coffee.

Sometime after our friends had departed we discovered that a water tower in the nearby town of Mooroopna was supposed to be lit at night.  We threw cameras into the car and drove there only to be disappointed.  Not only was it very cold but the expected light show was not to be seen.

 

23 October 2106 – Shepparton VIC

Today was the final day of the National Muster.  The day started with the drawing of the major muster raffle (we didn’t have any luck) and that was followed by the muster’s closing ceremony.

We had intended to stay a further day in Shepparton (later we would learn that the weather on the Monday was terrible with very high winds) but we decided to join a ACC Sydney City Slickers tagalong that would take us eventually to Jugiong via the Riverina.

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