2013 – We had planned to spend a week ambling around the Victorian Goldfields looking for good free camps before meeting up with friends in the historic town of Clunes:-
Imminent bushfires prevent us from free camping for the first few days and on the Saturday when we are just starting to relax we pull into Castlemaine and realise that most of the streets have angle parking. We find a perfect parallel park and while I have my head buried in the Camps Guide, Woody reverses back to make more room for other motorists, there is a sickening crunch and we both realize that something is amiss. The rear awning arm has broken away from the van and is now sticking out at right angles. It appears that we have hit a safety fence and the awning arm has ended up on the other side of the fence. There’s no damage to the fence but it takes some manoeuvring to get the awning back into a reasonable position against the caravan so that we can hold it in place with duct tape and octopus straps.
On the drive home we spend quite a bit of time on the phone sorting out insurance and a repairer who will see to the van on the Monday. We mope around at home, do a load of washing and lament that most of our clothes are stuck in the cupboards that are now blocked by the closed pop top hinges and we can’t open the pop top without extending the now un extendable awning.
On the Monday Woody takes the van to the repairer and thankfully they are able to remove the awning so that we can return and enjoy the rest of our holiday.
From bad to worse
The Clunes Caravan Park is easy to find as it is right behind the shops and borders the little Creswick Creek. We look straight at the backs of the historic buildings and shops of Fraser Street. There are only 38 van sites in a lovely garden setting. The friendly owners, Barry and Mette bought it just after the last floods, two years previous and are doing a sterling job of rebuilding the gardens. It’s hard to believe that such a small creek could flood the town. The next day our mates R & T arrive with their two little dogs Gemma and Holly and we spend four delightful days exploring the towns of the Goldfields region but it is hot, a very hot forty degrees each day.
A distraught T wakes us early on Saturday, their younger dog Holly has passed away during the night which is an awful shock to us as she had shown no signs of ill health. When Barry and Mette rise we ask them if we can bury little Holly and Mette suggests a beautiful spot under an elm by the river. With a shovel, pick and axe Barry and the boys have a difficult time digging the grave as the soil is rock hard thanks to the summer heat and there are tree roots to contend with. At least the job is done before the children in the camp wake up.
It is still cool and the strong wind is still blowing, it is a difficult day to face.
We head home on the Monday. The van must be completely unloaded as it has to be returned to the repairers the next day and the whole side will be replaced as there are quite a few dents as a result of the awning incident.