Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The outback and the coast...

I truly didn't mean to be 'missing' from the blog for so long but our four day road trip was exhausting in the strangest ways, and once we got home I needed to get my head into finishing some Christmas gifts and writing patterns for The Stitchery Club.

Here's a little photo album of our time away. 
Now, I should explain that Mr E rarely stops the car on road trips. We had four 10-hour days in a row on the road, in Australian outback and tropical heat, but every moment in awe of our beautiful country. 
I will never forget the huge wedge-tailed eagle that refused to leave his road-kill breakfast and waited till the last moment to swoop up over our windscreen and block out the sun as it passed across the car.

Days 1 and 2 we drove 1,600 kilometres from home (Townsville) west into the outback and down through the centre of the state, stopping twice for a cool drink or coffee from the thermos and some homemade snacks which we stored in the ice-filled esky.
Mr E had worked half a day at the car dealership before we left on Day 1 so we weren't on the road until 12.30pm and needed to get as far as possible before nightfall to avoid the dangerous road hazards that intensify just before sunset (kangaroos and wild pigs mostly)...

 The sun began to sink below the horizon as we passed through Emerald...

 ...and as we got closer to our first overnight stay I captured this glorious sunset near Springsure. We were both frozen with wonder and had to tear ourselves away to drive on.

Dinner was a Guinness beef pie at the local pub then straight to bed for an early start on day 2.
At dawn we continued south with a breakfast stop for coffee at the RSL Markets in Roma and as we drove through it's pretty bottle-tree lined streets I saw this beautiful old church for sale and made Mr E stop so I could take a photo. For the next few hours I imagined myself as the new owner hanging a sign across the front fence with "Elefantz Designs World Headquarters". LOL!! It's good to have whimsical dreams on a long trip...

On and on we drove, listening to a variety of CDs - Michael W Smith, Third Day, Enya, Jeremy Camp, Big Daddy Weave, Fleetwood Mac, Casting Crown, Newsboys...

For a lot of the time I stitched blocks for 2016's "Gentle Domesticity" BOM...

Late Sunday afternoon we revived ourselves with grande double shot Cafe Mocha's at Zarraffas in Toowoomba before heading east back to the coast. We arrived in Brisbane around 5.30pm, booked into our motel and headed out to a lovely Thai restaurant for dinner.

A quick drive across town to where we lived from '95 - '98 to see if our old neighbour still wowed the neighbourhood with her unbelievable Christmas lights display (sadly, she'd moved away) and then off to pick up a 99c half-motor Mr E had won on ebay for my car - the actual reason for this hastily planned 4 day road trip!

We slept really well that night and on Monday morning went out early for coffee before a leisurely walk near our motel along the waterfront at Wynnum...

Back on the road after the peak hour traffic had subsided we took the coast highway for our return trip home.
 We stopped under trees by the side of road for cool drinks and fruit... 

...before a chicken & veg dinner and another motel - this time at Rockhampton.

The fourth day dawned and after packing the car we decided to treat ourselves to a hearty breakfast with the idea we'd only need fruit, nuts and water the rest of the day.
There's something really comforting about the last day of travelling; knowing you'll be home that night and sleeping in your own bed. We couldn't wait.

Day 4 was hot, really hot. The further north we drove the more we were reminded of the endless "won't ease up till May or June"  heat that faced us back in Townsville. 

The pretty coastal town of Clearview was our first refreshment stop, and though spending only a few minutes there to stretch our legs it was the view that really lifted us.

As we drove back towards the highway we saw this long row of around 100 white tyres filled with bougainvillea of every colour! I think there's a lot of tiny-town pride in Claireview...

Driving in intense summer heat over a long distance with views that may not change for hours makes you very weary, so we took a longer than usual break under these trees in the early afternoon while Mr E had a short revival nap...wise man.

The sun scorched my legs through the large front windscreen of the Jeep but these clouds just north of Mackay cooled me wonderfully...

...and having more stitching on my knees helped too.

Home again just before sunset of day 4 we unpacked, showered, changed, watered the plants, showered love on the cat, and ordered tabbouleh laden kebabs for dinner before collapsing in front of the telly for an episode of Magnum PI (Mr E has every episode as it's his favourite wind-down show).

Sleep was better than great that night.

Next morning Mr E was back to work and I drove out to the kennels to pick up Merri. She'd been there 4 nights and apparently enjoyed her time because though happy to see me she stopped at every kennel door on the way out to give a little bark of hello/goodbye to the other canines.

BUT our sweet 5 1/2 month old puppy came home with over 100 ticks. 

Mr E spent three hours that night removing ticks from her (she has never had a tick before) and bless her, she was so calm for him which made the nasty procedures better for both of them.
Every day since he has been removing more ticks, but today there was only 1 so we think we may be seeing light at the end of the tunnel. 
We threw all her bedding away and Mr E spent most of Sunday cleaning the yard and removing all the old palm fronds and leaf litter, trimming trees and generally clearing away areas that make ticks happy.
She has Advantix on her now, and is carefully screened every morning and night. Honest, this was/is a big wake-up for us as none of the dogs we've ever owned has had a tick and it's put us right off kenneling a dog or puppy up here in tropical cattle country. 
From now on Blossom will care for her or we'll take her away with us. 
We're just so thankful to God that she didn't have any paralysis ticks.

Bless you all if you got this far! I know it's been a bit of an epic so perhaps I should have warned you to brew a cuppa first?
I'll be back tomorrow, blogging as usual...a lovely life rhythm for me.




  1. Good to see you back home safely. Your photos are beautiful and I am not surprised that you were so tired. At least you managed to sleep well which would have revived you for the next day. I love your applique, so pretty. Driving can be tiring. I drove with my youngest daughter from Cardiff in Wales to Wiltshire in England and Cornwall back in June. I made sure we stopped every 2 hours for a break. Not being used to the speeds and the fact that the indicators were on the other side made it even more draining mentally as well as physically. Thankyou for sharing your lovely journey. I hope your doggy is okay. I know that ticks can be rather nasty. Have a wonderful relaxing day today. Angel Hugs.

  2. I always find your posts so interesting, and especially love hearing about your trips. Thank you for sharing! I feel for your little Merri, as we too had dogs at one time, and it was hard leaving them in kennels, when we went away for holidays. Loved seeing the stitching you did while on the road.

  3. Jenny, you were in Toowoomba! I hope you enjoyed our cooler weather. That was quite the trip to do in four days. No wonder you were both a tad weary. ;-)

  4. I read every bit of your post and so enjoyed reading about your country. I almost felt like I was along with you on the trip. It sounds so interesting, all except the part about spending hours in the car. I, also, enjoy sewing on road trips. thanks for taking us along on your trip.

  5. Sounds like an amazing few days. That new BOM looks brilliant. Thank goodness we don't get ticks here in Victoria, what horrid thing to happen,

  6. Loved seeing your holiday photos Jenny, such lovely scenery.

  7. What an epic drive! I thought we were one of the few crazy ones who would do such a stretch! We do Adelaide to Darwin in three days... with three kids in tow! LOL

    I was excited to see the little church - I've been there before. I used to live a few hours west and often visited Roma. Although it is sad it is on the market, it was nice to see a familiar place.

  8. what a wonderful road trip that was, wish i did that sometimes but like you i have animals here too chooks & a cat so i rarely go anywhere these days.
    glad you enjoyed the trip too.
    that sunset was amazing, looked like there were water crystals in the air, almost got the northern lights happening, beautiful!
    poor Merri! glad she was okay too

    thanx for sharing

  9. my eldest daughter is in townsville for a few days before she comes home for christmas.. I dont envy that humid heat you have. thats an aweful lot of ticks! is it normal for dogs to get them in kennels up there? glad is ok and that you are home after a lovely looking trip

  10. While it was a lot of driving and I don't know what a half-motor is, there was so much beauty for you to enjoy, and you've shared some of the best of it with us, I know. I didn't even know bougainvillea came in so many colors! All I've ever seen here is that reddish pink one. Your stitcheries are great and I can hardly wait to see the whole thing you are planning coming together. How sad about the ticks! I had one fall on my head at a very rural quilt shop in Pennsylvania and it was so disgusting when I discovered it an hour later - I think I almost wrecked the car getting it out of my head and then worry about Lyme's disease! I can't imagine having 100 of them - poor Merry! I take it the Jeep doesn't have air conditioning? What an amazing trip in a short time. Thank you for sharing it with us. I think my favorite shot was the beach table through the flowering tree. The sunset will make a lovely background for one of your scripture verses.

  11. Loved all of your photos! Poor Merri! I can't imagine having that many ticks on her. You should see me if I get just one on me!! (ICK!!)

  12. Beautiful pictures, and your poor puppy!! I didn't know there were different kinds of ticks, but good that she didn't have the bad ones. Thank you for sharing your trip. I read all the way to the end :)

  13. Me gusta mucho ver las fotos de vuestros viajes. Gracias por compartirlas. Disfruto mucho y contemplo cada foto con atención. Vuestra tierra, es tan diferente de la mía! Es bellísima con una belleza distinta y sorprendente. Tu relato del viaje es estupendo. Es como si yo hubiese viajado un poco con vosotros :) Respecto a Merry, me alegro de que esté bien. Aquí en España vemos un programa de televisión que se llama "Veterinario al rescate" y es un veterinario Australiano. Dice que las garrapatas de allí pueden causar parálisis , e incluso, matar un animal. ¿Eso es así? Porque entonces Merry ha tenido mucha suerte. Y los cuidadores han resultado ineptos. En España tenemos unas garrapatas que dan mucho asco, pero sólo causan infecciones. Los perros que se crían en el campo suelen coger alguna de vez en cuando, por bien cuidados que estén.Por otra parte, los avances que veo en tus proyectos me están llenando de impaciencia. Estoy deseando verlos:) Gracias por todo. Besos.

  14. What a wonderful adventure. I love all your pictures and your stitching is beautiful as always. I feel so sorry for your puppy with all those ticks and Mr. E having to get them all off. Good thing they are pals. Blessing!

  15. Thanks for sharing your trip. I so enjoy seeing the country side. Perhaps one day I will see it in person! Hope Merri is showing no side effects from the ticks and that all is well.

  16. Looks like you had a wonderful trip Jenny. Sixteen hundred kilometres in one day was a lot. I love the block you are working on. Can't wait to see it. Hopefully all those ticks are now gone. Poor Merri. xxx

  17. Jenny, So wonderful to have you back and posting! Loved looking at each of your photos and dreaming of being there myself (always have wanted to travel to Australia and just stay for months and months and see everything that I possibly could). Sorry about Merri though and what you and Mr. E had to go through to remove those ticks from her. Miss Dodger has had a couple in her life living in the woods like we do and they have to be so painful the way they dig in and go so deep. Glad that you and Mr. E have the situation all controlled and she is A ok now! Love your stitching designs, stitching during trips is always a pleasant way to spend the hours on the highway. Looking forward to seeing more of your posts and treasured projects/ideas/tutorials and just words about you! Have a wonderful creative day! Brenda

  18. I loved reading about your 4 day trip away and looking at all your lovely photo's. Sorry to read your poor little puppy came home with all those ticks - I had to read it twice when you said 100 or more!!! Hopefully you told the kennels about your concern. Woof woof to the puppy :)

  19. What a lovely trip!! I tracked your journey on a map and dreamed of taking a year or so to drive the circumference of Australia...but there isn't a paved road all the way around and I don't know if I could carry enough petrol to make it between stations!! I'm so sorry your baby came home with ticks! Just awful!!! Did you let the kennel know they had an infestation? Here we have deer ticks that give people lymes disease...hopefully none of your ticks carry that particular bit of nastiness!!

  20. Wow that was quite the "Road March". Beautiful time together and seeing your countryside. I love how you were able to stich along your journey. Sad for Merri to have ticks. Yes, it is good to get away but coming home to your own bed is always best.

  21. Oh my that is one road trip. I always envy people that can travel in the car for such trips. I can only handle 3-4 hours and have to stop at least once. Glad you had a good time. Sorry your poor pup ended up with ticks.

  22. Lovely photos - quite warmed me up to hear about sunshine and heat, from the dark, grey days of mid-winter here in Winchester, UK. Poor Merri - we had a sheepdog once who suddenly became very lethargic and he was covered, his skin black with tiny ticks - he'd been rabbiting in burrows a couple of days before and they'd become attached to him. Horrible. The vet gave us a potion to put into a sheep dip bath and he had to be soaked in it - which he hated. It did the trick though. I worm Belle & Misty with something that also kills ticks so when they bite, they don't last long. Thanks for sharing your wonderful road trip with us - it was good to see the sea!

  23. Sounds such a great road trip! Poor Merri - what a lot of ticks. Horrid. Glad she is okay and Mr E was able to get them all off.

  24. Well I brewed a cuppa before I started, so all is good, lol! What an epic trip. Glad you got a motor. Sam's car parts have been arriving for a few days, I now have a box in my kitchen that reaches almost to the ceiling - his bumper came today. Lovely pics hon, I dearly love that little church for sale, I think it would make an awesome world headquarters for Elefantz! Did I ever tell you Jeff and I almost bought a church in Illlinois, it was four stories high and gorgeous. Even had a basketball court.....sigh. Imagine the sewing room that would make.

    That's terrible about Merri. I think I would stay away from kennels too. Very glad she's not paralyzed or worse. My friend took her pup to a kennel, and she was attacked by another dog, many stitches but she's going to be alright. She didn't pay that bill.


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