Going Completely Potty

“Tell you what I’ve noticed about the toilets,” Tracey said as she arrived back at the bus where I was changing a tyre on one of the kids’ bikes. It wasn’t going particularly well, I admit, and there were a lot of tools spread out around me, but a mere half hour later the bike was able to be ridden and only fifteen minutes after that it could be ridden without the chain coming off. “While I’m waiting for the kids to finish it’s a great place to meet people.”

And as she’d just got us invited to a group BBQ with a heap of other family travellers parked up here in the Mount Gambier show grounds it was hard to fault here on her loo revelation.

Whereas I’ve noticed something completely different about the communal toilet blocks on our travels.

Only that morning the door in front of me rattled but, thankfully, held shut. Some of the locks we’ve encountered on cubicles wouldn’t have survived such a rigorous testing.

“Someone’s in there,” I heard another dad sleepily whisper to his young son while I sat contemplating life and planning my day. “Here’s one.”

Rookie, I thought to myself. Wait for it…

“Noooo,” came the predictable – at least to my thinking – response. “Nooooooooo.”

“Just pick another loo and use that one,” said the dad in a tone which clearly inferred he hadn’t had his morning cup of Joe yet and, in fact, he was only here because he’d lost a round of rock-scissors-paper in bed to his wife only minutes earlier. “Here’s one.”

If only it was that simple.

I could tell this dad didn’t have much experience with this nomadic lifestyle because otherwise he’d have known one of the first things you do when you arrive at a campsite is choose a dunny.

It’s an odd thing, how just when you think you’re casting off the shackles of society and hitting the road to be a bit wild and bohemian and unfettered, to discover you have a thing about going poo poo on the same potty. This isn’t a conscious thing – at least not at first. It just happens. In terms of universal laws it appears to be up there with gravity.

Initially, I too was unaware of this phenomenon. Then I noticed whether there were two or twelve available offices spaces, I’d end up perched on the same chair every time I tottled off to catch up with my paperwork.

I wouldn’t have even made the conscious connection until the day I arrived to find someone else was in what I at that moment mentally referred to as ‘my loo’, and surprised myself by the realisation I was severely put out.

To avoid ridicule I kept this revelation to myself until I began to suspect a couple of my kids were doing the same thing and actually broached the topic over dinner one night.

“ME TOO!!” the kids & Tracey shouted unanimously.

Well, it might not have been all of them yelling, but if anyone was silent I couldn’t hear them above the ruckus.

Since then I’ve done some research on which is the least used toilet. Yes, there are places these things are discussed. For men, you want the cubicle closest to the urinal. For women, closest to the entrance. You will never get that information out of your head. You’re welcome.

Meanwhile, we all had a wonderful time with the families here. All our kids amused each other and it was nice to meet new people doing the same thing we are without having to hang out at the dunnies like Tracey. Mind you, my dear wife is right about how social the toilet block is – I did manage to pick up on my way back to the bus.

After taking advantage of ‘my loo’ I stepped out of the mens into the crisp night.

“Hey, stranger,” said the deadset sexiest voice I’ve ever heard. “You looking for a good time?”

“No thank you,” I said, not even looking up from my phone. I didn’t have to. This particular woman had been trying to have her way with me ever since we got here. “I’m married.”

“Me too,” said Tracey, squeezing my ass cheek. “You don’t tell yours and I won’t tell mine.”

I really must ask her more questions about these friends she claims to be making while she’s waiting for the kids.

Little Blue Lake

If this little water spot was any closer to the road there’d be a bridge across it. You can literally sit in your car and look down into it.
There’s a sign saying no jumping but a quick google images search of the place shows this is widely ignored.
It doesn’t especially look like it in these photos but the water was so clear you could see a meter or so below the surface, as evidenced by being able to see the trailing underside of the big patch of algae next to the platform
A truly beautiful spot. Park of me wishes they’d stock it with fish and red claw because it would make a fantastic fishing spot, what with the jetty already in place.

Port MacDonnell

The area around Port Macdonnell is all slightly barren, wild breakers and cliffs, the sort of terrain which unconsciously calls for pensive looks and deep thinking

There are no fences so you don’t have to use the lookouts here, but there’s something about young children and not wanting to have to climb down to retrieve their remains which draws you to the viewing platforms

They could have saved ink and just written ‘a long way from anywhere’ but I’m glad they didn’t or I wouldn’t know how close we were to the south pole. Not close. Over 5000kms. Looks much closer on a map.

Frozen midstep. A bit like me when we got close to the edges of the cliffs.
Fairy penguin colony sign slightly contradicting the ‘fairy penguins wanted’ notice on the board.

Pointing out the thing. Not sure what now.
Karate Kid pose. Because it’s important.

Margaret Rose Cave

Only $44 for our family to venture down with one of their hourly tours
From literally inside the information centre you walk down thin, wet steps carved into the limestone cavern below. It is stunning to emerge into this space
The structure slightly right of centre is called the wedding cake, for obvious reasons. The structure bang in the middle gives an idea of time in here. That inch of so until the stalactite and stalagmite join up is estimated to take another 500 years
I kid you not, they all look fake. Like they’re made of hardened ballistic gelatin. Like this place was a rejected set from an Aliens’ movie designed by H.R. Giger.
These two aren’t thrilled at being underground yet again where the cave ins happen. Assume they’re holding onto each other for support.

This tree’s roots are interwoven with one of the stalactites’ structures in the cave below. Using dye they managed to work it out and mark the culprit. I always wondered what the lyrics of Yellow Ribbon meant, and now I’m none the wiser.

Raising a family on little more than laughs

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  • Happy new year!!
    Did you swim at the little blue lake?? It was freezing when I was there. We cliff jumped from the other side. The steps and jetty were not there either.

  • We just missed you (pulled out of Port MacDonnell after a fish and chip lunch, to head back to Adelaide on the 8th of Jan)! Hubby and I spent 8 days in Nelson (smartly or maybe insanely left the teenagers at home) and squished in a mountain of activities including kayaking, the PMR Caves tour, snorkelling Picaninni and Ewan’s ponds (top 5 life experience list for me), visited Portland, Mount Gambier and Port MacDonnell, dropped in a few lines here and there, went to sleep before the sky was dark every night and I managed to read 2 books as well!
    Envious of your big lap as our kiddos are too old for such awesome treks now (16 and about to start year 12 and 18, working and taking a year off from their second year of tertiary study). I grew up loving camping, fishing and travelling but strangely married a man who deplored the first 2 and reluctantly dabbled in the third. I spent 18 1/2 years missing out on awesome experiences – but after I traded him in for a new model (he dumped me actually, but I’m the one who scored) I’ve spent nearly 8 years making up for lost time. Oh and for the record – I always pick my loo on the first day!

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