(written by Dave)
Rest days are great – we get to sleep in and have a big brekkie. Seems like there are lots of chores to do as well. We are thinking of having a two day rest day next time – normal people may call this a weekend!
A number of folks have asked about the caravan park camp kitchens and the kitchen at Esk is particularly nice so I thought I’d give a rundown and some photos.
Caravan Parks in Australia are similar to US RV parks with sites having power, water and often concrete pads (sewer and TV hookups are generally not included). Sometimes they have more permanent caravans than they have casual sites. Permanents still have wheels, barely, and often are inhabited by retired folks. Parks almost always have an amenities block that includes toilets, showers and coin-op laundries. None of the sites have picnic tables – the only tables are located at the camp kitchen.
Camp kitchens generally have the following: BBQ, burner/hotplate/stove, refrigerator, sink w/ hot water, kettle and common covered area with picnic tables. Common bonus features include a toaster, TV, microwave, proper oven and soap/scrubber. We’ve also found a pizza oven, a sandwich press and cooking pans. You have to bring your own plates and silverware. Level of cleanliness varies – from “ok to put food on the BBQ grill” to “wow, there’s a science class experiment happening under the hood”. Cleanliness is a function of the current park management – so good parks today might be bad parks tomorrow.
We are pretty happy with any clean kitchen that includes the first six basics. We’ve yet to use the sandwich press or pizza oven – could be that I need to add a pizza cooking stone to the back of my bike (not). We stayed at a park in Tenterfield that did not have a burner. When I enquired about one, the owner told me that they used to have one and it got stolen and that I should use the BBQ. Silly as it may sound, I cooked pasta in a pan sitting on top of the cast iron BBQ. Pretty inefficient but it beat setting up my stove and the owner was not very helpful (I had a point to prove!)
Anyway, camp kitchens in Oz are pretty cool. They make eating good wholesome meals much easier – plus provide a nice communal atmosphere for meeting other folks. And as Nancy mentioned yesterday, sometimes you can sweet talk a free slice of cake!
Today is a special day here in Oz with the Royal wedding happening in our evening. There was no TV in the kitchen yesterday but as of this arvo, we have a TV. Aussie natives are pretty binary on the wedding – they either are really looking forward to watching it (Monarchists) and those who would rather be doing anything else (Republicans). We probably tend towards the later but I’m sure while using the kitchen tonight, we’ll enjoy a chinwag with the Monarchists here in Esk.
We picked up some good lamb patties for dinner tonight and have a bit of red wine left over from last night so we will at least eat/drink well while we watch the big event.
We plan to continue north from here to Kilcoy and then head east and ride the Sunshine Coast a bit. It should be a bit less manic now that school holidays are over so we should be able to enjoy the beach a bit.