11th to 16th March 2010 - Beechworth - our shakedown trip.

Our plan was to stay at the Lake Sambell Caravan Park for 5 nights and do some gem fossicking.

Marg and I left home about 9:30am on Thursday 11th March and headed to Beechworth. Our first stop was at the Service Centre on the Western Ring Rd, where I added some air into the trailer tyres. Next stop was the Grass Tree rest area north of Seymour and our final rest was at the Wangaratta Service Centre then we finally arrived in Beechworth about 2:30pm.

We met Roger and Sue the owners of Lake Sambell CP, who are very nice people. Sue took care of the booking 5 nights at $26pn, total of $130, while Roger lead us to our site and instructed me with parking the fiver, he also supplied the wood to level the fiver, as it was about 3" off level. Looking around the park, most of the other powered sites were pretty level. The park is beautiful, extremely nice and quiet.

The main reason for this short trip was a shakedown. After we setup camp as normal, I then setup our wireless internet, attached the cordless phone, connected the external hard drive as well as connect the Western Digital TV player. Outside I setup the Satellite TV, and we have Foxtel.
In summary, all our enhancements have worked as they were meant too. Yippee. Now bring on our trip to WA, we are ready.

Late Thursday afternoon, we vistied the Beechworth Information Centre and purchased a gem fossicking map, Kerry told us about the local gem fossicking areas and also suggested that we come back on Saturday and speak to Geoff, who just happens to be a gem fossicker and gold prospector. We also did some food shopping at the IGA.

Friday morning, we did a recy of the gem fossicking areas, this is going to be interesting as naturally, there are no signs that say, dig here and you will find diamonds as large as footballs, well tennis balls. :)
During the afternoon while Marg read her book, using our latest toys (we both have recently bought Amazon Kindles), I went cycling along the Beechworth Rail Trail. I planned to ride to Everton about 15kms away. I met a couple who were returning from their ride, so after a brief chat (about 10 minutes), I decided to ride to Diffey Rd Bridge, due to the return trip being mostly uphill. In the end, I rode to the Diffey Rd bridge and back, the trail away from Beechworth was mainly downhill, the scenery was beautiful and green, the cattle were grazing on the hillsides. It was very peaceful. Apart from the couple, I passed one other rider. Back at camp, I had a couple of chilled refreshers and had an early night, while Marg watched her TV serials.

Saturday morning, we visited Geoff at the Info Centre, who told us of some of other fossickers who may be of help to us and some areas to try. We left Geoff and filled up the Navara and then visited another Geoff who also was very helpful. We then parked in the main street and walked past and into a lot of shops, including the Honey shop, Beechworth Bakery, the Sweet shop and stopped at a cafe and had coffees on the street watching everyone else walk by. On the way back to camp, we just happen to obtain a slab of beer, just in case.
The afternoon was spent back at camp, I watched the V8s and Marg read. We plan to go fossicking tomorrow morning.

Sunday morning, we drove to Mc Feeters Rd and visited a couple of pebble beach areas along the Reedy Creek. I stood in the water and dug pebbles and gravel into our seives, while Marg checked for gems. At the time of writing, our result is zero, Marg still has some rocks to check. So here is hoping.
During the afternoon, I watched the V8s, while Marg read. Mid afternoon, we went over to chat with our neighbours David and Anna, who live in Perth and have recently crossed the Nullabor, so I pumped them of all relevant info.

Monday morning, we drove into Beechworth, and visited the Bakery and beat the rush, we had coffee and a coffee scroll, we also bought a quinche for dinner. After another walk around town, we had a relaxing afternoon back at camp, catching up with a bit of reading. I did start packing up a few things, in readiness for tomorrow's departure.

Tuesday morning, we left Lake Sambell CP, approx 8:30am. The traffic was light and flowing. Our first stop was at the Wangaratta Service Centre on the Hume, we had Maccas for breakfast. I got talking to a truck driver, his timeslot was 4pm in Melbourne and he was about 3 hours away, so he had to waste time just waiting around. How boring.
We stopped at 2 Rest Areas along the Hume. The drive home was uneventful, until we heard over the UHF radio, that the Western Ring rd was at a standstill due to a bus fire (no injuries), so we went down the Tulla freeway. The joys of having an UHF radio. they are invaluable.

Got home, all safe and well about 1pm.

The weather while we were at Beechworth was in the mid 20s and light breezes, down to 3° at night. Absolutley magic. I believe that Melbourne have had the same weather pattern.

We are only a tad over 3 weeks from our departure, when we head back to the Gold Coast, via Perth. Departure date is Wed 7th April. Yippee...

Western Ring Rd Service Centre.

Wangaratta Service Centre.

One of the raging torrents that we had to cross.

A beautiful Picnic area on Reedy Creek.

The rapids.

View from Gorge Rd.

Our camp - Lake Sambell CP.

Views from the Rail Trail.

Only 73kms to Bright. I didn't go.

Beechworth Station.

Lake Sambell CP.

Marg the fossicker.