‘Rort’-ing the System

The Wallaby Track: Lionel, it seems, has been all over Victoria, before heading north. Somewhere in between, he’s even fixed a noise in his motorhome’s gearbox.

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Silo art in Saint James, Vic.

Once again it was a very busy month with a quick trip up to Leeton to attend an annual gathering of Apex 40, then down to Colac for a muster of the ACC Lone Trekkers group, followed by an interesting few days travelling with two Tassie ACC friends to view painted silos in the Wimmera/Mallee district, and then those in Northern Victoria.

In between I had a ‘no fault’ collision while coming home from shopping that resulted in my little Hyundai Getz being written off as a ‘repairable wreck’. APIA paid me the ‘market value’ amount, which I thought was very reasonable as I only had third party, fire and theft cover, and I’ll wait until I get back from my trip up north before getting a replacement vehicle.

APEX 40 AT LEETON 

After a fantastic light show with almost continual sheet lightning and tremendous thunder claps as a backdrop to torrential rain the night before, I set off for Leeton in the Riverina, wondering what the day had in store. The day wasn’t too bad but there was another thundery evening ahead when I stopped for the night in a free-camping area in the little town of Conargo. 

Next day dawned lovely and clear and I was in Leeton and settled in the caravan park before lunch.

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Deer at Altina Wildlife Sanctuary.

I was amazed that there was so much to see and do in the town and nearby areas. We were picked up by bus each day and taken to visit places including a hazelnut farm on the banks of the Murrumbidgee, and a huge, modern cotton gin. The highlight of the tours in my opinion was Altina Wildlife Sanctuary, a huge area with many exotic animals. We toured the property in horse-drawn carriages.

They even had lions and giraffes out of Africa. But despite the appeal of all the big animals, I was captivated by the little meerkats! They look so large on the telly but in real life they are quite small.

Apex 40 is an organisation of former Apexians and members who come from all over Australia to attend the annual ‘Rort’. When we were looking for a word to describe these get-togethers 44 years ago, we looked in a word book and found that ‘rort’ meant a spree, frolic or orgy. There have been plenty of sprees and frolics over the years but I haven’t noticed any orgies. Back in 1974, I was fortunate to have been the first president. 

Our fabulous Sunday night dinner was in the old and famous Roxy Theatre – a great venue.

LAKE COLAC LONE TREKKERS MUSTER

There was nowhere very suitable for ACC gatherings at the caravan park so one of our members who lives in Colac let us use her home as a delightful venue. We had a barbie there the first night, pizzas the second night, and we all went out to dinner the final night.

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Rochester silo art.

New caravans were in evidence with our two Tassie members plus our hostess all boasting of their lovely new purchases. Two of the three had bought Jaycos!

The countryside around Colac is fabulous and some of us went exploring. Imagine the delight when we happened upon an outing of the Maserati Club of Australia. There were other exotic makes taking part as well as my favourite Ferraris.

WONDERFUL SILO ART

My two Tassie friends and I decided to visit some of the silo art that’s getting good reports lately. We started by doing the Wimmera Silo Art Trail first. The first night, we stayed at the lovely campsite at Brim – it’s free but if you want power, it’s available for $10 a night. The second night was by the beautiful Lake Lascelles at Hopetoun.

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Free camp at Lake Lascelles, Vic.

It was here that I tried out Yemmy‘s oven to cook a leg of lamb and roast spuds for the three of us. There were also veggies and gravy and the meal received a tick from us all.

We then decided to explore the north of the state and were very glad we did as once again the silo art was outstanding plus we were able to camp behind the pub at Goorambat and partake of their great food.

While looking at the Memorial Silo at Devenish, a lady in the crowd looked at me and said, “You’re Lionel.”

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Devenish silo art.

It was one of our ACC members. She and her late husband had stayed at my farm stay some years ago. It was lovely catching up even though it was just briefly. I’ve learnt since that she is one of the moderators of the ‘Pub Camping’ Facebook group.

WHAT MOTORHOME NOISE?

Ever since we put another gearbox in my motorhome, Yemmy, I’d been getting an annoying grating noise around the 1800 to 1900rpm mark. It was most noticeable in heavy stop/start traffic. A trip to Gippsland, Vic, recently in appalling wind and rain was well worthwhile because the next day my friend, Eric, not only cured some oil leaks but also completely eliminated the noise!

Once out of a Westgate Bridge traffic jam, it was sheer bliss to be driving quietly on the way home. As I write, I’m about 1000km into my journey north and there’s no trace of the noise at all!

AWAY AT LAST

I thought my hearing with VCAT was going to limit my travels to escape winter’s chill but a phone call I made to them found that I can let them know when I’ll be available and it would be at least three months anyway.

I’ve told them I’ll be available after September 30 so I’ve got plenty of time to go up to my favourite caravan park at Walkamin and then across to the centre and down to the Alice where my eldest daughter and her partner are working.

After that it’ll be on down to Adelaide to see my son and daughter-in-law before heading homewards mid-September.

See you down the track.

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Lionel Mussell has been RVing around Australia for decades, first in a caravan and nowadays in a motorhome. He is also one of the founders of the Australian Caravan Club (and still and active member!).

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