Anyway headed along the coast and stopped for a coffee at Nambucca Heads
. It was very pretty and the coffee was good too. Lingered a while before cracking onto Scotts Head to Stuarts Point Road. I just had to do this trip. The Home and Away geek in me emerged and the thought of going to Stuarts Point was just too irresistible!! Mind you the road was incredibly bumpy and my old van was juddering and shaking almost to pieces! Scotts Head was beautiful and amazingly busy. It had a big reputation as a surfers beach, hence all the campers and vans, and me...hmmmm. Ploughed on and passed banana plantations and thick and dense forest. All very beautiful. I hadn't realised they grew bananas this far south. However, the road just got worse and worse and by the time I reached the turn for Stuarts point, I just had had enough and turned the other way and back to the Pacific Highway! I wonder if that's one of the worst decisions I have ever made, along with white or brown sugar for my coffee?
Back on the highway, we headed inland towards Grafton, pretty much over fertile flood plains. All very green and lots of grazing cattle. The only problem with this was as the land was so flat, the winds whipped across and holding the van on the road was a nightmare and a real struggle. Damn my little hi-top bit! And bridges, oh my god, very hairy to say the least!!! And this along with still stressing about the LPG bottle, meant I wasn't really enjoying this trip so much today
. I then arrived in Port Macquarie, the roads were still horrendous, all pot holes and badly filled. NSW clearly has a budget the size of Eastleigh for repairing its roads, and then didn't spend it! But the town seemed like one sprawl, so just ploughed through, heading for town centre. Remembered that the site was near the beach, so used my sense of smell and headed that way, and with a bit of luck ended up right outside. It's another lovely site, right near the beach, behind a breakwater. Again it's pretty empty and got quite a lot of space amongst a couple of trees. Whilst there I noticed another couple of Travellers Autobarn people, and their vans looked a lot newer and better than mine! Pah! From here town is literally a stones throw, so wandered in and sussed it out. Very much your typical town, a couple of main streets, all the usual shops and restaurants. Very nice really, everything you could need. It was starting to get a little overcast, so I suspected it might rain later (oh yes).
In the evening inspired by a comment from Tim I headed into town for a Thai. It was a really lovely meal, but it was most remarkable for the worst waitress ever! She just placed dishes on the table, didn't offer drinks, was just not in tune with the needs of the customer. You could tell the owner, who looked Thai, was a little stressed with her. And the owner and his wife had a blazing row in the middle of the restaurant...now how's that for authentic! This all helped me to chill out and forget the LPG incident. On the way back to the campsite, there was this cacophony of noise coming from a few palm trees in the main street. The trees were literally filled with green parrots (okay yes lorikeets). It was amazing and really cool, but all the locals were just ignoring it...the noise was incredible.
At last a really good sleep, possibly thanks to the wine and it being a little cooler today. However, I was awoken or at least became aware of a noise around the van at about 6am. At first I didn't think anything of it, but after a while and as I came round a bit more I checked things out and the attachment of my gas canister was untightened. Now as I've not used this yet I have no idea if thats how it always was or whether someone had been pilfering (or swapping) cannisters. It seems a bit of a brazen thing to do, but the noises I heard would have been consistent with someone popping my flap, and lifting out my cannister. After this I was a little shaken and a hell of a lot pissed off! I did test it and it lit, but I didn't leave it on for long, so it might be empty or it might not. All seems a bit petty for a few litres of gas and of course I can't prove anything. So after all that I left Coffs with a nasty taste in my mouth and not such good memories.