The trip from Devonport to Melbourne was unpleasant. When we saw the waves crashing across the back of the boat as we sailed into Bass Strait, we gained an inkling of what the night ahead would be like. Neither Karen nor I slept a wink, we were both uncomfortable cramped into our reclining seats, watching the children who curled up and fell asleep just after dinner.
We arrived in Melbourne and drove off the boat at about 6:30am. Our first stop was the MOPS Australia Head Office so Karen could spend some time with Joan Gordon, the head of MOPS Australia. The kids played about in the office and we all got to check emails, which made Josie and Leisl very happy.
As both of us were completely shattered, we decided that a campsite was required very quickly. A quick peruse through the Camps 5 book revealed a site at Camden, west of Melbourne. The campsite was a washout, so we ended up at the nearby scouts campsite. This turned out to be Gillwell Park, the main campsite for Scouts Victoria and is very well known. Josie managed to attend a scout meeting with the Camden Scouts that night and had a great time.
Karen was still feeling unwell, with an extremely sore throat and a cold coming on, so Tuesday morning we took a few minutes to pray for healing and guidance for the next part of our journey. As is becoming our habit, we abandoned our agenda to head for the Great Ocean Road (West) and headed to Echuca (North).
On the way through Melbourne, we placed a call to Mobile Mission Maintenance to see whether anyone there could see us at short notice, and YES, we would be welcome. After a short meeting, we regained the road for the trip to Echuca.
For many and varied reasons we did not find the campsite until about 8:30pm, so we set up for a 1 night stay, not knowing anything about why we were here, or for how long. Our good friends from Canberra (Andrew and Kristelle) are camped at Moama this week and we got some fantastic opportunities to spend some time together. We also managed to get some galvanised tool boxes manufactured in Echuca to fit all the kids bedding in, when we pack the trailer. The canvas bags we had previously been using had become a sore point and were unsuitable any further. We also managed to attend the local Church of Christ and met some wonderful people. One couple, Peter and Glynnis, needed some help with a small renovation, and Daniel was offered to assist. We ended up staying 8 days at the campsite, and had a wonderful time.
In Moama (at the sportsground) there is a very cool adventure playground that we were introduced to by Kristelle and Andrew. Our kids all disappeared and only returned with their injuries (both real and imagined).
We also met another couple who are travelling around Australia, in a camper trailer, home schooling their 2 kids. Imagine that! These people must be crazy! Who would think of doing such a wild and ridiculous thing??? We had dinner together and generally enjoyed each others company until they moved on to Ballarat.
The campsite (which was going to be a 1 night stopover), was about 20m from the Murray River. On our last day, Peter managed to bring his boat along the river and pick us up to go fishing. He caught a rather large European Carp, and I caught a small Murray Cod. The kids had a ball riding their bikes all over the place, and even Andrew and Kristelle managed some fun 4 wheel-driving through mud puddles and getting extremely dirty (and smelly) mud all over their car. When it was time to move on, no-one really wanted to.
We had an email from a MOPS leader in Robinvale who would love to catch up with Karen, so it was decided that we would go that-a-way.