20/08/2006 Even worse than last time. The latest news is that after 6 years of touring in Central and Northern Australia I have finally decided to retire from touring. For the last two years most of my time has been taken up with training new guides and less with actually touring. Since getting married in Sept 2004 Deb and I have bought a house in Alice Springs and we would like to actually spend some time living in it instead of visiting occasionally (usually when the other is out on tour) so I have got a government job with sick pay holiday pay and all the stuff I haven't had for the last 25 years.
08/01/2004 Ummmm.......it has been a long time hasn't it..........heheh. I've been doing the coach runs to Darwin for about 6 months except for one 5/3 combo tour in October. Then I had November off in which Debora and I went for a drive to the beach. The beach in question was Noosa/Fraser Island.......only about 2500km. We went via the Oodnadatta Track and Strezlecki Track including the Burke and Wills Dig tree and into Qld through Thargominda (the third town in the world to get electricity after London and Paris). Did Bunya Mountain National Park, stayed with my mother in Noosa, Fraser Island and came back via Carnarvon Gorge National Park, Longreach, Boulia and the Plenty Highway.
Now I am back on the 4WD bush camping tours that are my favourites. The first one this year was a lovely tour, 40+ every day, no PA or music in the bus and a very nice group of people who made the whole thing very easy. We did the rim walk at King's Canyon in 45 degrees (in the shade....55 degrees up the top of the canyon) I will try to get group photos and updates happeneing again on a regular basis......group photos sort of fell apart on the coaches.......it takes too long to get 45 photos taken. That's all for now.........:).
26/06/03 - Well I finally got onto the 7 day Adelaide - Alice tour, and what a tour it is. The Flinders Ranges area....especially Arkaroola.....is just fantastic. I will get some photos up on the photo page soon but at the moment I get more days off in Adelaide than I do in Alice. It is rather cold down that way at the moment but we get to have a fire every night and a bit of hiking soon gets the blood flowing. There is also some great 4WD to be done.
06/06/03 Been a little while but here's a quick update. I.ve been doing the Darwin run mostly with a 6 day Adelaide run thrown in for good measure. Had my birthday in Darwin (day3 of the north run. My group got me a cake and a bottle of champagne and presented it too me in the Vic hotel after the tour. Unfortunately I had to get up at 4.00am to head south again so I couldn't stay and party but it was a very nice birthday. I just got back from a Darwin run and I'm off on a 7day to Adelaide on Sunday......about half the group came down from Darwin with me so we should have a great time in spite of the fact it is getting very bloody cold down south at the moment.
14/04/03 Well here it is.........the moment you'r\ve all been waiting for........a news update. where do I start. As you can see from the URL I finally managed to register a domain name and get a hosting package. I now have 100 mb of space so I can put some more stuff up here. Watch out for some HS replays, some .mp3 files of Two Lane Blacktop and more photos.
I have been doing a few different tours lately. So far I have done the training run for the 6 day Alice-Adelaide tour and I've just completed the training run for the 3 day Alice - Darwin run. I'm out on my first solo Darwin run on Saturday (in a coach with a hostie and up to 48 passengers....no bush camping). Coming up soon is the training run for the 7 day Alice - Adelaide 4WD tour (bush camping again......hehe) so once I have done all those I will be doing any of the tours that run out of Alice Springs. Group photos probably won't be as consistent as they have been owing to the size of the groups on the coach runs. I will have less time at home as well. The Adelaide runs involve being away from home for between 12 and 18 days and the Darwin run is 6 days and 1 day off (think of the money, think of the money)
08/12/02 Man I seem to be apologising every time I update about the lack of updates. I guess that's because I'm really busy. I have inherited responsibility for the sound and lighting systems at Melanka's nightclub so my days off have been taken up doing that. I recently bought myself a 4WD.......a Toyota 4Runner with a 5 litre Chevy motor so I guess I will have even less time available now I can go exploring on my days off. Click here to go to the NFBS BB and see some pics. I am heading south for Christmas to see my kids and my mother. Have a great Christmas and better New Year everyone.
25/05/02 Sorry bout the gap between updates folks but things have been a little hectic here.....and it's only going to get worse. Currently I am in South Australia catching up with my daughters. Tomorrow (Sunday) I fly to Adelaide, then Monday to Sydney and then on Tuesday the big adventure starts with a flight to LA. I have however worked out how I can update this site while I am on the road so check back every now and then for news and photos of the trip.
My last tour was an interesting one. Owing to a breakdown we didn't have enough buses (4x4) so I went out with 5 five day people and 7 three day Unleashed people. It all went ok (apart from the 3 day people missing Rainbow Valley) until the King's Canyon walk. On the way down Heart Attack Hill Sam slipped and broke her wrist. Of course being Saturday the medical centre was closed and so I splinted and bandaged her wrist, gave her some pain killers and we headed off around the Meerini Loop to make our rendezvous with the pickup bus for the 3 dayers at Palm Valley turnoff. We made it at the agreed time and Sam and her two friends boarded the bus to town. Three of the 3 dayers decided they wanted to extend their tour so after saying goodbye to the three Americans and the rest of the 3 dayers, we headed into Palm Valley in the dark. It all ended up ok..........Sam was taken straight to Alice Springs Hostpital and by the time we got in for dinner on day 5 she was feeling much better and they all joined us for dinner in Melanka.
Tuesday was spent getting my flat organised for the new temporary tenants and Wednesday I headed off in the car for South Australia. Now I have about 24 hours to get the final pack done on my backpack and then I'm off..........so bye for now and I'll update when I can.
30/04/02 Well as you may have guessed, I'm back in Alice Springs. I've got three more tours to go and then 10 days off to get my act together. My last tour was essentially a German tour.......7 people from Germany, 3 Swiss-Germans and a Frenchman who spoke fluent German.....hehe. We had a great time......it was a nice welcome back to touring.
All my tickets are paid for and I'm starting to get the "Uh oh......it's coming up fast, I better get organised"..........heheh.
19/03/02 Hmm m.......well it has been a while, hasn't it? Sorry about that folks. A fair bit has happened since my last update......I have had some great tours and am now in South Australia doing my annual diving stint to get the money together for my trip to Europe. That's right........I'm coming to your part of the world for a look (well quite a few of you, anyway).......apologies to those whose countries I'm not visiting, maybe next year. If you want a look at my scant itinerary, click here.
06/02/02 Back from tour again. Group photo is up (aren't digitals wonderful). Had a nice tour this time. Stars of the group were Russ and Deane from USA. Russ is 67 years old and does 100 mile (160km) runs for fun. In fact he apparently has a 1000 mile belt signifying 10 x 100 mile runs. Deane is right up there with him. They rode bicycles from San Diego to north of San Francisco......makes me tired just thinking about it. The weather was great except for night three. It started blowing a gale.........cooking in camp ovens get pretty hard in the wind and I burnt the damoer and the spaghetti bolognaise sauce. Then I had to put the fire out because of the fire danger so at about 10.00pm I got everyone to pack up and we headed for Yulara. Pulled in there at about 12.30 to find all our camps were full so we slept in one of the coach bays. Everyone was very organized when it came to packing up and setting up etc etc (you all know the drill)......so Thanks Guys.
Plans are underway for my holiday. I am going diving in South Australia in early March and then back to Alice to go touring until the end of May. I aim to be in Vancouver around June 3rd and Italy around June 10th. From there I want to go up through Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Holland and across to the UK. Then return to Italy via France and Spain. So if you can offer me any help.........feel free to email me.
29/01/02 Well I'm back from South Australia. My apologies to everyone who is waiting for their group photo to be posted........it doesn't look like it will happen due to my camera dying. However, I have just purchased a Nikon CoolPix 995 digital so that should speed things up.
I went down south 2 weeks ago to sell my house and throw out the garbage one collects over 20 years......and it was fun. Once again we got the band together for our 15th official "last show". Once all the financial details were settled with the bank I headed off to Adelaide to go on two day Kangaroo Island tour. Click here to see some photos. If you are in Adelaide with a couple days to spare I can highly recommend it........mind you the accommodation is a bit on the soft side for me.......dormitory accomodation in the resort at Flinders Chase National park. The tour itself is very relaxing with visits to all the points of interest around the island.
2/1/02 Whew.......10 days in the bush. The Christmas tour was great. We were a small group (6) so we had a cosy time. The highlight was Christmas dinner in King's Canyon campsite. We pulled in about 4.00 and by 4.30 the turkey was in the campoven and we just sat around and ate lollies and nuts and had a few drinks. At sunset we climbed the cliff behind the camp and cracked the two bottles of champagne and toasted Christmas, sunset, the tour and anything else we could think of. We had a fair bit of rain through the tour so didn't get to sleep outside much but it was very cruisy and relaxed.......all in all, a nice Christmas.
Thursday morning I was out again with another group of six. This time we managed to sleep outside as the weather finally got it together. This time we went Rock first so I had three 4.00am starts in a row. We did get to see sunset at the Rock for the first time in a while but the climb was still closed due to the weather (it has been closed for the last 5 tours). We camped at all the usual "unspecified locations" and ended up at Glen Helen on night four, warming up for New Year's Eve. By the time we got in to Alice I was about stuffed and not feeling like partying but I went out and got something to wear for the Hookers & Deviates night at Melanka (photos later......lol) Now I have had my two days off and am out again tomorrow.
19/12/01 Well we all had another wet tour. We stayed in permanent campsites in Yulara and King's Canyon but managed to stay moderately dry during the walks. Unfortunately the Meerini and Palm Valley was closed due to the rain so we had to do the "long drive", via Alice Springs. On the way back the weather seemed to clear marginally so I decided to give Rainbow Valley a try. We drove in and found a Britz van parked in the only park I could fit the OKA into. After eliminating all other possibilities I approached the older German couple in the Britz and explained the situation.......they were happy enough to move with one condition. He wanted to look under the bonnet of the OKA which was fine by me. It rained while I cooked dinner (normal.....heheh) and then cleared up by about midnight and we even got a sunrise. In the morning we did the walk to Mushroom Rock and up the back of the cliffs and then headed off to the Western Macs.
Night four we went (tried) to Two Mile and I managed to get the OKA inextricably bogged in the mud. With a quick call for help to Glen Helen on the UHF, Dave came to our rescue with the Toyota and another snatchem strap. I unhooked the trailer
and we snatched the OKA out and then I went around through the sand and snatched the trailer out backwards, hooked it on, and headed along the sand to out campsite. We did get bogged again in the sand but it was only a matter of letting down the tires. First time I have been unable to get unbogged without help (Chief hangs his head in shame). The weather finally cleared and we had a beautiful night under the stars. The next day was a standard Western Macs - Alice run in........except I had to rescue Micky's shoe from the flooded Ormiston Creek.
12/12/01 Finally I got the group photos back and put them up. The last tour was the wettest I have had since my first 5 day tour. It rained every day but undeterred, we still went bush camping. My big tarp got a workout. The first night we camped in the Finke Gorge and slung the tarp over a rope between the two big gum trees. We got all the swags under it and could still see the fire. It rained for about 5 hours. We got sunshine for the Palm Valley walk and rain for the Meerini drive. Slung the tarp the next two nights from the side of the bus in the usual way and although almost everyone slept under it (except me, of course) we got almost no rain overnight. On day four we arrived at the Rock in the rain and went out to see the waterfalls. Everyone was pleased we got rain and waterfalls.......it is always a pleasure to see people's faces when they see waterfalls on the Rock. I also finally got my trailer back. Lastly, many thanks to Bart who was always there to give me a hand without me having to ask.
5/12/01 Just a quick note....haven't got the group photos back yet. I've been out on two tours.....it must be holiday time in the UK........I have had nearly half of both tours from the UK. Needless to say we had great times and with all the Brits onboard we ended up in the bar at Glen Helen on the last night both times. Special mention must go to Meily for being the smallest person I have had on tour (she also won the garbage-guts award........she ate more than I did) and in the next tour, Rocio for leaping out of tall trees into Ellery Big Hole and for her ability to swear in 4 languages......:).
21/11/01 My, my, how time flies when you're having fun. After rolling the trailer I had a week off and went to South Oz to see my kids. Gave Christine a lift Adelaide and then over to Eyre Peninsula. On Saturday night I got together with the guys from my old band and we thrashed out a few tunes (till 2.00am) for old times sake. Sunday I went to Lincoln and caught up with the kids and Tuesday I headed back to Alice.
Out on tour on Thursday with a great group of people. The weather was kind and we got to bush camp 3 nights. The high point was the last one when we camped at Two Mile (near Glen Helen), went skinny dipping, got up at 3.00am to watch the meteor shower and generally had a great time.
6/11/01 Been out on three tours since my last posting. The first was a great tour with a bunch of fun loving people. They really fired up and had a good time and when I got home I almost felt like I had been on tour. Then I had a tour that was almost two tours in one. A large group (7) of older friends all travelling together and 9 other people. The older ones never quite mixed with the rest and spoke mostly in their own language while the rest all spoke in English regardless of their fluency so we really had two tours at once.Now to the last one.
Where do I start.......we went through 3 buses and 2 trailers on one 5 day tour. We left Alice in an Isuzu 17 seater (with 15 on board) and lost the brakes about 30km west of Glen Helen. Back to Glen Helen for the night and had a Coaster bought out from Alice. The next day we headed off to Palm Valley where we got a flat tyre (it's hard work changing them in 36 deg). Then the fun really started......we got 30km down the Meerini on the way to King's Canyon and one spring on the trailer let go and over it went. We dragged it about 100 metres on it;s side before I managed to pull up. After we rolled it back on what was left of it's wheels we opened it up to find the champagne and the beers were intact......in fact all we broke was 6 out 36 eggs (plus the trailer) To cut a long story short I used the Sat phone to get another trailer, we unloaded the trailer and set up the kitchen on the side of the road and proceeded to have a BBQ dinner.Everyone was having a great time and by the time the new trailer arrived I had the old one stripped and partly repaired. We finally got into our camp after midnight.
The next day we did the King's Canyon walk and then to the resort for lunch and showers. After my shower Christine touched my freshly shaved head and wanted hers done right there and then (the things we have to do as tour guides....heheh). So 3 razor blades and 30 minutes later there were two bald heads on tour. Off we headed towards our next campsite and 100km from KC the exhaust pipe broke off 1" from the engine. We did manage to have an uninterrupted bush camp that night and thundered into Yulara the next morning to change into a Rosa 2wd bus while they fixed the Coaster. We got the Coaster back after sunset and changed back again. Then in the morning I had to drop the travellers off at the shopping centre while I went to Ayer's Rock Autos to strip the front brakes. All in all it was a great tour......we all had fun but the group was what made the tour. They all thought the breakdowns etc made the tour even more of an adventure which in turn made it very easy for me to deal with the issues.......THANKS GUYS!!!!!
17/10/01 The tour with the kids was great. We had a really nice group and Leanne and the kids had a ball. I will post some photos after this next tour.
Hmmm.......well that was fun. My Thursday tour was cancelled so with a week off, what was a guy to do.......I hopped on the Desert Venturer to Cairns and had a few days there before flying back today to go out on tour tomorrow. As you can see by the accompanying photo, I had fun. We left at 6.30am on Thursday and headed 850 km to Wirrilyanna Station where we overnighted. Lovely place run by a lovely couple (whose name escapes me). Day two we headed across to Hughendon and stayed in the 90 year old Grand Hotel. Day three we got into the rainforest area of the Atherton Tablelands and arrived in Cairns about 4.00pm. A very worthwhile alternative to express bussing across.
I booked into the Bel-Air By The Sea Hostel which I can highly recommend......clean, close to town and staffed by friendly people. Sunday I caught up with my friend Nick and then that night I went to the Gong Show at the world famous Johnno's Blues Bar, put my name on the board and was soon up there playing the blues backed by Johnno's Blues Band (that's Johnno having a slug in the background since I had his guitar). Monday I went out to Fitzroy Island where I went scuba diving and hiking but most of all just lazed around the pool and beach. Back to Cairns on Tuesday night and back to Alice on Wednesday.
3/10/01 Just a quick update. As I said somewhere else thanks to Josh for the 6 -10 Sept group photo. I have been very busy doing back to back tours. I had a couple of hard ones in a row.....apologies to the people who had to deal with the difficult passengers on them.....they know who I mean. My last one was a great tour though....we all had a great time. I have my kids up here at the moment and we are going out on tour tomorrow. I know I keep saying life will get back to normal soon.......and it will, and when it does I will do some more work on the site. Till then.....have fun and enjoy.
Phew!!!!!! Things are finally back to normal again. I got back from running buses on Thursday 23rd (as you can see from the photo, it wasn't all bad) and went out on tour on Saturday. So I could get back to my Thursday tour I came in on Wednesday night and went straight out again on Thursday morning. Two good tours in a row and now I have two days off and time to get a few things done. I apologise to the tours whose photos haven't made it yet but I got a few back (taken by someone else) that were too blurred to salvage. So if your group photo isn't here and you have a good one, email it to me and I'll get it up (include the date of the tour so I can get the order right). Yeperyne Festival is on this weekend but I'll miss it as I'll be out on tour.....(sigh). More soon.
13/08/2001 Well I have been busy lately. I have done two Thursday tours and the cold I have had for about six weeks finally got the better of me and I asked for week off. The plan was to drive to Adelaide to see Martika (youngest daughter) compete in the South Australian Junior Calithenics titles, slip over to Eyre Peninsula to see Talia (eldest daughter), catch up with a few mates and back to Alice......hahahaha. We got down to Adelaide and saw the calisthenics (which Tika's team won resoundingly) and called in to see Andy Hood at NTAT's SA operations. "Chief I need this bus to go to Alice Springs URGENTLY". So that was the end of my week off.........I drove the bus up to Alice (1500km) for registration, got here on Sunday, rego on Monday (today) and this afternoon I head back to Adelaide to deliver the bus back. When I get there I pick up another one and bring it up for rego and then take it back to Adelaide and pick up my car and continue my week off. 6000km in a week.....I only do 1500km in a week when I am on tour......heheh. I will get some photos back soon (I need a digital camera) and catch up on the group photos that you are anxiously waiting on.
23/07/2001 Whew!!!!!!! This time it rained on night 1 and we all either slept on the verandah at Glen Helen or in a room kindly donated by Dave and Sue. It was also the final night of a week long workshop for young actors that was held at Glen Helen so with the assistance of Tim again there was a big night in the bar. The next day we had to drive 180 km the long way to Palm Valley and then head around the bitumen to King's Canyon (600 km). We had to camp out in a parking bay with acres of tarps up in case of rain. We finally saw the sun on day 5 but overall we had a great time. I am in the middle of 4 days off and am starting the Thursday 5 day tour on Thursday (of course). That will put us back in the bar with the legendary DJ Daimo at the controls. More photos in a couple of days.
15/07/2001 It's been a little while since the last update owing to the fact I just had to do a full format and reinstall on my computer. I will have the photos back from my last couple of tours soon and will post the group photos (tomorrow hopefully). The numbers are starting to pick up........I had 14 on the last tour and 13 on the next one. At the moment it is raining and the Meerini Loop is closed but with a bit of luck it will be open in time for the next tour. We had a good run last time.......it rained on day 1, then cleared up and we had beautiful weather and then it started to rain on the way home on day 5. I just put the latest group photo up.......the focus is not that good but I will get my photos back next week and hopefully mine will be better.
25/06/2001 Back from another jaunt into the desert (those of you that have toured with me know that it is actually a semi-arid zone) with the huge number of 9 this time. We all had a great time, bush camped 2 nights and had a night in the bar at Glen Helen Resort listening to Tim, the resident guitarist. We had a few that really got it on and ended up getting to bed at 2.30am after running out of wine. On Thursday evening just as I turned into the Finke riverbed the OKA steering gave up the ghost so we camped in the riverbed and the passengers cooked spaghetti bolognese while I crawled under the OKA and played mechanic. Eventually I had to admit defeat and get on the sat-phone and get another bus sent out. I have put up some recent group photos on the Touring Page but owing to the lack of server space they will be replaced reasonably regularly by more current ones. Also added a photo of sunrise at Kata Tjuta to the gallery......well worth checking out.....see the shape of the Sydney Opera house on the domes.
17/06/2001 Well, I didn't make the Finke Desert race, but I have been busy touring. Since I got back I have done three 5 day tours, all with small numbers.....5, 7 and 4. Small groups can be good (these were) but I prefer 10 - 15 in the group. We are starting to get busy and the numbers are going up.......I'm out on Tuesday with 10. The weather has gone into the normal winter pattern ..... 0C - 28C........lovely days and cold clear nights. I had ice on my swag the other night....but it was warm inside. I will post some more photos from the last tours as soon as I get them developed (hopefully tomorrow) and for those who don't know what a swag is I will get a pic of one and post that as well.
26/5/2001 In 2 weeks time we have one of the most well known events in Central Australia......The Finke Desert Race. Held over three days the race follows roughly the course of the old Ghan railway line from just south of Alice, 229 km south to the Aboriginal community of Aputula (Finke) and back. It is one of the most demanding and remote off road races in the world. Hopefully I will get to see some of it and will post some photos
25/5/2001 I arrived back in Alice on Wednesday night after a 1600km drive. I stopped half way and camped out under the stars and it was fabulous. I missed the camping out while I was in SA and can't wait to get out on tour again. (Tuesday is the day) Last night I had a bit of a big night in the bar celebrating my birthday.....seemed like everyone wanted to buy me a drink so what could I say......."why, thanks a lot".......heheh. Anyway that's over for another year and now it's back to the grindstone.
18/5/2001 I'm getting close to leaving for Alice Springs. I will be offline for about a week from Sunday. I've been having dramas with my computer so it is going in on Tuesday for a new hard drive (and a burner) I will have to do the full reinstall when I get back to Alice before I can do any further updates so it could be a little while.
14/5/2001 Well the weather has just turned foul a week before I am due to head north again so it doesn't look like I will be getting any more diving in but you never know. There are rumours that the band are going to get together for a little reunion show this Friday night so if you're in the Elliston SA area.....drop in.........heheh.
10/5/2001 There has been plenty but at the moment I am too busy building the site to tell you about it. However here is a little bit to keep you happy. I have almost finished my current diving stint and will be heading back up to Alice Springs just in time for the busy season with Northern Territory Adventure Tours. I am really looking forward to getting back up and out in the bush but the down side is that my racing time at NFS HS will be severely curtailed.
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